The movement for Black Empowerment in America has been through many stages that can be considered different and distinct. Black liberation has been a relentless fight for free African Americans, which began in the age of slavery, led to civil war, saw racial segregation outlawed, and led to the gaining of the right to vote for blacks. The movement has taken place in stages, and the equality that blacks have been seeking includes several facets of life that can be divided into two: political and economic rights, and the right to a minimum wage. The social movements could not present all the campaigns at once since there was a need to obtain one category of freedom to pave the way for the acquisition of the other type. In this case, the political and democratic freedom which encompasses gender equality, free speech, equal treatment under the law and spatial mobility would pave the way for the right to a living wage. The second category of freedom (the right to a living wage) includes things like access to good education, food security, the right to live in a healthy neighborhood and mental well-being. Apart from that, any gains that the black liberation struggles make have always been met with the proposal and enactment of laws that diminish the value of that freedom.
The Phases of Black Liberation
The Civil War can be termed as one of the events that marked the beginning of freedom attainment for the black communities in the United States. The Civil War led to the abolition of slavery, and African Americans became free men. However, the blacks were not granted full liberation, the white ruling class did not accept them, and there was residential segregation which prohibited any form of integration whether in schools or neighborhoods. There was the need to fight away the isolation and the civil rights movements sought to end segregation.
In 1954, the Supreme Court outlawed racial segregation, which could be seen as a gain by the black liberalists, but it was not the end of the struggle, there were more to be considered, the blacks lacked the right to vote and overall the freedom to exercise their political rights. They were excluded in political decisions, and that warranted for more push for liberation and inclusion in the government.
A decade after the Supreme Court banned racial segregation, members of the black community attained the right to vote. Several factors like the end of the Second World War and the need to prove to the world that the United States was a democratic country led to the granting of voting rights to the African Americans. Still, it was mainly the result of the push by black liberation movements. Once again, the right to vote did not guarantee blacks full freedom. There was more to fight for. There was a need to improve their living conditions, education standards and get equal unprejudiced treatment by the authorities.
The forces of oppression have tactfully used their political powers and positions in government offices to ensure the blacks continue to live as second-class citizens in the United States. The use of force and laws was especially evident in the 1960s when black neighborhoods were considered crime zones and criminal activities were evaluated based on a suspect's ethnic background. That was seen in the drug sentence disparities and the racial difference in incarcerations. African Americans make up the highest number of incarcerated persons at almost one million out of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population. These facts prove of intentional moves by the authorities to maltreat blacks considering that African Americans and Hispanics make up just about one-quarter of the United States population. Prisons are being used as a place for getting cheap labor something that is so reminiscent of the slavery system. With more blacks incarcerated and working in the prison industry for low wages, the propagation of slavery continues.
There have also been proposals to shoot down some of the black liberation gains using legislation. For example, the law on mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients is a tool being used by perpetrators of oppression in many states to render inhumane treatment to communities of low income who depend on welfare cash. These low-income communities are primarily made up of African Americans and Hispanics, therefore, when a legislator argues that he/she is out to protect taxpayer's money from going to waste, the person is merely contending that the blacks do not deserve to receive help from the states.
In response to the tactics used by proponents of black oppression to keep blacks under challenging conditions, the liberalists have continued to adopt new methods of fronting their issues. For example, the Gangsta Rap and Hip Hop genre of music were used by the African Americans in the 1970s to call for equal treatment of minority groups in the United States. Hip Hop was also used to argue against the labeling of African American youths as criminals and the use of force by the police when dealing with this particular group.
Technological advancement in the area of communication has in a big way fostered the quest for black liberation in the U.S. Campaigns can now be carried out on social media and have the ability to reach millions of people across the world with the messages. The rise in killings of blacks by the police in 2015 and 2016 saw the creation of a campaign slogan "Black Lives Matter." Social media has especially been helpful in presenting the actual status of blacks in the American society since for some time the mainstream media had adopted a system of giving minority groups negatively by linking them to crime and other degrading aspects of life. Today, people can use the social media to get to the right state of matters if they feel the mainstream media is not doing enough regarding giving accurate information.
Furthermore, the right to vote has also aided members of the black community to have their issues presented in the political arenas where decisions are made. However, that does not mean that the struggle for freedom has come to an end, the fight continues, and the term "freedom" attains new meaning each time something that needs to be dealt with comes up. Freedom at first referred to liberation from slavery, after the abolition of slavery the term related to equal political rights and today, the word means equality in all aspects of life include employment opportunities and fair application of the law.