Does the Civil Rights Movement Still Matter? My Walk Through History to Explore the Truth

BY: - 4 Nov '16 | Events

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Civil Rights March

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I visited the National Civil Rights Museum last week. Because I think I’ve fallen into the trap of seeing The Movement as a brief period in history: Brown v. Board of Education (1954) through the Voting Rights Act (1965). But the Civil Rights Movement actually spans 12 generations.

While the museum is built inside the Lorraine Motel, where Dr. King was assassinated, the museum exhibitions capture our long history of resistance.

Lorraine Motel_ NCRM

Our History of Resistance

From the time our ancestors set foot on North American soil, they were resisting. The tour begins with an explanation of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, which highlights several uprisings and shows advertisements offering rewards for the return of runaways.

Millions of mothers, fathers and children were ripped from their homeland only to end up on the auction block, just like the mother and her child pictured here. But they didn’t go quietly.

National Civil Rights Museum_Resistance 2

A Step Forward, A Step Back

After the Emancipation Proclamation, there was a consistent struggle to secure or erase equal rights for our ancestors because so much of the economy depended on free labor. Banks benefited from the cash flow of buying and selling human beings. Insurance companies wrote policies that covered the shipping of slaves. Brooks Brothers, even, supplied landowners with ‘plantation clothing.’

  • 1865 – The Civil War ends. The Thirteenth Amendment was ratified stating that “neither slavery, nor involuntary servitude…shall exist” in the United States. The Freedman’s Bureau was established to help transition former slaves to independence, and the Ku Klux Klan is formed.
  • 1870 – The Fifteenth Amendment is enacted and guarantees that no one will be denied the right to vote on the basis of race. The same year, the first Jim Crow law is passed in Tennessee.
  • 1875 – Congress enacts the first Civil Rights Act.
  • 1883 – The Supreme Court strikes down the first Civil Rights Act, explaining that Congress may only act on “discrimination by the government and not that of private citizens.”
  • 1896 – The Supreme Court rules in favor of the “separate but equal” doctrine in Plessy v. Ferguson.

National Civil Rights Museum - Bus Bombing

Montgomery, Birmingham and Mississippi

Admittedly, I spent too much time in the first one-third of the museum and ended up having to rush through the last 60 years of The Movement. But reading about the bus boycotts, bombings and the Mississippi Freedom Summer was much different than seeing it on the clips.

Why? Because you really get a sense of just what our elders risked…everything.

There’s even a quote from a conversation between activist, SNCC co-founder and Freedom Rider Diane Nash and the Kennedy Administration. The Administration asks the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) not to continue with the Freedom Rides, because they are risking their lives.

Diane Nash responds by saying “we’ve already completed our wills and notified our next of kin.”

National Civil Rights Museum - Montgomery Bus Boycott

Dr. King’s Last Moments

The last part of the museum is dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King’s last days and moments. Even though no signs are posted to keep quiet—everyone does. Heaviness just seems to hang in the air as you read about his last meal, his last phone call and the frantic moments surrounding his death.

National Civil Rights Museum - King Room

Thankfully, the museum doesn’t end there.

It continues for one more exhibit to highlight people that have kept Dr. King’s dream alive by continuing the fight for freedom. People like Nelson Mandela, Oprah and Soledad O’Brien, a 2016 Freedom Awardee, which are keeping us on the path of the long walk towards freedom.

Why The Movement STILL Matters

After touring the museum, I had the chance to attend the Freedom Awards, interview awardees and talk with supporters of the National Civil Rights Museum.  A quote by a long-time supporter stuck with me, because it reminded me why the movement still matters.

We cannot afford to get complacent, we have a generation of young people that need to know the struggle.  So we must keep the message [of freedom] alive. We must keep Dr. King’s dream alive.— Nelda Burroughs

Freedom Awards- Tyrone and Nelda Burroughs
I’m grateful to African Pride for supporting the museum and including me on their press trip.  Because of them, I got to take in the overarching message—freedom ain’t free. And we STILL have a long way to go.

BMWK: Why does the civil rights movement still matter? 

About the author

M. Simone Boyd wrote 32 articles on this blog.

Last year, M. Simone Boyd quit her job as an energy analyst to research what makes relationships thrive or die. She interviewed 10 Christian Black Men to get their advice on relationships and wrote a free guide. Simone is one of eight kids, and her awesome husband is an only child. She leads workshops, writes, and goes to the gym at least once a month.


