Our visit to Greensboro today for me was very eye opening. As we traveled through the international civil rights center and museum I felt a sense of pride but it also sired up a tad bit of anger and bitterness. I wouldn't be completely honest is I neglected those feelings. I felt pride because coincidently North Carolina A&T was actually my dream school, I love U of I But the only reason I ended up here was because I couldn't afford to go to A&T. However I do plan to attend NCAT for grad school. So to learn that students from the university I want to attend sparked the national sit in movement it just really makes me feel like that's a place I want to be a part of. There is just so much history here, it kind of makes me feel like home. I think it is awesome and only right that they built the museum out of the restaurant where the initial sit in took place. It was cool to see that they left the diner the way it was. To see the actually counter where these things to place is mind blowing. Just to think 40 years ago in the exact place I was standing in today people like me were not allowed to be served at that counter. And then these four young men actually took action against that. Young men my age made a national difference. Moments like these make my extremely proud to be an African American woman.
However, as I mentioned before this tour didn't evoke positive feelings only it made me angry as well. Today I saw a real like KKK uniform. Someone wore that uniform to terrorize and torture my people. Growing up and hearing about the KKK it's like ok " I know the existed but it isn't real to me". I don't have to live in day to day fear of what the klan might do to me or my family. But seeing that uniform made it real for me. Although I don't live in that fear other people did and still do. Our tour guide spoke of KKK cross burnings that took place in the north in the 1970's and 80's. That isn't long ago at all.
Another thing that stuck with me is picture of Emmett Till in his casket..... Now I have seen this particular picture numerous times before, but NEVER this clear, I could literally see how distorted his face was, it was unfathomable! And I think what made it worse was that we had no idea it was him by just looking the picture. This picture really hit home for me because I was staring at it like my god I wonder what's his story. And someone else asked the tour guide the exact same thing I was thinking and when he mentioned that name my heart dropped. Because again I have seen the pictures and heard the story so many times and I still could not identify this little boy! It's heart breaking.
But what made me a little more angry is that as fantastic as I think that museum was, I feel like it only caters to one side of the Civil Rights movement. There was not one artifact or. Acknowledgment of Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, or the Black Power Movement. I do not think it's fair that we only pay attention to the non violent protests when other movements were taking place and were also effective. I just wish they would have encompassed the entire story. That too is a keen part of out history that America consistently tries to keep in the shadows. White and black America both.
Then as I heard the story of the speakers at Greensboro's Beloved Community Center I grew more and more upset. 1. That what took place took place at all and 2. With that particular event having such great magnitude in that community why aren't the members honored In the civil rights museum?
Their story is absolutely amazing and gut wrenching at the same time. They entrusted their lives into the hands of the local police force and to their surprise they were set up. The African Americans of Greensboro organized a march to promote right for workers and education. They went to the police to get a permit for the march as well as ask then to be there to ensure their safety, seeing how this was meant to be a peaceful demonstration. The Greensboro police force gave their word that they would be there. Then they turned around and gave a permit to the local KKK and Nazis to organize a march at the same place and time as the African Americans.
After hearing about the march organized by the klan the blacks thought it would be a good idea to postpone their march. But the leaders of the organization spoke with the police again and the police not only advised them not to carry arms but they assured them they would protect them. Nov 3,1979 came and the police didn't show up to the march. The KKK and the Nazis combined murdered about 4 blacks and injured 10. The police department set them up. They trusted them and they set them up..... And then preceding this horrific event acts were taken to protect and get the white people who committed this murder off...., this really made me upset. If I were them I would be extremely bitter!