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Dispatches from Baltimore: Black History is America’s History

February 26, 2019

Written by Karsonya Wise Whitehead, originally published in the Afro newspaper 2/16/19

Growing up in Washington, DC, in a small all-black community full of teachers and pastors and government workers, I learned early on that Black history is America’s history and it is American history. There were days when my father and his friends would interrupt our game of Freeze Tag or Simon Says to teach us about our history. We were told, more than once, that our history did not begin and end with slavery. Africans arrived in this country and worked as indentured servants, just like everyone else. We were taught that the Christopher Columbus “1492 Arrival Story” was a lie and that as black people, we were a part of the 1619 legacy. It was not until I was a college student, majoring in history, that I finally began to make the connections between 1619 and the beginning of the Black American history story.

It was in late August 1619, at Point Comfort, on the James River, that the first 20 Africans arrived on the shores of this country aboard the White Lion, an English ship. They were sold in exchange for food and later transported to Jamestown, where they were placed on indentured servant contracts. Given that Virginia’s General Assembly had not yet worked out the terms for what constituted enslavement in the colony, it is likely that they received the same rights, duties, privileges, responsibilities, and punishments as white indentured servants. Five years later, in 1624, two of the people from that ship, Anthony and Isabella, had a son, William Tucker, who was the first person of African ancestry born in the 13 British Colonies. Although very little is known about his life, records suggest that he was born at Fort Monroe, baptized in Jamestown, and named after Captain William Tucker, who held his parents’ indentured contracts.

When I first read through the research, I was reminded of what my father used to always tell us, Black History is American History. It has been 400 years since Black people arrived in this country and we are at a moment where we must pause to reflect on what it means to be the descendants of people who survived being born black in this country. We have survived four hundred years of constant brutal attacks on our blackness. We have endured four hundred years of degradation, humiliation, pain, death, and fear. And, yet, we are still here. They did not break us. They did not stop us. They did not erase us. They did not kill our joy, our faith, and our absolute belief in justice. We survived, and it is not because of magic; it is because we come from people who chose every single day to survive.

We are here at a moment that will define us, where we have to decide who we want to be, what do we want to be remembered for, and how do we want to contribute to this current movement for humanity. We are witnessing a moment, during a week of what would have been Trayvon Martin’s 24th birthday, that Black Lives Matter is actively being taught in the classroom while Virginia Governor Ralph Northam defends his use of wearing blackface. It is a week where Stacey Abrams became the first black woman to give a Democratic rebuttal to our nation’s first whitelash president. It is a moment where we are dealing with the reality that across the country unarmed black people are still being shot by the police while right here in Baltimore, our homicide numbers within the Black Butterfly neighbors are slowly inching up.

Frederick Douglass once said, that Black people watered the soil of America with their tears, nourished it with their blood, and tilled it with their hands. As a Black woman, it makes me proud to realize and understand that we helped to build this country and we are one of the reasons why it is so great. Ninety-three years ago, Carter G. Woodson launched Negro History Week, as a time to remember and teach about Black history. In 1976, it was expanded to a month and became an internationally recognized time of celebration. I grew up celebrating Black History Month in February and being taught Black history from March to January. As both a supporter and a critic of Black History Month, I hold fast to the hope that one day we will not need a designated month to remind people of who we are but that people will recognize that Black History is American History. And as such, it should be regularly taught in the schools, around the dinner tables, on long drives across the country, and in the middle of Fortnight games and Netflix challenges. This is how we rise, how we move forward, and how we honor those who made a decision to survive so that we could thrive.

Karsonya Wise Whitehead (; Twitter: @kayewhitehead) is the #blackmommyactivist and an associate professor of communication and African and African American studies at Loyola University Maryland. She is the host of “Today With Dr. Kaye” on WEAA 88.9 FM and the author of the forthcoming “Dispatches from Baltimore: The Birth of the Black Mommy Activist.” She lives in Baltimore City with her husband and their two sons.


