George Zimmerman Travesty: How About African Sovereignty Instead Of Constant Marches And Protests?

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After George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin by a jury of mostly White women on July 13, 2013 prominent members of Congress and the NAACP immediately lobbied for a Department of Justice investigation in the hope that it leads to charges and trial.

My question is why stop there?

Civil Rights has not slowed down the killing of Africans in America. Is it time to consider deeper demands? How about protective status as a sovereign people for Africans in America?

Many people protested and befittingly questioned the verdict and Zimmerman’s guilt or innocence, while amazingly respecting the decision of the jury of six women. Without missing a beat, while under an artificially induced trance often characterized by a heightened susceptibility to marching, protesting, and boycotting, various Black politicians, legal pundits, members of the press, academicians, and of course, entertainers and preachers are seeking civil rights judicatory from the federal government.  For example, two days after the verdict, the Congressional delegation in New York City assembled at the federal courthouse in Manhattan to condemn the verdict and celebrate U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to investigate the killing of Trayvon Martin.

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), who is a White member of Congress, also publicly supports such a federal investigation to determine if George Zimmerman violated Trayvon Martin’s civil rights.

As Ross Barkan’s Politicker article noted in “NYC Congressional Delegation Gathers to Denounce Trayvon Martin Verdict,” Congressman Nadler stated the following: “It is clear that Trayvon Martin would be alive today if George Zimmerman were not deeply prejudiced and did not perceive a young black kid walking through the neighborhood as a threat.” He further stated that, “the civil rights laws were passed by the federal Congress. We have civil rights law precisely for the purpose of dealing with situations where the states have shown themselves incapable of meting out justice.”

With perhaps “good intentions” or simply a paralysis of analysis or both, Congressional members and many others in a position of great influence support the federal civil rights laws, while overlooking federal laws that protect Native Americans who are legally considered to be sovereign. The sovereign rights of Native Americans are federally protected due to the Marshall Trilogy. 

From 1823 – 1832, the Marshall Trilogy dealt with a series of three cases: Johnson v. M’Intosh (1823), Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831), and Worcester v. Georgia (1832).  These three legal cases served as the foundation of federal Native American laws that ultimately secured the Native Americans with the following federal rights: the right to occupy their own land in the United States without interference from the states; tribal sovereignty, where they have the sole authority to govern themselves and their land; and the establishment of federal trust responsibility where the United States federal government is legally mandated to protect Native American sovereign rights along with their land and resources while procuring food, shelter, and other key services to them.

As the longest serving Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1801-1835, John Marshall played a major role in establishing the federal Native American laws.  It would be fitting if Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., considers the “Marshall Trilogy” as the legal precedent to confer sovereign rights to Africans in the United States given the fact that Africans were sovereign before the transatlantic slave trade.

For the United States federal government to consider such a legal precedent, Africans in America must lobby Congress or petition the courts.  Prior to the transatlantic slave trade, Africans were members of a sovereign sociopolitical and economic unit that consisted of families and communities who shared land, resources, a common ancestry and culture.  The transatlantic slave trade and chattel slavery in the Untied States served as the ultimate infringement to our sovereign rights where our sociopolitical and economic unit was drastically altered forever.  In the manner now being indicated, it would be propitious for Africans in the United States to petition the courts and lobby Congress for sovereignty instead of, or in addition to, marching, protesting, and boycotting.

Marching, protesting, and boycotting have proven to be a short term solution for a long term problem.  It seems to me that we will march and protest today, and break bread tomorrow with a system that continues to disregard us.

Similarly, we will boycott today and spend every nickel and dime tomorrow with those who will not only consider our employability, but also our humanity.

George Zimmerman, along with the system, the court and the all female jury did not consider Trayvon Martin’s humanity because Trayvon Martin and Africans in the United States do not have protective status as a sovereign people – we only have civil rights which has yet to impede the implacable killing of Africans in the United States.


Professor Patrick Delices is a political analyst/commentator for the Black Star News and the author of “The Digital Economy,” Journal of International Affairs. For nearly a decade, Prof. Delices has taught Africana Studies at Hunter College. He also served as a research fellow for the late Pulitzer Prize recipient, Dr. Manning Marable at Columbia University. 

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