With pervasive protests against police killings of African Americans; plus a heightened alert of possible terrorism from abroad, Black America currently faces a situation reminiscent of the historic Double V campaign, led by Black newspapers in the 1940s, some justice advocates believe.
“We see, not only historic parallels, but we see a historical imperative that we become even more outspoken,” said Ben Chavis, president/CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the Black Press of America. “And similar to the Double V movement of the past, we not only have to claim victory abroad, but victory at home. Victory at home means we must end the terrorism on Black America. In order to have an affective foreign policy, it must emanate out of our domestic policy. And so, as we end domestic terrorism, we will be stronger to end global terrorism.”
The Double V campaign, primarily led by the Pittsburgh Courier during World War II in early 1942, referred to Black American participation in fighting for victory against totalitarianism abroad while also fighting for victory against racism at home. The campaign is widely credited by historians as being the catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement.
Wade Henderson, president/CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, agrees that African Americans are fighting a dual battle akin to the historic Double V campaign.
“Black Americans are deeply concerned about ISIL and the possibilities of terrorism both at home and abroad,” he said. “But, at the same time we’re also concerned about the increase in police killings of Black men and the apparent increase in efforts by White supremacist groups to challenge African American protestors ... I think the comparison has some legitimacy. Obviously, like all Americans, we are concerned about terrorism both abroad and at home and we support the president’s efforts to address it.”
President Barack Obama gave a televised pre-Thanksgiving statement Nov. 25, telling Americans to remain vigilant in the wake of threats by ISIS and other terrorist groups.
“Right now, we know of no specific and credible intelligence indicating a plot on the homeland,” Obama said at the time, promising that he is “taking every possible step to keep our homeland safe.” The statement, intended to comfort Americans, came two weeks after ISIS claimed responsibility for the deaths of 130 people in a series of terrorist attacks in Paris and released videotaped threats on New York and Washington, DC. It also followed a local attack, where two “lone-Wolf” sympathezisers killed 14 people and wounded 21 others in San Bernardino.
Also, on the day before Thanksgiving, Obama encouraged Chicago protesters to remain peaceful following the video release of the police killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. He was shot 16 times by Officer Jason Van Dyke as the teenager walked away from police officers, holding what appeared to be only a pocket knife Oct. 20, 2014. Van Dyke, who had 18 previous complaints against him, has been charged with first-degree murder, but only after a court ordered the release of the video, which President Obama described as “deeply disturbing.”