Advanced Essay #3: Waging Wars

In this essay, I explored the mistreatment of black communities through the use of violence against black communities and the use of violence black communities use to retaliate. 

The enslavement of African-Americans ended in 1865 with the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation, but the violence brought on that group persists to this day. With the knowledge that the only reason that so many African Americans are in America today is that their ancestors were sold as objects still brings tension between citizens today. The freedom of enslaved people didn’t mean immediate equal treatment. The era of reconstruction and Jim Crow followed and began with hate groups such as the KKK emerged, spreading the belief of white supremacy. There are people still alive today who have been affected by the civil rights era; the segregation of white and black people has left scars in this country. The internalized frustration of being dehumanized and treated as less than for so long still exists in the minds of individuals. These frustrations in the past have led to extremist groups. The way the government has mistreated black people has led to a country in which the violence and an internal war within the US.

In 1972, a Philadelphia-based black liberation group called MOVE was formed by John Africa. He and his followers all took on the surname Africa; the deeply religious black nationalist group was involved in many violent occurrences in the city of Philadelphia. Their name derived from a quote from the founder, “Everything that’s alive moves. If it didn’t it would be stagnant, dead.” This belief has brought the group to remain active even today. The war between the Philadelphia police and MOVE began during a shoot out in [] leaving [] officers dead and left nine of the members convicted of murder. These members were sentenced to 100 years in prison and denied parole in 2008. The group relocated to a house in West Philadelphia where the end of the war would occur. In 1985, Wilson Goode, the first black mayor of Philadelphia would order for “military grade” weapons to be brought upon the MOVE house. The house was hit with two bombs resulting in 11 deaths of members of MOVE including 5 children. Before the bombing, the police were initially trying to arrest the MOVE members, reportedly saying over a loudspeaker, “Attention MOVE: This is America.” The layers of this statement begin brought to mind the 2017 released song This is America, a song whose imagery brings to attention the injustice that has taken place in black communities

The bombing gave Philadelphia a new name: “The City that Bombed Itself.” The escalation perfectly captures the war between the black citizens of America and the government. The group was formed out of frustration of inequality. Through years of mistreatment the black communities will eventually manifest itself with retaliation. When fighting back, MOVE was drastic and refused to play by anyone's rules but their own, and with that brought the coming of the escalation. The bombing burned down homes across the the predominantly black neighborhood, showing that the government of Philadelphia was more concerned about eliminating the denial of their power than black citizen’s lives and wellbeing. They were more concerned with the power they possessed and the threat that MOVE was to that, then the displacement of hundreds of families and the lives of five children.

In the past and even in recent years, the lack of care for black lives the justice system and government of the US has shown has been jarring. This created unrest and violent riots. In 1992, when three Los Angeles cops were acquitted after the assault of Rodney King, infamous riots erupted throughout LA. Another instance of this occurred in 2014, with the death of Michael Brown, which led to unrest in ferguson. Both cases had video evidence of the violence brought upon the people, however the deaths and assaults were seen through a lens of necessary force. The lack of justice brought to the loss of black lives is a direct contradiction with ethics upheld  in US society. When people die, someone is held responsible, and the lack of action to convict shows that black people are viewed as unworthy of justice. The notion that innocent until proven guilty doesn’t seem to apply when a black life is lost.

The internal war of America has been waged on black citizens that haven’t been equally been treated or considered. The way in which black life is viewed is disposable. Until the government and justice system truly sees the average black citizen as equal to every other person, the war will persist. Essentially causing frustration and acts of violence across the US. The government is meant to advocate for all, but have fallen flat when it comes to black communities.

Work Cited