Resistance: the key to moving forward with African American justice Deck: Black History Month recognizes African American resistance as 2023 theme


Graphic by Audrey Mooney

Black (resilience), green (Africa), yellow (optimism), and red (blood) are the colors that represent Black History Month.

Even after slavery was abolished in 1865, African Americans have been facing racial bias and oppression. Segregation started in the south soon after slavery ended. Separate schools, transportation, and services kept black and white apart. 

Jim Crow laws were used to outline where and how African Americans could live. If you were black, your sentence would be longer than someone who is white. In court, African Americans would have a different Bible than those who were white. 

Black people knew things needed to change. Ida Wells refused to leave a car for white people only. She was roughly removed for the car and after, she sued the railroad.

According to the History Channel, “In 1889 [Ida Wells] became co-owner of the Memphis Free Speech and Headlight and used her position to take on school segregation and sexual harassment.” She resisted the mobs that threatened her with death by continuing to fight against the Jim Crow laws. 

The Jim Crow era continued to rage through the 1900s. The Jim Crow laws were getting worse and African Americans were encouraged to leave the southern area. Black people moved north where segregation was not as bad. 

After World War II in 1945, the Civil Rights Movement focused on getting African Americans the right to vote. Schools were no longer segregated due to Brown v Board of Education and the Jim Crow laws petered out across the United States. Even so, there was still racial bias against these individuals. 

In a survey taken by the Pew Research Center in August of 2022, 60% of African American adults thought racism and police brutality were still big problems in the black community. African Americans still resist racism and try to fight against it. 

According to the American Physiological Association, “Optimally, people of color would also have ways to challenge the very existence of racism and reject the internalization of the foundational ideology of the current racialized system. This challenge is the meaning of resistance.”

Racism, hate crimes, and oppression have not stopped African Americans from fighting for their rights and they will continue to resist for as long as they have to.