With the passing of national civil rights leader Franklin McClain on Thursday, it’s time to realize — if you haven’t already — that the fight is not yet over.
Racism remains, right here in Richmond County. Injustices remain. It doesn’t matter what race you claim to be yours — but note that, regardless of your race, that race does, indeed, matter.
It doesn’t take only a black person to recognize oppression of a black person, or a Latino man or woman to recognize racist behavior towards a fellow Latino. As a fellow human, white, black or something else, we generally are able to recognize it by this guideline: If we wouldn’t want it done to us, why is it alright to be done to others?
McClain, as many of you know, was one of the “Greensboro Four” who decided Feb. 1, 1960 that he and his friends would like to be served a meal at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro. Only problem is that counter didn’t serve to blacks.
As a CNN report showed, McClain and his group were left waiting “and waiting and waiting … for service that never came that day at the whites-only counter.”
The four continued to return to the whites-only counter each day. Within a few days, more than 300 students were taking part in the peaceful sit-in defiance of oppression.
On Saturday, in the Living section of The Weekender in your Daily Journal, you’ll hear from members of our Richmond County community that will confirm that (a) race does matter and that (b) racism remains, right here in Richmond County. We hope this report offers you, the reader, the opportunity to stand in someone else’s shoes, if only for the time it takes you to read the report.
Injustices don’t have to be related to race, of course. They can be due to age, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs or simply not being a part of the “in crowd” at school. And you don’t have to be of a particular race to stand up to authority and say, “hey, this isn’t right.” Doing so isn’t the easiest path; there could be consequences, but that doesn’t make it the wrong course of action.
We can all do our part to make our little part of the world a better place. And if necessary, we can summon inspiration from the courage of people like Franklin McClain.