Civil Rights history of the United States and the ongoing battle against tyranny

Most Americans feel everything started on July 4, 1776 in Philadelphia, however that is more the moment of conception and not the spark that motivated the drive for independence. The true start of the United States started in the early 1600s where people from England decided to flee tyranny and religious oppression and first arrived at Plymouth Rock in 1620.

However tyranny soon followed as the British Empire tried to exert rule and taxation over the growing colony in the Americas over the next 156 years, and that provided the spark to seek independence. By the time 1770 rolled around the colonists were fed up and perhaps the most famous of revolts was the Boston Tea Party in 1773.

In the following years men who are now known as the Founding Fathers came together to draft the Declaration of Independence and sign it on July 4, 1776. The spark and energy the founders felt is the same spark that drives activism in today’s modern America. Activists are not born, they are created by tyrants and tyranny. So if you really think about it, activism created the United States and the Founding Fathers are the original United States activists.

The United States is not just the name of a country like France or England, it is a statement against tyranny and was forged by patriots seeking to not have their God given rights trampled on by tyrants. That resulted in the United States bill of rights that was ratified December 15, 1791.

But just because there is a document called the United States Constitution that contains the Bill of Rights as the first ten Amendments, there are people who care not about others and only are self-serving. They truly think they are above the law and frequently harm people in a variety of ways including violating their rights.

These people consist of Narcissists who will gladly back stab people to feed their narcissistic supply. Then there are Sociopaths who crave power and will eliminate anything or anyone who is in their way. Finally there are the Psychopaths who crave control over people. Because these people exist in society and find their way into positions of authority, the battle to keep rights from being eroded is ongoing.

As the United States continued to grow and evolve, Americans started to have differing points of view that sometimes lead to conflict. The Civil war was about slavery and the rights of men and women of color. Slaves were seen as assets and a form of free labor by one group. The other group saw them as human thus being entitled to human rights. That was perhaps the first painful step in the evolution of the United States as the words in the Constitution carried weight for anyone who had United States soil beneath their feet. The result of this conflict was the thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution abolishing slavery.

During World War One from 1914 to 1918 there was the first significant erosion of rights. The United States Government and military started applying restrictions in and around military bases. That involved restrictions of creating imagery in any form be it from sketching to photography. This was justified in that espionage was a possibility on anything from troop movement to what military hardware was being readied to be sent into battle. So any line of sight area beyond the base was patrolled by military and local police. Anyone caught attempting to capture imagery in any form was arrested and faced significant penalties.

1915 Camera
1915 Camera

Back then this was not seen as a significant problem as photography technology in that era was crude and expensive. Cameras were about the size of a shoe box and difficult and annoying to carry about. Because of that, few if anyone was impacted by this restriction on the First Amendment.

The problem is this thinking has carried on to today citing national security as the reason. In short this was the birth of ‘See Something Say Something’ long before that phrase came to be. People were being programmed that it was patriotic to stop people with cameras who were photographing anything that was associated with any level of Government be if federal or local.

The next significant evolution in rights was woman’s voting rights that changed the political landscape thus pushing the country more towards equality and the enforcement of rights for all. That came to be with the nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution ratified in 1920. In general women tend to be more compassionate than men and they were instrumental in putting politicians in office who shared their view on civil rights.

Woman's voting rights

As the century continued there were several events that took place that worked to continue to erode rights. World War Two and McCarthyism tended to reinforce the erosion on the First Amendment and even the Fourth Amendment. They were being impacted all in the name of national security.

After World War Two the civil rights movement started and it was the era of White v Black and segregation was underway. If your skin was not white you were being treated as second class citizens. Peaceful protests that are protected by the 1st Amendment were being attacked with people being beat and arrested. There are a lot of opinions of why this happened but the one that has the most traction was based in the results of the civil war. The south that fought to keep slavery showed the most repression against people of color.

Jim Crow laws

Keeping in mind that many of the people in power in the 1945 to 1968 era had fathers and grandfathers and beyond that owned slaves, and many of those hard feelings were passed on through the families. Racism was essentially taught as it is not naturally occurring. This is obvious every day when watching young children of different ethnic backgrounds play totally oblivious to racial bias that they will be taught by their elders.

