Underpaid? Overworked? Frustrated? NOW imagine slavery.

John Leo, Sag Harbor, NY. This may be redundant since the release of and discussion about Twelve Years a Slave, but for many years I’ve seen and heard people complain about bosses and working conditions and I’ve empathized. But I’ve also reflected on how these modern days woes compare to SLAVERY. Being the property of […]

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Must we forget our Confederate ancestors?

Jesse Dukes, Charlottesville, VA. This question was on my mind recently, when I wrote an article for Virginia Quarterly Review about Confederate reenactors at the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg. I don’t actually have any Confederate ancestors I’m aware of, but most of the reenactors do. All of the reenactors I talked to considered slavery to […]

Stop awaiting apologies just do it!

Roberta Smith, Boston, MA. During the conversation, once the white guy spoke about self responsibility a lot of black people were visibly upset and I feel, most black people in the audience stopped listening because they were “offended”. The black rapper basically encouraged black people NOT to get involved in government. What if Obama felt […]

Relief, family pride, and then hope

Joy Los Angeles, CA Looking into my family history, at first I found relief at finding no record of slave ownership, even among ancestors in the South. Was it just because they could not afford to buy slaves? But then I found a transcript of a sermon my great-great grandmother’s brother gave at a church […]

No One Is Better Than You…

Kim Skillern Samuels, Cleveland Heights, OH. I lived in a neighborhood of black people, and went to an inner city public school. When friends found that I’d be moving to the suburbs they teased me, and said “Those honkeys are gonna chase you home from school.” At the age of six I thought a “honkey” […]

I thought slavery ended decades ago.

Alexa Ogno Salem, MA In the 1980’s, I went to a Catholic prep school that was full of privileged white kids. My good friend, Duchess Harris, was one of the few students of color. There was a single African American teacher. One of the student government fundraising activities was a “Slave Auction” in which fellow […]

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Caucasian, trying not to be white

Anonymous Mobile, AL I was born and raised Caucasian, though of course, like most Caucasians, I was referred to and referred to myself as “white.” But like so many, I found myself attracted to African American culture, and, generally, more accepted by African Americans. As I’ve grown, becoming an instructor of English and therefore, an […]

Lizzie’s Journey from Plantation to Farm

Michelle Hill Oakland, CA Our family is so fortunate that my great, great, great grandparents were not separated from each other and their children during slavery. Because the family stayed together, we have a family Bible, pictures and records that document their lives in this country. My great grandmother, Mama Lizzie, was born in 1870 […]

Slavery, stolen opportunities. Abolition, broken promises.

Delphine Fenderson Birmingham, AL So much was taken from my people during slavery. We are the only Americans that worked and built this country and got nothing in return. It continued with Jim Crow, share cropping, low minimum wages, stereotypes, having to fight for basic human rights. In order to maintain this status quo this […]

Slavery’s legacy haunts “value” of blacks

Piper Kendrix Williams Wyndmoor, PA This morning (6/27/13) I heard the story on Morning Edition’s Race Card segment of the sliding fee scale based on the race of a child being adopted. The conversation touched on the difficulty and complicated nature of assigning differing “value” to black, bi-racial, and white children. It seemed clear to […]

Slavery’s legacy broke my family pride.

Katherine E. Byroade West Hartford, CT When I was a child, my southern grandmother took great delight in the fact that she was a Jamestown descendant and DAR member and saw her membership in those organizations as part of her legacy to her granddaughters, ensuring our social success. She was matter of fact that the […]

Topic: slavery. All eyes on Brooke

Daniel Portland, OR I grew up in a working-class and ever-so-slightly diverse part of a very white city, but I the bus across town with two dozen others to school K-12. As I grow older I sometimes recall classroom memories that make my current self uncomfortable. In 7th grade social studies we discussed slavery, and […]

Denial keeps these wounds from healing.

E. Martin Hampton Roads, VA So often people act as if slavery was some prehistoric event whose effects should have dissipated. In reality, 150 years have not passed since the end of the Civil War. In reality, slavery not only induced poverty in African Americans but wealth in whites; slave owner or not free labor […]