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Fellas, Take Notes: 24 Things Ladies Love About Men’s Facial Hair

BY: - 7 Nov '16 | Events

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Brothers listen up, the ladies have spoken and the majority agree, your facial hair just does something to us! In addition to looking good, this month those mustaches and beards actually speak to a men’s movement we’re all talking about.

The movement is “Movember,” an annual event encouraging men to grow out their mustaches and beards for cancer awareness. The goal of the movement, which has taken place every November since 2003, is to raise awareness of men’s health issues such as depression and prostate cancer, and increase early cancer detection. To find out more or to take the challenge, visit

Ladies are loving this particular cause because it helps save our men while also blessing us with something aesthetically pleasing to lay eyes on.  There is just something hella sexy about a man who takes pride in his grooming and wears his facial hair well. But don’t just take my word for it, here’s what a few of my friends had to say:

“I like facial hair as long as it is groomed. I think it adds dimension and depth to a man’s face.”—Angela

“Yes, if it’s groomed. I think it’s super sexy. It’s a preference.” —Barbara

“I like a small amount of facial hairnot caveman and unruly. It’s a distinction between men and boys; [it] adds more maturity to the look of a man.” —Chanice

“I like facial hair BUT I prefer that it be closely cut (goatee-style). I think close cut style facial hair gives a man a well-groomed, ‘MANLY’ look.” —Yolonda

“I love it. It looks mature and sexy.” —Tanya

“Yes, I love facial hair on men because it makes them look mature, a little rugged and totally sexy. When the facial hair is kept groomed and looking clean, it’s so attractive.” —Dilaun


“I looooooove facial hair especially when it’s groomed! It’s so sexy and manly.” —Ralsheene

“I like it when it’s nice and neat, but not if it’s rough and crunchy looking. Makes me think of a werewolf when it’s rough looking.” —Tracy

“I love facial hair when a man keeps it groomed it’s so very sexy.” —Brenda

“I LOVE facial hair…especially on men in their 40’s …it makes them look like distinguished gentlemen.” —Shaliya

“Well, it makes them look masculine to me. I love a man with facial hair. It’s very distinguished and worldly. And don’t let him smoke a pipe, it just adds to the fact that he’s a lady man.” —Gwen

“Yes, I love facial hair on men! I find it to be such an attractive quality when it’s well groomed.” —Roxanne

Neatly groomed facial hair is super sexy. And don’t let him smell extra good…. Total turn on.”— Crystal

Doesn’t matter either way, but I agree if he does have it, it needs to be neatly groomed. I actually like when he changes every so often.” —Tanesha

“Yes, I definitely like facial hair especially if it’s neatly groomed. It makes a man have a distinguished look, which is very sexy to me.” —Genia


“Facial hair represents a certain maturity that separates the boys from the men.” —Jessica

“I like facial hair on a man. To me, men who have facial hair look more distinguished.” —Andriea

“My perspective on men’s facial hair is that it all depends on the man; some look okay, better or extra fine with it. I prefer that it be neat and clean, I do not like the extra straggly look.” —Maya

“Only if it’s groomed properly (lined-up, shaped and neat) it makes them look more distinguished, manly and strong.” —Elizabeth

“I do love facial hair on a man. I think a man with a WELL-GROOMED goatee is super sexy. LOL.” —Ita Sca


“Yes I like facial hair. …it’s a distinguished and sexy look.” —Zamelia

“I do like a man with facial hair, the full beard all the men are wearing is very nice looking on a man. It makes them look real handsome. Not having one makes them look boyish, or a little teenage to me. I prefer a full beard, more manly to me.” —Tiffany

“I LOVE facial hair on my man! It gives him a certain sexiness that can’t be described.” —Ericka

“Yes, as long as it is neat and maintained and it doesn’t look like they have facial alopecia (meaning it’s spotty) and if they don’t use that black dye to make it look fuller; [it] must be all natural like they prefer our booty and breasts.” —Tekorah

Brothers, you heard it hear first. That facial hair matters. However, what matters even more is your health. Get those physicals and encourage your friends to do the same. We need you! Again, to learn more about Movember, visit

BMWK ladies, do you prefer men with facial hair or without?

About the author

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter wrote 635 articles on this blog.

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter is a Certified Life & Relationship Coach, founder of Life Editing and Author of A Conversation Piece: 32 Bold Relationship Lessons for Discussing Marriage, Sex and Conflict Available on Amazon . She helps couples and individuals rewrite their life to reflect their dreams. Tiya has been featured in Essence and Ebony Magazines, and named one of the top blogs to read now by Refinery29. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two daughters. To find out more about Tiya, and her coaching, visit and


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