Former quarterback’s stand is a reminder the injustice highlighted by raised fists 50 years ago has not gone away
Last week Colin Kaepernick became one of eight new recipients of the W E B Du Bois Medal, presented by Harvard University to those it considers to have made significant contributions to African‑American history and culture. The award, of which recipients have included Maya Angelou, Quincy Jones, Muhammad Ali and Ava DuVernay, is named after the writer and civil rights pioneer who explored the notion of “double consciousness”. Du Bois, the great‑great‑grandson of a slave, believed that being black and being American could be conceived “as leading neither to assimilation nor separatism but to proud, enduring hyphenation”.
Receiving the award, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback spoke of the young people he hoped to inspire. “It’s not only my responsibility but the responsibility of all people that are in positions of privilege, in positions of power, to continue to fight for them and uplift them, empower them,” he said. “Because if we don’t, we become complicit in the problem.”
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