history we pulled from

FREEDOM:

it's what every group wants, organizes around or marches/sits/parades for, whether they are immigrants, women, or use a hyphen and "American" to describe themselves (or don't).

Freedom to love/marry who they want, freedom to do and be as the Constitution and its amendments say, and freedom to do activities when you think there's a problem in the United States.

Throughout American history, decrees, laws and clarifications of laws have been made about one group or another's rights and freedoms.  Our country has a history that isn't so pleasant:

THE WORST atrocities were inflicted upon Africans who were kidnapped and brought to this country in order to be forced to work in order to build it.    

  interior of hull of slave cargo ship from 1700s

 

Many other groups have also suffered despicable and deplorable treatment. Catholics and Jewish people used to be hated once upon a time. Some still are. A mass-lynching was done of eleven dark-skinned Italians in New Orleans (1890), with one of higher numbers done of African-Americans in 1866 in the same city.

How many know that Japanese-Americans were forced to abandon their belongings and live in internment camps in the 1940s by presidential Executive Order? This is the interior of one of many of them that were on U.S. soil!

 

All in the land where many human beings either lost their lives or gave up everything in order to try to get here (immigrants) because the USA is billed as the land of hope, opportunity, and freedom!

 

The struggle with the concepts of freedom and equality for all men and women continue to this day, but aren't entirely new.

 

Many of these images are probably familiar, but some of them may not be. 

 

  

And while so many are familiar with what Dr Martin Luther King Jr had to say about his dream for America, how many are familiar with this lesser-known quote from him about the atrocities done to America's first inhabitants, the Indian?

“Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of Negroes on our shore, the scar of racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society. From the sixteenth century forward, blood flowed in battles over racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. Indeed, even today we have not permitted ourselves to reject or feel remorse for this shameful episode. Our literature, our films, our drama, our folklore all exalt it. Our children are still taught to respect the violence which reduced a red-skinned people of an earlier culture into a few fragmented groups herded into impoverished reservations.” 

(“Why We Can’t Wait,” 1963, book by MLK Jr)

 

It has always been up to the citizens to demand that their freedoms be recognized, first with protections put into place by law (allegedly respected in this country) and then with equal enforcement across all populations.  This has ALWAYS come about as a result of multi-racial and multi-gender groups of people joining together to demand that America make good on a promise of freedom that is supposed to exist for ALL OF US. 

How many of these movements are YOU familiar with?

  

 

You've undoubtedly heard of this recent one, attended by all races and genders:

 

 

 

The idea that the USA isn't finished with the job, is reflected in images found on social media and the internet generally:

 

           

 

     

  

 <<<<<Circulating around social media currently.

 

Even the National Archives Foundation got in on the action recently with the creation of this great logo for their "Amending America" exhibit. 

  

 

The work and empathy of people across gender, racial, religious and cultural lines has always been instrumental in a group's fight to demand that their inherent rights be acknowledged and upheld in this country. 

("Freedom Summer", in Mississippi around 1964 to test compliance with Federal voting laws. Three went missing, and were later found murdered. Multiple races died.)

 

Divide and conquer is an effective strategy, and it's one in which the whole can't achieve their goal because they are cut off from its parts and resources. Others have spoken on it:

 

great image from someone named "Ramirez", for Investor's Business Daily:

 

       

                                                

 

 

Too many groups are experiencing attacks to their freedoms, in the "land of the free".

To borrow the words from Alex Haley's Roots... "men chained together are brothers", and they form a village/community. 

Look around you and recognize someone who may not look like, worship like, love like, pee like or have origins like YOU, but is fighting a highly similar or identical battle as you. Every OCCUPY movement is a people-powered one in which they work together for a mutual goal.

This one centers around FREEDOMS.

           Now, let's work together to go get them once and for all! 

 MJ

 

Internet resources used: 

 

Adam Serwer's great article about "nativism" and the Italian lynching of 1890

A good overview of Japanese Internment as a result of Executive Order 9066

A great PBS pictorial slideshow on the "Freedom Summer" event

A great 2016 article by Lottie Joiner on the closing of the murder investigation into the Freedom Summer deaths

 

One of many great articles written on the topic of what "black" and "white" mean.

Did you know there were 11,000 proposed amendments to the Constitution, but only 27 were successful?  Amending America exhibit info. 

Video clip with the descendants of Solomon Northup, author of 12 Years a Slave

 

Stories about the Slave badges and Free badges 

 

For an absolutely fantastic write-up on the slave and free badges done by the Charleston Museum, please CLICK HERE.

The Free Badge can be seen by clicking HERE

Article on the Mood brothers, makers of slave badges for a while.

 

Smithsonian Magazine article on slave badges

 

The Safety Pin stories:

USA Today

New York Times