The National Museum of Civil Rights at the Lorraine Motel brought home the degradation of slavery, the total oppression of Negroes, and the courage and resilience of people who endured humiliation daily and risked everything if they defied the code or stood up for their rights. The museum also brought home the unending struggle for justice, not just by a few famous iconic warriors in a few cities, but by young and old across the South. Each person risked all and payed a price. But there seemed to be faith that however long the road to justice, each person’s sacrifice would move the promised land, and a time of justice, closer. I realized that resilience is not a personal trait alone, but rests on family, community and faith.
The civil rights movement came after centuries of Black resistance and rebellion, personal and collective. Lessons learned along the way helped the civil rights movement to devise strategies that worked. Winning rights in law was only the beginning of the struggle to use them. So I am reminded that we get what we fight for, and can take no gains for granted. If the next Administration attempts to undermine civil rights on many fronts, a new struggle for justice will be needed. I have found role models for dignity and valor this week.
-- by Ray Bridge