The danger of denying black Americans political rightsRoundup
tags: civil rights, NRA, African American history, Black History, gun rights, black power, Protest
Kellie Carter Jackson is an assistant professor in the department of Africana studies at Wellesley College and author of "Force and Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence."
Today, the Second Amendment has become synonymous with the NRA and white men. But that image ignores the fact that many black men and women also are adamant gun owners. The rationale for ownership is different, however. Rather than an assertion of individual freedom, gun ownership is a way to combat a system that regularly denies African Americans the social or legal benefits necessary to protect themselves.
And so, black people have long turned to firearms in self-defense and collective defense of their communities against white supremacy. Nineteenth-century black abolitionists William Parker, Lewis Hayden, Robert Purvis and Frederick Douglass armed themselves to defend against slave catchers or others who sought to harm them, knowing the system would not protect them. In the 20th century, Ida B. Wells, Fannie Lou Hamer and even Rosa Parks owned guns to protect themselves from the Klan, again thanks to fears that law enforcement turned a blind eye to white supremacist terrorism.
But being armed went beyond simple self defense for black Americans. With political avenues for engendering change blocked, and lacking political rights, for black Americans violence became a last-ditch means for securing freedom in a society saturated with white supremacy.
comments powered by Disqus
- The Titanic Wreck Will Now Be Protected Under a 'Momentous Agreement' With the U.S.
- Arrested for having sex with men, this gay civil rights leader could finally be pardoned in California
- Ancient aboriginal aquaculture system older than Stonehenge uncovered by Australia wildfires
- How the Government Came to Decide the Color of Your Food
- In 1851, a Maryland Farmer Tried to Kidnap Free Blacks in Pennsylvania. He Wasn’t Expecting the Neighborhood to Fight Back
- The Way We Write History Has Changed
- Rethinking How We Train Historians
- Building a digital archive for decaying paper documents, preserving centuries of records about enslaved people
- The Radical Lives of Abolitionists
- National Security Archive Releases USCYBERCOM documents which shed new light on the campaign to counter ISIS in cyberspace