None of the black people I know have ever been given their handcuffs as a “You got arrested” souvenir. Apparently Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. received more than a beer at the White House after his traumatic arrest…on his front porch. He’s donated the handcuffs used on him to the Smithsonian Institution’s black history museum. This makes me wonder…what other items will be on display with these handcuffs?
- One of the night sticks used on Rodney King
- Handcuffs used on famous African Americans (MLK, Tupac, Diana Ross, etc)
- A replica of a Montgomery, Alabama jail cell from the Civil Rights era
- That horrible neck brace will the bells on it that you sometimes see in illustrations found in books on slavery.
What would happen if black males all over the nation requested that they be given their former chains and handcuffs so that they could be donated to the Smithsonian as a testament to the record incarceration rates of black men in America. Surely, 50 years…100 years from our children would marvel at the shear size of the collection of metal bonds. Would they be amazed and say, “There’s no way that so many people of one race could have been accused of/guilty of that much crime!”. Or perhaps they will just shake their heads and say, “Nothing has changed.”.