July 26, 1948: President Harry Truman issues Executive Order 9981 to end segregation in the Armed Services.

May 17, 1954: Brown v. Board of Education, a consolidation of five cases into one, is decided by the Supreme Court, effectively ending racial segregation in public schools. Many schools, however, remained segregated.

December 1, 1955: Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. Her defiant stance prompts a year-long Montgomery bus boycott.

January 10-11, 1957: Sixty black pastors and civil rights leaders from several southern states—including Martin Luther King, Jr.—meet in Atlanta, Georgia to coordinate nonviolent protests against racial discrimination and segregation.

September 4, 1957: Nine black students known as the “Little Rock Nine,” are blocked from integrating into Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. President Dwight D. Eisenhower eventually sends federal troops to escort the students, however, they continue to be harassed.

September 9, 1957: Eisenhower signs the Civil Rights Act of 1957 into law to help protect voter rights. The law allows federal prosecution of those who suppress another’s right to vote.

February 1, 1960: Four college students in Greensboro, North Carolina refuse to leave a Woolworth’s “whites only” lunch counter without being served. Their nonviolent demonstration sparks similar “sit-ins” throughout the city and in other states.

June 11, 1963: Governor George C. Wallace stands in a doorway at the University of Alabama to block two black students from registering. The standoff continues until President John F. Kennedy sends the National Guard to the campus.

August 28, 1963: Approximately 250,000 people take part in The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Martin Luther King gives the closing address in front of the Lincoln Memorial and states, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’”

September 15, 1963: A bomb at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama kills four young girls and injures several other people prior to Sunday services. The bombing fuels angry protests.

July 2, 1964: President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, preventing employment discrimination due to race, color, sex, religion or national origin. Title VII of the Act establishes the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to help prevent workplace discrimination.

February 21, 1965: Black religious leader Malcolm X is assassinated during a rally by members of the Nation of Islam.

March 7, 1965: In the Selma to Montgomery March, around 600 civil rights marchers walk to Selma, Alabama to Montgomery—the state’s capital—in protest of black voter suppression. Local police block and brutally attack them. After successfully fighting in court for their right to march, Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders lead two more marches and finally reach Montgomery on March 25.

August 6, 1965: President Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to prevent the use of literacy tests as a voting requirement. It also allowed federal examiners to review voter qualifications and federal observers to monitor polling places.

April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated on the balcony of his hotel room in Memphis, Tennessee. James Earl Ray is convicted of the murder in 1969.

April 11, 1968: President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968, also known as the Fair Housing Act, providing equal housing opportunity regardless of race, religion or national origin.

The 2nd Amendment was for the most part untouched as hunting was still popular and a significant number of Americans saw hunting as part of life. Having long guns about was a common sight. However in the eastern part of the country where the population was denser some people started to feel uncomfortable as hunting was not as widespread. The thought of killing animals was becoming less popular as meat could be found at the butcher shop. Being exposed to the slaughter of animals was practically nonexistent. Little if any thought of how that meat got to the butcher’s scale was given. Modern convenience was changing how Americans viewed things.

In the 1970s The United States had the first taste of Islamic based terrorism as it was being seen in headlines across the country. For the most part people were shocked and few gave it much thought after a few days of chit chat with friends and family. After all it was not in their back yard so to speak. That all changed in February 1993 with the World Trade center bombing in New York. That one incident started more scrutiny on people from the Middle East regardless of religion. It was not until later was the threat more closely identified with Islam and triggered the next round of erosion of rights.

As the decade continued the suggestion of terrorism became the justification to violate rights. The identification of religious beliefs started to creep into Government databases despite the separation of church and state. Even if you were not of Islam, any association with people who were of Islam put you on a terrorist watch list thinking that you could be swayed to extremist thinking.

Also in the 1990s mobile phones started to come into the lives of people however the technology was still analog and crude by today’s digital standards. Digital phones did not start to come about until around the turn of the century and the government pushed for technology to track every phone hence every person. The battle for the right to privacy was well under way and the intrusion was all justified by the search for terrorists.

Come September 11, 2001 everything in the United States changed as a result of a coordinated terrorist attack on American soil. Americans were shocked and willingly gave up some rights to privacy in exchange for security. Security checkpoints at airports became a reality and Homeland Security was created with its entire purpose to get to know everything possible about everyone’s private life from what you eat, where you go and who you have relationships with from casual to formal to sexual. That ability came to be with the enactment of The Patriot Act.

