I just came home from seeing the movie "The Butler," about a Black man who worked many years as a butler in The White House.
I was enthralled to see what occurred in my lifetime (and in that of the main character in the movie.) I will continue to use the term Black for the people of color who now call themselves African Americans, because that is the name used since the civil rights movement originally touched my life.
That was the time when Blacks finally got some rights. It was such a hard and bitter struggle from the sit-ins and marches and all the abusive legal problems. But at the end of the movie, by the time 2008 gave us a Black President of the US, so much had been achieved.
I live in North Carolina, and know there are still many racial problems today.
Yet I lived in the times of the movie. When grandchildren of cotton farmers went to college and became not only protestors, but also members of government. The immense leadership that is to be found in the minds and hearts of Blacks is just beginning to be appreciated.
This was a second revolution in America. The one to be free from colonization took place over 200 years ago.
But the one for all people to finally have the same rights no matter what their color of skin, happened while I was growing up, raising a family, having a career, getting my own college degrees, changing my ideas about life, and being gradually impacted by this huge revolution in our culture.
My children went to public schools alongside Black children. I worked for equal housing opportunities to integrate neighborhoods in the 60s. But since I was responsible for my children, I didn't march or demonstrate...I feared what would happen to my children if I went to jail. But I remember a local pub, my favorite place to stop for a drink after work, had a car burned right outside it's doors in the riots of 68. And that was in Hartford, CT.
I more recently ate my lunches side by side with Black elders here in Black Mountain,
NC, at our community center, provided at low cost by the Council on
Aging (I think a federal program.) I also served in St. Augustine FL as
a counselor at the time the 2 federally supported nursing homes merged,
so the Black nursing home was absorbed into a remodeled one which formerly had housed only whites (1998.)
And women are still treated invisibly in many ways. We have become the "Butlers" and have always been there, but have not risen beyond our domestic and under-paid status. There is always a much more obvious and needful cause for which women rally and try to get justice rather than their own.
North Carolina is such a sad state in which to live. We (____________fill in the affiliation here) people walk around either angry or disgusted or in grief or planning another action to re-obtain our rights.
This last election (on Tues this week) triggered a lot of those feelings for me.
The 19th amendment gave women the right to vote, less than 100 years ago. It became law when 2/3 of the states ratified it in 1920. Did you know it wasn't for fifty-one more years, until 1971, that North Carolina finally ratified it?
Women need to acknowledge their rights are being abridged, in subtle ways that make it more difficult for them (and others like Blacks) to vote in North Carolina today.
Voting will require picture ID's here in the next election. And other election restrictions have been put in place that will limit the rights of many people to register and vote.
I continue to speak out for the rights of any underdogs...whether religious, sexual preference, race, or gender. Remember women are a majority. But first we have to see that we are oppressed! Remember the frogs that are in the pot of water that is slowly heated to boiling. They died and didn't even know what was happening.