Sometimes, it seems as if our country has spent its entire history grappling with the after effects of the original sin of slavery.

In his great Second Inaugural Address on March 4, 1865 — just 41 days before he was assassinated — President Lincoln saw the Civil War in some way as punishment for slavery. He said that the nation prayed for the end of the war, but added:

“Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword as was said three thousand years ago so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’”

After the Second World War, in the 1940s, President Truman finally desegregated the armed forces, in part in recognition of the sacrifices of Black soldiers during the war.

As the website History.com wrote: “The event marked the first time a U.S. commander in chief had used an executive order to implement a civil rights policy. It became a crucial step toward inspiring other parts of American society to accept desegregation.”

Two decades later, in response to the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s, President Johnson pushed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act through Congress, unleashing a new world of change in the country as Blacks and other minorities claimed their rightful place in the worlds of politics, government and business.

Now, we are once again wrestling with vestiges of white racism. Here in Frederick, in our state of Maryland and around our country, we are recognizing the reality that — though we have come a long way toward racial equality — the work is not yet done.

Last week, Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner received seven recommendations from the Equity and Inclusion Leadership Team to improve diversity and inclusion in county operations.

Major recommendations include conducting a study of disparity in the county’s procurement process and reducing health disparities among the county’s minority populations.

Other areas where the team said the county can improve are: Improving the ethnic and racial diversity of the county’s workforce to better reflect the county’s community; enhancing and expanding support for minority and woman-owned businesses; and establishing and maintaining professional development opportunities and requirements.

At the city government level, Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor’s proposed fiscal 2022 budget includes an equity program administrator in the mayor’s office who would help coordinate programs across the city for diversity, equity and inclusion — a step recommended in a disparity study conducted by an outside consultant.

The consultant reported that minority- and women-owned business were at a substantial disadvantage in securing contracts with the government, and recommended several measures including the hiring of an equity administrator.

At the state level, the General Assembly session, which ended this week passed several measures with the goal of expanding equality.

The Washington Post concluded: “The 90-day session was largely defined by fixing long-standing social unfairness in education, health and criminal justice. In addition to a landmark policing overhaul, lawmakers sought to bolster civil rights and aid for immigrants and assist those most devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.”

The Post went on to quote Senate President Bill Ferguson as saying: “We’re at a moment where we’re deciding: Where do we go as a society?”

The invention of an unlikely but powerful new tool — the smart phone with a video camera — has thrust the evidence of mistreatment of Black people by the police into the face of America. Now, through police reforms and criminal trials, we are starting to cope with the reality we cannot ignore.

Lastly, we are now facing a rising threat from white supremacists who are intent on halting and reversing our racial progress. The attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 — led by white nationalist groups such as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers trying to overturn the defeat of President Trump — was another milestone, a foreboding one. The federal government has a huge task on its hands, to find and root out the radical groups willing to destroy our national institutions.

This is part of a long, painful effort at racial reconciliation. Sometimes we do better and sometimes we slip back. Progress is never easy, but we have to believe that we are going in the right direction.

(19) comments

micky

Too much goes "unsaid" about this topic !!

artandarchitecture

"...our country 'original sin' of slavery."

You have a reverent, religious, interpretation of this, do you?

Please study slavery throughout history to be able to put things in proper perspective. If fighting slavery is the cause that is most important to you, in 2021, there's *currently* tons of slavery going on worldwide (OUTSIDE of western countries.)

Those of European lineage were the ones who *ended* the legalization of slavery. There's no need to thank me personally, because these were simply my ancestors. (Likewise, nobody I know desires compensation for the huge number of lives lost due to fighting, & putting an end to slavery. It's water under the bridge.)

If you fancy imagining whites being enslaved, you can read all about that true history in any of these books:

To Hell or Barbados; White Slavery in the Barbary States by Charles Sumner;

White Cargo by Don Jordan and Michael Walsh;

Proclamation 1625: America's Enslavement of the Irish by Herbert L Byrd Jr.;

They were white and they were slaves by Michael A Hoffman II;

Without Indentures : Index to White Slave Children in Colonial Court Records by Richard Hayes Phillips PhD

Please don't mistake "equality" (all Americans have this, have had this, & can sue for $$$ if being illegally discriminated against ) and "equity" (<---the start of socialism-communism.) They are completely different ideas.

We now have 50+ years of hard, evidence that NO amt of $ or resources (under the sun!) can actually fix black under-performance. (Hence, they have been given affirmative-action preferential treatment in both schools & in hiring practices.)

This is just one research study to read: Policy Analysis: MONEY AND SCHOOL PERFORMANCE, Lessons from the Kansas City Desegregation Experiment

https://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/pa-298.pdf

"the [police] reality you cannot ignore." ??

This *reality* includes the following:

NO racial differences were found in use of police force (Harvard):

An Empirical Analysis of Racial Differences in Police Use of Force - Roland G. Fryer, Jr., Journal of Political Economy 6/3/2019

Last, you say "white nationalist" and "white supremacist." Please, just go ahead and use the word "whites," rather than "nationalist" or "supremacy" (<--- describing general excellence/success, meritocracy??) because nobody seems able to define these terms.

