Roy Tatem, Jr. is President of the East Valley NAACP. In recognition of black history month, Tatem spoke about his role with the civil rights organization and his journey as a black man in Arizona, with “Horizonte” host Jose Cardenas.
A year ago, the town council of Miami tabled a proclamation about black history month.
Your comment is that “history and politics” are not to separate things. What did you mean by that?
Tatem: “Politics is usually shaped by history. The times, the people, the issues of the day pretty much shape our politics. So I believe we have to understand historically what’s happening, to understand some of the current policies, or some of the policies that many combated or pushed back on. Talking about … the civil rights movement. Many people have to understand the history and the policies of the day to understand a person like Martin Luther King.”
Are there confederate monuments in the state of Arizona?
Tatem: “There were Confederate monuments in the state of Arizona, many people didn’t even know. I’ll say at the time we took on this issue, around 2015, there were six known confederate monuments, I am proud to say that now there is one. I believe that one is in a cemetery.”
How does Arizona differ from where you are from originally, Virginia, to you?
Tatem: “Many people are transplanted form many place sin Arizona. Arizona can be a bit of a melting pot, or a salad bowl. In Virginia, there are many people that are from Virginia, born and raised in Virginia, proud Virginian. I still take pride in my Virginian heritage. Some people take that to another level, as we talk about the south. Some people look at Virginia as the confederacy a little differently than I.”