In Revolutions, Wilkerson tells the story of Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a woman introduced to the reader as a grandmother recounting a speech by Martin Luther King Jr. in Chicago. Gladney notes,
“The unequal living condition produced the expected unequal results: blacks working long hours for overpriced flats, their children left unsupervised and open to gangs, the resulting rise in crime and drugs, with few people able to get out and the problems so complex as to make it impossible to identify a single cause or solution.”
We were told about the sea of opportunities in America. We were not told about the dam(n) Redlining,
Or The Ongoing upcharging of black renters, down valuation of black homes.
Glandney wades in The waterfall of consequences of legal decisions to deny black and poor people pay and opportunities. Faced with
A state that responds to any demand or request for a lifeline with more incarceration and more police.
Not more affordable housing, not safer housing, not more educational resources, not legal policies to ensure access to the same education Dr. king had.
The loans got denied.
The request for better school supplies got refused.
...But the amount of beds in the prison cells rose like sea levels in a flood.
The effort to provide for themselves, and to form communities were criminalized, And so violence washed downstream. King was not running headlong into a northern paradox. He was swimming upstream the currents of legal policies the state enacted to hold black folk on the other side of the dam(n).
The inequity in the laws are causing people of color to drown in debt, drown in worry over their children, drown in crowded housing conditions, drown in the pressure of constant surveillance.
This is not the sea we imagined.
This revolution will be a water cycle.
Will be a shower of legal reform
Into a sea of changing cultural tides
Evaporating to a sky of rising voices who have BEEN ready to be heard