I Walk Not Alone (#2)

Devenir Duruisseau
Blog Assignment #2
December 9, 2015

I Walk Not Alone

My cultural artifact is the Selma to Montgomery March. In 1965 the Selma to Montgomery marches were a Rights Movement underway in Selma, Alabama. There was mass majority of racial injustice in the South that contributed to passage that year of the Voting Rights Act, a landmark federal achievement of the 1960s American Civil Rights Movement. The Activists publicized the three protest marches to walk a 54 mile highway from Selma to the Alabama State capital of Montgomery as showing the desire of African American citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote, in defiance of segregationist repression.

Martin Luther King Jr and an activist of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to join them along the march. They brought many prominent civil rights and civic leaders to Selma in January of 1965. Local and regional protests began with 3,000 people being arrested by the end of February. As these marches went on they would be denied at the end of bridges. When stopped and told to go back home if they didn’t cooperate they would be threatened with jail time. Many didn’t care and were courageous enough to stand up to them.

This particular event is significant to me because I was always taught to fight for what you believe in and to never let someone else determine your future. Immediately after watching the Selma movie I knew this would be my cultural artifact. Many said I would never make it to college, pshh I didn’t even think I would make it but I’m here. Others thought I couldn’t play at this high level but I am. Even when they were denied passage at the bridge they still fought on even though they were being shot with teer gas all over them. They marched no matter what the outcome. Another reason I was drawn to this is because I look up to leaders like Martin Luther King Jr who wasn’t able to finish his legacy of what he started. He might of been able to become a governor of a state.

“They were attacked by the Law Enforcement Officers with nightsticks and teargas. According to several reports, at least 50 protestors required hospital treatment.” (Overview of Selma March to Montgomery para 3). King did not want another brutal attack to his followers but decided to march again. “The attack caused outrage around the country, and March 7 became known as “Bloody Sunday”. Two days later, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a second march which again had its path blocked by Law Enforcement Officers. This time they decided to turn back and not risk a violent confrontation.” (Overview of Selma March to Montgomery para 4). Later that day three ministers who traveled to support King and the March were attached by a group of hooligans where one of them died from there injuries.

BBC News were the producers of the this cultural artifact were they captured 15 mins of raw footage showing the attack of Police Officers attacking protesters (http://youtu.be/gfPaSTQvyTw). Raw footage was captured because a reporter felt that this should be documented for the world to see. Reporters and media were not allowed along the area of King’s Protesters and the Police Officers. Sheyann Webb-Christburg was a 1965 Selma to Montgomery protest marcher who was interview by BBC News. She talks about that horrific day in detail alongside Mr. King.

This cultural artifact is significant to African Americans because, “The Voting Rights Act, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on August 6, 1965, aimed to overcome legal barriers at the state and local levels that prevented African Americans from exercising their right to vote under the 15th Amendment (1870) to the Constitution of the United States.” (Voting Rights Act Para 1). This gave African Americans the right to vote all across the nation. Many were not happy that this was signed. This gave them a step closer to freedom by now voting and being able to change up the government system legally. Martin Luther King knew African Americans would not win freedom overnight, he believed in being able to slowly chip away and sign new bills such as granting them the right to vote. King knew by using non violence and patience that African Americans would emerge as equal.

This cultural product relates to the time period it emerged from by having similar issues today with same sex marriages. Like blacks we were unable to to vote and make decisions for ourselves like a traditional white man. In some places and restaurants same sex marriages are prohibited from being served. Till recently same sex marriage was technically illegal under the 14th Amendment. Massachusetts was the first state to legalize same sex marriage In a Supreme Court. The significance does not change overtime because the constitution hasn’t changed. As long as the constitution states under the, “The 14th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on July 9, 1868, and granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” which included former slaves recently freed” (Google 14th Amendment) we will all be held equal born on U.S. soil. The only way it will change is if some way the Constitution changes or we stop practicing this type of government. We live and die by The Constitution and as long the 14 Amendment is in place al, are equal.

This cultural product is related to what I’ve learned in this course by taking what I’ve learned in this course going back to transatlantic, kinship, The Middle Passage, slave codes, and black feminism. All these stages that Blacks had to go through has prepared them for the 1965 sign of Voting Rights Act. Being able to have a say so in the country where they were brought to and even born was an accomplishment like no other. Having Jim Crow (De Jure) laws from 1876-1965 rigid anti-black segregation laws that created a 2-tier system. Having De facto racial segregation in practice such as housing and lending (social). Ending segregation in schools Brown vs. Board of Education ruled segregation deprived children equal protection (14th Amendment). Push factors from the South that made Blacks want to leave were mainly white violence, lack of employment opportunities, Jim Crow laws, and debt peonage. Pull factors from the North that attracted Blacks to leave employment, better social conditions, education, and more agency in north being able to speak up. These are all examples of what the signing of 1965 Voting Rights Act ended because of the March in Selma to Montgomery.
Work Cited

United States. National Park Service. “History & Culture.” National Parks Service. U.S.
Department of the Interior, n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2015.

“Selma to Montgomery: Retracing the March – BBC News.” YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Dec. 2015.

“What Does the 14th Amendment Say About Gay Marriage?” Heavycom. N.p., 26 June 2015. Web. 09 Dec. 2015.image

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