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In 1995 American Football star O J Simpson was on trial for killing his wife. Millions had watched him on TV try to escape police when the body was discovered. He was found ‘Not Guilty’ by a jury with 9 Black people on it. Evidence against him was not allowed in court because the police officer who found it was a racist.
Colin Powell was Head of the US Army during the Gulf War. Afterwards he became a very high-ranking politician. The USA has never had a Black President.
In 2003, two Black actors won the most important awards (Best Actor, Best Actress) at the Oscars.
James Byrd – murdered in 1998 by 3 white men who tied him to their truck and dragged him along the road. He was probably alive for much of it.
Michael Jordan is one of the greatest, and richest, sportsmen in world history. Many, many other Black athletes have also been hugely successful.
Black music such as rap, hip-hop and R’n’B currently rules the music charts, whilst Black fashions are also hugely popular amongst young people across the world.
In 1994, 12% of the US population was Black, while 58% of the people in prison in the USA were Black.
In 1991, 4 policemen were filmed beating up Rodney King as they arrested him. A mainly White jury found them ‘Not Guilty’. There were more riots in Los Angeles after the trial.
Information & statistics from: Clare, D. J., ‘The Black Peoples of America’, Hodder & Stoughton : Oxford, (2001), pages 44-45
TASK:Your Black Americans’ Top Ten. Rank the ten most important events in the story of Black people in the USA getting to the position they are in today, with the most important event as No.1, and so on.