Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Nourished by anger, revolutins are born of hope. They are the offspring of belief and bitterness, of faith in the attainment of one's goals and indignation at the limited rate and extent of change. Rarely in history are the two stirrings confluent in a sufficient force to generate an effective, radical social movement. They would be so in African America in theI find the reference to "African America" to be quite interesting and I am wondering what the author's intention is here. Sitkoff could have referred to the black Americans within the South during the 1960's or to the United States more generally. The latter would set up the civil rights movement as a struggle that ultimately shaped its national identity. The reference to Africa seems to imply a distinct community along political, legal, and cultural lines. Perhaps the author is implying an "otherness" when referencing black Americans. My concern, however, is that this oversimplifies the complex relations that existed between black and white Americans. Sitkoff clearly demonstrates that Jim Crow laws resulted in the disfranchisement of the largest percentages of black Americans from participating in the political process, but the political and legal consequences do not necessarily imply (if I am interpreting him properly) an "African America." Black and white still understood themselves in relationship to one another; the relationship is symbiotic. I say this in full acknowledgment of Marcus Garvey's agenda and later Malcolm X's call for black Americans to rediscover their African roots.
1960's. (emphasis mine)
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Much time has passed on these crimes. The wounds they left are deep, and still many of them have not healed. But we are committed to re-examining these cases and doing all we can to bring justice to the criminals who may have avoided punishment for so long.In contrast to Gonzalez's strong tone of reconciliation and belief that justice can still be served Horace Harned, 86, a former Mississippi legislator and member of the segregationist Sovereignty Commission, said: "I think we shouldn't dig up too much of these things."
One of the high-profile cases being investigated involves Maceo Snipes, a black WWII veteran who was shot by four white men after he voted for the first time in 1946. There is no evidence that an investigation was ever opened by the state of Georgia.
Monday, February 26, 2007
"Resolved by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, that the General Assembly hereby acknowledge with profound regret the involuntary servitude of Africans and the exploitation of Native Americans and call for reconciliation among all Virginians," states the resolution.
"The moral standards of liberty and equality have been transgressed during much of Virginia's and America's history," the resolution states. It labels slavery "the most horrendous of all depredations of human rights and violations of our founding ideals in our nation's history."
In an extraordinary public confessional debated for weeks, the resolution concedes that "the most abject apology for past wrongs cannot right them; yet the spirit of true repentance on behalf of a government, and, through it, a people, can promote reconciliation and healing." The bill's chief patron in the House, Delegate A. Donald McEachin, 45, is the great-grandson of a North Carolina slave who moved to Virginia after the Civil War.
McEachin, who is studying theology, said his personal history and spiritual journey merged with Virginia's as he took his seat in the legislative body descended from the assembly that began passing slave laws shortly after the first Africans arrived near Jamestown in chains in 1619.
"Words matter, and expressions of regret and apology matter and are important for the healing process," he said in a telephone interview shortly after the House approved the resolution in the former Confederate capital.
McEachin, a Democrat, said his office has been contacted by aides from legislatures in Mississippi, Maryland and Missouri — states with difficult slave histories of their own — and the National Conference of State Legislatures, all expressing interest in passing similar resolutions.
"It's my hope that what we have done here in Virginia will continue elsewhere — if not through the [U.S.] Congress, then through the states," said McEachin.
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