Friday, March 02, 2007

Slavery Is Not Dead. It's Not Even Past

This is a very powerful essay by Herbert that, among other things, underscores that yawning gap between black and white America.  I think it's critical as a nation that we do more to close that gap -- and who better to lead this than President Obama?!

Instead of reaping rewards for this seminal role in the creation of a rich and powerful nation, blacks have been relentlessly vilified by a profoundly racist society and frozen out of most of the nation’s bounty. Consigned to the bottom of the caste heap after emancipation, and denied some of the most basic human rights, blacks became the convenient depository of whatever blame and negative stereotypes whites chose to cast their way.

The abject state ruthlessly imposed upon blacks for so long became, perversely, proof of their inferiority. Blacks gave whites of all classes someone to look down upon.

Slavery, like the past, as Faulkner reminded us, is not dead. It’s not even past. It’s not something that you can wish away.


Slavery Is Not Dead. It’s Not Even Past.

Published: March 1, 2007

The Rev. Al Sharpton seemed subdued, quiet, reflective — which was unusual.

Just when we thought the news couldn’t get any weirder, we learned this week, via The Daily News, that Mr. Sharpton’s great-grandfather was a slave who was owned by relatives of Senator Strom Thurmond, the longtime archsegregationist who ran for president as a Dixiecrat in 1948.

“There’s not enough troops in the Army,” Mr. Thurmond told a screaming crowd during that campaign, “to force the Southern people to break down segregation and admit the nigra race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our schools and into our homes.”


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