Will there ever be a time when Black women can unapologetically show that they are strong proud and supportive of one another without their action being interpreted as an act of militant defiance?
Sixteen Black West Point cadets who posed with raised fists for a pre-graduation picture that sparked debates on race and proper behavior in uniform won’t be punished for the gesture, the U.S. Military Academy!
The fists-up image, which circulated online, led some observers to question whether the women were expressing support for the Black Lives Matter movement, which grew out of protests over police killings of unarmed black men.
A raised fist has symbolized political resistance for generations, from Nelson Mandela upon his release from prison in 1990 to Democratic Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on the presidential campaign trail this year. It was used by black power advocates in the 1960s, including by two American sprinters during a medal ceremony at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games, and more recently by activists for the Black Lives Matter movement.
But the inquiry found the picture, among several the women made in keeping with an informal campus tradition, captured a spur-of-the-moment gesture intended to demonstrate unity and pride in graduating. Groups of cadets often take Old Corps pictures in traditional dress uniforms to echo historical portraits.
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Dr. Ruby Mae Chapman, The Wisdom Store, Napolean & Ada Moton Chapman Institute, Children’s Advocate, Scholar, Researcher and Writer –
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