today in black history

June 16, 2024

Author John Howard Griffin, who posed as a Black man for his seminal book on southern racism,"Black Like Me," was born in 1920.

What January 6th really represents.

POSTED: January 17, 2022, 10:00 am

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There should be no doubt in the mind of any Black person in the United States that we are under assault. In every facet of life in this nation, White supremacy is seeking to strengthen its hold on our very existence and seeking to oppress generations to come. The forces of hatred and bigotry are moving with extreme haste to control the two most important institutions of civic life – government and public education – to embed White privilege in society in the process of creating apartheid-like conditions upon a growing Black and brown majority.

The violence and rage we witnessed during the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the United States Capitol was not solely the result of anger driven by the lies of a defeated American president. What we witnessed was the release of pent up anger among Whites, and a few confused Blacks, over a perceived loss of status and privilege in the new demographic reality of the United States. We began to see evidence of this resentment after the election of Barack Obama in 2008 and how many Whites could simply not conceive that a Black man could sit in the most powerful seat in the United States. The rage that Obama’s election provoked in many Whites was palpable, and produced a population of ‘Karens’ and ‘Kens’ who felt their White skin privilege was jeopardized and took any supposed ‘elevation’ of a Black person as a personal insult. The slights ranged from the election of Obama to a mixed-race child in a cereal commercial to a Black man bird watching in a park. It was the invasion of perceived White spaces that was behind the insanity we saw unfold at the Capitol.

We are now witnessing a relentless attack upon the two institutions that have been the difference makers for Black life in America. Across the country public school districts are being set upon by right-wing zealots who are using ‘critical race theory’ and the award-winning New York Times 1619 Project as subterfuge to launch a whole scale attack upon public education. The goal is to whitewash public schools to the point that Black and brown children will be educated again in a pre-Brown environment that minimizes and discounts Black intellectual capital, and erases any record or reference of Blacks role and contributions to the development of the United States as a political and economic power. The shouting, angry White parent with veins protruding in their neck who show up at a local school Board meeting is reminiscent of their grandparents who harassed, cursed at, and spat upon Black children who boldly integrated public schools in the 1950s and 1960s. Whether it is the irrational anger over mask and vaccine mandates in response to COVID-19 or a curriculum purge driven by ignorance over historical scholarship, the same venom that was expelled on January 6 is now infesting public education. At the same time, there is an organized effort to elect White supremacists to local school Boards who will support the banning of books by Black authors or volumes focused on a truthful accounting of American history. The right-wing sees local Boards of Education as soft targets and an entry point to a larger takeover of state government.

This strategy extends to local and state elective office, and public administration. We are witnessing the rise of Trumpian candidates running on platforms that are driven by hysteria and lies with no grounding in public policy. The façade of the rallying cry ‘Make America Great Again’ has been stripped to reveal what it really means, ‘Make America White Again,’ with candidates openly embracing a White supremacist agenda and using hatred of Blacks and Latinos as a motivating factor to drive White voters to the polls. The energy that is being extended in states to undermine voter access to the polls by changing state election law and suppressing voter outreach efforts is reminiscent of the post-Reconstruction campaign to permanently disfranchise Black people. Unless federal voting rights legislation is passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden, in many states Blacks will find themselves fighting Jim Crow 2.0.

“A war has been declared and they are coming for our children and our children’s children. Make no mistake that the ultimate goal is to eliminate us, to wipe us out of existence. That is not hyperbole but a fact that is clearly evident in what we are witnessing today”

Behind this campaign to entrench Whiteness is a willingness to use violence to do so. The rise of White supremacist groups as active domestic terrorism threats is real. It is clear some of those groups engaged in the insurrection at the Capitol and we have increasingly seen attacks in states across the nation that appear to be isolated incidents but are clearly part of a larger strategy. Worse is the growing evidence that our military and local law enforcement agencies are infested with White supremacists. The use of violence is being aided by states that are extending the right of gun ownership and promoting liberal gun carry laws, and showing little concern about increased violent rhetoric, which is putting Black life at risk in all settings. As our lives are deemed expendable, conditions are being set to enforce our subjugation through the use of violence.

As people in a nation with a history of White violence used to suppress our rights, we must begin to have some serious discussions concerning what action we should take. A war has been declared and they are coming for our children and our children’s children. Make no mistake that the ultimate goal is to eliminate us, to wipe us out of existence. That is not hyperbole but a fact that is clearly evident in what we are witnessing today. We have already lost a lot of time by distractions on trivial matters that cause us to expend energy that could be better used to protect our children and families. If the events unfolding in the country do not raise a red flag, we are doomed to our inevitable destruction.

Walter Fields is the Executive Editor of

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