By Queion Swift
Upon visiting the Library of Congress I found an exhibit that highlighted the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and also the Civil Rights movement. Chronicling the experience of African-American’s plight to ensure equal rights protected in law. Mark Plotkin said, “when you think of D.C, think of Selma, we have the vote but it doesn’t mean anything” a fight for equality is a continual one not finite and limited to one goal or achievement.
The exhibit housed the NAACP’s flag from the 1920’s stating “A Man Was Lynched Yesterday” it was used to inform from their New York office the reality of the segregated Jim Crow south and its harsh and deadly realities for African-Americans. As we approach 100 years since this flags use, an epitaph of slain innocents and the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 how much progress have we made in racial affairs? Does the current situations in Ferguson, Mo and New York City speak to our progress as a country in dealing with racial issues?
With the release of the film Selma, depicting Dr. Martin Luther King’s actions in promoting a need for a Civil Rights act of 1965 following the act of 1964, we see how media played a pivotal role in bringing about this action. The television and media coverage of Selma helped expose the American people to the realities of segregation and brutality against the peaceful protest of African-Americans, and even this was a media strategy of Dr. King, “if they’re going to beat us, let them do it while the cameras are rolling” King believed that these images would speak to people, call upon their humanity to act and standby to watch cruel injustice. In our own time this is still true, through social media, individuals have mobilized to construct a movement for #BlackLivesMatter, using the same ideals of peaceful protest. Although we have come a long way from the corrupt brutality of Selma, we still have a long way to go, I hope this flag serves as a reminder that history is not as far away as we think, and continue to strive for justice. I use all of these examples to say the face of America is still evolving and changing, change brings progress and for that I’am very proud of my country.