Soldiers Without Swords (Vanessa Gonzalez)

3 Mar

The “Black Press” was a powerful movement during a time when the African American community didn’t have a voice at all. It created a dialogue for an oppressed community when newspapers and hearsay were the only forms of national communication. It probably helped us write a more accurate account of history, so that when future generations look back, one community’s plight will not be forgotten. But how does The Black Press hold up today? In an era of non-stop news where any story has the opportunity to gain national exposure, would it still be a megaphone for an otherwise silenced community – or would it only serve to remind us that there once was, and sometimes still is, any division between people at all?

“Soldiers Without Swords” was a phenomenally important publication when African American’s were all but ignored in this country, but you only need to look at the media circuses that engulf stories like Trayvon Martin’s to know that the state of affairs as it pertains to black and white people in the media has changed. It could be argued that any publication that seeks to distinguish between white and black, man and woman, conservative and republican; does more to remind us that there is a distinction at all. A reporter once asked writer Joss Wheadon why he continues to write such strong, female characters. His response was, “because you’re still asking me that question.” What resonated with me in this film, was how important it was for a community that had no voice. Today, that’s not the case. The President of the United States is African American, a story that has been covered by every media outlet in existence. Today, any person’s story has the advantage of the internet. Anybody, anywhere can be heard. Today seems like the perfect time to begin a march towards unity, towards no longer having to draw lines between people.

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