Dispatches From Baltimore: ‘I’m From Baltimore, I’m Already Dead’

December 20, 2018

Karsonya (Dr. Kaye) Wise Whitehead

Originally published in The Afro 12.12.18

Synopsis: This is a Part VIII of my ethnographic study chronicling life inside the Black Butterfly hypersegregated neighborhoods of Baltimore City. Part of the reason why I am doing this is because of Jason, a ninth grade student from Frederick Douglass High School. I met him in the hallway last year when I hosted a teach-in at his school. I asked him what his plans were for his life and what did he want to be when he grew up. At first, he did not respond. He turned and leaned up against the locker. He sighed and checked his phone. “My father is dead.” he said, “My brother is dead. I had two cousins, they got shot. My uncles are locked up. What do I want to be when I grow up? Nothing. I’m from Baltimore, I’m already dead.”

Baltimore Holds "Ceasefire Weekend" After Highest Murder Rate Ever In 2017

At any given moment, there are about a half a million stories that need to be told about the reality of growing up and trying to grow old in Baltimore City. Stories about racial and economic inequality; about predatory policing and structural racism; about health disparities and food apartheid; about some of the people who died, like Freddie Grey and Tyrone West, Taylor Hayes and Wadell Tate; and, about all of the people who are trying to live. In the book of Acts, the apostle Paul tells his fellow shipmates that an angel told him that the ship was going to crash and in order for them to survive, they would need to hang onto the broken pieces and make their way to shore. This is what it feels like trying to grow up and grow old in some neighborhoods in our city—you do everything you can to hang onto the broken pieces and try like hell to make it to the shore.

Life in Baltimore City is complicated. It is challenging and hard. It is racially segregated and economically divided. It is a tale of two cities—one mostly White and the other mostly Black, separate and unequal. I believe that in order to understand the deep sense of helplessness, hopelessness, and malaise that hangs like a cloud over certain parts of our city, you must intentionally spend some time in both Baltimores. You have to visit the schools, the corner stores, and the churches. You have to catch the buses and walk the streets. You have to try and see what it feels like to hang onto the broken pieces and what it feels like when you do not have to do this. This is what I have been doing for the past five months as I have been conducting my unofficial ethnographic study of Baltimore’s hypersegregated Black neighborhoods. I have been trying to understand what life is like within the Black Butterfly, trying to find some answers to the questions that I have been wrestling with since 2015 when a Harvard University study concluded that out of the nation’s 100 largest jurisdictions, children born in poverty in Baltimore City have the worst chances of ever escaping it.

As much as possible, I spend my time talking to young people, asking them questions and trying to listen to them. I want to see the world from their perspective. I want to hear their stories and in some small way, help to shoulder their pain. Part of the reason why I do this is because of Jason, a ninth grade student from Frederick Douglass High School. I met him in the hallway last year when I hosted a teach-in at his school. I asked him (like I asked all of the students that day) what his plans were for his life and what did he want to be when he grew up. At first, he did not respond. He turned and leaned up against the locker. He sighed and checked his phone. I just stood there, quiet, hoping that he would answer me. “My father is dead.” he said, “My brother is dead. I had two cousins, they got shot. My uncles are locked up. What do I want to be when I grow up? Nothing. I’m from Baltimore, I’m already dead.”

I did not say anything. He looked at me and then turned and walked away. I wanted to go after him. I wanted to talk to him and tell him that he was going to be ok. I wanted to ensure him that he could make it, that I was going to help him, and that together we could change his future. I wanted to do and say all of this, but I did not. I felt overwhelmed. Standing in the hallway, it was hard to breathe and hard to imagine a different way forward. His life, according to the data, was being shaped by racially segregated neighborhoods, poverty, poor schools, subpar housing, drugs, gangs and a history of racism; his response showed that he had been listening, he had been watching, and he is no longer waiting for someone or something to come along and save him. He did not believe that he could be saved and, on that day, standing in the hallway, listening to his story, I failed to tell him that he could. I will not fail again.

Karsonya Wise Whitehead  is the #blackmommyactivist and an associate professor of communication and African and African American studies at Loyola University Maryland. She is the host of “Today With Dr. Kaye” on WEAA 88.9 FM and the author of the forthcoming “Dispatches from Baltimore: The Birth of the Black Mommy Activist.” She lives in Baltimore City with her husband and their two sons.

Baltimore City Schools, Throwback to the Jim Crow Era

September 16, 2018

I have been a Baltimore City resident for close to fifteen years. My husband and I are raising our sons here and teaching them how to navigate city life. I have worked as a middle school teacher, at one of the most persistently dangerous schools in Baltimore, and I am now a tenured professor at Loyola University Maryland. I am also the host of “Today With Dr. Kaye” at WEAA at Morgan State University and like most people in this city, I live and shop and work somewhere between the intersections of the white L and the black butterfly.