See something say something

Over the coming years Americans were not aware of how intrusive the Government was becoming. Huge buildings were built and filled with hard drives for nothing but data storage on Americans. Phone records were just the tip of the iceberg. Everyone was being tracked who used any form of credit to make purchases. It showed a much more detailed view than anyone realized. All it took was a computer program to create a real time profile of anyone just by sifting through the various databases they had.

Edward Snowden exposed all of this to the world and there was some fallout because of that. Edward Snowden is seen as a villain by the people that want to collect data on people, and a hero by everyone else who values their privacy.

Most all of this was in some form of violation of people’s right to privacy. They could conclude what medical conditions you had by tracking what medicines you purchased along with what products and foods you purchased. In example the purchase of insulin simply said you were diabetic. The type of insulin you bought could establish if you were type one or type two diabetic. The amount of insulin you bought told a story of how chronic your diabetes was. The same was true if you purchased medication for the treatment of HIV or medication for hypertension as it all told something about you. See anyone but your family doctor and they can quickly conclude other health issues you have.

The introduction of the HIPAA privacy laws for the most part was to keep the public from knowing about a person’s medical or mental health condition. The government already having a very good idea of what was going on through evidence gathering almost makes HIPAA impotent.

People in America were not necessarily aware of the level of surveillance they were under. The reason for that is cameras were being placed out of line of sight on poles or hidden from view to avoid people being triggered. Testimony to this can be seen on Google Maps just by checking the traffic conditions. If you stand on any street corner in more populated areas, chances are better than not you can spot one or more cameras.

The only way to have some privacy is to stay home with doors closed and windows covered. But even then you are being watched. The camera on your computer can be turned on covertly without your knowledge or consent along with microphones.

As time progressed cameras became more compact as the quality of images sored. Americans started into photography and videography because for the most part it was now free with no need to take the film for processing. Many wanted to post about their lives on social media while others focused on putting everything they could see in front of the camera. That included things like the Grand Canyon to public and Government buildings.

Because of this and the embedded thinking that terrorist are out everywhere, people’s rights were being violated if they pointed a camera at anything Government related be it a police station to city hall. This innocent and constitutionally protected activity was triggering that Government programming. At the least police and other government officials would try to identify these law abiding people, to arresting them if they were not cooperative in getting their name on a terrorist watch list. Some people were even beaten and injured. Needless to say this behavior by the Government started to spawn activists just like the Founding Fathers of the United States for all the same reasons.

People that knew their rights fought back and often very easily won their case in court with a civil rights lawyer at their side. Then they went on to successfully sue the government for rights violations with payouts in the six to seven digit range. In many cases the police and their superiors did not know the constitutional law because it had been eroded over the last century with concerns about espionage, terrorists and people who did not have the country’s interest in mind.

Because the Government was losing so many cases and the payout was well into the millions of dollars and growing every month, Homeland Security issued a bulletin in 2010 saying it was legal to record the government from public space but not from restricted areas. Anything that can be seen from public space was fair game to be recorded.

Once that was pointed out to them change started to occur. How fast and how much change happened was directly related to the level of corruption in that particular municipality. Officials that were on the up and up went the extra mile to reeducate their subordinates. Officials that were corrupt and the scrutiny of cameras was hindering their personal agenda, they instead set out to eliminate the activists they spawned who were now regularly auditing their behavior with cameras. How the officials behaved became a litmus test of the level of their corruption that was clearer for the public to see.

In 2014 there were only a handful of activist auditing and many of them posted their videos on YouTube. Many of these activist in their own right became the Founding Fathers of keeping Government in check with cameras and other recording devices. They were doing the work of the Constitution where the power is vested in the people and not the Government. There is a reason the Founding Fathers made the first three words of the constitution to be ‘We the People’ as a reminder as to who and what the United States is about.

By early 2017 the number of activists grew in that more content was being created than there were hours in a day. Some were true activists looking to keep Government in check while others were in it for the money earned from advertisements on YouTube. However it did not matter so much as whatever the motivation was to pick up a camera, they were bringing about change in Government through education and exposure.

