Black American Independence

In The Souls of Black Folk, Du Bois describes “double consciousness” as follows: “It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness, an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife- this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost. He does not wish to Africanize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa. He wouldn’t bleach his Negro blood in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of opportunity closed roughly in his face.”

Black Lives Matter is the revived spirit of the Civil Rights Movement and all the other movements centered on equal opportunity that came before it. The sentiments protests exhibit today are no different than the sign posts from the 60s which affirmed, “I am a Man.” In 2020, we are still marching, shouting, and fighting the good fight for acknowledgment as human beings worthy of the ability to be free in our own country and engage in the pursuit of happiness that others who find themselves in this country seem to obtain so effortlessly.

It’s the 4th of July but this year I find myself not in the mood to do anything remotely close to celebrating. We are still in a pandemic — the coronavirus that has literally kept us inside our homes and the other pandemic about the unarmed killing of black men and women by law enforcement. We are still being legally lynched and I am not in the mood to celebrate other people’s freedom. I just want to celebrate my own.

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