We must defend our rights

Our rights are in jeapodary

Civil rights legislation has not been more tenuous and threatened in our generation. The “Make America Great Again” cult has decided civil rights laws must go. They have already gutted the Voting Rights Act, which proves our concerns are not hyperbole.

What are civil rights

Let’s begin with a definition of civil rights. According to Black’s Law Dictionary, civil rights are:

any of the individual rights of personal liberty guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and by the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 19th Amendments, as well as by legislation such as the Voting Rights Act.

American Slavery Was An Unparalleled Evil

As you see, civil rights are of an individualistic and personal nature. These rights protect vulnerable groups from government tyranny or majorities. No group in America needs and must defend these civil rights like African Americans. That is because the majority white population brought Africans to America in the putrid belly of slave ships and enslaved them as chattel for 246 years. The American slave system was unparalleled in its evil and brutality. Enslaved Africans were deemed less than animals. The Supreme Court handed down the awful Dred Scott Case that intended to keep Africans enslaved for perpetuity.

Slavery Ends And Reconstruction

The Civil War ended slavery in principle, but it was the addition of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution that ended slavery legally. Freed from slavery in principle and law still left the formerly enslaved Africans without citizenship and voting rights, two lynchpins of our democracy. Hence, the nation added the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. Additionally, Congress enacted the Klu Klux Klan and the Civil Rights Act of 1866. 

Jim Crow Apartheid

Despite these precious amendments and federal statutes, the white majority did not stop their subjugation of the vulnerable African American populace following the Civil War. Instead, Union forces abandoned Black Americans, allowing the confederate to create black code laws and implement a system known as Jim Crow. Doug Brinkley called it another form of slavery. Once again, SCOTUS aided the confederate by handing down Plessy v. Ferguson, which enshrined segregation.

The Civil Rights Movement

Jim Crow and segregation lasted the next 100 years. Whites assaulted African Americans with more incredible cruelty, such as lynchings, sharecropping, convict leasing, and other disgraceful practices. However, African Americans’ thirst and demand for total freedom and full equality were incorrigible. Young brilliant clergy like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and excellent legal minds such as Justice Thurgood Marshall inspired and led the civil rights movement to fight white supremacy and systemic racism gallantly. Their courage, sacrifices, and dedication pushed Lyndon Johnson to sign into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which effectively abolished dejure Jim Crow.

The First Black President, Barack Obama And White Fear

These landmark civil rights laws helped elect and reelect the first black president, Barack Obama. The problem is Obama’s historic elects confirmed White America’s worst fears and nightmare: America was changing from a white majority to a majority-minority nation. This fear gripped White America, forcing a white backlash that mainly focused on reversing past civil rights gains. The first casualty of this white fear and backlash was the Voting Rights Act. Up until the election and reelection of President Obama, the VRA was safe and received bipartisan support. Congress routinely reapproved it without fanfare. That changed in 2013 when SCOTUS gutted the VRA. Since then, the VRA has been the whipping boy of white fear. The GOP has blocked Congressional efforts to repair the VRA through legislation like the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

Donald Trump, MAGA and Reestablishment of Jim Crow

White fear brought about more enemies of civil rights legislation, Donald Trump and MAGA. Trump radicalized, popularized, and monetized white fear. He used it to become president and a cult leader. Now, he’s trying to use white fear to become America’s first dictator. Despite multiple criminal charges and other legal entanglements, his quest to become a strong man like Putin, Xi, and Sung was once unfathomable but now seems achievable.

Our Generation Must Fight Now

The next casualties of the civil rights movement could be the Civil Rights Act, the 14th Amendment, the Brown decision, and more. There seems to be no limit to white fear, as evidenced by the attempted insurrection on January 6, 2021. This time, though, MAGA has changed its strategy from an insurrection to a federal government takeover. Organizations like the Heritage Foundation have joined forces with other anti-black groups in creating Project 2025 to hit the ground running with a right-wing, anti-black, anti-civil rights agenda should Trump win reelection. The LLJP stands with others in countering this attack.

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