'Slavery, that wretched institution, shaped the Capitol,' Booker says. It shaped the country

3 months ago 67

When I report on police brutality, inequity in public education, or the need for criminal justice reform, it’s not to keep a daily account of unconnected, singular examples of bias. It’s to provide so many examples of inequity that explaining those examples away as exceptions to the rule becomes nearly impossible. They’re not exceptions to the rule. Racism is the rule in America. The ability to profit off of people of color is so fundamental to the major systems that keep our country running that some of the most effective means of reform historically have been boycotts of those systems altogether.

That was the case when Martin Luther King Jr., then president of the Montgomery Improvement Association, led a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, sparked by civil rights leader Rosa Parks' arrest on Dec. 1, 1955 for sitting in the front of a segregated bus. The end result was the Supreme Court affirming a federal district court ruling in 1956 that bus segregation was indeed unconstitutional. People of color work, paid or otherwise, and America’s capitalistic engine keeps running. That is both this country’s history and its present.

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