February 27, 2014

Local reverend discusses evolution of civil rights over 6 decades






"The '90s brought a cultural identity into the mix. The Afro-centric movement was gaining momentum and many wanted a great ethnical identity. It was no longer about being identified as good Americans, the key was to be identified as good African Americans. This brought about a realization for both whites and blacks. We didn't know each other. Growing up, I didn't know what was threatening or frightening to whites. I just new segregation was wrong. Years of cultural and mandatory segregation had led us to this point. The '90s brought about many who were mainstreaming. There were black millionaires and black entrepreneurs. There were many who saw it as a threat and those people were confused about where it came from. It exemplified that many still viewed us as second class citizens, or almost like visitors this country."


2000 to current times: 


"In 2008, the election of Barack Obama exposed we have to discuss race relations in this country. It brought out an ugly side. It brought deep fears and resentment from the last four decades we thought were gone. With the election of a black president, we found the dream still needed to be alive. We need to no longer recognize people by their ethnicity or color of their skin. I would love to see the day when a man or woman could rise to power, and no one would care if they are the first black, woman or Hispanic person to hold the position." 


Moving forward: 


"We need to stop setting this month aside because it only further ratifies the institution of segregation. Our history is American history. It's intertwined. I would like to see us get away from having a month. Every day of the year is historical and every American should be celebrated, not tolerated. I was born here and I can't go back to Africa. America will never be perfect, but we will always be Americans." 

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