I took this last year, but in retrospect, I think it’s my strongest piece from high school.
Working on this project really made me examine my own opinions, preconceptions and prejudices about “slutty” women and women who choose to cover all of their skin alike. I used to assume that all women who wore Hijabs were being oppressed, slut-shame, and look down on and judge any woman who didn’t express her sexuality in a way that I found appropriate.
I’d like to think I’m more open now.
June 26, 1966. In Jackson, Mississippi, a civil rights march culminates in a rally in front of the state capitol: but the past few weeks has shown how dramatically things have changed since a similar rally on the steps of the Alabama capitol last year. This march began on June 5 in Memphis when James Meredith set out for Jackson accompanied by a few companions, 15 law officers (including 2 from the FBI), and members of the press. Meredith was shot three times from a 16-gauge shotgun on the very next day, June 6.
A local white man was arrested at the scene, and Meredith was rushed back to Memphis for emergency surgery. On June 7 civil rights leaders from diverse groups including Dr. Martin Luther King and Rev. Hosea Williams (Southern Christian Leadership Conference), Stokely Carmichael and Willie Ricks (Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee) and Floyd McKissisk (Congress of Racial Equality) vowed to continue the “Meredith March Against Fear.”
Nearly 10,000 black Mississippians participated in the march, and organizers registered 4,000 new voters. Marchers were attacked with tear gas, and some were arrested, including Stokely Carmichael on June 16 in Greenwood. Here is Taylor Branch’s account what Carmichael said to the crowd of 600 upon his release:
“‘This is the twenty-seventh time I have been arrested,’ he began, ‘and I ain’t going to jail no more!’ He said Negroes should stay home from Vietnam and fight for black power in Greenwood. ‘We want black power!’ he shouted five times, jabbing his finger downward in the air….The crowd shouted ‘Black power!’ Willie Ricks sprang up to help lead thunderous round of call and response. ‘What do you want?’ ‘Black power!’”
On June 26, marchers reached the capitol. By now the divisions between the civil rights groups had become obvious to all, and the new call for “Black Power” was picked up by the media and relayed to the nation.