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Reflections on Election 2020 Part 17

President Trump makes History - Impeached Again

The quality of education, despite some gains in the number of years of formal schooling, attained remained low. Thus Black students tested out at substantially lower levels than white youths: up to three years difference in “level of achievement” Among twelfth graders. Residential segregation proved to be the toughest nut for the integrationist movement to crack. In 1966, a special census taken in 12 cities revealed increased rates of segregation in eight of them.

A joint 1967 report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of the census, outlining the social and economic condition of Blacks in this country, concluded that “perhaps the most distressing evidence presented in this report indicates that conditions are stagnant or deteriorating in the poorest areas.” In US cities with a population of one million or more, the percentage of nonwhite families living in “poverty areas” between 1960 and 1966 remained constant at 34 percent. In New York and Chicago, however, the percentage increased. In Cleveland’s Hough district, median family income declined over the same period. In the Watts district of Los Angeles, conditions also did not improve.

One of the sad and cruel developments of that time was what was called “white backlash.” this was supposedly a warning to Blacks that they were arousing a generous, courageous, and powerful people to retaliate against what that people perceived to be the unreasonable demands an antagonistic militancy of Blacks. This further infuriated Black people. What unreasonable demands? Is seeking equal opportunity and justice after three hundred years of unrequited labor unreasonable? What militancy? If Black people were truly militant, insurrection and revolution would have been initiated a long time ago. Even Vice President Hubert Humphrey was saying in 1967 if he were treated as Black people are treated he would lead a rebellion himself. No! There was nothing new about the white backlash. It had always been there and probably would always be there. Only the name changed; the intent remains the same.

In 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was planning to return to Washington, this time to stay. Then he saw what was needed was a “radical redistribution of political and economic power.” He never made it! A little while later, Bobby Kennedy was killed as he campaigned for the presidency, in Los Angeles. What a sobering time for America. President Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Bobby Kennedy, were noble spirits who probably had more in common than they realized, all of them trapped by the anti-constitutional, antihuman-rights forces that eventually killed them. The death of good men, the Vietnamese War, thousands of protesters in the streets, and Black rebellious reaction to the inability to see substantial change - it was a time of upheaval. The nation turned to Nixon. It rejected a good man, Hubert Humphrey, and elected a bad one.

1969- Black Solidarity Day

It does seem that in a time of crisis, where black people are involved — especially when it seems we are getting something or are too militant — the nation turn's too weak and questionable men. But again, not only do Black people suffer as the nation turns backward, white people suffer too. When will we learn that the absence of justice anywhere is the denial of justice everywhere?

The death of Nixon’s chicanery came to light in his second term. There is a biblical saying, “there is nothing hid that shall not be brought to light.” Watergate and all that it meant is forever recorded in American history. The revelation shocked Americans to the core. The highest lawmakers and office holders in the land were guilty of the most heinous crimes. It was to be revealed that even the venerated FBI with its sainted leader, J. Edgar Hoover, along with the CIA was guilty of the most horrible violations of law and decency. It was a time when the rights of all Americans were jeopardized. Spies, wiretaps, and snoopers were everywhere. Dossiers and files were kept on everyone.

Nixon refused to give up the tapes, which recorded some of his devious deeds. “a constitutional crisis,” America moaned. Yes, responded black people, but it did not begin with Nixon. It began with slavery; It began with the “3/5 of a man” concept; and, as far as Blacks are concerned, it has remained. In fact, as long as it remains true for Blacks it will be true for all Americans. What America must understand is that the periodic constitutional crises which it experiences are a normal state of affairs for Black people.

The nation could not bring itself to vote for Gerald Ford. He was a Nixon appointee. So it turned to Jimmy Carter. A decent man, a believer in human rights with a heart as big as his grin. But, he could not resolve the complexity of the hostage crisis and the myriad of other problems that troubled America. So they turned him out after one term. One of the reasons believed by many people, even by Carter himself, is that he was too cozy with Black people. Andrew Young, a Black man, represented the USA at the United Nations; Patricia Harris, a Black woman was a cabinet member; Blacks seemed to be everywhere. Again, the progress was only an illusion.

Consider what the president's own National Advisory Council on Economic Opportunity had to say in its final report (September 1981):

We assert that there is another deep, unreported crisis going on in America today. It is the crisis in the desperate lives of 55 million poor, and near-poor citizens who will go to bed each night not knowing whether they will have a job tomorrow, be able to pay the rent or doctor's bills, or feed the kids. There seem to be no “happy times” available for these people.

But time is getting short. And the burned-out neighborhoods in Miami like Detroit, Watts, and Cleveland from earlier years may well foreshadow the awful possibilities that lay before us if we continue to make the dignity of human life a secondary public concern. In this, we recall the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. while organizing the Poor People's March when he stated “only a tragic death wish can prevent our nation from reordering its priorities.”

Another report equally devastating is an article in the New Jersey Record (January 7, 1981), entitled “Black Children Face Tough Odds”:

Washington, D.C. — A black child in America has nearly one chance in two of being born in poverty and is twice as likely as a white baby to die during the first year of life. If the Black child survives that first year the odds are against him growing up healthy, wealthy, or wise.

Black children are more likely than white children to be sick and without regular sources of healthcare. They are three times as likely to be labeled mentally retarted, twice as likely to drop out of school before twelfth grade, and three times as likely to be unemployed.

A black teenager has a one-in-ten chance of getting into trouble with the law and is five times as likely as a white teenager to be murdered.

This bleak portrait based largely on government surveys drawn together in one report was presented yesterday by the Children’s Defense Fund, A Washington-based lobbying, and advocacy group for children.

The statistics “show why millions of black children lack self-confidence, feel discouragement, despair, numbness, or rage as they grow up on islands of poverty, ill health, inadequate education, squalid streets with dilapidated housing, crime, and rampant unemployment in a nation of boastful affluence,” said the Fund’s president, Marian Wright Edelman.

There is passing acknowledgment in the report that the last two decades have been years of progress for some blacks because of affirmative action programs, government scholarships, and court-mandated desegregation; About one-third of black children who graduated from high school go on to college, and about the same proportion as among white youth. But, Edelman contended, that if the black middle class has grown the black poor have increased at an even faster rate.

After a spurt of progress in the late sixties, gains made in lifting black children out of poverty leveled off. The seventies produced far more progress for the elderly than it did for black children, according to the statistics the Fund cited.

Clearly, the economic ravages of the last decade have had a particularly devastating impact on the black poor. Income for black households, adjusted for inflation, declined. In the sixties, the unemployment rate for black youth was twice as high as for white teenagers. Now, it is three times as high.

And the family structure of blacks appears to have been under even greater assault. Four of five white children live in two-parent families, and fewer than half of all black children do. Only one white child in 38 lives away from both parents; one in eight black children does. Proportionally, there are far more black children born to teenage mothers and far more black children in institutions.

Now building a full head of steam across the country was the most conservative reactionary force seen in a long time. Thunder on the Right was the title of the book written by Alan Crawford exposing “The Politics of Resentment.” The book identifies the Right’s leaders and their procedures, organizations, lobbies, periodicals, think tanks, auxiliaries, and fundraisers. The book documents the computerization of this new movement’s endeavors. Tied to the movement was God himself, at least according to a group that called itself the Moral Majority. The surge of this force was able to catapult Ronald Reagan into the presidency.

To be continued...

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