“Though the slavery question is settled, its impact is not. The question will be with us always. It is in our politics, our courts, on our highways, in our manner, and in our thoughts all the day, every day.” – Cornelius Holmes
As a historian, I know slavery has left a deep scar on America. The reasons are many. I have found wisdom in the words of Cornelius Holmes, a former slave, interviewed in 1939, a man who saw brutality and separation of families. Holmes shared the dreams and melodies before freedom and then witnessed the reality of freedom.
One reason for my current retrospection is the fine essay by Ta-Nehisi Coates in the June issue of the Atlantic arguing that reparations are deserved and long overdue. He has gathered an amazing array of facts about racism, economics, violence and the role of the U.S. government, implicit and explicit. With pinpoint clarity, Coates has focused a scholarly light that shines into all the dark corners of this shameful chapter in our history. Continue reading Lonnie Bunch: America’s Moral Debt to African Americans | Smithsonian
An Iowa mother said this week that the Des Moines school board may have gone easy on a white teacher who told her black son to call him “master.”
Roosevelt High School student Jabre White, 17, recalled to The Des Moines Register the way his teacher, Shawn McCurtain, had told the class to head downstairs for a final exam in economics in mid-May.
“Yes, sir,” Jabre White remembered telling the teacher.
“You meant to say, ‘Yes, sir, master,’” McCurtain allegedly replied. Continue reading White Iowa teacher tells black student to address him by saying, ‘Yes, sir, master’
By Robbie Couch
When he was convicted of three drug charges in Washington state and sentenced to prison, he owed $1,800 in court fees — $600 for each charge. Shaw told HuffPost Live on Wednesday that the judge had stated those charges could be paid after he became a free man once again.
Upon his release from prison 14 years later, however, that number had skyrocketed to $21,000 — about a 1,066 percent increase. Shaw had been told during his 10th year behind bars that while he was serving the rules had changed — those charges had been collecting interest at Washington’s staggering rate of 12 percent.
“When I go to apply for a job, when I go to try to get a vehicle, or when I try to do anything where I need to run credit, they see I owe $21,000, and that makes it hard,” Shaw said, also noting he frequently has to choose between basic everyday purchases, like food and gas, or paying off his legal financial obligations (LFOs).
By Stephen A. Crockett, Jr.
Rene Lima-Marin robbed two video stores 15 years ago, when he was just 19. He walked into the stores with an unloaded rifle and demanded money. He admitted to the crime and was sentenced to what he and his lawyer believed was a 16-year-sentence. After 10 years of serving time, Lima-Marin was set free. He got married, fathered two children and purchased a home. He swore he would never do anything to jeopardize the new life he had created.
Then, earlier this year, the life he had built came crumbling down when a judge, citing a clerical error, sent him back to prison to finish a 98-year sentence.