A Black Consciousness

Rosa Parks

“Well, in the first place, I had been working all day on the job. I was quite tired after spending a full day working. I handle and work on clothing that white people wear. That didn’t come in my mind but this is what I wanted to know: when and how would we ever determine our rights as human beings? … It just happened that the driver made a demand and I just didn’t feel like obeying his demand. He called a policeman and I was arrested and placed in jail….” – Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks questioned if black people would ever receive the equality that they were waiting for. Her simple act of disobedience caused a wave of boycotts and violent uproars in Montgomery, Alabama. These persistent boycotts were successful as the segregation on local bus lines was outlawed. These boycotts led to a bigger protest movement in the South. Zinn speaks of a “new black consciousness being born” towards the end of the chapter. This black consciousness was the realization that they could speak out and revolt. They had the right to protest against their discrimination.  The outlaw of segregation was not enough. New uprisings were taking place and being led by activists like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

Django Freeman: A Man on a Horse

When Django rode into the town of Daughtry, Texas on a horse, the townspeople were horrified and couldn’t believe what they were seeing. Horses were for white people, not slaves. What was this slave doing on a horse and what else will he do? To Dr. King Schultz, Django was just a man on a horse. He doesn’t show any type of discrimination towards Django. He even asked, “What’s everybody staring at?” As for Django, riding a horse is one of the first privileges of being a free man he is able to experience.  He acknowledges the fact that the people are staring at him and that it is strange for him to be on a horse.

At this point, Django is still skeptical about the intentions of Dr. King Schultz, the man who appears out of nowhere and puts him on that horse. He isn’t used to men like Dr. King Schultz treating him as an equal. This shows how much of an influence slavery has had on both sides, leaving each side cynical of the other. To the black people, white people were all vicious and oppressive, while to the white people, black people were meant to be owned and put to work. Because of slavery, society had become very close-minded. Even something as simple as a man on a horse evoked such an extreme reaction from the town.