The campaign for African American rights in the United States has evolved over the years, first getting widespread attention after World War II. Also called the Civil Rights Movement, it took hold in the 1940s and 1950s when the NAACP challenged discrimination in public recreational facilities, segregation, and restrictive covenants in transportation and housing. In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed public school segregation, but white citizen councils down South fought back, using economic pressures, legal maneuverings, and, sadly, violence. There is a long road still ahead for African American justice and equality.
Martin Luther King, Jr.s (MLK) first significant success was the 1955-56 bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama. This nonviolent protest began when Rosa Parks refused to give her seat to a white passenger on a segregated bus. In 1956, the Supreme Court ruled that segregation of public transportation was unconstitutional. This led to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, which Reverend King helped establish.
The Reverends other major accomplishments included leading sit-ins and marches in Birmingham, Alabama, and Washington, D.C. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 when he was just 35 and donated his prize money to the Civil Rights Movement.
Black Power leader Malcolm X founded the Organization of Afro-American Unityin the early 1960s but was assassinated in 1965. MLK fell to the same fate in 1968. After the Vietnam War, black politicians made some gains on local and national levels as the years passed, but racism and discrimination against blacks remain in the fabric of U.S. society up until this day. There are many organizations that fight against this, and one of the newer ones is #BlackLivesMatter.
On February 26, 2012, a 17-year old African American boy, Trayvon Martin, was walking home when he was fatally shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who is white and Hispanic. Zimmerman stated that he was acting in self-defense, but the nation protested in anger. There were no eyewitnesses, but Zimmerman did have cuts on his head and a bloody nose. He was charged with second-degree murder, and a high-profile trial followed. He was later acquitted of all charges.
#BlackLivesMatter (BLM) was formed in 2013 in response to Zimmermans acquittal. This Black-centered political movement is the brainchild of three women: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi. It has grown into a global organization, the Black Lives Matter Foundation. It is based in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
According to their website, their mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. They work to improve Black lives by stopping violent acts and advocating for Black innovation, imagination, and joy. This is done through political and ideological intervention, with a focus that also includes women, and members of the LGBTQ+ as well as all others who were not represented by other organizations. #BlackLivesMatter does not have a central structure of a hierarchy and works through local chapters. The organizations regularly hold protests to combat police brutality, inequality, racial profiling, and killings of blacks.
#BlackLivesMatter had a significant presence in August of 2014 after an unarmed black teenager was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Eighteen-year-old Mike Brown had allegedly stolen a pack of cigarillos from a shop and pushed a store clerk. The police officer who responded stopped Brown and a friend, and there was an altercation. Although reports vary, the officers gun was fired; the incident was filmed on CCTV.
Browns death created a nationwide controversy, and The Black Life Matters Ride took place the following Labor Day weekend. More than 600 people participated. On June 3, 2020, KMBC News reported that Ferguson elected their first black female mayor, Ella Jones.
BLM participated in two critical events in 2018. That June, activists gathered at the San Diego, CA border to protest the inhuman treatment of refugees and migrants who were seeking asylum in the United States. In September, BLM marked the sixth-month anniversary of Stephon Clarks murder with 175 caskets. This event included members of the NAACP, Immigration Coalition, BSU Sacramento City, and other organizations.
In February of 2019, BLM joined a group of almost 60 celebrities plus human rights organizations to get Shyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph released. Their actions were aimed at the alleged targeting of Black immigrants. Abraham-Joseph was being detained by Immigration Customs and Enforcement.
After George Floyd was killed on May 25 in Minneapolis, protests erupted in different countries, and along with countless others, BLM members took to the streets. Demonstrators gathered at Londons Hyde Park and marched towards Victoria Station, and others were at Trafalgar Square, kneeling in solidarity. Additional demonstrations took place in Berlin, Paris, Dublin, Amsterdam, and of course, the U.S.
Signs reading Black Lives Matter and Racism is a Pandemic could be seen everywhere. While most of the protests started out peacefully, many degenerated into riots, with violence, arson, and widespread looting. Major U.S. cities have had to set up curfews; others have called in the National Guard. A Las Vegas police officer was shot on June 2 and is in grave condition. There have been several deaths reported as well:
Dozens of other incidences like this are flooding the media, and many calls for peaceful protests are being ignored. On June 2, a social media post claimed that Black Lives Matter riots would be taking place in Fresno, California. Black leaders there spoke out to let people know this was fake.
In light of what happened and the ongoing protests, #BlackLivesMatter has a new goal, a national defunding of police. They are calling for people to advocate for investing in communities and resources to help Black people not only survive but thrive.
