Is Ferguson Our Generation’s Selma?

image courtesy: jackfrombkln
image courtesy: jackfrombkln

I’ve had my eyes glued to Juan Gonzalez’s “News for all the People” book for the past three months. No, I’m not a slow reader, I just don’t want the book to end. At the risk of sounding like a geek (which I totally am) I’m unbelievably fascinated by the tome that chronicles minorities breaking into the media.

The book not only acknowledges brown faced pioneers of TV, radio and newspapers–just to name a few (Ida B. Wells, Jackie Cooper and John Russwurm) because their are a TON, to many to record for this tiny blog–but also the insurmountable obstacles they faced getting there.

What’s more shocking is having the living nightmares of racial tension in the ’50s and ’60s jump off the page and onto TV screens in 2014. The Ferguson residents standoff with police last night harkened back to a time I thought was over. Where reports of civilians being teargassed in the streets, while protesting injustices in their community lived only in history books.

Although it’s not to surprising given that history has repeated itself countless times before in the form of Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Ramarley Graham, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo,and Eric Garner. Now 18-year-old Michael Brown is added to that haunting list of the gone to soon crew. The soon-to-be college freshman was struck down by Missouri police after putting both hands in the air in surrender.

Similar to what residents of Selma, Alabama did on March 7, 1965 when attempting to march to the capital, and were struck by tear gas and billy clubs. Playing out that same M.O., Ferguson riot police threw tear gas at protesters and arrested two reporters last night.

I fear we, as a country, are going backwards. Not just in this case because it’s not an isolated incident. At this point these aren’t incidents…their just as intentional as the Wilmington, NC massacre or the ethnic cleansing in Vicksburg, MS (Google it) that are ugly revolting scars on our nation’s history. But at what point do we heal the wounds because these serial encounters are just picking the scabs. And the bleeding has got to stop.

Let’s press forward, let us heal together. Peacefully. Because at the end of the day all we want to do is be free.

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