Letter to the editor August 27 to September 2
In 1852, when Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” was published, it was a keystone historical event and had a broad and definite impact on American attitudes toward slavery. Abolitionists were buoyed and defenders of the Southern slave plantations were distracted and enraged. Thirteen years later, the United States of America defeated the Confederacy and chattel slavery was abolished throughout the land. Stowe had written a moving tale, but the Southern aristocracy would not be moved. The South refused to listen to reason and hundreds of thousands died to defend the South’s anachronistic, profitable and peculiar proclaimed right to enslave human beings.
Fast forward 168 years to 2020 and most of us digitally bore witness to another pivotal seminal event in race relations: the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police. There is no rational argument about the naked, ugly facts. George Floyd’s death was both profound and unalterable evidence of the existence of police brutality. It is no longer merely alleged. Consequently, determined Americans of all walks of life have been moved to action and now declare that Black Lives (must) Matter.
For centuries, race has been the basis of America’s peculiar caste system. People of color have been systematically mistreated and denied much of the bounty of the world’s richest nation because of the color of their skin. Finally, it is time to do something materially and psychologically to address the vast historical crimes and disparities that have chronically plagued this nation. In banking, in employment, in housing, in education, in access to the ballot and in justice and all civil rights there must be rethinking, reordering, relief and new opportunities for all minorities. There are many insidious things that this nation must cease doing to minority Americans and even more things that it must do to enable full rights, privileges and participation in what will surely be a more just society for everyone. Let’s get started here and now and, of course, this November, vote against white supremacy.