Whose History Is It Anyway???
The story of African American's fight for freedom in American has been chronicled, recorded, diluted, even outright lied about by those whose agenda had nothing to do with telling our truth.
The National Civil Rights Museum was founded for the purpose of establishing an institution that would preserve one of the most poignant era's in American history, the story of the Civil Rights Movement; the battles, and losses, and the victories. As the direct beneficiaries of the victories of the Movement, we also inherited the charge of stewarding and protecting the legacy of our fight for freedom in these United States of America. That's what the Movement was about, that's what Dr. King gave his life for, and that's what the National Civil Rights Museum was erected for.
Contrary to what many people believe, the fight for freedom did not end with Dr. King's death. Some people actually believed that the fight for freedom was won with the signing of the Voting Rights Bill. Contrary to what many believe, blacks have NOT ARRIVED, we have not crossed the River Jordan, and WE HAVE NOT REACHED THE PROMISED LAND. The truth of the matter is that the fight for freedom never ends, and if we allow ourselves to be lulled into complacency, we run the risk of losing everything we've fought so hard to gain. If history has taught us anything, it's that Freedom comes with tremendous responsibility, and the degree to which we neglect our responsibility will determine how much of our Freedom we will forfeit. The issues currently surrounding the National Civil Rights Museum will put these axioms to the test.
The community's ownership and control of the National Civil Rights Museum are seriously at risk. However, it's not just about who controls the museum. At the fundamental core of the issue is this question: Whose history is it? The irrefutable answer is it's our history, "our" meaning Africans Americans.
But history notwithstanding, the other pressing questions juxtaposing the issues around the Museum are: If we don't stand up and take control of OUR institutions, who will we give that responsibility to? And in so doing, what will become of the National Civil Rights Museum? Who other than ourselves will take the responsibility of keeping the story of our struggle for freedom in historical context, with the authenticity, the integrity, the respect, and with the ecstatic care that reflects the dignity and pride, and the glory that shines through the triumphant events that were the Civil Rights Movement? Your soul searching answers to these questions, and your "involvement" will decide what happens in the coming days as we deal with these issues concerning the National Civil Rights Museum.
Protecting the integrity of African American History from the authentic point of view of those who "lived" that history is crucial to preserving the story of blacks folks' fight for freedom in America.
The time has come for us to set aside our differences and come together for a greater cause. That cause is the protection of our-story, our history, and the institution we erected for that purpose.
We welcome the support of the entire community, including whites, browns, reds, and definitely "greens", but not at our expense. By the same token, we're not naive enough to believe that support doesn't come with a price tag on it. But the last time I looked there wasn't a "For Sale" sign in front of the National Civil Rights Museum. We dare not grant the pending request for a fifty year lease which would allow others to squander the equity of the integrity of our civil rights institution, or stand by and watch our heritage go up to be controlled for decades by the lowest bidder. I think not. I pray not.
A recent article posted on The Nation, written by Gary Younge gives a compelling overview of how we've allowed the Trojan House of corporate money to take control of the museum.
The time has come for bold action over lip service. Most people in the Civil Rights community know where I have stood for a half century on issues concerning the African American community.
*Listen To Judge D'Army Bailey Discuss The NCRM In Crisis On W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio:
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