Even though the Emancipation Proclamation took effect in 1865 after being announced in 1863, the day that later became known as Juneteenth by Texas in 1980 is one of the days marked by history as a celebration of freedom. It is the freedom that, according to the 15th amendment, promised all civil rights to the enslaved African Americans. No one in America would argue that African Americans have a hard life in America as compared to white Americans. There are issues like police brutality, racial profiling, and discriminatory behavior by authoritative powers that cause frustrations amongst these communities.
There have been significant events of sacrifice in the past that have led us today to a below satisfactory level of equality, such as the Rosa Parks bus boycott, The March of Selma to Montgomery, and even the biggest tragedy like the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
Even after the independence was declared, the injustice based on race didn’t stop but now has taken an eviler and vicious form that translates physically into making them feel like they are not first-class citizens of this country. Black children have faced threats by crowds of adults for going to the schools and universities of white Americans, and the crowds included students and teachers. In retrospect, it sounds pointlessly cruel and fueled by the dark ages rather than an educated civil society. The evidence is scattered in the civil rights movements when the activists merely asked for their shared human rights. They encouraged fellow African Americans to have hostile and racist crowds of white people yell at them that their life wouldn’t change or they won’t let it change. Racist politicians were fueled by this hate train and often promoted it for their political benefit.
Honestly, stating there hasn’t been much change since the independence though slavery being abolished was a massive milestone for the formerly enslaved African American Population, that doesn’t mean that their lives aren’t constantly threatened. Justice isn’t served the way it would to a white American. There has been an extreme failure of justice, even after independence, such as in 1904 in Sunflower County of Mississippi, a black man and woman were tortured and killed publically. Instead of there being some immediate function of justice to this very public crime, the crowd witnessed and cheered such a system’s failure. Like you would imagine in a horror film, these killers had chopped the fingers off of these victims and distributed them as a keepsake of the event. Not only did 600 witnesses enjoyed this cruel spectacle, but they had arranged the event with deviled eggs, whiskey, and lemonade as if they were enjoying some live theater play. Though not the same way, but history does repeat itself; George Floyd is an excellent contemporary example of such a vicious racial crime. He was pinned to the ground, based on an assumption, and deprived of his right to live most cruelly. The difference here is that support for the movement was so great on social media in America and globally that it forced the authorities to serve justice.
The system has failed African Americans time and time again. It is not solely why it fails as a collective body of justice and because it deliberately ignores black people’s struggles and injustices related to them. One of the main reasons the system is so enabled in such behavior is controlling the system. For instance, in 1904, the same year of the Sunflower County incident, the son of a plantation owner was given a seat in the senate due to the privilege that he would have as a white man. In his 36 years of holding his position, he enabled the racial injustices happening in Mississippi by defending the caste system. He opposed the resistance against the desegregation of the schooling system as well. He didn’t care about the state’s majority population, fueled by his racist outlook that showed in his campaigning against voting and equality for black people. Such leaders, politicians, and senators encouraged the white cruelty towards the black citizens both in physical and political forms.
Such leaders took advantage of their posts and favored men with the same political ideals as themselves. This led to the birth of systematic racism that black people face even today. Not to point out everyone involved, but certain white supremism elements are found today in law enforcement, justice system, and administration.
Even after the 1900s, white people have defended their segregation ideals by saying that their exclusion was a matter of policy. The south was concentrated with the black population. Such leaders that suppressed the voting of black people further enabled the politicians to create politics of segregation and defend blatant racism. These anti-desegregation movements couldn’t have been more offensive as the slogans were marked with racial slurs. The terms and conditions of such policies highlighted the exclusion of black people to the extent that it threatened their civil rights.
Black citizens have been systematically oppressed, economically, and politically ignored for far too long, and independence has been on a constitutional document rather than translated into real life. History must be recalled to call out the system on its deliberate faults.
Equal Justice Initiative (2018). From Slavery to Segregation. Retrieved from https://segregationinamerica.eji.org/report/from-slavery-to-segregation.html