We can no longer afford to sing Negro Spirituals

Black History month is over. Let’s reflect on the struggles that  African Americans have endured through the ages.  One common practice must end.  We can no longer just sing Negro spirituals.

In the 50’s and 60’s, African Americans marched for equality in cities across America. They often sang the gospel hymn, “We shall overcome.” That familiar hymn resonated with the struggles of the African American communities. As natural born citizens of this United States, they attempted to obtain the equality promised by the 14th amendment.

Hymns, like “We shall overcome,” served the purpose of giving hope to the hopeless. Someday Black people in America would in fact experience the freedoms promised by the Constitution.

These freedoms are elusive for African Americans. Since the dissolution of slavery in 1865, Black people have been subject to Jim Crow during reconstruction, segregation during the civil rights movement, and now institutionalized racism in the aftermath of affirmative action. Although the hymn states that we shall overcome it also suggests “someday”. But when is someday?

Is someday today? Is someday tomorrow, or is it simply someday?

For far too long we have waited on someday. But with diminishing hopes that with each passing day,  someday would become today.

The 1963 March on Washington reminded us of the dangers associated in seeking equality and justice. Later we mourned the assignations of Martin Luther King, Malcom X, Medgar Evers, John F Kennedy and many more. We expected their deaths to serve as a wakeup call. Their murders should have awakened a sense of consciousness and morality in America. Instead these tragic events only postponed  the “someday” reality.

It took  another fifty years before we  celebrated the election of the first Black President. Then Black folks thought for sure that finally “someday” had arrived.

However then we witnessed the senseless deaths of Eric Gardner , Michael Brown, and George Floyd.  And we realized then that someday had suffered another postponement. In fact someday is so far delayed that someday may never come at all.

But just when we thought all hope was lost, Black folk helped to turn a red state blue. We had renewed our faith that maybe someday is in fact possible. However, the blowback was swift and strong.

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Overt racism stormed the Capitol desecrating the hallowed halls of American Democracy, rendering another debilitating blow to someday.

Unfortunately for Black people in America we have become acclimated with the delivery of “someday” justice and democracy.

While we once hoped for someday, too many have unfortunately accepted that someday is  every day. Yet other African Americans decided that we are no longer going to sing Negro spirituals. Awareness of truth without an actionable truth is simply not enough.

Our someday dream will only become a reality  when we realize the power of today – the present.

As of this day we must say to America that we too are an intricate part committed to working together to insure that today is the last day that we allow someday to stand in the way of achieving racial equality and justice everywhere.

Professor Blair Condoll teaches at Dillard University and can be heard daily on WBOK1230 am