Where Words Fail, Pictures Speak: The Baltimore Riots Then And Now

by Abigail Magder

Just 47 years ago, the city of Baltimore laid in ruins following the aftermath of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination.

Protesters filled the streets with hopes of bringing an end to the injustices they had been fighting against for over 100 years.

What should have been a peaceful protest resulted in six deaths, 5,500 arrests and $13.5 million worth in damages over the span of just four days.

Sound familiar?

What we have seen over this past week in Baltimore is not a result of one young man’s death. What we have seen in Baltimore is a result of years and years of speaking out and not being heard.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said,

“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”

From Ferguson, MO, all the way to New York City, the majority of us have sat idly by as hundreds of men and women are taken away in handcuffs.

All of the chaos transpired over this past Monday night is a result of society’s inability to create and instill positive and effective change.

It has become increasingly clear the Civil Rights Movement is far from over, and that in itself is quite alarming.

But, where words fail, pictures speak, and images can be quite powerful.

The following photos are a disconcerting reminder our country needs to wake up. The similarities found amongst these photographs are a bit unsettling, to say the least. What happened just 47 years ago should not feel this familiar to us.

It is time we open our eyes so we can truly see what has been happening here at home for far too long. If we don’t, soon, it will be too late.

And, while it is true history does, in fact, repeat itself, it shouldn’t have to repeat itself like this.

So, how far have we come since 1968? Certainly, not far enough.

We live in a nation that prides itself on being the land of opportunity, yet we remain blind to those who need these opportunities the most. We are only stepping back in time to find every step we have taken toward an attempt of social change is a step in the wrong direction.

These photos should act as a constant reminder our society needs to come together.

Whether you live in Omaha, NE, or Los Angeles, CA, the excuses we continue to make for why we can’t or shouldn’t get involved in this moral dilemma need to meet their end.

If we continue to avoid the unavoidable, we will only find ourselves in this same position in another 47 years.

We are a nation of doers and of dreamers with the mindset almost anything is possible. We live in a time that has given us the upper hand to truly make a difference.

Let us not forget it was the younger generation during the 1960s who ultimately stepped up and took a stand against everything that was wrong with the system. They traveled across the country by bus, and they fought for everything we are still fighting for today.

At that time, they truly made a difference.

So, it is up to this generation to reach out and come together so we are not looking at these same photos in the year 2062.

If there is one thing we all know, it’s human rights shouldn’t come with terms and conditions.