For Release: July 2, 2001
Contact: David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x106 or Project21@nationalcenter.org
Black Activists Support Pledge of Allegiance
Group Outraged by Black
Lawmaker Refusing to Honor the Flag and Nation
On the eve of the 225th anniversary of American independence, members of the African-American leadership network Project 21 are appalled that there are prominent African-Americans who refuse to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. These people claim the American flag represents slavery and racial oppression, ignoring the growth of America into a nation that fosters equality and opportunity.
"When these American-hating blacks attacked the Confederate flag, I said that if we gave in to their demands, they would not stop there. So it's little surprise that they're back now," said Project 21 member Reverend Jesse Peterson. "Anyone elected to represent the citizens of a state who refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance is not fit to serve, and must be removed from office without hesitation."
After a group of Tennessee schoolchildren noticed that Tennessee state Representative Henri Brooks did not stand with her colleagues when the Pledge was recited in the state legislature, it was discovered that Brooks has refused to do so since she was in the third grade. She told The Washington Times, "This flag represents the former colonies that enslaved our ancestors. It's not one nation under God and it's not liberty and justice for all... Pledging allegiance to the flag, to me, is very hypocritical."
In a recent debate on the Fox News Channel, black political commentator Julianne Malveaux said it was "ridiculous" for blacks to recite the Pledge because it is "nothing but a lie, just a lie." She further asked, "With liberty for whom? And what is justice? For whom?"
While slavery and the subjugation of blacks played an integral role in America's early history, it was abolished over 130 years ago and was one of the issues that sparked the Civil War. It's been over 35 years since the first major legislation was signed into law to outlaw lingering racial discrimination. The black middle-class is one of the fastest growing segments of the population, and people like basketball great Michael Jordan, talk show host Oprah Winfrey, Secretary of State Colin Powell and businessman Robert Johnson are amongst the most highly-respected Americans. It is the belief of many Project 21 members that America, as a nation, has gown to become accepting of African-Americans and now offers the equality of opportunity that has made the nation great. Therefore, it deserves the respect that comes with the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance.
"America belongs just as much, if not more, to the African-American descendants who - by their blood, sweat and tears - forged out the land of opportunity in which we live today," said Project 21 member Dr. Alveda King Tookes, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "We are America. Let us wake up and pledge allegiance, not just to the flag, which is really a symbol, but to the truth. Unless we become one nation under God, we are nothing."
Project 21 has been a leading voice of the African-American
community since 1992. For more information, contact David Almasi
at (202) 507-6398 x106 or Project21@nationalcenter.org,
or visit Project 21's website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html.