By Gary Norris Gray, Staff Reporter

The United States of America celebrated it’s birthday on Monday, July 4th, 2022. African Americans, women, and other minorities want to know do they still count in the United States. Frederick Douglass delivered a wonderful heartfelt speech in Rochester, New York, July 5, 1852 on what the meaning of the 4th of July for the Colored, Negro, Black, African-American.

Every American should read it and maybe just maybe some of this nonsense would stop. If this country is truly concerned about the African American it would delete some of the content in the Constitution, it will not happen because of the dominance factor in play in this country.

America continues to hold on to some of its old racist, sexist, homophobic history and continues to fight new political, social, and economic innovations. The United States also fights the truth staring them in the face when it comes to the issue of race. Our forefathers wrote this masterpiece called the Constitution for white males only.

These leaders of the new state, the United States of America declared all men are created equal but there was something wrong with this historic document, Black people were slaves and worked for free and women did not count. Not much has changed in 2022.

This legislature declared Black citizens as three fifths of a person and three fifths vote. The Three-Fifths Compromise is found in Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution. To satisfy the southern state contingency and their Black farm labor force which outnumbered landowners. It is still in The Constitution, even though it has been amended twice. This passage should be deleted it is no longer needed, question is it still there to remind African Americans? Is it still there as a warning we can go back as this Supreme Court proved in 2022.

Notwithstanding the initial disagreements over slavery at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, the framers of the Constitution continued to prioritize the maintenance of unity of the new United States over the eradication of slavery by resolving to again diffuse sectional tensions over the matter. As they went about creating a new scheme of government, the delegates from the small and large states were divided on the issue of the apportionment of legislative representation.

We African-Americans still have a difficult time counting in the United States of America. Slavery is an evil that has loomed over our nation since its inception. Its racist legacy carried through Black Codes, Jim Crow, racial segregation, and Mass incarceration. It continues today with Police brutality and the shootings of Black males. It continues with a prison labor force with little or no pay and its 2022.

Six years ago former quarterback Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers reminded America with the Betsy Ross Nike Flag shoe controversy. Kaepernick did not approve of the right wing support of the shoe and did not want to be the face of that ad for the Nike company. The shoe represented the historical slavery and the Southern States representation in the first American flag.

This issue forced Nike to pull the shoe off the market and made Colin the bad guy AGAIN… Former President Donald J. Trump reminded us with the detention of South American children and the separation from their parents at our southern boarders, people of color don’t count.

Our fellow white male citizens reminded us in the Northwest and South with the rise of supremacist groups and the unfurling of the Confederate Flag. The White Knights, Klu Klux Klan, The Proud Boys, and the Oath Keepers cannot be the legacy of the United States of America, we are so much better than that.

Amendment XV.

Passed by Congress February 26, 1869. Ratified February 3, 1870. SECTION 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. SECTION 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

This was the first attempt at universal voting for all males after the Civil War. The Southern States from Virginia to Texas reversed this amendment in the years after the Civil War with states rights, we are doing it again with women’s rights and gun laws. Black and brown citizens were given I.Q. test, oral exam, and poll tax after the highest number of Black elected officials sat in state houses across the south.

Within three years most of the Black elected officials were out of office and the Southern States would limit African American voting rights until the 1965 Federal Voting Rights Act almost 100 years later. Before 1965 only 21 percent of African Americans voted post 1965 it was 65 percent and in 1980 it was the highest ever at 85 percent. States rights gerrymandering, redistricting, and legal registration are trying to suppress the African American vote again in 2022.

The Congress of the United States ended the practice of Slavery in 1869 based on race but they did not end the racial discrimination. America is still one of the only countries in the world in the 20th century, Brazil is the other to have a race based slavery system. Brazil freed their slaves the same year as the United States without the racial rancar. Brazil now has a beautiful mixed culture population while the United States still fights for its racial identity.  

 It took three years before Black Texan citizens knew they were free on June 19th creating the new Black holiday Juneteenth. Today 28 states have language in their state constitution about the elimination of slavery within their state. That leaves 22 states that have left the door open.

Newly freed Blacks went into debt immediately with tenant farming because they had to buy the seeds, equipment, and labor, from the landowner-former master. The cycle of never gaining wealth like white Americans. This financial handicap continues to this day for the average African American with red-lining in inner cities and denying low home loans.