With everything that has happened in this city—from Freddie Grey to the Gun Trace Task Force and the ongoing impact of redlining to the rows of abandoned houses—I believed that I have seen and heard it all when it came to Baltimore City politics but I was wrong. Every day on my radio show we talk about some of the stories that matter and demand our attention. And last week, for four days straight, all we could talk about was what was happening within the city schools. We could not understand how a city that spends almost $15,000 per pupil could justify having its students sit in hot depilated buildings for even a half of a day. It felt racist and unfair. We said it was criminal and that someone should be held responsible. I talked with Dr. Sonja Santelisis, the CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools, and my listeners were unsatisfied with her responses. I shared Governor Larry Hogan’s statements and they were offended by his excuse because while we talked and politicians passed the blamed, our children were attending schools and suffering in silence.

I spoke to a mom whose daughter attends Mt Royal Elementary School and she said that the students in her daughter’s class spent four days crying and coughing because they could not breathe. They were told not to complain and to lay their heads down on the desk. On the third day of school, a teacher called my show and told me that her and her students felt like they were in hell—in a hot building without water (they ran out of Deer Park after the first day), or air conditioning, or toilet paper (they ran out on the second day). She said that it was so hot that the mice were coming out of the walls, running around, leaving mouse droppings everywhere, and scaring their children. My listeners and I were stunned. Many of us were outraged because we could not understand how a city that is 63% black with a black mayor, a black CEO of city schools, and, where a majority of our elected officials are black, could allow this to happen to our children.

What is most ironic is that historically Baltimore City was one of the few school districts that quickly moved forward to desegregate schools. In September 1954, four months after the Brown v. Board of Education decision was handed down by the United States Supreme Court, the Baltimore City School Board made the decision to begin desegregating pupils and faculty. This is important to note because the rest of the state wanted to wait for the Supreme Court’s second decree (due to be handed down in 1955). This was the case that legally ended Jim Crow and it was supposed to create equality in the schools.

During the era of Jim Crow it was not unheard of to have black children sitting in hot classrooms with no regard for their health. It was not unheard of for a system to intentionally work to miseducate black children and force them to endure the type of conditions that were designed to break their spirit. It was not unheard of to expect black parents to quietly complain but publicly comply with the law. It was not unheard of to have overcrowded classrooms, dark and dingy hallways, dust and asbestos, and very few resources and innovative designs.

Desegregation was supposed to fix that. It was supposed to create classrooms environments where our children would be safe, where their genius could be sparked, and where they can be  comfortable. It has been 63 years but if you look closely at a bulk of our Baltimore City public schools, it looks as if time has stood still. I know this because I have visited these schools and as a former teacher, I have endured these conditions.

Our children deserve better. They do not deserve ice cold classrooms in the winter and stifling hot classrooms in the fall. They do not deserve lunches that are not nutritious; dust and mouse droppings; unusable water fountains; and, bars on their classroom’s windows. They do not deserve to be chastised and humiliated and made to feel like their lives do not matter. Unfortunately, after four days of talking about what was happening in the classrooms, complaining about it, and demanding answers for it, it was painfully obvious that nothing was going to change for our children any time soon.

In 1954, a decision was made to desegregate Baltimore City schools and 63 years later, we are back where we started. This system is failing our children. They do not love them and they do not value them. They do not see their genius and even when they tell us they do (as they do all of the time), the conditions that our children are dealing with tell a different but familiar tale.


Karsonya Wise Whitehead (; Twitter: @kayewhitehead) is the #blackmommyactivist and an associate professor of communication and African and African American studies at Loyola University Maryland. She is the host of “Today With Dr. Kaye” on WEAA 88.9 FM and the author of the forthcoming “Letters to My Black Sons II: The Birth of the Black Mommy Activist.” She lives in Baltimore City with her husband and their two sons.


