When you hear the word equality, what comes to mind? Growing up, I remember always hearing my grandmother always tell stories about how our ancestors were once slaves and how they had to abide by rules by working all day in fields picking cotton. It never really registered to me until I got a little older and realized that my ancestors did not have freedom. That there was no equality. They were not able to freelance and go as they pleased. Being African, having to pick cotton all day in extremes heat and if they did not abide by their Master’s rules, they endured beatings, whippings, or hangings. This to me was terrifying because here I was as a young child who did not have to endure this pain or suffering. Here I was as a little black girl kissing my mother good-bye on the front porch, walking to school in the morning, and entering a class full of my peers of all races. This is when I realized that equality was not an option back then, and that it took hundreds of years for my people to finally obtain it.
My grandmother Mary, told us how when they freed the slaves in the United States, slaves were ecstatic but at the same time confused because they were unsure on where to go. A lot of them had become sharecropper to take care of themselves and their families. The unfortunate idea of being a sharecropper was that you had to work all season just to receive your share of money. However, if the crops failed due to a drought then you were not paid. It was almost as if you were still a slave, under the Master’s control, working for nothing.
As an African American who is honored and blessed to say that my ancestors fought to have equal rights. Equal rights were apart of being free. Blacks were so limited when it came down to their freedom in America. They had to sit in the back of busses or give up their seats for a white passenger. They endured going through the back of movie theaters just to watch a show because they were not allowed to enter the front of the building. Blacks were not allowed to enter certain diners and could not drink out of water fountain that specified that only “whites” could drink out of them. When you decipher all the hardship they had to overcome because of their race, you begin to understand why being more than just free meant so much to them. This fight was also about equality. Blacks were free but with restrictions, and I feel as though they overcame that by fighting the justice system.
Blacks in America went through trials and tribulations to demand the correct equality and freedom that they deserved by boycotting the bus system, staging sit-ins, and marching for equal rights. Africans held one of the largest boycott demonstration in the United States in 1955 for more then a year to prove that they did deserve equal rights. This was a process that took time and did not happen as swiftly as they wanted but it did bring forth change. There was a significant point being made with boycotts because it had hurt the economic foundation in Montgomery, Alabama. Blacks wanted to be heard and went far as effecting the financial budget in Montgomery.
Ten years after showing non violent actions of wanting equal rights in America, African Americans were granted the right to vote. This just showed that they were reaching a point in satisfactory, that all of their hard work fighting for equality was paying off.
As an African who is American, I can be proud and feel honored that I had people who fought for my equality. If it was not for their brave actions and courageous acts, I would not probably be where I am at today. I would not have the friends, job, or be living in the neighborhood that I reside in today. It is because of them that I am able to watch my daughter congregate with other children who are of other races at the public park. I am blessed to know that equality has spoken for itself. It may not have happened as quick and smooth as we as a nation may have wanted it to, but it was well worth it. Equality for me means being at peace wherever you shall go and pursuing happiness without a fight. Knowing that my daughter and I will not have to endure the pain that my ancestors and grandparents went through to reach equality, show that they put up a good battle for many generations to come.