Americans must end this exception passing the Abolition Amendment introduced by Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Representative Nikema Williams of Georgia. This would strike the “Slavery Clause” of the 13th Amendment that allows slavery to continue in the United States. Following the ratification of the 13th Amendment, including the Slavery Clause, in 1865, Southern jurisdictions arrested Black Americans in large numbers for minor crimes, like loitering or vagrancy, codified in new ‘Black Codes,’ which were only applied to Black Americans.

It also created a police force just to capture African Americans coming from the South to the North (that’s another story for another time).The loophole still exist in the U.S. Constitution to this day. The 13th Amendment abolished most—but not all—slavery “as a punishment for crime.” The American industrial prison complex continues the last baston of the Slave mentality.

Amendment XIII. Passed by Congress January 31, 1865. Ratified December 6, 1865. (Note: A portion of Article IV, Section 2 of the Constitution was changed by the 13th Amendment.) SECTION 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. SECTION 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Amendment XV. Passed by Congress February 26, 1869. Ratified February 3, 1870. SECTION 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. SECTION 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Women would get to vote in 1919

Amendment XIX. Passed by Congress June 4, 1919. Ratified August 18, 1920. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

In 2022 the American females are once again fighting for their right to make her own choices for her body, her family, and her life. One hundred years later the United States government turns their back on female Americans. Fifty years later our Supreme Court has overturned Roe vs. Wade. Civil Rights continues to be chipped away piece by piece and step by step by states rights.

In 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act and the Voters Rights Act… The 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in public accommodations and federally funded programs. It also strengthen the enforcement of voting rights and the desegregation of schools.

In 1965 the Voters Rights Act was installed, This act was signed into law on August 6, 1965, by President Lyndon Johnson. It outlawed the discriminatory voting practices adopted in many southern states after the Civil War, including literacy tests as a prerequisite to voting.

What they don’t tell you in history class is that these two acts can be reversed or amended at anytime, THEY ARE ACTS that were voted into law and can be rescinded at anytime. These two ACTS must be renewed, President George W. Bush did so in 2006 and President Barack Obama did it again in 2015. Now imagine what President Donald Trump would have done if he had the opportunity.

Congress reconsidered the Act in 2006 as the special provisions were due to expire in 2007. Civil rights organizations advocated for the renewal and strengthening of the special provisions. As a matter of principle, Democrats generally supported renewing the special provisions. However, the Republican Party controlled both chambers of Congress and the presidency, and many Republicans considered the preclearance requirement an affront to states rights and the principle of color blindness. 

Furthermore,conservatives believed that the primary beneficiaries of the special provisions were African Americans, who overwhelmingly and increasingly voted for Democratic Party candidates. However, Republicans were receiving increasing support from some language minority groups, particularly Hispanics and Asian Americans, and they did not wish to risk losing that support by refusing to reauthorize the special provisions. 

Republicans also recognized that the Act often helped Republican candidates win by requiring jurisdictions to pack Democratic-leaning racial minorities into few electoral districts. In addition, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) had a strong desire to reauthorize the special provisions, and he led an early effort to pass a reauthorization bill before his chairmanship expired at the end of 2006. Thus, a consensus in favor of reauthorizing the special provisions emerged early in the legislative process.

African Americans are not fully protected and states rights could erode these Acts. They have already started in Texas. The climate to eliminated these two Acts was conceivable during the Trump administration and if he had been re-elected these two Acts would have been in the bulls eye of our 45th President of the United States.

If this country continues down this path it will be the 19th century all over again and as an African American-Native American Indian I’m not going…….

We are a nation of can-do so let’s go eliminate the political and social ora of racism, sexism, disablism, and homophobia. Stop backing a leader and a party that has little or no interest in your well being. Let us end the blaming of immigrants for our ills and back to the nation that gave opportunity to everyone. The United States of America has been and will be the leader of justice and freedom we cannot give up this mantel to the political forces from the far left or the far right.

America must not ever forget the scare of slavery and the effect it has on the United States. It still has a devastating effect on Black people and the way law enforcement and legislators view the law. As the Reverend Doctor Martian Luther King Jr. Stated many times in the 1960’s “We shall overcome.” Ladies and Gentlemen we all have work to do.

Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian. Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor Pad Network on Disabled Community Activist. Email

©Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray Leopard Prod

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