The George Floyd Decision Was The Big Racism Awakening Too Long Delayed

By Donald A. Collins | 29 April 2021
Church and State

(Credit: Lorie Shaull / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

For years I have watched the outrageous abuse of African Americans on TV, naively thinking things were getting better. And when the history of credible African American descent emerged, I was not alert to its validity.

Now with the shooting by police and the flood of seemingly unnecessary police actions being daily thrust into our TV screens, we must be aware.

As a white middle class guy, I thought the election of a black (okay he was only half black) US President sealed the non-racist argument as bogus, but the Trump inspired insurrection of the US Capitol on January 6th and his claims of election fraud on November 3rd, alerted me to the fragility of our democracy. And Biden’s clear selection must have alerted a substantial number of others to Trump’s racist position, hidden in the cloak of preserving law and order. Read repression and racism!!

Don’t fail to read this powerful history of black awakening here written by a white woman journalist from North Carolina who likely was awakened by Floyd just at I was when I wrote this piece in February 2021.

It can hardly be called a park today. The site in the Mississippi Delta town of Greenwood where, in 1966, Stokely Carmichael electrified a crowd with shouts of “We want Black Power!” lies untended and unwelcoming. Its name—Broad Street Historical Park, announced on wooden boards between stone columns—speaks in two registers. Without question, the park bears historical importance, as noted by a marker commemorating the speech that changed the course of the civil rights movement. It is also lost to history, this forlorn block of overgrown grass in the storied Black neighborhood of Baptist Town, where the soulful music of blues legend Robert Johnson once stirred the air.

I had come to Greenwood to bear witness. In this picturesque town at the head of the Yazoo River, once a major cotton-shipping port, some of the long freedom movement’s most turbulent episodes had played out. In 1886, 50 or more white men set out on horseback from Greenwood to the courthouse in neighboring Carroll County, where they lynched at least 20 Black men for having the audacity to believe the justice system belonged to them, too. In 1955, just miles north of Greenwood, Emmett Till’s body was dredged up from the Tallahatchie River, three days after his murder, a cotton gin fan around his neck. The massive voter education and registration drives culminating in the Freedom Summer of 1964 were based here, launching Carmichael’s career as a community organizer.

From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013

By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
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