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A Black Woman’s Open Love Letter to Her Teenage Sons #DontGetKilledToday

March 23, 2018


  1. As the world continues to rally around #NeverAgain and Parkland, Florida, let us not forget to #SayTheirNames – Stephon Clark and Philando Castile and Alton Sterling; Terence Crutcher and Korryn Gaines; John Crawford III and Eric Garner; Rekia Boyd and Aiyana Jones; Tamir Rice and Freddie Gray and so many more

    2. As those young activists are being lifted up as touted as the future leaders of our nation, let us not forget that when you stood up for #BlackLivesMatter, you were called a terrorist, a hater of America, the worst thing that could happen to this country
    3. As colleges rush to send out letters of support to these young college-bound activists, let us not forget the number of black activists whose college offers were rescinded because they dared to raise their voice
    4. As the world supports their First Amendment right to protest and peaceably assemble, let us not forget that this white and black world conveniently forgot that you had/have the same rights to march and to assemble and to kneel before that flag
    5. As the world sends money and prayers and bodies to support the NeverAgain March, let us not forget the work we did to help raise funds, a dollar at a time, for #BLM work to continue

    6. As professional posters are being made and artistic t-shirts are getting printed, let us not forget the day you simply wrote your name and your phone number on your white t-shirt in case you were killed that day
    7. As some schools across the country continue to support walking out and protesting, let us not forget that you were threatened with suspension for trying to organize a peaceful sit-down on the front lawn of your school
    8. As we mourn and stand with the families and survivors of mass shootings, let us not forget to mourn and stand with the sister of Tyrone West on West Wednesdays and with Daphne Alston of Mothers Against Murdered Sons and Daughters and with the families of the 900+ people that were murdered in Baltimore City over the last three years
    9. As the world continues to move on from #BlackLivesMatter, let us not forget that earlier this week, a black man was shot 20 times in his OWN backyard
    10. As the world tries to talk about equality and justice, let us not forget the unspoken rules that govern blackness and that could easily result in our death: you cannot Wear a hoodie, Play in the park alone, Sleep on the couch in our living room, Walk or Run in the street, Ride or Sit in a car, Stand on a corner, Stand up or kneel down before this system, Have your hands in your pocket, Hold a cellphone or a wallet, and now you cannot even Walk in OUR backyard
             I offer you these words in love and I beg you #DontGetKilledToday

MOM (Your #blackmommyactivist)

Fifty Years Later: America is Still Two Nations –one white, one black; separate and unequal

March 23, 2018

by Karsonya Wise Whitehead, published in The Baltimore Sun


Fifty years ago this week, the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders that was organized by Lyndon B. Johnson released the Kerner Commission Report, named for its chairman, Otto Kerner Jr. It attempted to answer three questions in the wake of intense racial riots and unrest that had swept through the country: What happened? Why did it happen? And:What can be done to prevent it from happening again and again?

The report noted that our nation was “moving toward two societies, one black, one white — separate and unequal.” Commission members concluded that this division was the result of failed government housing, the lack of decent education and social-service policies and the narrative that had been created by mainstream media who reported the news while looking out from a “white man’s eyes and a white perspective.”

They suggested that the main cause for urban violence was white racism and that white America needed to fully and completely shoulder most of the responsibility for the rioting and rebellion that was happening across the country. In 1967 alone, more than 1,800 (mostly black) people had been injured, and 83 people had been killed. The property damages were valued at upwards of $100 million in over 120 cities.

The Kerner Report outlined some broad solutions to promoting racial integration — on top of the laws that took effect a few years earlier: the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination and prohibited unequal application of voter registration requirements, racial segregation in schools, employment and public accommodation; and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibited racial discrimination in voting.

Specifically, the commission called for the creation of more jobs and job training programs, the establishment of decent housing and increased financial aid to black communities.

Johnson rejected the report because it did not praise his anti-poverty program, but conversations started taking place across the country as some black and white communities tried to work together to find solutions to bridge the divide. And, 30 years later, in 1998, the Eisenhower Foundation commissioned a follow-up report. The news was not good.

It found that there was more poverty in America; that it was “deeper, blacker and browner than before”; and that it was more concentrated in cities, which had become “America’s poorhouses.” Even with all of the conversations and policies, the laws and the direct intervention, America was still a racially and economically divided nation.

Since then, America elected the nation’s first black president (twice). We’ve seen the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the impact of the work many of us have done to help create a more diverse, open, accountable and inclusive society.

