Slavery apology necessary
Published 12:00 am Friday, May 11, 2007
To the Editor:
I write in response to editorial writers who cannot see the forest for the trees on the issue of slavery.
However, I don’t harbor the illusion that my comments will enlarge their knowledge or open their closed minds.
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I write because the voices of remembrance and apology are too quiet and have been so far too long.
By contrast the proponents of “forgetting slavery and segregation,” are loud, strong and aggressive.
They resort to name calling and personal attacks, instead of addressing the problem.
I want to discuss the issue briefly.
The problem was intelligently articulated in the Apology Resolution introduced by Sen. Sanders and approved by large majorities in the Alabama House and Senate.
President Bush even acknowledged the horrors of slavery and its current impact.
Only the blind can ignore the lingering impact of slavery on Americans today.
The majority of white citizens did not own “slaves”
at the time.
They did support it.
In addition many citizens of today benefit from the
generations who “legalized and tacitly approved slavery.”
Some African tribes who participated in selling countless Africans from other tribes and villages, have issued apologies.
I accompanied Alabama Commissioner Ron Sparks and others to Benin, West Africa, on a trade mission. During the sojourn, Benin’s president issued a formal apology on behalf of his government and people inspite of the fact his ancestors had no idea of the cruel dimensions of American Slavery, the most dehumanizing slavery that has ever existed on Planet Earth.
Millions of people were stripped of their religion, language, names, culture, identity and dignity.
Enslaved people could not marry, read, write, or excel beyond their condition.
Over 40 million died, many committing suicide, as a result of inhumane treatment.
Mrs. Annie Cooper, a Selma resident who is now 98 years of age, still manifests great pain when talking about how her great grandmother was raped by her own father, the plantation owner.
Her mother, who was 11 years old at the time, was tarred, feathered and separated from her children because she walked in, saw the man raping his own daughter, and fought him with all her might. Several studies show that black youth are four times more likely to receive prison sentences than white youth committing the same crime. The economic and other crisis in our community can’t be separated from the contributing impact of the worse form of slavery known to mankind.
Its impact cannot be extinguished by the mere passage of time. One hundred years from now, the descendents of 9-11 victims and this nation will still be impacted by this horrific act.
We read daily the history of the cruel crucifixion of Jesus Christ, which happened over 2,000 years ago.
We find inspiration in Moses’ heroic struggle to liberate the Israelites from slavery much more than 2,000 years ago.
Likewise, we cannot forget that President John Adams called slavery “an evil of colossal magnitude.”
After the Apology Resolution was passed, Sen.
Sanders received a gruesome cartoon supposedly depicting the “savagery” white people will endure if blacks take over America.
Ironically, the cartoon depicted the actual “terror and savagery” that was legally administered to blacks during slavery.
The opposition to an apology manifest an unrighteous unwillingness to accept the truth about Americans whose ancestors acquired property and wealth on the backs of our ancestors.
They are an inseparable part of American history.
From this history can emerge our redemption, our repair, and our hope if embraced.
We must tell their stories.