Discover how the advent of the automobile brought new mobility and freedom for African Americans but also exposed them to discrimination and deadly violence, and how that history resonates today.
In the 1930s, federal officials redlined these neighborhoods in Richmond, Va., marking them as risky investments because residents were Black.
Today, they are some of the hottest parts of town in the summer, with few trees and an abundance of heat-trapping pavement.
White neighborhoods that weren’t redlined tend to be much cooler today — a pattern that repeats nationwide.
For generations, African Americans in this country have faced an anti-Black pandemic. From the unjust killings of innocent African Americans to the disproportionate impact of a global health pandemic, Black people have been getting attacked on all fronts. This moment has exposed the inequality embedded in the underlying fabric of our nation.
Join the thousands – virtually-who will March on Washington to set forth a bold new Black agenda restore and recommit to the dream. The Commitment March, convened by Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III, will gather at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., for an inclusive day of action.
The 2020 Virtual March on Washington and the Commitment March will take place on the 57th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.
SELMA — This time, the Alabama state troopers saluted.
The late John Lewis crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge for the final time Sunday in a triumphant celebration of his tireless fight for civil rights, often in the face of violent resistance.
Mourners cheered, sang, and cried as a horse-drawn carriage carried Lewis’ flag-draped casket over the Alabama River and toward Montgomery.
Many statues like the one next to the Culpeper courthouse were built across the South during the Jim Crow era (from 1877 to the 1950s) to intimidate Blacks, send a message about white supremacy and sentimentalize Confederate soldiers, according to historians.
Times change — or rather, times are changed. Prompted by the historic, inspiring, powerful nationwide Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd — and Trump’s appalling use of the military to occupy Washington D.C. in response — Democratic leaders in the House moved forward on the D.C. statehood bill. Last week, for the first time in history, the House passed a bill that would make Washington, D.C. the 51st state in the union. The new state would be admitted as the state of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth — named after famed abolitionist and civil rights leader Frederick Douglass.
Why is D.C. statehood a response at all to nationwide Black Lives Matter protests? To answer that question, you’ve got to ask another: why does a geographic area in America with more residents than two states, and that pays more federal taxes than 22 states, lack any voting representation in Congress?
The answer to that question goes back long before that first D.C. state constitution draft. You could of course go all the way back to the founding of the country, but let’s jump to 1890. In that year, a southern conservative Senator gave a speech to explain why Congress chose to disenfranchise D.C. residents at the precise moment that the Black population was becoming a political force in the District. The full quote is worth a read:
“Now, the historical fact is simply this, that the negroes came into this District from Virginia and Maryland and from other places…they came in here and they took possession of a certain part of the political power of this District…and there was but one way to get out…and that was to deny the right of suffrage entirely to every human being in the District and have every office here controlled by appointment instead of by election…in order to get rid of this load of negro suffrage that was flooded in upon them. This is the true statement. History cannot be reversed. No man can misunderstand it.”
Those are the words written into the congressional record. No one can misunderstand it.
Fast forward 130 years.
After the House passed the D.C. statehood bill last week, another southern Senator took the floor of the U.S. Senate to discuss voting rights for D.C. residents. Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas explained why Wyoming’s overwhelmingly white population of 578,000 should have two senators, while D.C.’s majority Black and brown population of 705,000 should have zero senators. Wyoming, he pointed out, “has three times as many workers in mining, logging, and construction.”
Huh? But it wasn’t just the lack of lumberjacks in D.C. that bothered Cotton. He went on to call into question the competence of two Black D.C. mayors: “Would you trust Mayor Bowser to keep Washington safe if she were given the powers of a governor? Would you trust Marion Barry?”
This isn’t subtle. Cotton’s message was loud and clear. No one should misunderstand it.
Now, Tom Cotton’s speech was mostly just bombast and bluster. He didn’t need to even give the speech, because he knows perfectly well that as long as Mitch McConnell serves as Senate Majority Leader, D.C. statehood will never even come to a vote in the Senate. Last year McConnell took to the Senate floor to describe D.C. statehood as “full-bore socialism.”
This isn’t complicated. Trump tweets videos of his supporters shouting “white power” and his supporters in the Senate block enfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of Black voters.
D.C.’s statehood may have felt like a far-away dream even a few months ago. But the Democratic House has now signaled its support. The Democratic senators have signaled their support. Joe Biden has signaled his support. If we build a Democratic trifecta this November, we could be welcoming D.C. to the Union as soon as next year. It’s the right thing to do. And it’s long — like a hundred years plus — overdue.
