A Shared History

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Lieutenant Christopher Dorner and 2nd Lieutenant Richard Wilbur Collins, III Credit: Carl Snowden's Facebook page

The NAACP and Veterans Day share an interesting history.

Throughout history, some of the NAACP’s most prominent members were members of the U.S. armed services.These men and women had to fight on two fronts. Often, they donned uniforms and fought America’s adversaries abroad, just to return home to be faced with homegrown racism.

Nationally, NAACP’s well-known members who served in the military have included Medgar Evers, General Colin Powell, Congressman Parren J. Mitchell, Congressman Ron Dellums, Bobby Seale, Mack Parker and so many more. Locally, members who have served in the armed services have included George Phelps, Jr., Morris H. Blum, Alderman Samuel Gilmer, Reverend Steve Tillett, Gerald Stansbury and others.

Veterans Day is a stark reminder that not all Americans, who shed their blood, lost limbs or died in defense of their nation, received the respect that they deserved.

My late father William A. Snowden, Sr. and his oldest son William E. Snowden, Jr. both served – one in the army and the other in the Marine Corps. I have little patience for bigots who have never served to tell me “Love America or leave it.”

Thanks to the NAACP, which has been a beacon light for racial equality,  has fought to make sure that racism in the armed services was prohibited.

In the two photos that accompany this posting are two men: Lieutenant Christopher Dorner and 2nd Lieutenant Richard Wilbur Collins, III. Their tragic deaths speak volumes about the “two fronts” that black servicemen have faced.

On Friday, November 17, 2017, 7:00 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel in Annapolis, Maryland, the NAACP will host its 43rd Freedom Fund Banquet. I encourage the community to attend and support an organization that supports veterans, not just one day of the year, but year round.

The NAACP and the veterans have this in common – both have sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution and fight enemies of America, both abroad and domestically. Every time we see neo-Nazis or Ku Klux Klansmen marching in America, we know that the NAACP and the veterans work is not complete.

A Luta Continua!

Carl Snowden is a political and civil rights leader in Annapolis.

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