I’ve been pondering these words by then Governor George Wallace intermittently for years. Often wondering how evil and hateful Wallace must have been to want to separate himself and all whites from Blacks now, tomorrow and forever. On a day where I took the deep dive and read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “The Case for Reparations” and the 3-part AP series “Torn From the Land” exclusive about how whites and corporations systematically stole farmland, homes and lots from blacks – I find myself drawn to segregation for very simplistic reasons. I don’t feel evil, like Wallace, but I do feel rage and strong dislike.
In raising a family of two young children, I am constantly wondering what kind of community I want to raise them in. Witnessing the rise of Donald Trump and his hate fueled supporters, he often reminds me of a modern era George Wallace being fully supported by the Klan and avowed white racists. The growing number of outlandish comments, remarks and flat out threats this presidential candidate in 2016 is able to make is literally frightening. And this is the Republican front runner for President of the United States. Of course, this persona, this Trump fever that is present and shows no signs of dissolving has always been a part of American history for whites. What we are seeing is just an example of what my 78 year-old mother saw in the 50’s as a young woman when she tried to walk from Albemarle County into Charlottesville to work for a white family as a domestic. It’s the same type of white hate that my grandmother saw in the 1920’s as a young girl in Rose Hill, Virginia and it’s the same white evil that my great-grandfather saw in the 1890’s as he was trying to make a life for himself as a young man in Charlottesville, the son of homeowner, a rare situation to be in at that time. The hate that is ginned up in these Trump rallys represent the America that Blacks have always known existed because we’ve lived it. It’s not new, but it is frightening because we know what this particular kind of talk and actions mean. These words can be delivered upon. Action can follow these words. And if they have their way, America will be just like it was during Governor George Wallace’s heyday.
Which leds me to segregation. In the year of Flint, Michigan and the purposeful poisoning of a predominantly Black city, the non-indictments for Mike Brown, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, John Crawford and Tamir Rice, among so many, many others – I found myself wondering what it would be like to be ensconced within a predominantly Black community, today, tomorrow and forever. What it would be like to live in a Black community that focused on African spirituality – forever breaking the ties of Christianity that have oppressed the Black community into submission since 1619? What would it be like to live in a community where Black mothers and Black fathers raised their children together, supporting each other in marriage and then showing the same strength and solidarity to their children? What would it be like to live in a Black community where the schools were afrocentric in nature, being honest with our history, including our African greatness in every facet of life with an emphasis on eating healthy foods, non-processed foods, seeded fruits and beneficial vegetables for our growth and well-being? What would it be like to live in a community where Blacks were owners, job creators, inventors, educators, community activists, doctors, lawyers, politicians – all striving to uplift and maintain the success of the Black community, today, tomorrow and forever? What would it be like to feel safe within this community to travel, free from police brutality and murder because we police our own? We rehabilitate offenders, we take care of our mentally ill. We are not poisoning our bodies being constantly on medication for diseases that can be cured through our diet. No one is popping a pill just to live another day. We strive for excellence in everything we do. What would solidarity and closeness amongst the Black community feel like? Would it be possible to open your windows to your home and hear the Black children playing and dancing on the lawns and playgrounds? Would neighbors come outside to greet you, maybe help you with your flower garden or offer to watch the children while you go make dinner? Would we banish all nursing homes, instead, taking exceptional care of our elders, with the love and dignity that they deserve at home? Would our Black culture allow us to see live art performances in jazz, blues, rhythm and blues music and hip-hop on a community stage for US to enjoy and relish? Would there be fashion houses, salons and designers creating wonderful style and wares that uplift our community and keeping everyone styled to perfection? Would there be libraries filled with books and articles about our Black history, our African roots and culture? Would dancing, ballet, tap and any other forms of expression we could conjur up be welcomed and viewed as essential to our sustained happiness and contentment? Would our technological abilities create an internet realm where we were untouchable, trolls could not break through, racists would not participate, it was exclusively our internet, our flow. Could we capture romantic nights at amazing restaurants and cafes, sampling delicious foods and beverages prepared from the best chefs and cuisine creators the Black community has to offer? What would it be like if Black athletes decided to remain at historically black colleges and universities and compete among the best of the best, winning championships year in and year out with their known dominating styles? What would it feel like to be safe, connected by melanin, blessed by the ancestors to be loved and cared for within a network of blackness that was far and wide?
I don’t have the answers to any of these questions. I understand that when we tried to be successful within the constraints of segreation, the whites burned, terrorized, maimed and killed us. With our own militia, I believe we could protect ourselves within a voluntarily segregated Black community should those threats come to our door. But I don’t have the answers, that’s for sure. All I know is I’m tired of integration, We Shall Overcome, #OscarsSoWhite, #ArrestGovSnyder, #AllLivesMatter, #MakeAmericaGreat #Whitesplaining, #Whitewashing #WhiteSupremacy and misquoted #MLK speeches. I want to come together with other like-minded Blacks, it’s something that I dream about and will probably always dream about today, tomorrow and forever.