A Timeline of Events That Led to the 2020 ‘Fed Up’-rising

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Without the proper context, it is impossible to understand the mushroom cloud of uprisings that are exploding across the country in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others.

To contextualize the anger, frustration and desperation that forced protesters to recreate the lawlessness and chaos that black people experience on a daily basis, The Root has created a timeline of some of the events that led up to black people across the country collectively saying:

“Aight, den.”

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  • August 1619: The White Lion, a 160-ton Dutch privateer ship flying a British flag landed at Comfort Point in Virginia loaded with “20. and odd negroes” to be exchanged for food and the “best and easiest rates…”
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  • June 1640: Virginia’s General Court created what many are calling the nation’s first slave when the court condemned , an African, to a life sentence of servitude because he was black. Punch, one of the original White Lion Africans, had run away from his master along with an indentured Dutch servant and an indentured English servant. When they were found and brought back to their master, a judge ordered the three absconders to be whipped 30 times apiece. The Dutchman and the Englishmen were sentenced to a one-year extension on their indentured servitude contract. But John Punch received a different sentence:

…and that the third being a negro named John Punch shall serve his said master or his assigns for the time of his natural Life here or elsewhere.

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  • 1669: Virginia’s legislature passes “an act about the casuall killing of slaves.” According to the new law, masters who kill their slaves in the act of punishing them are held not to be responsible of murder.
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  • 1704: South Carolina creates the first modern-day, public police force. Called “slave patrols,” these publicly-funded organizations served three functions: 1) to chase down, apprehend, and return runaway slaves to their owners; (2) to provide a form of organized terror to deter slave revolts; and, (3) to maintain a form of discipline for slave-workers who violated rules.
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  • December, 1791: Congress ratifies the Second Amendment to the Constitution, giving Americans the right to bear arms. James Madison created the amendment to allay fears of armed black uprisings.

[Black Americans had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.

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  • July 9, 1868: US ratifies the Fourteenth amendment, making former enslaved Africans citizens of the United States… kinda.
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  • July 9, 1868 – 1877: Ku Klux Klan and whites organize a national terror campaign that massacres tens of thousands of black people across the country.

The end of federal interference in southern affairs led to widespread disenfranchisement of blacks voters. From the late 1870s onward, southern legislatures passed a series of laws requiring the separation of whites from “persons of color” on public transportation, in schools, parks, restaurants, theaters and other locations. Known as the “Jim Crow laws” (after a popular minstrel act developed in the antebellum years), these segregationist statutes governed life in the South through the middle of the next century, ending only after the hard-won successes of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

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  • Summer, 1919: Widespread “” break out across the US when black veterans return from World War I with notions of equality. Many of these riots involve police officers and few of the participants of the white lynch mobs were convicted.
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  • March 7, 1965: Alabama State Troopers and the Ku Klux Klan attack 300 nonviolent protesters on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala.
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  • July 5, 2016: Baton Rouge, La. officers shoot 37-year-old Alton Sterling as he lays on the ground, restrained by officers. No one is charged with a crime.
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  • Sept. 6, 2018: Officer Amber Guyger enters the home of Botham Jean and shoots him dead. She is convicted of murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
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  • February 23, 2020: A vigilante mob in Brunswick, Ga. chases down and shoots 23-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, killing him. Travis and Gregory McMichael have been arrested for his death after more than 2 months of freedom. A third man, William “Roddie” Bryan, has also been charged after filming the crime.
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  • March 13, 2020: Louisville, Ky. police officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove entered the apartment of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor to serve a “no-knock warrant” on her boyfriend and shot Taylor dead. No one has been charged with a crime.
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  • May 27, 2020: Minneapolis residents say: “Fuck this.”
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  • May 29- present: America says: “Damn right, fuck this:”
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  • Now: America reaps an infinitesimally microscopic fraction of the racist chaos, violence and lawlesness it has sown.

Reap, motherfuckers.

Reap.