The growing International protest movement which arose out of the murder of George Floyd and others will undoubtedly result in sweeping legislation to curb police brutality. New laws are needed. For our republic to reach its full potential, blacks have to as well. The vestiges of white supremacy must be removed. Society has to accommodate a new reality of equality. The world now seems to recognize this. However, if past is prologue, we can expect to see patterns of counter legislation that will be enacted to even the score, and perhaps make matters worse.
Newton’s third law asserts that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. African Americans and those supporting our causes should pay particular heed to this. Every legal, constitutional and Statutory advancement from the end of slavery; to the civil rights Statutes, to affirmative action has been met with a series of opposing legislation aimed at nullifying any improvements. In some instances, the counter legislation has had the effect of virtually neutralizing the statute. The Lincoln emancipation proclamation was met with a set of laws that nearly nullified the thirteenth amendment. The Civil rights statutes of the sixties were likewise met with a series of draconian measures that resulted in the mass incarceration of black males. The landmark school desegregation decision, Brown v Board of Education led to mass white flight . https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/brown/brown-aftermath.html
If this pattern holds, and there is evidence that it will, Floyd’s death will likewise lead to the passage of various State, Federal, and local statutory schemes to curb racism and police brutality. Elected officials will celebrate the ensuing legislative triumphs as a Huge step forward toward the goal of eradicating racism and police brutality. These measures will, for the most part, assuage the collective guilt of whites. Blacks will celebrate; some will be skeptical. Still, calm will result, and a relative peace will spread across the land. That is until the next tragedy occurs.
Afterward, there will be a less well-publicized counter. Southern working-class whites and white supremacists will feel like they have been left behind. They will establish their own legislative priorities. This group represents a large and highly coveted voting block. Politicians ,most assuredly, will cater to their whims. This group will now expand to include police and police unions. Some of our nation’s leaders are already pandering and stoking the flames of resentment.
There is a little known and seldom recited component of Newton’s third law that maintains that every assertion or action is opposed not by one but by two opposing forces. The history of legislation aimed at relieving the plight of Black slaves, institutionalized racism, and police brutality in this country bears proof of this.
Reactions to the civil War
During the Civil War, four out of every ten soldiers fighting on the Union side of the War were from Europe. One out of every ten of these soldiers was German. Although this annoyed Lincoln, European soldiers were willing to arm black slaves to aid in the war effort. On the whole, blacks fought well, and a Debt of gratitude was owed. It is a little known fact that one of the Unions Generals, Major General John Fremont issued a proclamation freeing all slaves in Missouri years before Lincoln issued his emancipation proclamation.
The Frémont Emancipation was part of a military proclamation issued by Major General John C. Frémont (1813–1890) on August 30, 1861, in St. Louis, Missouri, during the early months of the American Civil War. The proclamation placed the state of Missouri under martial law and decreed that all property of those bearing arms in rebellion would be confiscated, including slaves, and that confiscated slaves would subsequently be declared free.www.longcamp.com/proc3.html
In January of 1865, three months before the end of the Civil War, General William Sherman and Secretary of the War, Edwin Stanton, met with a group of about twenty black ministers led by Garrison Frazier. The purpose of the meeting was to determine what the newly freed slaves wanted. Garrison stated that blacks wanted land to till that would become their means of self-subsistence. He made it clear that blacks wanted no part of any plan to immediately integrate with whites, who he correctly anticipated would be angry and anxious to seek revenge. After a series of negotiations, a promise was made that was aimed at eventually providing an avenue for black economic self-determination. Guarantees were made that the newly, penniless, and property-less ex-slaves would receive forty acres of land to till and make their own. General Sherman issued special field order 15; it provided that Four hundred thousand acres of confiscated land was to be set aside and parceled off in Forty-acre tracks among the heads of black households. The General later added mules that had been used in the War, along with the provisional titles to property.https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/special-field-orders-no-15
The promise was that these temporary property titles would later be converted to full titles. Unfortunately, for these interim titleholders, less than four months later, Lincoln would be dead, the War would be over, and new promises and compromises would be made.
After the death of Lincoln, his vice President Andrew Johnson was elevated to the Presidency. Johnson had a different strategy. His was a strategy of appeasement and capitulation to the defeated south. This handholding would have consequences that would reverberate for decades to the disadvantage of the ex-slaves.
It did not include giving the former slaves property, making them whole, or providing for their economic independence. Among Johnson’s first acts as President was to pardon former southern slaveowners. These pardons resulted in the return of all lands that had been given to blacks by Sherman. The newly freed slaves were left with no means of self-support. Though free, having to support themselves, slaves found themselves again subject to the prerogatives of their former slave owners. Southern whites were angry; they had lost the War. Now, demons would be exercised, they would take their revenge. Johnson’s betrayal essentially forced the return of the freed slaves into the Gaping Maw of their angry former masters.
