Thank you for your message. We agree that the emphasis on whites versus blacks is a pox on America as we have endured for the entire existence of the United States. We do care about the Civil War as an historical fact because it represents the end of legalized enslavement in perpetuity on the basis of race. Even after the Civil War, which was waged by southern states to maintain slavery as an economic manifestation of white supremacy, there has been a concerted and consistent effort to degrade and deprive Americans of African descent.
I am so glad you wrote to give me the opportunity to counter some obvious misconceptions that you have expressed. The feature on channel 2 was about the KKK killing and terrorizing free black men and women as the kkk was not formed until after slavery had been abolished by the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. I have never had a discussion about nor heard a statement from anybody black "wanting the whites to pay for what happened during the Civil War." I cannot fathom how you arrived at such a false and unfounded assumption. What American citizens who are black want is the guarantee of unencumbered rights of citizenship enjoyed by white Americans and white immigrants to America. The Civil War signaled an end to slavery but not an end to oppression of Americans of African descent.
There are Americans who are reliving some of the worst of America's past but those people are white Americans, primarily white Christians. You should be familiar with them as they celebrate Confederate military leaders like Lee, Jackson, Gordon, Picket, Benning for whom military facilities are named; and Confederate officeholders like Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens who gave the (in)famous "Cornerstone Speech in Savannah in 1861. These people deny that the primary issue for the Civil War was to maintain slavery, claim that the captured Africans were "happy and content" and deny that oppression and discrimination continue 154 years after the most deadly war in America's history. Those that will not let go of the Civil War marched in Charlottesville, VA chanting "the Jews will not replace us" and violently attacked others, killing a young white woman. Those that relive the Civil War stage annual Civil War reenactments and promote Confederate monuments that obscure and revise historical fact to create the illusion of respectability in the campaign to disenfranchise and oppress Americans based on race. They vote to protect the celebration of traitors to America as a way to declare white supremacy.
Wherever you grew up, I hope you learned REAL southern history, that of kkk violence, limited educational opportunities, rampant economic barriers, unequal justice and denial of the right to vote. Sadly, that history is embedded in governments throughout the south today as tools of injustice wielded unjustly and with sustained cruelty.
You have accorded racial "hatred" to the wrong party. Dylan Roof, who slaughtered worshipers in a church in Charleston, SC demonstrated racial hatred as did the legions of white men who have lynched black men and women from the end of Reconstruction until the current day. Sheriff Jim Clark expressed racial hatred as he led law enforcement against marchers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL. The Milan Family of Money, MS expressed racial hatred when they mutilated the body of Emmett Till, a 13 year old visiting from Chicago. Byron De La Beckwith express his hatred by a string of bombings, one of which took the life of MS NAACP leader Medgar Evers. Chief Bull Connor's hatred turned high pressure fire hoses and vicious police dogs against peaceful marching teenagers in Birmingham AL. Ordinary white male citizens attacked Freedom riders, both black and white, as they protested segregated seating, lunch counters and toilet facilities in Anniston AL, Huntsville AL, Montgomery AL, Jackson MS. We understand that racism has been normalized in America because Roof's atrocity happened in 2015 while the others occurred in the 1960's.
You accusatory missive totally misrepresents our perspective as victims of racism on a daily basis, apparently believing that our concern is what happened 154 years ago. We care what about happened over the last 6 years when Georgia's current governor removed hundreds of thousands of black voters from the rolls without justification. We care that black men accused of misdemeanor crimes are summarily executed and abused by white men, with and without a badge, like Walter Butler, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Caine Rodgers, Trayvon Martin and Jimmy Atchison. We care about what will happen tomorrow because the perpetrators are protected by state law in too many instances. We care that although America abolished slavery 154 years ago, black Americans are STILL punished and denied opportunity by the SYSTEM that was created and maintained to fulfill white privilege as a destiny.
You suggest blacks "get over the tragedy of slavery." You misunderstand. It is not the tragedy of slavery that is at issue. As soon as the Constitutional amendments were passed to abolish slavery and declare the African descendants citizens, white men passed laws designed to nullify those freedoms. All of our communities still suffer from these continued practices and policies of racism. Data collected by academic institutions confirm that discrimination in the former Confederate states lead the nation in prevalence and severity, and the discrimination doom black communities to poverty and related disease and crime.
We deserve policies of repairing the damages still being done to black Americans. When WW2 decimated Europe, America funded the Marshall Plan to repair the roads, facilities and manufacturing facilities. America's plan for its disenfranchised, abused and oppressed citizens should include psychological therapy to treat traumatic stress syndrome (not post traumatic stress); extended educational opportunities for basic education, trade schools and college; Federal protection of rights in states that have demonstrated systemic discrimination under penalty of imprisonment for responsible parties and the establishment of required business set-asides for qualified black owned businesses to counter the established discriminatory processes and practices.
The NAACP was founded in 1909 to advocate against the horrors of racism. At the time, lynchings of black men and women were a daily occurrence. Gratefully, the outrage was bi-racial evidenced by the fact that of the 9 founders of the NAACP, 7 were white. Nothing in our mission, activities, past or statements by NAACP leaders suggest hatred or division in any form. The NAACP has advocated for voting rights, for black soldiers to fight in WW1 and WW2, for open public accommodations, for equal access to justice and for education opportunities. There is no hate there or here. If you really wish to advocate against racial hatred, join us against some of your white brothers and sisters like GA Governor Brian Kemp, Sen. David Perdue, GA Senator Jim Mullis and GA Rep. Tommy Benton. Join us to demand that America live up to its creed that ALL men are created equal and should enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, neither hampered nor denied on account of race.
Thank you for writing and I am happy to provide these corrections to your misstatements and misconceptions.
Yours in the struggle,
Richard Rose, President