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Remember Slavery: Say It Loud

26 Mar

In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly designated March 25 as an annual International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Remember Slavery 2018

For white Americans, slavery is something that happened in the distant past and has nothing to do with them. Fact is, the legacy of forced migration and 400 years of free labor is evident today. It’s evident in the wealth gap, school-to-prison pipeline, inequitable school funding and desecration of the black body.


From my teenage fascination with the fictional Mandingo to the joy in knowing two colleagues discovered an Underground Railroad safe house in Philadelphia, slavery and the ancestors are never far from mind. Although I have read countless books about the “peculiar institution,” I still don’t know how the ancestors survived. But I am emboldened by their faith – and resistance – and revel in the rich cultural heritage that they bequeathed us.

So say it loud: Remember Slavery.

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Public Art Matters in Stone Mountain

18 Dec

I lived in Atlanta-DeKalb County for three years. Although Stone Mountain is in DeKalb County, I never went there. For most of the 20th century Stone Mountain was effectively a “sundown town” which African Americans entered at their own risk.

Sundown Towns

Stone Mountain, the birthplace of the modern Ku Klux Klan, was called out by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his “I Have A Dream” speech. The city is home to the country’s largest Confederate monument.

Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial

In the wake of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, cities across the country have removed Confederate monuments. However, Stone Mountain, which is now overwhelmingly black, can’t touch the symbol of hate and white supremacy. The reason: In 2001, the Republican-controlled legislature passed Ga. Code § 50-30-1.

Stone Mountain - Georgia Statue

The United Daughters of the Confederacy used public art to propagate the “Lost Cause” mythology and romanticize the Confederate generals who tried to destroy the Union. The false narrative is believed by alleged child molester and sore loser Roy Moore who longs for the good old days when his ancestors could buy my ancestors:

I think it was great at the time when families were united — even though we had slavery — they cared for one another…. Our families were strong, our country had a direction.

This short documentary by Field of Vision shows how fake news was embedded in white Southerners’ psyche.

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