Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Women's involvement in the Civil Rights movement

During the civil rights movement, many groups of people contributed to the change for the better of African-Americans throughout the country.  These included students, political leaders, as well as everyday men and women.  The one group that has peeked my interest the most are african-american women of the movement. I would particularly like to look at the contributions of women in the movement. 
Most people know of the civil rights movement that started in the 1960's.  According to Reed, most if not many women aren't gven enough acknowledgement for their pivital roles during that time period (Reed pg. 4).  Instead most of the recognition are given to men like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Reed pg. 2).  With that in mind, I couldn't help but to think about what I did in fact know about the women of the movement.  Women like Ella Baker, Septima Clark and Fanny Lou Hamer.
I quickly realized that not only did I never hear about these women but  I had no idea how or what they contributed to the civil rights movement.  This made me only want tot research and learn as much as possible about these strong women of color.
Through Reeds book, I gained knowledge of Ella Baker.  Ella Baker not only helped founded two key organizations of the movement but helped to run them as well (Reed pg. 4).  These organizations happened to be the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which was founded in 1961 (Reed pg. 5).
Many women contributed to the movement through the power of music.  During the civil rights movement freedom songs were created and sung continuously to get the message across to all people of different walks of life.
 The Civil rights movement would have never been accomplished without collective participation of different groups of people.  As a women myself, I cannot help but to find deep interest in the women that struggled so hard to create a better society in which we live today.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Civil Rights myths

According to T.V. Reed, there where a number of misconceptions concerning the Civil Rights movement.  In the next few paragraphs I will identify two of these myths in relaiton to what I was taught to believe about the Civil rights movement.
One of the myths Reed believes many people have come to accept was that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. not only started the civil rights movement, but he led it all by himself (Reed pg.2).  Reed explains that although Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a significant figure int he movement, he was only one of many who were not given credit at all in their efforts.
After reading Reed's reasons for calling King's role in the movement a myth, I couldn't help but to remember what and who I alwasys automatically thought of when the movement was brought up.  To my surprise King always did stant out.  Had I not read that par tof Reeds book, I would not have realized how many women and organizations had contributed to the civil rights movement.  Women like Ella Baker, Septima Clark and Fannie Lou Hammer were just a few key leaders in the movement.  There where great organizations that were founded during these times.  The NAACP, SCLC and SNCC were just a few among the many.  Thes organizations contribute heavily without national leaders like King (Reed pg. 3).
Reed brings a number of myths to mind, but his so called myth about the role of whites in the movement being exaggerated, didn't resignate with me.  Reed believes that this focus on white peoples role in the movement is part of an underlying scheme to cover up the continuing racism in the U.S. society (Reed pg. 4).
I would definitely have to challentge that myth based on what I was taught growing up.  Just like I was unaware of the many female leaders and organizations that contributed to the movement, I was also unaware of the signigicance of many caucasians during the movement.  I believe that we do need to learn about everyone that contributed to this cause despite gender, race and age.
Reading Reed's myth about the civil rights movement really did help me to sit back and reflect on my own knowledge about this prominent time in history.  I realized that I actually knew much less than I thought.

Internalized racism

From the beginning of slavery to present day, many african-americans have struggled with internalized racism.  This internalized racism stems from the ideology of white supremacy.  In the following paragraphs I will discuss how internalzied racism affected the late Malcolm X as well as my very own family.
Malcolm X came from a family that endured a lot of discrimination .  This was primarily due to his fathers affiliation with Marcus Garvey.  Malcolm X father, Reverand Earl Little, was one of the organizer for Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association (U.N.I.A.) (Malcolm X pg. 1).  The main idea behind Reverand littes Speech was that black people should move ba ck to africa.  That idea did not sit very well with a lot of whtie people as well as other african-americans.  As a result of this the family moved to various states.
As much as Malcolm X father taught and believed in black empowerment, he himself had seemed to be subconsciously  brainwashed by the idea of white supremacy (Malcolm X pg. 4).  Malcolm X came to beleieve this about his father based on his recollection of the way he treated compared to his other siblings.  Reverand Littele showed favoritism to Malcolm X because he was of a lighter complexion.  Malcolm describes his dad as beligerent towards his siblings (Malcolm X pg.4).
Based on Malcolm X childhood with his dad, it is of no surprise that Malcolm X himself would later grow up to find a sense of pride in his lighter complexion.  Malcolm X explains how he among other african-americans at that time considered their lighter skin to be some kind of status symbol (Malcolm X pg. 3).
Malcolm X soon came to realize that this belief of status came directly from the undeniable better treatment from black parents towards their lighter skinned children (Malcolm X pg.4).  This is and was the issue in many black homes throughout the world.
My Grandmother was one of five children.  My grandmother was also a fraternal twin.  May grandma and her twin happened to look completely different from one another.  My Grand mother also happened to be the darkiest of the children.  Even though her mother was very dark skinned as well, she instinctively treated my grandmother poorly as compared to her siblings.  Interestingly enough, when my grandmother got married and had her kids, her mom came to favor those grandkids over the others.  This was due to the fact that many of my grandmas kids were lighter complexion than the other grandchildren.
From my own experience it is quite clear that internalized racism remains to be an issue in todays society.  Hopefully with more classes about rich african heritage, more people can learn to accept themselves for who they are.