From the Left



Why #MontgomeryRiverfrontBrawl Gained New Meaning in Black Conversations

Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

The folding chair, wherever it came from, suddenly became new fuel for satire on Black Twitter, an informal online gathering of Black community news and views — or, as one friend of mine describes it, “people being Black across lots of social media platforms.”

Sometimes it’s clever, sometimes it’s lame but in the wake of the #MontgomeryRiverfrontBrawl, Black Twitter seemed to be set on fire.

The boat co-captain was simply “doing his job,” said Montgomery police Chief Darryl Albert.

Indeed, that’s how it looks on video — and there were too many witnesses and smartphones for anyone to claim that the Black folks started it.

That certainty, in my view, helps to explain the outpouring of amusement and celebration that popped up on social media after this story broke.

A lot of it involved folding chairs. One of the favorites in my house is a photoshopped image of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., statue holding a folding chair.

Another one features a photo of a young Black man with a folding chair strapped at his side and captioned, “Just got my open carry license.”


As a man to whom many people have turned to explain the ways of Black folks (actually, I can hardly think of a more qualified observer), I am not surprised to hear some ask me bemusedly why Black folks find so much to celebrate in this somewhat historic moment.

My explanation: When you have seen the system work against you as often as African Americans have, it’s easier to be jubilant when the system works the way it’s supposed to.

The sight of Black people rushing to the defense of an endangered Black person and the police responding by properly subduing the suspects, especially in a city with all the historical baggage Montgomery carries with it from the civil rights era, you gain a new appreciation of how the system can work, when it’s supposed to. You can see it in the tweets.


(E-mail Clarence Page at

©2023 Clarence Page. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.





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