During black history month we recognize the accomplishments, contributions, and indelible mark black Americans had in our lives. It’s important that we don’t try to erase or change that narrative.
There are plenty of space to celebrate the contributions white Americans have made to the civil rights in America but to the point of this original post, February is not the time and Black History Month is NOT the place!
I saw the image below making its rounds on Facebook. It has the following caption:
“Why is this white man relevant to Black history? He was one of the Freedom Riders. In 1960, he was on a bus full of Freedom Riders who arrived in Montgomery Alabama where an angry white mob was waiting for them. He volunteered to get off the bus first and take the brunt of the mob’s violence, which left him beaten and bloody. His name was James Zwerg.”
Do we need to know or remember James’s name?
I argue that the answer is no.
I argue that circulating an image of him during Black History Month covered in blood as a martyr for the Civil Rights Movement is centering whiteness and his “allyship”.
Its great, if this story is true, that he stepped off the bus first and put his body on the line. But…
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