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NOT ORDINARY PEOPLE

Honoring Black History Month...

Alexis of African American Studies Department, CSUF talking about the people who paved the path to the African American Race to be free and enjoy their birth right of freedom to be human. May be these are characters not known to many but contributed and paved the path to the freedom of Black America.

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Amelia Boynton, a name that you may never have heard of.  Amelia Boynton was a key player during the Civil Rights Movement.  Amelia Boynton was beaten and hospitalized on Bloody Sunday in 1965.  There are countless, nameless, brave people who put their lives and bodies on the line for the civil rights African Americans enjoy and take for granted today. As we near the end of Black History Month, I don't want it to end with February.  We must remember the people who were beaten, blown across the street by water hoses, and bitten by dogs trained to attack Black people.  Do we know their names? No, we don't.  I will introduce you to just a few who stood tall and fought for the rights of African Americans.

During the Bus Boycott in Montgomery, Alabama from December 1955 - December 1956 you could hear the sounds of walking feet.  You could see the faces set with determination as they walked to school, to work and back home. Each morning they set out again.  Groups of people, unnamed in the journals of history, but these unnamed people made it possible for people of color to be able sit anywhere they choose on public transportation. Yes, Rosa Parks was a catalyst for the Boycott, but there were others before her. Claudette Colvin was arrested nine months before Rosa Parks. Claudette was also arrested for not giving up her seat to a white person.  Claudette Colvin's case was not widely publicized, because she was a teenager and she became pregnant.

Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney were killed in 1961 by a Ku Klux Klan lynch mob near Meridian, Mississippi. The three young civil rights workers were working to register black voters in Mississippi.  You may or may not have heard of these three brave young men. These men worked with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).  They were just a few of many who worked throughout the South to register people to vote. At the end of the film Selma, we see Viola Liuzzo.  Viola Liuzzo, a White woman with 5 children, was shot dead by the Ku Klux Klan in March of 1965 in Montgomery, Alabama.  Mrs. Liuzzo was driving activists to the airport when she was murdered.  I must point out, there were so many others we will never know the names of or see their faces.

Janice Kelsey will always remember the Children's Crusade. Kelsey was one of many young people who formed what became known as, "The Children’s Crusade". The Crusade took place in Birmingham, Alabama during the first week of May 1963.  Many of those children are now parents and grandparents.  They can proudly tell their children how they put their young lives on the line for Civil Rights. “We were told in some of the mass meetings that the day would come when we could really do something about all of these inequities that we were experiencing. And we were calling it D-Day. That was May 2, 1963,” remembers Janice Kelsey.  

Dr. Martin Luther King could not have done it alone. The bodies that filled the jails and rode the buses to the South were individuals of all races. When we see images of the marches that took place throughout the country, we see people of all races and ethnicities.  Dr. Martin Luther King was a strong leader, who led an army of people who believed that in order to make the future better, they must fight for the Civil Rights that had been denied for far too long. I say thank you to The Freedom Riders, The Children Crusade marchers, the people of the NAACP, the people of CORE, and the people who refused to ride the bus and walked with dignity.  My list of the extraordinary people is endless. Once again, I say thank you to all.

You are No Ordinary, Thank You!

 

By Gwen Alexis, MS

California State University, Fullerton

African American Studies Department

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References: http://www.biography.com/people/amelia-boynton-21385459, Biography.Com,  

#BlackHistoryMonth, #MLK, #Amelia Boynton, 

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