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Are We Now in a Second reconstruction?

From the end of World War II, America entered into a period known as the reconstruction. The reconstruction was all about righting the wrongs that have been done to black people. Adjusting civil rights laws and introducing new laws that protected us as a people. 

The change that was enacted from that time didn’t happen as a result of the black men who were in congress. Even though they played a huge role in asking and pushing for this reform, the main change came as a result of the black people who rose up to protest. It came as a result of our grandfathers and grandmothers carrying plaques that said enough is enough. 

Now, this didn’t mean that the congress of that time was happy to pass the first civil rights legislation. This first reconstruction promised black people equal rights and full citizenship rights but the truth of the matter is that today, we are still fighting to see the fulfillment of that promise. 

The issues raised in the first reconstruction have yet to be fully tackled. The first reconstruction sought to tackle slavery and establish equality in our rights to vote and our right to be protected under the law. The first reconstruction was a major move that was supposed to bring about major changes. But for many years after that black people still suffered segregation and discrimination in every sector. 

The first reconstruction still has loops that are yet to be fixed, but the second reconstruction has begun? According to black history books, the second reconstruction began in the ’50s when a new set of black people stood up to work at ending racial violence and segregation. Martin Luther King, Ella Baker, and many others were at the forefront of this movement. They pushed a new narrative that showed the American congress it was time to have a second look at the civil rights laws that were in place. 

Civil rights laws that canceled discrimination based on race were enacted and the right to vote was established fully and equally. While the achievement of this movement was great, the promise of the second reconstruction still remains unfulfilled, so yes, we are still in the second reconstruction. Laws were enacted to cancel discrimination both then and now black people are still more likely to be incarcerated than white people. Black people still fall behind in every economic indicator, there is a huge wealth gap between black people and white people. 

Economically black people have had to take the back seat, considered second in job interviews, more likely to be oppressed by law enforcement for trying to assert their rights. Even though black people now vote on the same terms as white people, and we are in political offices now more than ever, economic inequalities still exist. 

Unemployment and poverty are at an all-time high among black people and the pandemic exposed the huge gap. The second reconstruction is meant to tackle segregation on all levels but we are yet to see its full-blown results. Today we face police brutality and federal courts that do not have our backs as citizens, where’s the equality that was promised? When police officers are yet to be held accountable for the blood of black people on their hands. 

We are still in the second reconstruction, and now more than ever more groups are standing up to push for a third reconstruction! All over the country reports have made it clear that black people took a big hit in the pandemic, we are still taking the big hit. Black people are more affected by the pandemic than white people because of where we fall in the economic pyramid. 

The need for reconstruction is glaring; black people have lesser access to healthcare, are more likely to be poor, and are more likely to be working underpaid jobs. There is more awareness now of the racial inequality we have been in for decades now. This quagmire we have found ourselves in this year is telling of the governments’ effort. We have had more grassroots protests today, and new movements sprouting up to push for this much-needed change. 

Today, we see congress trying to introduce a new civil rights act, that is supposed to reenact the second reconstruction and reform the police. We are yet to see solid finalization of this but we can only hope? And continue to push for our rights as we are doing now. A third reconstruction might be underway.

REFERENCES

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/16/politics/police-reform-senate-republicans/index.html

https://history.house.gov/Exhibitions-and-Publications/BAIC/Historical-Essays/Keeping-the-Faith/Civil-Rights-Movement/

https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2021/country-chapters/united-states

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