Black

375 – “I was born black. I’m going to die black. I’m a black man before I’m anything else. The fact that I’m a police officer is a job that I do. It’s an oath that I took. I swore to uphold laws. I swore to protect your rights. I swore to protect you when you can’t protect yourself. So while that is a part of my responsibility, being a police officer does not make Curtis Davenport who he is.”

–Sgt. Curtis Davenport of the Atlanta Police Department

Note: I believe  that Sgt. Davenport provides an interesting perspective as an African American police officer. I highly recommend that you check out the full article this came from, and the three other pieces in the series.
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311 – “In this land of ‘milk and honey,’ the ‘almighty dollar’ rules supreme and is being upheld by the faithful troops who move without question in the name of ‘law and order.’ Only in this garden of hypocrisy and inequality can a murderer not be considered a murderer—only here can innocent people be charged with a crime and be taken to court with the confessed criminal testifying against them. Incredible?”

–unknown
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193 – “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.
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160 – “The greatest existing cause of lynching is the perpetration, especially by black men, of the hideous crime of rape – the most abominable in all the category of crimes, even worse than murder.”

Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States of America

[Note on why I have included this quote: This quote is representative of the idea that people see what they want to see in history, while ignoring what they don’t. While in many ways Theodore Roosevelt was very progressive (one of our most progressive presidents in some respects), yet he still was a man very much of, and constrained by the ideologies of, his time. The idea that rape was being committed on a large scale by African American men against (white) women is an old, exaggerated, and thoroughly false accusation. This argument was used to avoid the terrible nature of lynchings and protect the perpetrators, in a system akin to what happens in rape culture today.
It is important that people acknowledge a more complete and complex picture of history and historical figures. It is possible to acknowledge the achievements of historical figures, while at the same time condemning them for their failings, immorality, and flaws, among other negative features, after all they are only human. So often we put historical figures on a pedestal, both literally and figuratively, overlooking anything that deviates from our preconceived narrative of said persons. We glorify achievements, while ignoring faults; even when we have pointed out such faults in others. It is analogues to the lesson from the proverbial saying of the Mote and Beam. While celebrating history is fine, and in fact should be encouraged, sanctifying it distorts the truth. History is not a straight-forward and linear discipline, history is messy and complex, made all the more so by the permanent loss of historical records of the past and egos who let ideology and notions speak in place of documented record.] (more…)