On July 4, 1776, Congress appointed a committee to design a seal for the United States of Ameica. In 1782 E Pluribus Unum was approved by Congress. Placed on a scroll carried in the beak and held in the talons of the American bald eagle who represents the "power of peace and war" it became the motto for America. At that time the focus of the Great Seal was on the Thirteen Original Colonies that comprised the entire geography of the United States.The translations of these two Latin words into English are: Pluribus means plural and Unum means unit.
As we begin the second decade of the twenty-first century the cry for "states rights," an enemy of E Pluribus Unum, is heard from demagogue politicians espousing white supremacy just as their ancestors did in Alabama where I was born and initially denied the right to vote, even though I had served four years in the military. All Southern states denied African Americans access to education equal to that available for whites and the right to vote, to mention only two racist practices, until the Civil Rights movement, under the leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr., (I served as his first Civil Rights secretary during the Montgomery Bus Boycott in the mid-1950s) and the passage of Civil Rights laws by Congress that were signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in the mid-1960s nullified race-based state rights laws of Southern States that had existed since Reconstruction when these states enacted state rights "black codes, "that denied African Americans their civil rights.
These state rights laws existed for four-fifth of a century. Just as interstate highways, the internet, the post office, major airports and the military operate by federal laws, not state rights laws, education, health and other similar institutions and businesses should be subjected to federal laws, not state laws. In a time when global laws are applied to nations it is inconceivable that in America the focus is on state rights. No state rights law is needed to permit Americans in every state the right to vote. State rights laws have been used to prevent citizens from voting. A citizen should enjoy the best this nation has to offer in every state.
State rightists, composed of many Southern whites, certainly, not all Southern whites, some whites from states not in the South and members of the Tea Party which was formed after Barack Obama became President, which Jesse Jackson aptly refers to as the Fort Sumter Tea Party (Fort Sumter 1861,distinguised form the Boston Tea Party of 1773), are not friends of black Americans. It must be repeated over and over that state rights opposed E Pluribus Unum. State rightists advocate exclusiveness, maintaining that they are the superior people.
E Pluribus unum must not apply only to states of the United States but also to individual citizens of the United States. We are not just "One nation under God," as noted in the "Pledge of Allegiance," but, individually, one person under God or, better still, one person with God, who is with each person. The Bible says "He has made of one blood all nations for to dwell on all the face of the earth." (Acts 17:26). This is where each person can make a difference, i.e., actuate and actualize E Pluribus unum.
We are one, not just in a marriage vow that states, "Your twain shall be one." Humanity is one whether we accept it or not. Natural calamities such as earthquakes, hurricanes floods, forest fires and death are equalizers which remind us that we are one. Yet, because of inflated egos and racial superiority beliefs many humans just don't get it, despite an abundance of evidence that stares them in the face.
E Pluribus Unum is on some of our coin money, including a nickle and a penny. Know that the value of E Pluribus Unum is much greater than these coins or any other coin. We are one.
Copyright 2011 by Uriah J. Fields