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In the 1950s and 60s, civil rights leaders learned a powerful lesson and put it to good, painful work. It changed our country immeasurably and ultimately ushered in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
On streets, on buses, at lunch counters, at train stops and even on the doorsteps of elementary, middle and high schools — people, particularly young people, quietly and peacefully protested inequity, injustice and inhumane segregation. The protests were orderly and dignified. Students were consistently respectable and peaceful.
The plan was to show the world that the spirit of white supremacy, which served as the foundation of Jim Crow segregation and oppression, would act out with horrific ugliness if its limits were tested even a little bit. Their hypothesis was proven right.
Peaceful, beautiful protestors, ranging from children to old women, were beaten with sticks and clubs as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. They were violently sprayed with full strength fire hoses and bitten by vicious police dogs under the direction of Birmingham Commissioner of Public Safety Eugene "Bull" Connor. Four little girls had their bodies blown to bits by a bomb at the 16th Street Baptist Church. In Greensboro and Nashville, mean-spirited whites would smile and laugh as they dumped milkshakes on the heads of protestors quietly sitting at the segregated Woolworth's lunch counters. Tax-paying black folk who built up the nerve to go and vote would be told to recite the Constitution or guess how many bubbles were in a bar of soap.
When the family of 6-year-old Ruby Bridges honored the request of the NAACP for her to integrate William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana, what happened next defied all logic. White families began removing their kids from the school. Only one teacher, a transplant from Boston, would agree to teach her and ended up being forced to teach her in a classroom all by herself.
Protesters consistently showed up to yell and scream obscenities at the little girl. She began praying every day as armed security escorted her through the hateful mob. One woman threatened to poison Ruby — forcing the child to only eat and drink food she bought from home. Another woman brought a black baby doll in a coffin to the protests. Her father lost his job. Her family was banned from the local grocery store. Her grandparents were kicked off of the land where they were sharecroppers.
All of this — because a little, bitty black girl attended a local elementary school.
I could write a book of these brave, but horrible stories. Ultimately, a mirror was put up close to the face of America and its ugliness was exposed for the whole world to see.
This weekend, children as young as 11 and 12 years old, inspired by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's decision to take a knee during “The Star Spangled Banner” as a protest against continued injustice and police brutality in America, decided to take their own knee to protest the injustice that has troubled them in America.
The Beaumont Bulls are a team of elementary and middle school-age boys from Beaumont, Texas. On Saturday morning, before their game, every player and coach decided to take a knee in solidarity with Kaepernick and the growing list of NFL players who have done the same thing. Within hours of the news breaking locally, parents say, death threats and racial slurs began pouring in.
April Parkerson, whose son plays on the team said, "Our children are receiving death threats from people saying things like hang those monkeys, they should've died on 9/11, and they're going to kill each other anyway."
Remember, these are little boys who took a knee at a youth football game.
For other children, the hate and bigotry came even quicker.
Rodney Axson, 16, of Brunswick, Ohio, claims he overheard two teammates using the "N-word" in the locker room before a Sept. 2 game. For him, it was the deciding factor that he would take a knee during the national anthem. Doing so brought immediate hate not from anonymous trolls, but his own white teammates who he says called him the N-word to his face during the game. A Snapchat post surfaced showing a handwritten note about lynching.
Soon he received a note saying that he would be lynched. The district superintendent released a statement saying he was "saddened," and that school officials are cooperating with law enforcement.
Any student who threatened to lynch this young man shouldn't just receive a simple suspension, they should be prosecuted.
In a gut-wrenching video interview, Rodney Axson's father said that his son, much like Rub Dee 56 years ago, decided to pray during his moment of bravery, but that the hate he has received because of his peaceful protest has been vile.
"I thought moving to a community like Brunswick, we would be safe … Keep away from gun violence, then you have to come out here and deal with racial things," the father said.
This is the struggle for black folk all over the country. In pursuit of a quality education and basic safety, families move out of the city to the burbs, but then end up being subjected to exactly what Rodney Axson is dealing with now.
Te'Ron Brown, the star high school senior for the defending state champion West Orange-Stark High School in Texas, was the subject of a racist social media post by two players from the opposing Bridge City team. Brown and West Orange won the game 55-0. The school district has not yet announced how they've handled the bigotry, but Brown's mother said she would still like a formal apology for the offense.
These racist attacks on young children are no different than what Kaepernick and the other 13 NFL players who've physically demonstrated by kneeling, sitting, or raising a black power fist have experienced. Any quick, cursory scan of the internet will produce thousands of death threats, racial slurs and calls for them to each "move back to Africa."
It seems, then, that these peaceful, quiet, dignified protests are working. Like those of the Civil Rights Movement, they are exposing the violent and racist heart and soul of this nation for what it truly is. With every day that passes, the protests seem more and more justified and the heroes seem increasingly obvious.
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Source : http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/king-black-children-threatened-knee-protest-article-1.2788828