We’ve also seen the election of a president who actively works against us. Despite the protests and marches and ongoing pushback against him, with every decision, tweet or comment that he makes, Donald Trump encourages a world that is more white, more racist, more classist, more exclusive, more misogynistic and more frightening.

America is still clearly a divided nation. This is not a startling revelation. It is a simply a fact. So it’s no wonder that a new report released this week, “Healing Our Divided Society: Investing in America Fifty Years After the Kerner Report,” says “there are far more people who are poor now than was true 50 years ago. Inequality of income is worse.”

This latest report — which included input from black people, Latinos, Native Americans and women — concludes that since 1968 the country has not only had a widening gap in poverty but there has been a noted and concentrated lack of, or reversal of, progress. In other words, the lines of division are getting worse.

Its authors also offered suggestions, similar in scope to the ones that were offered in 1968:

  • Spending more money on early childhood education;
  • Increasing the minimum wage to $15 by 2024,
  • Adding more regulatory oversight over mortgages to prevent predatory lending;
  • Establishing community policing that works in concert with nonprofits in inner-city communities;
  • And adding more job training programs in an era of automation and emerging technologies.

They also called on the mainstream media to hire more people of color to cover and report the news, particularly in the communities of color.

So, 50 years after the Kerner Report, the country is worse off, but the solutions, the way to turn the tide, have not changed.

My hope is that this time, we will not let those in power forget. We will not let them dismiss the report. And we will not let them continue to move us farther away from where we want to be: one nation, one society, inclusive, diverse and equal.

Karsonya Wise Whitehead (; Twitter: @kayewhitehead) is the #blackmommyactivist and an associate professor of communication and African and African American studies at Loyola University Maryland. She is the host of “Today With Dr. Kaye” on WEAA 88.9 FM and the author of “Letters to My Black Sons: Raising Boys in a Post-Racial America.”

“At My Baltimore School, they played ‘Let’s get the black boy.’ I was the black boy.” –my son’s Wash Post OpEd

November 19, 2017


Image Courtesy: Huffington Post

by Kofi Elijah Whitehead, OpEd published in the 11/19/2017 Washington Post

When I was little, my dad used to take our family to the track and let us race against each other. The winner always got to choose dessert. I used to try to figure out which lane I needed to be in so I could outrun my father and my brother. My mom used to laugh as she told me that the only person I was ever running against was the person I was yesterday. She said that the hard lessons are learned over and over again and that the real challenge is to come face to face with the person we used to be and outrun him. I knew she was not talking about track, but I could not understand how I could outrun myself.

I have been in private schools in Baltimore City all my life. When I was in elementary school, I was the only African American boy in my grade. Every day, I was reminded in subtle ways that I did not belong and that I was different. There were two communities: The first was built within the school, where teachers did what they could to include me. The second was harder to understand because it was built over the weekend and during after-school, parent-arranged play dates. My family and I were rarely invited or included.

When I was 6, a boy in my class made up a game called “Let’s get the black boy.” I do not remember the details, but I do remember that I spent the entire recess running. I do not know if it was because I was scared or if I was just playing the game.

I still attend school with the boy who made up the game and most of the boys who played it. They probably do not remember, but I do and my mother does. It was one of the moments that marked our family and defined who we were going to be in this world. My mother changed her career at that moment and devoted herself to doing diversity training to confront these issues within the schools.

I am almost 17, and I am still running against that 6-year-old boy who spent the entire recess running away. I tell myself often that if a moment like that happens again — when I am faced with racism, white supremacy and racial insensitivity, even cloaked in childhood games — I want to be able to stand instead of run, and I want to be able to clearly articulate what my white classmates are doing with those games.

I thought about this a few weeks ago when racially charged Halloween photographs showing white students dressed in prison garb went viral. The photos included racist captions as they were passed around social media. My white classmates seemingly could not understand what our classmate in one of the photos had done wrong.

There was very little empathy and few attempts to seek understanding; some students counterprotested to stand with our classmate. It was hard for me because I believe that there is a direct correlation between that childhood game that was never challenged or discussed and growing up to believe that racial insensitivity and intolerance are things that should be taken lightly.

My classmates and I talked about this recent incident almost every day. I tried to explain what was wrong with these photographs and what they say about race relations at my school and in this community. I talked with my parents, trying to figure out how to make my white classmates understand what it means to be black and male in America. There are days when I do not completely understand it myself.

