DID THE AMERICAN CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT END IN 1964?
By Kasanya Chavula
The fight for civil liberties is one that the African- American community has tried to fight for, for many decades. These are the rights of any man that is declared free on the basis of the constitution and right to life. However this has not been so as this fight has been made even more evident with yet another man of color being killed at the hands law enforcement, George Floyd.
As one looks at the state of the United States of America, it is evident that the civil rights movements which as history records was from the 1940s to 1960s did not end when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed but rather it would be the beginning of a battle that today has seen the law favor the white American in favor of the African-American. These words by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr out rightly echo the fight that every person of color seeks to be a part of. “when the architects of our Republic wrote the magnificent words of the constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This not was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as citizens of color are concerned”.
These words which were spoken over 50 years ago seem as though they were uttered for the injustice that the people who were sworn in to protect and observe the law, are today segregating justice based on race, and skin color. It is these that today the people of color are still at war fighting for what was promised to them, or was the law written to protect some and the others fall outside the justice system of the law. In spite of the fact that the officers involved have seen fired and the officer Derek Chauvin as been charged with 3rd Degree murder and 2nd Degree manslaughter which could only result in him been sentenced to 12 and a half years that is still is injustice as intent can be seen in the video that circulated on the internet where George Floyd constantly, shouted “I can’t breathe”. Intent to kill was present and he did not present any threat as he was on the ground in handcuffs.
As it stands the charges need to be revisited and the charge of 1st degree murder need to be entered. The question that one ought to ask is if the roles were changed would the man of color be given the same charge or would the charge one that is greater. As long as the people feel the charge brought forth is unfair the demonstrations will only act as a trigger for future riots so long as justice has not prevailed.
If America truly is the land of the free and the home of the brave, then Justice needs to prevail and the fight toward civil liberties for all need to be enacted. However as it stands the civil rights movement never ended, even the election of the first black president has shown how broken the justice system is and how unfavorable the justice system is. The election of a black president would have been to show that America had turned a new chapter and all men were equal, however, what has been shown could not be further from the truth. All lives matter and the law and justice system should protect all lives, including black lives.