Akinyele Umoja: Black Ambivalence About Gun ControlRoundup: Historians' Take
tags: guns, gun control, African American history, Chronicle of Higher Ed., civil rights movement, Akinyele Umoja, George State University
The gun-control debate is complex, particularly as it relates to African descendants in the United States. As with almost every other issue, the racial dimensions cannot be dismissed.
From the beginning, slave-holding society fought to block enslaved Africans’ access to weapons, to reduce the likelihood of insurrection. After emancipation, blacks sought arms not only to hunt but to protect themselves from white-supremacist terror. Since the “right to bear arms” was denied them during their enslavement, emancipated blacks associated gun ownership with citizenship and liberty. But segregationists continued trying to disarm blacks after emancipation.
In doing research into armed resistance during the Southern black freedom struggle in the 1950s and 60s, I found ample evidence—through interviews with movement participants and archival records, particularly those of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party—that blacks turned to armed self-defense to protect activist leadership and their communities from white-terrorist violence. It was a rite of passage for rural black families to teach children to use arms as a means of survival, for both food and protection. And black girls were trained to shoot to protect themselves from white rapists....
comments powered by Disqus
- Ben Carson defends linking gun control to the Holocaust
- Secret CIA Report: Pinochet "Personally Ordered" Washington Car-Bombing
- Mike Huckabee’s 1998 Book Is Full Of Fake Quotes From America’s Founders
- Children should be taught about suffering under the British Empire, Jeremy Corbyn says
- Collateral damage: A brief history of U.S. mistakes at war
- NYT History Book Reviews: Who Got Noticed this Week?
- NC student’s senior thesis selected as top paper sheds light on little-known victory over Jim Crow
- Historian Who Probed Austria’s Nazi Past Begins Sentence for Defrauding State
- Daniel Pipes says we should be worried that immigrants don’t share western values
- Nobel Prize in Literature Awarded to journalist Svetlana Alexievich