Not Done Yet

June 19th, 2021

The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel was one of the most extensive, and largest civil rights museums we visited on the trip. It did a wonderful job of giving space, tribute, and close detail to so many impactful stories and time frames throughout American history that directly affected black Americans. I greatly appreciated the inclusion of the Black Power Movement, with mentions of the Black Panthers, Huey Newton, Stokley Carmichael, Malcon X, and more. The attention it gave to the efforts by these people (to name a few) to achieve economic freedom and equity through means within the black community but also on a political and institutional level is one that I haven’t seen in other museums and is a piece of history that is essential in understanding the efforts and sacrifices made by black Americans to achieve justice, peace, and equality throughout the nation. The mention of efforts to economically revive and free black Americans is one that is of great interest and significance to me. In even visiting a number of the places that we have, I was both amazed and saddened by what I saw. Amazed at the deep, incredible, history of these cities that we visited, that show and still hold the memories of the dedication, courage, intelligence, and resistance of our people. Amazed at how extraordinary and fervent the members of these communities were, and continue to be. Saddened to see that we still have such a long road ahead of us in the attainment of justice and equity, even in communities that risked their lives and gave their all to get to where we are. Black Americans put so much into their communities, the places that these historical events took place, and yet, we again, have been exhausted. Efforts on the institutional level have continued to disenfranchise, and continue the system of underresourced, underdeveloped, and overexploited communities, that largely affect black and browns. To see the information and read about what the Black Panther and Black Power parties did to fight the system and fight to get economic justice from the group up, was both encouraging and motivating. It put a stronger desire in me to continue researching what needs to be done, studying the works of Dr. King and these parties in their strategies and actions to attain fair housing policies, education equality, wealth distribution, and continue to lobby and advocate, so that I can be apart of the change that I know is going to come. It is tiring seeing black Americans face injustice after injustice, oppression after oppression, from a government and democracy that is loved, but intentional in generationally keeping us disatvantaged. “And you know my friends, there comes a time when people get tired of being trampled by the iron feet of oppression” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We are tired, but hopeful, we are tired, but resistant, we are tired, but not done.

The day concluded with visiting the National Museum of African American Music. It was a wonderful interactive museum that I will definitely have to come back to. It outlined how music was shaped and influenced by experiences, stories and struggles that were taking place during various time periods. Music has always been something I understood as a foundational aspect of black culture, stories, and resistence, but on this trip, I have had a greater sense of love and appreciation for the variety of and impact that music created by black people has had on our stories, but also American culture and lives as a whole.

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