It seems that former slaves would continue to be a commodity in the economy of the south. Imagine five generations of your family being in jail for a crime they did not commit. Then suddenly they are told they were now free ; told they could now leave prison. All this without being provided resources. This was the status of the newly freed slave. Though they had provided the south with more than two hundred years of free labor; the ex-slaves were left homeless, without money and without any means of survival. All this while property was being doled out, like candy to all takers foreign and domestic, under the Homestead act. The Homestead act was a plan to give away free property with financial and technical support to those willing to develop that property. Purposely excluded from this, blacks would face an even more menacing opponent. His name was Jim Crow.
It is important to note that during the War, blacks not serving in the union army had survived mainly by resorting to their own devices, pooling their meager resources. Eventually, blacks would rise. But there was a new obstacle. Jim Crow got its name from a minstrel act created by a blackface actor by the name of Thomas D. Rice . The act consisted of a series of caricatures of the supposed buffoonery of blacks.https://nmaahc.si.edu/blog-post/blackface-birth-american-stereotype
We have all heard about the poll taxes and literacy tests that were used to deny the vote. The main thrust of Jim Crow was to stamp blacks with the label of inferiority.
Economically, the purpose of the Jim Crow codes was to provide southern whites with cheap slave labor to substitute for the slave economy that supposedly vanished with the abolition of slavery. The more insidious purpose of Jim Crow was to provide evidence of white claims to racial superiority. The fragile psyche of the southern white would again have its servant.
Like the remaining statutory schemes, we will visit, aimed at relieving the oppression of Black people, the thirteenth amendment had been countered. We will see that each of these remaining legislative efforts would also be met by a two-pronged opposing energy , as outlined in Newton’s third law.
Jim Crow laws remained on the books until 1964, when a new set of rules were enacted. These so called civil rights laws were designed and implemented by Congress to relive the repressive effects the Jim Crow laws Had on American blacks. And, As we will see, they too would be met with a series of taxing statutes that had an arguably greater stranglehold on the black family and their quest for real equality.
Title six of the civil rights act prohibits discrimination in State and Federal programs receiving federal assistance. It applies to discrimination based on race, sex, and national origin. Companion civil rights acts protected the right to vote.
The various civil rights acts included affirmative action programs. Affirmative action is a set of rules that give preference in hiring to individuals in groups known to have been discriminated against historically.
The preamble to the act provided as follows:
An Act. To enforce the constitutional right to vote, to confer jurisdiction upon the district courts of the United States to provide injunctive relief against discrimination in public accommodations, to authorize the Attorney General to institute suits to protect constitutional rights in public facilities and public education, to extend the Commission on Civil Rights, to prevent discrimination in federally assisted programs, to.
The voting rights act was an essential component of the civil rights statutes. It provided the justice department of the United States with authority to bring actions in federal district courts for violations of the voting rights provisions.
The Counter legislation
Shortly after the passage of the civil rights act, there was a series of, ‘get tough’ legislations including the so-called ‘War on Drugs and the War on Crime.’ These legislative initiatives were implemented to address the supposed rampant use of drugs in black communities, and among Hippies. As I noted in an article entitled “The consequences of bad leadership,” The real purpose of this legislation was to disrupt, demonize, marginalize and incarcerate President Nixon’s perceived enemies. Blacks and hippies were chief among Nixon’s enemies.
These statutes and other get tough on crime initiatives advanced by democratic and republican administrations alike resulted in the mass incarceration of black and brown people — substantially compromising the African American family.
We counter with, Coordinated efforts to disenfranchise voters
The voting rights act, first passed in 1964, has been extended on several occasions. Most of the act’s provisions have expired. Since the expiration of the voting rights act, there have been large-scale efforts to limit access to the ballot in major urban areas. These efforts are undertaken under the guise of preventing illegal aliens from voting. There has never been proof of voting by illegal aliens on any wide scale. Or on any scale for that matter. https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/.Interestingly, most of these claims of voter fraud occur in swing states.
The first Presidential election without the voting rights act was the election of 2016. During that election, there were allegations of mass interference with our elections by the Russians. Republicans in Congress blocked efforts to address these issues. We are now seeing Massive six-hour-long lines in places like Georgia and Wisconsin.
In the wake of the Floyd demonstrations, we have seen a wave of lawlessness on the part of police officers. Allegations of Jaywalking, and being out after curfew has resulted in the beatings of innocent citizens by police. This is the first of a two-pronged counter that Newton’s theory predicts. Experience counsels that we anticipate and counter.
Patrick B. Cage