If patriotic, white Americans (like America's founding fathers) were currently 'in charge' why would they label themselves terrorist threat #1? It's becoming increasingly obvious to the casual observer, that our govt has been hijacked.

shiftless88

Wow, pretty racist screed here. And pulling out the tired old "whites were enslaved, too" bit. You are one angry white woman.

artandarchitecture

I'm sorry you find those facts highly inconvenient. I'm not angry at all. I'm very matter-of-fact, & as usual, rather amazed by people (such as yourself) who believe private unspoken emotions could possibly be 'wrong'.

For example, BLM & Antifa should have all the have the freedom to think & feel *whatever*(!) they darn well please: hate, confusion, glee, spite, nostalgia, lust, hope...

I just say stop the violent (temper-tantrum) behavior, & all lives matter.

shiftless88

The fact is that slavery here was built on race. Period.

shiftless88

But this is the racist "take the cake" statement: "We now have 50+ years of hard, evidence that NO amt of $ or resources (under the sun!) can actually fix black under-performance. (Hence, they have been given affirmative-action preferential treatment in both schools & in hiring practices.)"

phydeaux994

a & a, we have a 400 year history of oppression and suppression of the Black race in America. Had the White race lived up to the Reconstruction Ideal after the Civil War and brought the Black population into the mainstream with schools and housing and jobs and EQUALITY across the board, we wouldn’t need to talk about EQUITY now.

gjthuro

So I guess you measure slavery by skin color....another racist

shiftless88

slavery in the US was based on skin color

gjthuro

art, you wrote a wonderful piece and the "OVerviwew" IS FILLED WITH ONE-SIDED INUENDO AND QUITE SHAMEFUL...NO MENTION WHATSOEVER OF THE BLM GROUP RUNNING ROUGHSHOD OVER MANY CITIES AROUND THE COUNTRY KILLING, BURNING AND LOOTING...AND THOSE CAPTURED WERE QUICKLY BAILED BY THE HARRIS GANG....IS THAT TH E KIND OF LAW AND ORDER THE CITIZENS WANT?

phydeaux994

Show me one instance of a BLM Protest killing anybody or burning and looting. Those things were done after dark by no one in the name of Black Lives Matter.

sevenstones1000

Art - two words “American exceptionalism”. America is not “any other country in history”. It was founded to be exceptional. That is the standard by which we conduct and judge ourselves.

If you don’t like holding your country to those standards, then go find another one to live in, rather than insist America be debased to your level.

MD1756

As bad as we may be, and we may still have a long way to go, we probably do a better job as a nation than most other nations with regard to welcoming those of different races and cultures and providing good opportunities for those who want them.

Dwasserba

“The federal government has a huge task on its hands, to find and root out the radical groups willing to destroy our national institutions.” A strong characterization often outright denied by average citizens participating, complicit or otherwise influenced by these groups. January 6 was not just a “protest” within an American’s rights to make.

Brookhawk

"Seems" to be grappling with our history of race-based slavery? There's no "seems" about it. We have ALWAYS been grappling with it and with its aftermath, because there is a strong stream of racism in our culture. Some of it is flat out overt. Some of it is completely unintentional but there anyway. A lot of it is in between. Had there been no race-based slavery in this country, we wouldn't have the race-based inequalities, social and economic, that we are trying to cope with today. Are we headed in the right direction? Sort of, is the best I can see it. Currently it seems to be two steps forward and then two steps back, so we pretty much stay in the mire we've been in since the beginning - not as deep as it was when we actually beat black slaves, sold them from their families and worked them to death, but it's still mire of our own making.

phydeaux994

A very thoughtful comment Brookhawk. You said it well. Slavery is an old wound that has never healed. And we are still suffering from it unfortunately.

bosco

Two thoughts, Fido. Have you ever researched how many people were enslaved by Native Americans?

Second thought. Over the weekend someone enlightened me about equality and equity. Equality is an equal opportunity to participate. Equity takes into account natural differences. For example, equality is everybody has a chance to peer over a fence with a step stool. Equity is providing taller stepstools for shorter people.

It's also important to keep in mind that regardless of equal opportunities offered and equities in place, some people just cannot succeed no matter how much you try to help them.

phydeaux994

****It’s also important to keep in mind that regardless of equal opportunities offered and equities in place, some people just cannot succeed no matter how much you try to help them.**** how do you know that bosco if you’ve never tried to help them. And who are “some people”? More CODE???? WHO ARE “SOME PEOPLE”??

phydeaux994

P.S. not many bosco. Native Americans themselves were enslaved before African slaves came here and the few Blacks enslaved by Native Americans were sold to White people. Native American Plantations were few and far between.😂🤣

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. No vulgar, racist, sexist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, not personal attacks or ad hominem criticisms.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Be civil. Don't threaten. Don't lie. Don't bait. Don't degrade others.
No trolling. Stay on topic.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
No deceptive names. Apparently misleading usernames are not allowed.
Say it once. No repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link for abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Already a member?

Login Now
Click Here!

Currently a News-Post subscriber?

Activate your membership at no additional charge.
Click Here!

Need more information?

Learn about the benefits of membership.
Click Here!

Ready to join?

Choose the membership plan that fits your needs.
Click Here!