What does this photo represent? When you look at, what is the message? The bigger question is, has the world changed much from then to now?
To me; it says that a lot has changed in society. It represents a strength that most of us never thought was possible, it tells us that anything is possible when you believe. The message is never give up, this is a statement that is more powerful than words may ever be able to explain.
Yes we’ve come far but we still have so far to go. Yes we are able to do things now that were not possible just 50 years ago. That time frame seems long but it’s still just yesterday to many of our elders.
I would like to take you on a journey into a time when we were segregated, looked at as less than and viewed as a plague. This journey starts south of the Mason Dixon, for those that have no clue what that is, it’s an imaginary line the separated the north from the south. It’s a place where water fountains were marked “whites only”. It’s a place where people of color could get lynched depending on what time of the day it was. It’s where the KKK burned crosses and shot innocent black men, women and children because of the color of their skin. Where we were judged for the color of our skin and not the content of our character.
Now, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated for a dream that he never got to see come true, Malcolm X was assassinated for standing up to a world that didn’t view us as equals. We were hosed down by fire trucks, beat by police, bitten by dogs and killed just because we wanted to be treated fair. That’s a lot of abuse to take for something that we take so lightly today.
I will fast forward to the present and ask; was it worth it? I say yes because we now have liberties that we take for granted without understanding all the suffering that was brought upon our ancestors to get us here. We now act like these incidents in history never happened or they were myths because our mothers and fathers didn’t raise us in those times.
I say no because now, instead of lynching we are being gunned down senselessly, by each other and anyone else who feels the need to take us out. We are constantly profiled and misjudged by society and a lot of it is our own fault. We live in projects but pay for cars that’s higher than the rent. We buy clothes and shoes instead of stocks and bonds and we hold one another down instead of pulling each other up.
In my eyes, we are still slaves!!!! We are slaves to trends, technology and laws that we have yet to correct. We don’t fight for justice, we fight for just us. We are okay with this piece of nothing we have received instead of fighting for what we are owed.
The picture in this post is monumental for African Americans but it should be a standard for African American men. We need to stand up and be heard and accounted for. We need to take responsibility for our women and children so they have someone to look up too, instead of running to the streets to seek family. We as black men have allowed our women to be looked at as sex symbols and not the beautiful queens that they are. It is our fault that our kids run amuck and have people scared to even approach them. We must educate ourselves and pass that knowledge to our youth. Our race is suffering and with all that these two men stand for, it is our duty to make them proud.