Sunday, January 17, 2021

 

The Unfinished Work of the Civil Rights Movement

 Richard G. Malloy, S.J., Ph.D.

Jan 18, 2021

Director of Mission and Ministry, Cristo Rey Jesuit Baltimore

In the wake of the insanity and destruction on the part of right wing terrorists at the Capitol on Jan 6, 2021, we must reflect and realize what the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s was all about, what it achieved, and how far we still have to go.

Early in his public life, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., just 27 years old, in the midst of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1956, clearly articulated what the movement being born was all about: “The end is reconciliation, the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the beloved community.”[i]

The Civil Rights movement was one of the most startling and transformative social revolutions in history.  I was born in 1955, a few weeks before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat.  There’s no connection between the two events except in my own mind.  But the point is that I was born into a United States where segregation was legal, lethal and largely unquestioned.  And if you did question the status quo of race relations, racists would too often kill you.  The Civil Rights Memorial in Alabama honors 38 martyrs who gave their lives for the cause. [ii]

The peaceful, non-violent methods of the movement forced white Americans to realize their own morally objectionable beliefs, attitudes and discrimination.  The dignity and courage of the non-violent protesters, many of them young adults of college age, called the white majority to conversion and recognition of the justice of the African American community’s call for equality.

The Civil Rights Act was signed in July of 1964.  I was eight years old.  In less than a decade, the USA went from a segregated land to a community where we moved much closer to “liberty and justice for all.”

Prime beneficiaries of the movement were not just American blacks.  White opponents to the Civil Rights act added “sex” to Title VII of the Bill’s protections, thinking that would increase votes against it.  Along with “race, color, religion and national origin,” discrimination on the basis of sex would now be illegal.  The racists’ plan backfired, and the bill passed, changing the lives of all Americans for the better.

Ruth Ginsberg and the bio-pic, “On the Basis of Sex,” would never have happened without the Civil Rights Act.  Athletic programs for women in colleges across America would not exist.  Laws prohibiting marital rape would not be on the books.  Women would have no recourse if they did not receive equal pay for equal work.  And Kamala Harris would never have been elected Vice President.

Still, today women make only $0.82 cents for every $1.00 men make.[iii]  And racial disparities between different racial groups stubbornly persist.  Median Family Income USA 2019 was $68,703 with Asians/PI: $98,174; Whites: $76,057; Latinos: $56,113 and Blacks: $45,438. [iv] 

African Americans and Latinos/as are dying from Covid at a much higher rate than whites.  Saddest of all is the reality that black women and their babies die at twice the rate of white women and their babies.[v]  “Good!” I can hear some troglodyte racist mutter as he or she reads that sad fact.  Such overt and ugly racism is having a renaissance in the USA these days.  I hope those days are numbered.  But Jan 6th revealed hordes of dangerously misinformed people who will willingly believe lies and the liars who tell them.  They stoke the fires of hate.

True Americans, the majority of the 320 million citizens of the USA, celebrate racial and cultural diversity.  Anyone who strives to know and serve the true and living God welcomes the progress this country has made in the past sixty years.

African American Jesuit George Murry, Bishop of Youngstown Ohio, described the world our loving God desires for all.  It is a world where we not just get along, but form the beloved community envisioned by the Prophet from Atlanta.

“Imagine pulling people in from every neighborhood, from every walk of life, compelling them to sit down and share a meal together. You would have black and white and brown all together, rich and poor, gay and straight, progressive and conservative. Everyone’s mind would be blown when a vegan found a way to share a meal with a carnivore rancher, when a Black Lives Matter activist chuckled at the joke told by a Confederate flag-wearing Harley rider, and when a Trump enthusiast asked an undocumented immigrant to pass the tortillas.  Somewhere in all of the mixing and relating, the Holy Spirit moves! God’s blessed community looks like a smorgasbord of humanity, in heaven and on earth. That’s not to say that it is OK to hold onto our biases, even our moral failings, but we grow past them together.”[vi]

Like the good bishop, Abraham Lincoln, in his first Inaugural address called us to be friends, and not allow our differences to devolve into enmity.  “We are not enemies, but friends.  We must not be enemies.  Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.  The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”[vii]

Let’s honor Rev. King who gave his life for justice and truth.  Let’s follow the better angels of our nature and grow past our prejudices.  Let’s reconcile, redeem one another, and bring into being the beloved community.

 


[iii]  AAUW. The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap. The Simple Truth about the Pay Gap (aauw.org)

 

[v]   Linda Villarosa, “The Hidden Toll: Why are Black Mothers and Babies in the United States Dying…”  The New York Times Magazine.  April 15, 2018.  Pp.30-39.   Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

 

[vi]  University of Scranton Graduation.  May 2018.   http://news.scranton.edu/articles/2018/05/news-grad_U2018_BishopMurry_Speech.shtml 

 

3 Comments:

Anonymous junaid Alam said...

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Tue Mar 23, 05:08:00 AM 2021  
Blogger Unknown said...


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Wed Apr 07, 12:13:00 PM 2021  
Blogger Unknown said...

Catholic must know Dogma > Ripped from your soul.
If you're at all interested in knowing ... the Catholic Dogma ... that we *must believe* to
get to Heaven, and which you have *never* seen ...

I list it on my website > > www.Gods-Catholic-Dogma.com

And no ... the anti-Christ vatican-2 heretic cult (founded in 1965) is not the Catholic Church (founded in 33 A.D.).

There are over 200 heresies against Catholic Dogma ... in the "vatican-2 council" documents ...50 listed on Section 12 (followed by Catholic corections) > www.Gods-Catholic-Dogma.com/section_12.html

Being outside ... the Catholic Church in any heresy ... leaves one with no chance of getting to Heaven.

Physical participation in a heretic cult (vatican-2, lutheran, evangelical, etc) ... automatically excommunicates you from the Catholic Church (that is, Christianity) > www.Gods-Catholic-Dogma.com/section_13.2.2.html

Mandatory ... Abjuration of heresy to enter the Catholic Church > www.Gods-Catholic-Dogma.com/section_40.html

Dogma that one must Abjure to leave the vatican-2 heretic cult and enter the Catholic Church > www.Gods-Catholic-Dogma.com/section_40.1.html

The BIBLE says ... 15 TIMES ... it is not the authority on Faith,
the BIBLE says the Church in it's Dogma and Doctrine ... is the authority on Faith and the definition of the Catholic Faith ... www.Gods-Catholic-Dogma.com/section_6.html

The Catholic God knows ... what we think and believe ...

Catholic writing of Romans 1:21 >
"They ... became vain in their thoughts, and their foolish heart was darkened."

Catholic Faith (pre-fulfillment) writing of Deuteronomy 31:21 >
"For I know their thoughts, and what they are about to do this day."

Catholic Faith (pre-fulfillment) writing of Job 21:27 >
"Surely I know your thoughts, and your unjust judgments against Me."
Regards – Victoria

Mon Apr 26, 02:11:00 PM 2021  

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