The more things change, the more things stay the same.

Unfortunately, since some conservatives want to desperately rewrite the history books, many in the country might not recognize how close America is to the 1950s and 1960s when it comes to race relations and equality.

When the U.S. Supreme Court surprisingly ruled in favor in Black residents of Alabama who claimed that new voting districts discriminated against Black voters because it did not give them the right to choose the candidates of their choice, many in Black America jumped for joy.

Unfortunately, many Black people jumped for joy in 1954 after the court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling made separate but equal schools for Black students and White students, unconstitutional.

Although the Brown decision still has its place amongst the most important decisions in Supreme Court history, it did little to integrate schools at that time.

Although the court voted in favor of integrated schools, the court’s decision had little impact on schools across America desegregating.

Infamously, former President Dwight D. Eisenhower had to call in the National Guard to escort the Little Rock Nine into Central High School in 1957.

When schools like the University of Alabama had to integrate, former Gov. George Wallace stood in the doorways of the school so that Black students could not enter.

So, while the history books might recognize certain dates for their importance, the implementation of the results often happen a lot later when it comes to Black equality because many of the powers-that-be in White America will do everything in their power to prevent or slow down Black progress, better known as racial equality.

My mother worked for 17 years as a teacher in Houston’s Aldine Independent School District.

Aldine was one of those good ole boy districts that refused to integrate even after busing rules tried to force their hands.

The Acres Homes community housed four schools, Bethune Elementary, Anderson Elementary, Drew Middle School and Carver High Schools.

The Black students in Aldine went to those four schools.

Likewise, Black faculty members worked at those four schools.

And by the way, those four schools were not treated equally by the district because those school often got the old hand-me-down books and equipment once they were no longer good enough for the White schools.

But anyway.

When the state school board got wind that Aldine had not integrated the faculty like they were supposed to, Aldine ordered many Black teachers to leave their classrooms and go to a White school and pretend to teach a class.

On the other hand, they did the same with many White teachers who had to pack up their bags quickly and pretend to teach a class at a Black school.

Aldine defied the judge’s order, then tried to delay implementing the new rules until they no longer could fight integration and equality.

That is what many states like Alabama, Louisiana and Florida are doing with voting rights.

Although judges have said that their voting maps discriminate against Black people, they are refusing to act on the judgements to redraw those maps in a way that is more equal to minority voters in hopes of one day getting a different ruling from the court.

While students of true Black history see the similarities between 1950s and 1960s America to the current generation, so many people who are ignorant to real American history believe that this country has come so far with race relations that racism is not something to even take seriously.

They ask, how can racism exist if a Black man became commander-in-chief in 2008?

How can racism exist when many Black people and White people seem to get along in schools and in the workforce?

Many on the political right say that Black people and liberals just want all White people to feel like they are racist and that is why they are teaching so-called critical race theory.

They say this is not the civil rights movement era.

Therefore, just get over it or leave their country.

Well, I have talked to many people in my family who were adults during the civil rights movement and lived long enough to experience the Black Lives Matter movement of today.

A few years ago, my now late uncle Clagis Bernard told me things are worse in these times than they were during the 1960s.

My aunt Mae Vernon told me she never thought my generation would have to experience what her generation went through, and she was in the first integrated high school graduating class at Spring Creek High School in Kentwood, La.

Brown v. Board of Education supposedly integrated schools in 1954.

But my aunt was a part of the first integrated high school class in Tangipahoa Parish, La. in 1970.

The schools in that southeastern Louisiana parish did not desegregate until the 1969-1970 school year.

If a person cannot see the parallels between the stall and delay tactics of the 1950s to the stalling that is happening in 2023, they are blind to reality.

Sadly, all of this can be avoided if people just use past behavior to predict future behavior.

Unfortunately, certain demographics want to prevent the next generation from learning from that past behavior, making it more likely that the sins of yesterday will resurface.

And for those who think we will never go back to the bad old days, ask Black voters in states like Alabama, Louisiana and Florida who are living a modern civil rights era history lesson every day.

Todd A. Smith
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