Black Troops Were Welcome in Britain, but Jim Crow Wasn’t: The Race Riot of One Night in June 1943

Black American GIs stationed in Britain during the war were given a warm welcome by their hosts but treated harshly by their white US Army comrades.

Source: Black Troops Were Welcome in Britain, but Jim Crow Wasn’t: The Race Riot of One Night in June 1943

There was a time when a segment of our population was being oppressed. During the war the black community learned a very important lesson, that they couldn’t hide away from white abuse, that they had to stand up for themselves. Marching for their rights, speaking out in their defense was dangerous and had the potential for really bad things. The potential for race riots that could have seen thousands killed and entire black communities wiped out.

But something changed after the war. Hell, a number of things changed. Among them was blacks becoming aware of their need to speak out, to become a part of the larger community for their self imposed separation just wasn’t working. And then you had the Federal government starting with the Roosevelt administration and continuing through the Truman, Eisenhower –even Eisenhower–, Kennedy, and Johnson administrations. Men who saw that they owed the black community men and women a lot for what they did during the war. We owed them and it was damn well damn they got repaid for their service.

But now we’ve slacked off. Now we’ve let things slide and let the reactionaries push back against civil rights. For as long as we have those who just won’t let anyone enjoy what they have earned we’re going to have this bigotry, this oppression.

My caregiver Roxanne is a black woman. She’s also a Filipino, and she was just recently called a nigger by one of the residents here. Roxanne is a good, decent person. She is a trained nurse and a caregiver with a number of client she cares for; one of them being me. Roxanne is my friend and she has made a huge difference in my life. Without her I’d likely be in a nursing home by now and I’m just not ready for that. So let me say this, fucking right black lives matter. Press on, fight on, and let’s keep the struggle on until the small and the haters are but a memory.

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