If history is compared to a compass where are we heading?  Our advancement in technology is headed North and still growing.  Socially our society is at a standstill ~ a stalemate.

With the beginning of the railroad U.S. technology has grown quickly.  Railroads made it possible to move merchandise quickly.  Planes can fly from one country to another in hours.  We can even put a man on the moon.  The telegraph made communication faster.  The computer is faster still; we can communicate with someone on the other side of the earth in a matter of seconds with the touch of a finger.  We have all this technology but, we are still unable to overcome the issues fought over as far back as the civil war.  The civil war was suppose to free the black man and give him the same rights as the white man.

After the civil war Andrew Johnson set up the “Black Code.”  This forced the blacks to work only in the fields or domestic work, often for the same people they had fought to be free from.  It was illegal for them to live in the towns or cities.  It was illegal for them to vote or bear arms.  They were free, but they had no rights.  They had no means to support their families and were often forced back into the same way of life they fought to leave.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was organized in 1909.  This group was started to fight racism, because it didn’t seem that racism against the black was a very high priority.  During World War II the blacks were discriminated against again.  The black enlisted men were not allowed to hold positions of rank, but only did menial jobs.  They were seen as too undisciplined.

Women were allowed to hold nursing and clerical positions.  Women have also fought for equal rights throughout history.  Marriage led to women giving up all their rights to be controlled by their husbands.
Today it is often necessary for the women to work to make ends meet, but the majority still do service work such as waitresses, cooks, housekeepers and hair dressers.  The Equal Pay Act was formed in 1963, but in the 70’s women were still paid 45 percent less than American white males for doing the same job.  During the 80’s women were paid 32 percent less than the American white male ~ doing the same job.

Johnson ‘declared war on on poverty’ in 1964.He promoted programs designed to help dependent mothers and children.  During Franklin Roosevelt’s term he came up with the “New Deal.”  The “New Deal” was designed to help fight racism.  It also helped with health care for the blacks and made housing available for them.  Programs were set up to help the blacks learn to read and write.

With all our technology and all of the promises made throughout this century women and blacks are still seen as lower class citizens.  They are not treated equal to the American white male.  Poverty is still a big problem.  Young mothers are still having babies they can not afford to care for.

We have entered a new century ~ the weapons have changed, but we are still fighting for the very same issues as far back as the civil war.  The government relies on these minorities for the votes they need during election time.  Politicians only make these issues important when they need the support of the lower class citizens. They don’t really want to solve the problems because they want to be able to dangle their promises in front of these minority groups like a farmer holds a carrot in front of the mule.  They hold it out just long enough to give them hope; as long as this is the attitude of our government we will be forever at a stalemate.

Joy Elaine

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