Ezra & Leah
Co-founders & Co-Executive Directors, Indivisible
It’s time for America to truly grapple with its legacy of slavery.
“There are those in this society that still hold on to the idea that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, it was about states’ rights or Northern aggression against slavery,” says Karlos Hill, a professor of African and African-American studies at the University of Oklahoma and the author of Beyond the Rope: The Impact of Lynching on Black Culture and Memory. “Juneteenth is a moment where we step back and try to understand the Civil War through the eyes of enslaved people.”
The Mission of the Culpeper branch of the NAACP is the same as it is nationally, to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.
While we celebrate the victories of the past and continue, peacefully, to expand on those victories, we are reminded by the current events across the nation that there is much work to be done.
We must confess, we are tired of fighting the same fight, over and over. However, we do not have the luxury of resting. We must continue the pursuit of equality by eliminating the systemic racism that continues to be prevalent in our country. We will not rest and pass the responsibility on yet to another generation.
Over the last few months, we have had to contend with the results of inequities in both healthcare and economics in our communities; and yet you hit us with another battle to fight. We have had to contend with the brutality and humility perpetuated towards our community over-and-over again. We will not be compelled to respond with knee-jerk reactions. We are going to move forward together, methodically, with a well-planned movement. This can only be achieved by including those of all creeds, colors, political and religious persuasions. We will continue to work with our local leaders, including our law enforcement; to whom we have worked to build strong bridges.
We are not going to accept the spread of divisiveness promulgated by a few, determine how we move forward. We know our worth and the strength of our VOTE. We have remained a non-partisan, peaceful organization, however, those who have made the decision to sit back and let our democracy continue to be crushed will be voted out in our continued pursuit of equality. As Dr. King said, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
To all the Ahmaud Arberys, George Floyds, and Breonna Taylors, our promise to you is that “We will not give up the fight for equality and justice. Yes, we are tired, we are hurt, but while standing on the shoulders of those before us, we will never give up hope. Our Faith will remain strong, and we will never be broken as long as we have breath in our bodies.”
Sandra Reaves-Yates, President
NAACP Culpeper Branch #7058
Leslie Redmond, President of NAACP Minneapolis, demands justice at the frontlines.
If the indefensible murder of George Floyd was not already enough, last night we watched in horror as our people were shot at, tear-gassed and beaten.
This moment calls for us to unite around the outrage we feel and fight for the justice we demand. And that’s exactly what the NAACP is doing. We will not rest until we see these officers charged and convicted for the murder of George Floyd. We will not stop until everyone from the White House to the streets of the Twin Cities knows: We are done dying.
You can join the fight now by supporting the NAACP. Your gift will be put to work immediately pursuing justice in this case and demanding change to the systemic racism that led to this tragedy and to the countless others that tear apart the Black community every day.
The murder of George Floyd by police is an unspeakable tragedy. But sadly, police brutality against the Black community is a continuous and ever-present danger. It comes out of the systemic racism and prejudice ingrained in the fabric of this nation for decades and is currently being refueled and reinvigorated by the President.
After last night’s tragedy, President Trump tweeted that “THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd” and that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
That is a disgraceful and dangerous statement. The only people dishonoring the memory of George Floyd – indeed of all the black men and women whose lives are needlessly taken – are those who support the brutality perpetrated against our people.
We must hold all involved criminally accountable for the death of Mr. Floyd. And we must do it now.
The uprising spreading across this country from Minneapolis to Louisville and beyond is born of the hate, bigotry and racism felt by our communities every day.
What we’re seeing isn’t reactionary violence, it’s Black communities coming together and declaring once and for all that we are done dying.
Last night, in the midst of peaceful protests, rioters with their own agenda have become the national focal point. But we can’t afford to lose sight of what’s really important: justice for George Floyd and for all black men and women who have needlessly lost their lives.
I know there’s a lot of anger, sadness, frustration, and confusion out there. But I also know that if we can channel those emotions, if we can focus our pain, we can create change. I hope you will decide today to join us in our demand for justice, change, and a more equal America.
President and CEO
The Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal; the racial contract limits this to white men with property. The law says murder is illegal; the racial contract says it’s fine for white people to chase and murder black people if they have decided that those black people scare them. “The terms of the Racial Contract,” Mills wrote, “mean that nonwhite subpersonhood is enshrined simultaneously with white personhood.”