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- 'Ingraham Angle' on Black Lives Matter, inflation - Fox News - November 13th, 2021
- Kyle Rittenhouse Gives Testimony on Deadly Shooting at Black Lives Matter Protest in Wisconsin - The Peoples Vanguard of Davis - November 13th, 2021
- USC professor speaks out on refusal to remove pro-police flag from office: Campus is a 'progressive bubble' - Fox News - November 13th, 2021
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- Philly cops brother charged with assaulting Black Lives Matter protester in Fishtown - The Philadelphia Inquirer - July 12th, 2021
- Florida man admits murder-for-hire plot that he tried to blame on Black Lives Matter - The Independent - July 12th, 2021
- TikTok blocked creators from using 'Black Lives Matter' in bios | TheHill - The Hill - July 12th, 2021
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- Fact check: Has Japan has banned all Black Lives Matter apparel from the Olympics? - WRAL.com - July 12th, 2021
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- Reparations: Can Money Absolve the Sins of the Past? - Voice of America - July 12th, 2021
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- How Black Lives Matter put slave reparations back on the agenda - FRANCE 24 English - April 20th, 2021
- Albany Black Lives Matter protest takes to the streets - Times Union - April 20th, 2021
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- Breonna Taylors mother blasts Black Lives Matter movement - The Independent - April 20th, 2021
- "Enough is Enough": Black Lives Matter Twin Ports marches through Duluth to spread their message - KBJR 6 - April 20th, 2021
- 'The fear increases. The anger grows' Black Lives Matter rally held at Monongalia County Courthouse in Morgantown (West Virgina) - WV News - April 20th, 2021
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- Boulder's Motus Theater to hear about immigration from Black Lives Matter founder - coloradopolitics.com - February 10th, 2021
- These BLM activists are fighting for the civil rights of the next generation - CNN - February 10th, 2021
- Lompoc Black Lives Matter organizers awarded Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize - Lompoc Record - February 10th, 2021
- #BlackLivesMatter: A Silver Lining to the Movement's Aesthetic - Harvard Political Review - February 10th, 2021
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- BLM influencers: 10 Black Lives Matter activists on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter you should follow - USA TODAY - February 4th, 2021
- A man in Illinois pleaded guilty to inciting a violent riot in support of Black Lives Matter - Insider - Insider - February 4th, 2021
- From Black Panthers to Black Lives Matter: The fight for equality continues - KTVU San Francisco - February 4th, 2021
- How Black Lives Matter Came to the Academy - The New Yorker - February 4th, 2021
- Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize awarded to Lompoc Black Lives Matter organizers - Lompoc Record - February 4th, 2021
- Nonprofit barred for supporting Black Lives Matter may be allowed back in Maine jail - Press Herald - February 4th, 2021
- USC looks to preserve the Black Lives Matter Movement through firsthand experiences - WLTX.com - February 4th, 2021
- Bills filed to counter Black Lives Matter protests - The Herald Bulletin - February 4th, 2021
- Breonna Taylor: A beloved sister becomes a symbol of pain, an icon of hope - USA TODAY - February 4th, 2021
- How the Radical Graphic Design of the Black Panthers Influences the Movement for Black Lives - HarpersBAZAAR.com - February 4th, 2021
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- New WA Black Lives Matter Alliance agenda aims for 'liberation' - KUOW News and Information - December 22nd, 2020
- Black Lives Matter 757 organizing toy drive and distribution - WAVY.com - December 22nd, 2020
- Black Lives Matter Protests Spur Creation of Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice - Rutgers Today - December 22nd, 2020
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- Black Lives Matter Backlash: The NYPD's War on Protesters Intensifies - The Indypendent - December 22nd, 2020
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- In 2021, we must show that Black Lives Matter beyond diversity theater - Fast Company - December 17th, 2020
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- Six months after mass protests began, what is the future of BLM? - The Economist - December 17th, 2020
- The City of Portland Fines a Building Owner for Oversized Black Lives Matter Sign - Willamette Week - December 17th, 2020
- Maria Casely-Hayford on Black Lives Matter: It is a cultural wake-up call such as Ive never seen before - British GQ - December 17th, 2020
- Fact check: Story about United Airlines, Black Lives Matter and a toddler is satirical - USA TODAY - December 17th, 2020
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- Organizer of Black Lives Matter mural in Florence requests that the city does not remove it - WBTW - December 17th, 2020
- What's Happened To Charlotte's Black-Owned Businesses In The Wake Of COVID-19 And BLM Movement? - WFAE - September 26th, 2020
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- Letter to the editor: If you don't agree that Black lives matter, you are racist - Summit Daily News - September 26th, 2020
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