There are days when I feel like every other 11th-grader, consumed with thoughts of the upcoming exams or college or girls. Some days, I do not think about being black, or that I attend schools that would have denied admission to my grandfather, or the gnawing feeling that I am, as Maya Angelou wrote, the hope and dream of the slave. Those are the days when I feel normal and when I can breathe. It is during those other moments, when I am trying to articulate what it feels like to be black in America, when I am painfully aware that the color of my skin is steeped in a legacy of enslavement, Jim Crow, mass incarceration, Black Lives Matter and white kids chasing a lone black boy around the playground while white teachers looked on but never interceded.

I know that for some people, the Halloween incident was just a set of photographs, but for me and for people who look like me, it was yet another reminder that no matter how fast we run, how successful we become or how hard we try, we will never outrun the image of the black man that the white world sees.

Kofi Elijah Whitehead is an 11th-grader in Baltimore.




Charlottesville and the Worship of Whiteness (an Afro OpEd)

August 28, 2017

by Karsonya Wise Whitehead, published in the Afro


There is a chasm that exists between the created notion of Whiteness and the reality of Black and Brownness in America. It is neatly stitched into the social fabric that defines who we are as a country. At our core, we are a divided nation. It is as true today as it was in 1967, when in the midst of national civil unrest and rioting, Lyndon B. Johnson organized the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorder  (the “Kerner Commission”) to study what happened and what can be done to prevent it from happening again.

The Kerner Report, released in March 1968 (one month before Dr. King was assassinated) noted that our nation was moving toward becoming two societies, one Black, one White—separate and unequal. They blamed failed government housing, education, and social-service policies; along with the mainstream media for reporting the news while looking out from a White world with a “White man’s eyes and a White perspective.”

It is now 2017, and even with all of the strides that we have made to become more diverse, open, accountable, and inclusive, at this moment, it feels like nothing has changed. We are less than seven months into the America that Donald Trump is creating—the one where he has emboldened White nationalists, empowered White supremacists, and legitimized the rise of the alt-right neo-Nazi movement—and it is more divided, more White, more racist, more misogynistic, and more frightening than ever.

This past weekend as I watched the horrible events unfold in Charlottesville built on a foundation of horrible events that have been happening since the rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement, I realized that though it has taken almost 50 years, the Kerner Report has finally been realized. We have truly become two nations: one diverse and inclusive, one White and exclusive.

We are at the moment when the level of tolerance for racial discourse has been reached. The worship of Whiteness is dangerous for everyone, including White people. It ignores the realities of history, namely that the policies that have dominated this country for years were put in place to support and encourage White advancement, and it looks for a common enemy (an other) to terrorize, to blame, to oppress, and ultimately to destroy. This new America, or Donald Trump’s bastardized version of it, is not the America that good and decent people should want to live in.

The Kerner Report noted that the only way for America to change is for everyone to adopt “new attitudes, new understanding, and, above all, new will.” I would add that it will also take every White American to bend their privilege and speak up against this new reign of terror. The time for contemplative silence and social media activism has ended. We are now in a place where we must look into the mirror and decide what type of country we want to live in and how do we want to be remembered by future generations. We can not be the generation that allowed the voices of the few who cried out for exclusion, racism, hatred, bigotry and Whiteness to drown out the voices of many who are shouting out, with every fabric of their being, for liberty and justice for all.

I believe in the idea of democracy and in wresting with our foundational documents as we seek to become a more just and verdant nation. I just do not believe that a demagogue, someone who has built their career and reputation on exclusion and who supports racist ideologies and policies, can continue to represent the interests of a diverse nation.

There is so much about this Trump’s America that is unclear—from whose voices and lives will matter in the end to who will speak for those who will be unable to speak for themselves—but there are some things that are crystal: this man cannot continue to be our President; the worship of Whiteness and the silent support of White supremacy must be stopped; and, what happened in Charlottesville supposedly over the removal of a Confederate statute cannot be forgotten.

The battle lines are being drawn and history will record the side you choose, either deliberately or through your silent complicity, to stand with—choose wisely this day the America that you want to live in.

Dr. Karsonya Wise Whitehead is an associate professor of communication and African and African American studies at Loyola University Maryland. She is the author of “Letters to My Black Sons: Raising Boys in a Post-Racial America” and “Notes from a Colored Girl.”

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