NOW – Free At Last?
By the 1980s, Black America came to another roadblock in the long struggle to full equality.
After the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, there were many more black college graduates, professionals, and business people than before. Many of them believed they would soon reach the American Dream.
Working-class blacks, however, faced a very different reality. Factory jobs left the inner cities and the industrial South. This led to high black unemployment. The dreams that had brought many black people North during the Great Migration were quickly dying.
White flight to well-funded suburban schools broke the back of school desegregation ordered by the Supreme Court.
Police brutality led to black unrest and rebellion in several cities. The most well-known occurred in Los Angeles in 1992 after the Rodney King beating.
The War on Drugs began to require harsher sentences for drug offenses. These have been applied most often to African Americans.
The number of blacks in prison has soared over the last thirty years, even when crime rates are at historic lows. Recent “justifiable homicides” of blacks by non-blacks have again raised questions about racial equality before the law. This situation is being called the “New Jim Crow.”
Still, the advances of African Americans in all fields – and the election of our first black president – give some reason to hope.
Arno Michaels grew up as a gifted child of privilege. In his teens he became a white-power extremist, a leader of skinheads. Today he is an international activist for peace, justice, and basic human kindness. Read his story and watch a video about his transformation and redemption.
Here are some of the exhibits we plan to mount in this gallery.