History toils over the tragedies and triumphs on the march to equality in narrow glimpses into the faces nearby. George Washington once pointed out that the working men in Northern States had none of the world’s goods that his slaves did. And he was right, except for that precious concept of freedom. His slaves had more of the world’s goods than most people in the whole world. But this great equality did not exist even 100 miles away from his estate. Furthermore, the situation would become worse, much worse, before it got any better.
The word Equality has a sharp edge to it and it requires some sharp thinking as a child that can’t tell the difference between fact and theory. The same thing is true of most words that are part of something important to the world being made around us.
As a child growing up in Arizona during the 1940s it never bothered me that the colored white kids had their own school. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a black white man. My first lesson came along when one of them came to one of the lonely schools I was going to. I was the pitcher in softball. He knocked my ball plumb out of sight. He was one of the nine pupils there. He got my pitcher’s job, and he struck me out; which was alright as I didn’t like sports anyway. I was glad when we moved away from there, one of the 30 different schools I would go to before ending up at Arlington in the 6th grade. What a beautiful school that was, and every teacher there was worthy of our admiration. I chocked a whole lot of learning in those next 3 years.
When I went into the Army the Negro was already the overwhelming majority. Given the chance to scratch out an existence in an equal environment they were moving ahead rapidly. They were ashamed to go home, back into the maelstrom of inequality, back into poverty’s pocket. All my friends were going to stay in the Army or move to Chicago.
I look at the brutal pictures here and I listen to the Native Americans and I wonder why on earth they didn’t all move to Chicago! After my 8 years of being homeless, I began inching back into civilization by moving into an all Negro 8 story building. I liked them, they liked me. What was all the fighting about outside that building.
Then I came back through the street over from us on my brand new bicycle and I was knocked in the head from behind by 3 black white men juveniles wielding a 2X4. I leaped off my bike and demanded they come finish the fight. The farther they backed away the more they decided I really wasn’t afraid of all three of them or their 2X4. Their confidence and their courage evaporated. They slunk away, leaving me still fuming. So now I look at these videos and I know that if I had been there I would have been fuming on the other side of the battle.
Meanwhile, over in Africa, the violence was black on black and brutal blacks on black kids looking for an education. These days it is black nation against black troops from a neighboring nation of blacks who have machine guns and machetes., not to mention fast Jeeps. And why doth the battles rage? The battles rage betwixt and between “us’ens and them that wants “what we have wrested from the earth around us.” I think that has been the real issue for many, many a year.