Meredith is a civil rights hero who doesn’t fit neatly into political categories. He espouses conservative ideas, yet he proclaims a radical mission to destroy white supremacy.
In current demonstrations, there are echos of a civil rights era catchphrase: People are ‘sick and tired of being sick and tired.’
Some lament that today’s anti-racism movement has no charismatic leaders like the civil rights era did. Such comparisons don’t reflect the real history of the struggle for Black equality in the US.
Young men make up the majority of black people killed by police in the US. That’s fed a perception that black women are somehow shielded from the threat of police violence. They aren’t.
Sweeping changes were possible in the past because black leaders were willing to risk their lives and call out problems before they became crises.
Before the civil rights era, a group of powerful and resourceful black women laid the groundwork for a generation of black activists.