When 2019 rolled around there were so many people behind the scenes supporting these patriots with cameras they started to wheeled significant power to change things. When a video was displayed showing abuse by Government officials be it directed at the person with the camera or another, this would result in what became known as a call flood where thousands of phone calls would be placed to the abusing Government body. No longer was the dirty laundry in the back yard, it was in the front yard for all to see.

Beyond that there are respectable Americans working behind the scenes supporting the activists on point. They include retired judges, active and retired law enforcement, lawyers, psychologists and psychiatrists, seated Government officials and many more. Some of them working on the inside of corrupt government entities disgusted with what they are seeing. Each and every one of them is lending support with their special skillsets in doing the work of the Constitution. So the corrupt officials may only see the person with the camera, but in reality there are thousands of patriots behind them all willing to reclaim the country from corrupt officials looking to impose tyranny.

As retaliation from corrupt officials in government and law enforcement, a classic smear campaign was launched labeling the activists as trouble makers and even sovereign citizens when in fact they are true American patriots. The success of this smear campaign depends entirely on who controls the narrative. With social media being a counterbalance although plagued with fake news, it becomes that much more difficult to successfully smear the patriots. Many of the more well-known activist have established a reputation for being right and have successfully pointed out that the corrupt officials are simply projecting their behavior onto patriots. In short often the government has less credibility that many activists with cameras as cameras don’t lie about behavior.

Second Amendment

In the area of the Second Amendment on the right to bear arms, that right came under heated debate after the turn of the millennium. There was an increased number of shootings with several linked to mental health and others related to criminal activity and differing political views. Both pro-gun and anti-gun sides of the debate had/have strong talking points much of which is driven by emotion. But in reality they are second tier issues.

The Second Amendment specifically talks about a well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free state. Essentially what this means is if the Government is overthrown by any means foreign or domestic by leaders who care not for the Constitution, the people’s Militia will rise up and fight the now tyrannical Government to protect the freedom enshrined in the Constitution. That once again comes down to the first three words that are written so boldly, ‘We the People.’

The strongest apples to apples comparison in Texas shows the right to bear arms is justified. In near identical situations, in 2017 a gunman entered a church in Southerland Springs and killed 26 people and wounded another 20. The slaughter only stopped when another gun arrived to engage the shooter. This was before guns were allowed in a church.

Then in late 2019 a nearly identical incident happened but only 2 people were killed before the shooter was neutralized with a gun that was now allowed in a church. This one comparison alone clearly shows that the amount of deaths is directly related to the arrival of a second gun to defend. This is not a one off scenario, it has been seen time and time again.

Laws have never stopped criminals from getting guns. The fact that criminals became criminals is by not caring about laws. So a gun law written on paper may mean something to law abiding people, but to criminals, that paper may as well be toilet paper to be used the same way.

So even the anti-gun group’s rally cry of Sandy Hook in Connecticut, had others at the school had guns, there would have been a lot less funerals of children and adults trying to protect them.

This debate will likely go on for a long time, however in the end people should look at the wisdom of nature and how plants and animals defend themselves for the answer. The wisdom of millions of years of evolution explains what the right path is, as it is free of emotion and has responded to the environment.

Fourth Amendment

The fourth Amendment is the most violated of the Bill of Rights. People that know their rights stand their ground and maintain their rights to privacy as well as other elements of the Bill of rights. However because people don’t know their rights they are often tricked or intimidated into giving them up.

Police are the most common culprits in tricking people. In many states you do not need to identify yourself unless you have been arrested. Police will say if you don’t identify yourself you will be arrested and that is a lie in states that do not have stop and ID laws saying you must identify.

The same is true if you are a passenger in a car and the driver was stopped for a traffic violation. Police will often ask for your ID and that is not right. If you were a passenger in a bus and the driver was stopped for a traffic violation, you would not expect the police to be walking down the aisle asking for ID from the passengers.

One of the battle lines between the Government and privacy of the people now involves encryption or more specifically end to end encryption. The term Government has used is ‘Going Dark’ and that means they regularly snoop around looking at people’s private conversations. The Government has resisted the trend of moving to secure communications and is actively applying pressure to companies that are building encrypted products in particular smart phones. Because these companies are owned by the people, they resist the threats.

