No doubt, most would agree that the biggest and most reprehensible stain on this nation’s history is centered on its involvement in slavery. It is one of the few reservations that even the strictest “original intent” constitutionalists have with the founders – that we were unable to form a nation with the consensus abolition of such reprehensible actions. There were many who held anti-slavery positions but were forced to abandon that principle for the purpose of forming the Union. If they had held strong, the nation would have been divided or unformed completely. Still, for all the glamour that political weaklings and “non-zealots” put into coming to the middle, it is doubtful that many would applaud the Three-Fifths Compromise.
Even after the 14th Amendment expunged the blot that essentially penned slavery into our foundational document, racism continued in ways that many today cannot fathom in modern America. The unfortunate truth is that while slavery was abolished, the mentality of superiority verses inferiority didn’t die as easily and the outcome was a timeline full of injustices carried out in order to keep the clear distinction between the races. Decades of mistreatment and prejudice against free blacks was largely ignored by all, to include mute sympathizers.
Shamefully, it took generations for Americans as a majority to accept that our long standing, self-evident truths for “all men” included “ALL MEN” and that we all were created equal. To deny that people with black skin are men isn’t ignorant, it’s willfully dishonest; to deny them equality is a sin against man, nature, and the Creator. Yet, being men of lesser quality was a defined reality that post-slavery blacks were forced to recognize. The social dehumanization of these individuals after the legal recognition of their fully-human and equal quality is perhaps more disgusting than the original crimes of slavery.
The Greensboro Four knew that their lives were at stake when they sat down at the lunch counter at the Woolsworth store in 1960. They simply sat were society told them they could not sit or be served. The barriers of ethnicity don’t lie in genetic makeup, but in power, hatred, and ignorance. Their plight, saturated in irony, emboldened likeminded individuals to support their simple cause – that all men should be recognized as an equal member of human kind. Their stance was taken sitting, their fight was waged peaceably, and their argument was thunderously silent. They were ignored all day, but became the center of attention for an entire nation. They were extraordinary men demanding to be recognized as just ordinary men.
How righteous was the cause of fighting injustice based on race? How many black men and women suffered discriminatorily because those in authority chose to look past their skin at the evidences and facts? How many others faced the injustices that Emmett Louis Till, Wharlest Jackson, Oneal Moore and David Creed Rogers faced due to their race? How many black men went to jail because the investigators couldn’t look past their ethnicity? How many victims were abandoned by the protection and justice of our legal system because they had dark skin? How many cried out in vain against the winds of racism in hope that they would be heard and treated like a human, that they could rise above the convoluted grime of racial interference and be seen as an American?
Now, how many are making that righteous argument for George Zimmerman?
If George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin, then the let the legal system judge him as a man. If we allow the mobs to control our justice system because of the racial backlash now, then we are similarly as guilty as the mobs that gathered around that lunch counter in Greensboro 52 years ago and eventually pressured the police to abuse and arrest those individuals who demanded nothing more than to be treated fairly.