The Causes and Solutions of Historical Amnesia

639 Words3 Pages
Did you know that last September marked the 50th anniversary of the bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama—an act of white terror that killed four little black girls (adding to the innumerable death toll of the Civil Rights Movement) and injured many other black church members? No? Okay. But you did probably know that two weeks ago marked the 1st anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, right? That’s fine, the discrepancy in your memory can likely be attributed to the recency of the Boston bombing; maybe you had not been born when the Church bombing occurred. However, what about the attack on the Twin Towers or the military strike at Pearl Harbor? Despite these events taking place outside of the current decade, the United States continues to honor and recognize them. Why does the United States remember these events, while largely forgetting or ignoring the anniversaries of events pertaining to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s (such as the Sit-Ins, the Freedom Rides, and the March On Washington)? What is the difference between these two categories—the honored and the overlooked? The distinction is glaring. As a nation, America remembers events that fit into the “us” versus “them” framework. Consider who the players were in Pearl Harbor—the “us” was America and Japan represented the “them”. Under this framework, Americans view these moments as instances when they either gained important freedoms or had their common rights
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