Misreading slavery due to modern morals.

Rikki Clark,
Milwaukee, WI.

I teach African-American literature and folklore at the university level. Often white students will say in class how they would have never owned slaves. But there is a fundamental problem when we view history through a twenty-first-century lens. Our modern morals and values are out of context. I would hope, if I had been in South, that I would have been brave enough to stand up for the freedom of all humans, but I don’t know if I would have been that enlightened or that strong. Would I have been brave enough to march with the Suffragists or with MLK, Jr. in Selma? Human rights are violated all the time; slavery still exists in the world. We need to acknowledge our collective wrongs, celebrate those who survived, and understand our history in order to learn compassion. Once we can do that, then we can look around us and try to right the injustice that is happening right now to ourselves, our neighbors, and to mankind.

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