In example of how intrusive it can get, the App WeChat that is a product of the Chinese government is totally transparent unlike WhatsApp, Line and Signal. If someone in China says something the Chinese Government does not like, in a matter of minutes their phone goes dead followed shortly by people wearing uniforms knocking at the door. That WeChat App also lets the Chinese Government loot a copy of all the content on your phone. So as China does not have to abide by the Constitution of the United States, they simply do what they want because they can.

In many countries the secure Apps are blocked and may only work in airports using their Wi-Fi so that people connecting to other flights are not impacted, and this all speaks of the power of the United States Constitution.

When you install software, when you click accept on the terms just so the software will install, chances are you gave up something to run that software. So true vigilance is required. One of the most intrusive type of Apps are utility Apps like flashlight, and that is why flashlight is now part of the standard features on phones to eliminate the need to install a flashlight App. These intrusive Apps are being developed by governments around the world to get around the end to end encryption all of which is designed to violate your right to privacy.

In another example of how chronic this intrusion is, the US military has banned the use of exercise bracelets because they track your movement as GPS technology is used to calculate distance.

What it all comes down to is knowing your rights and being very aware that a peeping Tom looking in your window is the very least of your worries. What you don’t know CAN hurt you and violate your right to privacy.


Fifth Amendment

The Fifth Amendment is perhaps the best known as it has frequently become part of conversations in the United States. Depending on how people view it, it can be seen as a specific extension of the Fourth Amendment where you can’t be forced to give testimony against yourself. If a person invokes the Fifth Amendment it does not mean they are guilty but more about being tricked into saying something that can be used against them when questionable answers are likely. With the lies and manipulation frequently seen used to get people to give up their Fourth Amendment rights, the Fifth Amendment serves as a reminder that trickery is a tool used to repress people.

Frequently and also ruled by the US Supreme Court, police can and do lie to obtain a confession. The US Supreme Court also ruled you do not have to talk to the police despite every effort they try to get you to talk and incriminate yourself. Any evidence used to convict you must come from sources other than yourself. Once again it all comes down to knowing your rights.


Sixth Amendment

The Sixth Amendment is also being abused in a passive way. The state may withhold evidence forcing a delay in court proceedings. This is a chronic problem in areas where the local Government is corrupt. Usually the evidence that is withheld will exonerate the accused and incriminate the accuser namely the police or Government officials. Government officials will use their power to squelch evidence that will incriminate them. The Fifth Amendment does not apply for two reasons. First they are acting in their capacity as a public official and not a private individual, and second the Fifth Amendment only applies to self-spoken incrimination.

This has become regular content of the news where corrupt police plant evidence, withhold video evidence under their control namely police bodycam recordings, or just out and out lie. So in places where local Government is corrupt, violations of the Sixth Amendment is more common and in some cases chronic by disallowing and/or chronically delaying vindicating evidence.


Eighth Amendment

Violations of the Eighth Amendment seems to go hand and hand with Violations of the Sixth Amendment. In areas where there is corruption and particularly so where there is corruption in the judicial branch of Government, accused people are subject to excessive bail and fines.

One of the most common targets are activists and other people looking to expose corruption in government. In this case when these people are held, they are not criminals but instead they are political prisoners for daring to hold government accountable.

Withholding and not returning personal property ceased after court proceedings is also a violation of the Eighth Amendment as it can be seen as cruel and unusual punishment. This is common were Government officials have a personal vendetta against a person as there is really no legal mechanism that allows property to not be returned.

The Constitution provides remedies for violations of rights, and to best understand those remedies, having dialog and consultation with a civil rights lawyer or constitutional scholar is the first step. Remedies can include recall elections to bringing civil rights cases against the violators.

To avoid this problem where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, paying close attention to who you vote for is the first step. Activists tend to be acutely aware of positions and behaviors of people who seek office or who are in office. Using the knowledge and scrutiny of an activist is a wise move many people should consider. The reason is, it is those same activists that point out corruption and work at bringing the corrupt into the light both before and after elections.

Those activists can be found at all levels. From dedicated elected officials in Congress, to those who work on a shoestring budget from home. All are patriots who work for the people just as the Founding Fathers did.

Civil Rights Now