A Black Durham council member revealed on Monday, that he is tired of Black people having to go far and beyond to prove themselves.
According to the News and Observers, council member Mark-Anthony Middleton, made the remarks after he presented a proposal to adjust a resolution to honor civil rights leader Malcolm X more than 50 years after his assassination.
“So often black leaders, and black folk in general in this country, have been asked to take that extra step to prove our legitimacy, validity, patriotism, love of country,” Middleton said.
Council members have tried to honor Malcolm X for his civil rights efforts, including city council member DeDreana Freeman, who attempted to do so last year but failed. Malcolm X has been recognized, but only by a previous council years before.
This spring, Freeman presented a new draft of a resolution to the council. The new draft detailed how to recognize Malcolm X’s life in ways that included his time with the Nation of Islam without promoting it, since many consider it as a hate group now.
Fortunately, the council passed the resolution to honor his life, only after two amendments failed and “heartfelt” testimony was shared.
The resolution was presented and passed during the same meeting the latest crime report in the city was revealed, detailing a rise in homicides.
“It frustrates me to even have to have this debate,” Freeman said.
“It is far more important for us to talk and to address how there are so many black men sitting in jail, and night after night as I receive these messages there are black men dead in the street.” she said.
Middleton didn’t want to add anything to the statement, but he did add a disclaimer saying, “To me as a black man, as a black leader in this city, hearkens back to those days when we have to always qualify ourselves as a leader, as a citizen. We’re always suspect. There’s always that lingering question, are you really such-and-such, so you gotta go extra.”
“It’s exhausting,” he added.
Two other members of the seven Durham City Council are black along with Middleton and Freeman, including Mayor Pro Tem Jillian Johnson and Vernetta Alston.