PRINCE/What if Medgar Evers had lived?
Wednesday, June 12, 2013 2:30 PM
Medgar Evers is a figure I came to know through academic research at the University of Mississippi more than a few years ago. Submerging myself in that sad, turbulent era for two years, a question I've often since pondered is: How different would things be if Medgar Evers had lived?
What if Medgar had lived? What if King had lived? What if Kennedy had lived?
Somewhere along the way after Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 the wheels came off and the violence erupted, it was easy for even a student who never experienced that era to conclude.
A year after Medgar Evers' death, the cancer of hate erupted in my own hometown of Philadelphia and three young men were murdered for registering blacks to vote. Racism at is core is sin. Racism is wrong, but over the last 50 years the South has undergone basic, drastic change for the good.
My experience has taught me that trust matters. Relationships matter when it comes to racial reconciliation. Communication matters. When good people do nothing, evil flourishes.
A case before the U.S. Supreme Court expected to be handed down this month involving Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and preclearance begs this question: When will the federal government stop punishing the South for the sins of our great-great-great-great grandfathers?
We no longer face obdurate segregationist regimes in state government seeking to oppress and entire an race of human beings. Today, just as repressive, though, is a system meant to be a temporary safety net that has become a way of life, a cycle of poverty, that we should all seek to end.
In my hometown of predominantly white Philadelphia a black man was just re-elected mayor. In predominantly black Greenwood, a white woman was just re-elected mayor. In predominantly black Greenville, they've twice elected a white mayor in recent years.
Change is evident, but a cottage industry has sprung up around race. The more profitable narrative is that not enough has changed in the South and we need the government to fix it.
Better relationships and building trust is the answer, not more decades of government mandates.
My hope on this day is that we will memorialize and honor the sacrifices but look toward a future where the color of one's skin is not what matters. It's a heart change that can only occur when we recognize the sin of racism and oppression, repent and pledge to work for the good for all who are seeking to do the right and just thing. Liberty is a God-given inalienable right. Only evil seeks to repress, as the Evers family (50 Years Later, Medgar Evers' Widow Relives The Pain) all too well knows and remembers on this day.