The African-American community has been decimated economically, educationally, and socially for the last three decades. There is a 20 to 30 year plan in most of the downtown areas based on gentrification, and the Black community will be moved and forced out of their neighborhoods. In these urban areas, the rents and value of properties will increase, and most African Americans will be priced out of these upper level communities.
In order to eliminate generations of African Americans in these urban cities, the War on Drugs was initiated. The War on Drugs was a justification for police brutality, violence, and mandatory minimums that resulted in the mass incarceration of black men. The War on Drugs created a permanent underclass of mainly black men, who virtually cannot find gainful employment, and also can’t vote because of felony convictions.
Nancy Gertner, a formal federal judge, is one of the first judges to come forward and admit, the War on Drugs devastated the black community, and was a complete failure. In an article in The Atlantic, Gertner compared the War on Drugs to the bombing of European cities in World War II.
“This is a war that I saw destroy lives. It eliminated a generation of African-American men, covered our racism in ostensibly neutral guidelines and mandatory minimums and created an intergenerational problem. We know that the sons and daughters of the people we sentenced are in trouble, and are in trouble with the criminal system, and 80% percent of my 500 convictions handed down were unfair,” says ex-Judge Gertner.
In her article, Gertner also compared the condition of the black community to post-war Europe. According to Gertner, the black community needs a large-scale redevelopment effort to recover from the War on Drugs, which effectively became a war on black people. In every major city in America in 2015, there is a deployment of military vehicles and gear, with more black people being killed or imprisoned every day.
Mass incarceration is a direct result of the War on Drugs, and ex-Judge Gartner argues that the black community in America needs a radical plan, or a big idea to recovery. Gartner believes that the disproportionately high level of incarceration of black men makes it almost impossible for the African-American community to improve its condition without help from the federal government.
Gartner is calling on President Obama and his administration to implement a plan something like a “Marshall Plan” in the black community. After World War II, the Marshall Plan helped to rebuild the major cities in Europe. The goal of the plan, whose official name was “the European Recovery Program,” was to rebuild the war devastated regions with modern industries, improve the transportation infrastructure, and make Europe prosperous again. The plan cost the United States $13 billion in the forties, but today it would have cost $120 billion.
The urban cities have been devastated by the drug wars and mass incarceration, and president Obama has failed to develop a plan specifically designed to improve the condition of black America. In the cities gentrification is bringing middle class whites back to the urban areas, and black folks are being pushed out. Judges and politicians are beginning to speak out about the unfair treatment of black Americans in cities.
Black urban America will never change or improve until there is a plan focused on the recovery and the rehabilitation of black communities. The plan would have to be initiated and spearheaded by the president and it would cost billions of dollars. The Marshal plan for black America is a great idea, but more of our leaders need to start talking to make this a reality.
Roger Caldwell, a community activist, author, journalist, radio host and CEO of On Point Media Group, lives in Orlando. His book, The Inspiring Journey of a Stroke Survivor, details the story of his recovery from a massive stroke. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.