Guest Post By:
Jahi Issa Ph.D
The ideas in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Delaware Politics. Delaware Politics strives to present new and unique articles from those on the ground in newsworthy areas.
Martin Luther King:
I’m absolutely convinced that a riot merely intensifies the fears of the white community while relieving the guilt. And I feel that we must always work with an effective, powerful weapon and method that brings about tangible results. But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.
Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.
I was born and reared in St. Louis County. I attended High School at University City High. It is also the High school were the famous rapper Nelly attended. On my father’s side we are from Kinloch, Mo. The oldest Black incorporated city in Missouri. During the 1990’s many of the homes in Kinloch were bought by St. Louis Lambert Airport in which many family members moved to Berkley and Ferguson, Missouri. I want to point out to readers that Ferguson is part and parcel of St. Louis City (Ferguson is located only two miles from St. Louis).
I arrived in St. Louis around 9:30 P.M. on November 26, 2014. My friend who is a school teacher picked me up and drove me to my relatives’ house in Ferguson. We drove by the Ferguson Police Department which was swarmed by military soldiers. We also noticed protest zones throughout Ferguson. I was shocked to see that police and military outnumbered protesters. There were military and police check points throughout the city. I noticed several military Humvees with what seemed to be rocket launchers strategically located in front of various commercial sites. Most if not all of the stores were boarded up. The main road leading to the place were Mike Brown was killed was completely cut off with five state trooper cars blocking the road. We had to beg and plead with the military to allow us to drive to our destination. The police asked us for our photo ID’s on several occasions. We constantly asked if what they were doing was constitutional, but with high powered weapons in our face, we adhered to their demands.
The check points reminded me of a period in America’s history that African Americans were subjected to literacy tests and poll taxation in order to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Many residents in the city of Ferguson believe that the State of Emergency that Governor Nixon imposed was unconstitutional and unnecessary. I must confess that I was shocked to see U.S. troops patrolling an American city.
Many residents believe that the government is provoking locals to engage in righteous discontent. One person noted that when “White youth in New Hampshire rioted several month ago, there were no restriction of movement nor were the National Guards called in. The only people that had freedom of movement were the police and military, while residents are restricted to ID checks in the City of Ferguson.
People were rightfully angry when paramilitary police were marching up and down the streets of Boston in search of the Marathon Bomber. The precedent was set in Massachusetts! The Patriot Act and the newly adjusted U.S. Code, make it easier for the federal government to assist local police who are already well armed with military gear brought in from Iraq and other war torn areas. True conservatives oppose standing armies because they are potentially dangerous to the liberties of the people, but yet as it regards a Black majority community in duress, conservatives look the other way.
It was a stroke of genius to artificially circumvent citizen’s right of movement in Ferguson. The government’s ability to curtail the First Amendment and temporarily suspend the U.S. constitution has been long debated. Suppression marketing seems to give the elite a sense of psychological relief that out of controlled youth of Ferguson can be contained. Or is it simply the perfect testing ground to justify nationwide martial law? As Malcolm X eloquently stated in his historical speech “Message to the Grassroots, “time will tell.”