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On Righting Civil Wrongs: The Civil Rights Legacy Must Continue

"Education is a field where this contest of ideas for the legacy of the civil rights movement is perhaps most evident, both because of the ways in which Brown had meshed the civil rights agenda with the quest for quality schooling for communities of color and the fact that so much of the promise of Brown remains unfulfilled."... "Democratic citizenship and collective self-empowerment means that one stays and fights the good fight." From: American Liberalism, Education And The Legacy Of The Civil Rights Movement: By Leo Casey.
Surely it was Martin Luther King who fought the good fight, and it was Martin Luther King who kept the faith. "Visionaries like James Foreman, Kwame Toure, Ella Baker, Diane Nash, E.B. Nixon and Martin Luther King crafted strategies around mass mobilizations in African-American communities, and deliberately, creatively violated the law in order to change the nation's misguided public policies. It was common practice, for instance, in towns and cities where the 1960s Freedom Movement was in high gear, to turn out a city's colleges and high schools for days on end," states Bruce Dixon, Editor of The Black Agenda
But who will finish the course? Who will lead us today when schools fail to reflect democracy in action? Who will help ensure that parents, students, and teachers share in the decision making process in these turbulent and critical times?
"A significant portion of the black leadership in those days was responsible to black communities alone," notes Bruce Dixon while reflecting on the past. "They crafted political responses to the public policy crises of that era which they pursued both inside and outside America's legal system, responses aimed at changing public policies that harmed African-American communities."
Who will speak out against the school-to-prison pipeline, which has fostered mass incarceration of people of color and created slave labor camps in 21st Century plantations aka prisons? Bruce Dixon reminds us that: "Attorneys Charles Hamilton Houston and Thurgood Marshall crisscrossed the continent defending black prisoners on death row and filing cases to overturn legal segregation. It was due to years of these efforts that Thurgood Marshall, in the 1940s became known as "Mr. Civil Rights."
As we move through the 21st Century, we are reminded that the dream of a new and just American society must not die because, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." The dream of a new and just American society must not die because it is a dream based on the American dream of liberty and justice for all. The dream of a new and just American Society will not die because, "The arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice." The words of Martin Luther King are remembered, today. Lest we forget that our time has come to ensure that the American dream is fulfilled for all of its citizens. Leo Casey is right, "Democratic citizenship and collective self-empowerment means that one stays and fights the good fight." Surely, we must press on!

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