Sometime ago, I watched I AM ALI, a documentary about the life of legendary boxer Muhammed “The Greatest” Ali. It is impossible to thoroughly examine Ali’s life without taking a look at the race relations that existed in America back then, particularly the Civil Rights Movement. Ali himself was very outspoken about the discrimination against Blacks. It was not surprising that part of the documentary was an emotional throwback to the years of segregation.
All pictures here are snapshots from the documentary. The soundtrack to this gallery is Syl Johnson’s Is it because I’m Black?
It is common knowledge that Blacks still suffer ill treatment in America, but things are relatively better and that may make some people forget how hard African Americans had to fight to get the “equality” they have now. The struggle. The marches. The protests. The Sit Ins. The brutality endured. I am filled with pride at the actions of these brave people, risking everything because “enough was enough!” I doubt I would ever have been brave enough to do the same. We have to fight for the things we want. We cannot simply fold our arms and wish for things to be better. We need to go out and make them better.
1960 may seem like a long time ago, but in the grand scheme of things, it is yesterday. The hostility towards Black Americans does not surprise me, because just recently they were not even considered worthy enough to sit with Whites. Up until the 60s, Blacks were still being lynched. Attitudes like that cannot disappear overnight. Racist mindsets will not be erased simply because the law changed. Acting upon one’s racist mindset is illegal (which is progress from 50 years ago), but having racist thoughts cannot be censored. What happens is that these racist thoughts, now forced to be hidden, will bubble up and spill out. A lot of people pretend to be without prejudice, maybe they even believe it. Then something happens and their true feelings are unveiled. Although it would be nice to have everyone free of prejudice, that is unrealistic. It is more important to have laws preventing people from acting on their prejudice. Hate a group of people all you want, but the most you should be able to do is stew in your hate, not hurt this group because you hate them.
There are a ton of pictures and videos on the internet, chronicling the struggle of Black Americans. Check them out, read the stories behind them, and learn about the black struggle. Be inspired.
A time comes when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.
Feel free to leave comments if you have more information or corrections about the photos.
Read more about the freedom riders here
Read more about the Greensboro Sit-In Here