— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) May 23, 2015
A man protesting the verdict in the Michael Brelo case in Cleveland walked the streets on Saturday in slave garb. His hands were shackled with chains, he wore torn clothing, and he had a hand-written sign taped to his back that read “NEW SLAVES.”
State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) had a strong reaction when she saw video of the protester during her appearance on local station WEWS. “That visual disturbs me a bit,” Turner said. “And I hope that the understanding of the history…that African Americans were shackled and chained and brought over to this country for 400 years…. I want to make sure they’re not minimizing the struggle of the ancestors.”
“Okay, we are enduring our own type of struggle, but my God!” said Turner, who teaches African American history at the local community college.
“While I respect our young people and their bringing this out in a very powerful way, let’s understand that for 400 years this country was built on the blood, sweat and tears of African Americans who were brought here on ships and chained and shackled and sold on auction blocks,” Turner continued. “Now we’ve gotta understand this. And I want to make sure we’re not minimizing what happened to our ancestors in our frustration to get our story out today. So as a historian …. I’m troubled by this visual.”
Oddly enough, Turner didn’t shy away from using Jim Crow imagery in 2012 when she used it to describe our voting laws. Appearing on CNN’s Newsroom Turner, who unsuccessfully ran for secretary of state last year, said that “Jim Crow has been resurrected” Ohio, referring to what she called voter suppression happening in “Democratic areas and also areas that are predominantly African-American.”
“It’s tragic that in the 21st century, 2012, we have voter suppression going on,” Turner said. ”You know, Jim Crow has been resurrected, making repeat performances in the South and has packed his bags and moved north, in Ohio in particular.”
Pot, meet kettle.