Pathways to Power of African Americans in the USA

(I hope I spelled your name right this time Condoleezza Rice)

Essay by Luke Foster

Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.

Oprah Winfrey

African men and women and children were taken from colonies in Africa to America. They were used as slaves on cotton farms picking cotton and working as servants for rich families in their homes and as cooks and butlers.

Despite African Americans fighting with the Yankees in the American civil war more than a century ago African Americans had no effective power or the right to vote until years later.

African Americans were effectively segregated in schools, bars, restaurants and colleges until the mid seventies. They had to sit and stay in sections labelled for coloured people. Activists in the late sixties flaunted these rules in America causing violent Mexican stand offs with white people.

The African American movement that became violent with the Black Panthers in the mid sixties made the African American movement unpopular with the powers that be.

It wasn’t until the moving speeches of the Christian minister Martin Luther King that the African American plight became known and celebrated by left wing politicians.   

In the eighties African Americans in the entertainment industry gave the plight of African Americans credibility with the status quo. Eddie Murphy’s crude and hilarious and later movie roles made African Americans plight more credible. Then the extreme rap music of Public Enemy blasted in all teenagers bedrooms in the eighties around the world. Their political music highlighted the problems and racism that African Americans faced every day in America. Also the harrowing and moving songs of escaping the poverty cycle by Tracy Chapman in the late eighties highlighted the many injustices and problems that African Americans faced in the USA.

It wasn’t until the popularity of Oprah Winfrey’s talk show that African Americans became celebrated in mainstream American society. She was fiercely dedicated to the plight of African Americans including her part in the movie the Colour Purple which highlighted racism but also the problems in African American society. Oprah Winfrey funded schools for poor children in South Africa and was a personal friend of Nelson Mandela once he escaped prison and became celebrated leader of South Africa.

I am sure that it was Oprah Winfrey’s mass appeal in the developed world as well as in the USA that paved the way for Condoleezza Rice to become secretary of state in George Bush’s Republican government in the noughties. Condoleezza was a political science major then lecturer at the prestigious Ivy League University Stanford. Condoleezza was one of Americas most popular and celebrated politicians.

On the opposite spectrum of politics then Barack Obama became the first African American President of the United States of America. He is perhaps the most loved and successful President in American history and was awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize.