Black Girl Magic has become the nouveau riche way modern society describes the accomplishments of the current crop of black women and girls, but have existed throughout history. What could be more magic than the lonely trips as a conductor on the Underground Railroad rescuing enslaved Africans led by Harriet Tubman; or Madame C.J. Walker [Sarah Breedlove] the country’s first female millionaire. Fannie Lou Hamer worked through serious illness until she dropped for the civil rights of Black Americans. Vice President Kamala Harris is now one heartbeat away from the presidency. Not unlike some sections of America that perceive advancements by black men and women as a threat, the Georgia legislature and law enforcement reached a new low with the arrest of Georgia state Senator Park Cannon.
Sitting under a painting, reportedly of a slave plantation, and surrounded by a phalanx of white colleagues, Gov. Kemp signed into motion voter suppression laws that set democracy back decades. Ms. Cannon was denied entrance to watch the signing and was subsequently arrested, handcuffed, and dragged away for knocking on the governor’s chambers door. State Senator Cannon’s arm is now in a sling and she was charged with two felonies. The justification for her arrest according to officers that cuffed and apparently injured her arm was that they did not want another incident like the recent insurrection in DC. “The events of January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol, were in the back of my mind,” wrote trooper Lt. G.D. Langford in his official arrest report.
Talk about black girl magic; Sen. Cannon, with her purse in hand, wearing high heels was perceived as such a threat that the trooper invoked the memory of at least 800 eye-gouging, flag pole wielding, chemical spraying, window breaking insurrectionists. What is it about black skin that so panics so many Americans that all reason and common sense is subject to the suspension of reality? An inebriated 19-year-old Renisha McBride seeking help after a car crash in 2013, in the eyes of her killer was part of a marauding gang invading his home; he killed her with a shotgun blast. Twenty-six -year old Breonna Taylor was shot to death by police in her underwear in March of 2020.
March was also a deadly month for 15-year-old Latasha Harlins. In March of 1991 store owner Soon Ja Du shot the teenager in the back of the head at point-blank range over a dispute about the purchase of a bottle of orange juice. The shop owner originally accused the teen of shoplifting. Further investigation disproved Soon Ja Du’s claims as well as her claim the black teenager attacked her. As reported by LaTimes staff writers Andrea Ford and John H. Lee, ‘A security camera videotape that recorded the weekend shooting of a 15-year-old girl by a south Los Angeles grocer shows that the girl was not attempting to steal a bottle of orange juice, as the grocer apparently believed, police revealed Monday.’ “There was no attempt at shoplifting. There was no robbery. There was no crime at all,” said Police Cmdr. Michael J. Bostic.
Harlins, McBride, Taylor, Tubman, Walker, Hamer, Harris, or State Senator Cannon were not endowed with extraordinary strength or powers, they were and are simply trying to live their lives freely. As the grandfather of three outstanding young black women, I believe in their magic, not their invincibility.
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