George W. Bush – or his speechwriters – understands the indignity of slavery and its impact on the United States. I was at the NAACP’s national convention last week when Bush said:
“For nearly 200 years, our nation failed the test of extending the blessings of liberty to African-Americans. Slavery was legal for nearly a hundred years, and discrimination legal in many places for nearly a hundred years more. Taken together, the record placed a stain on America’s founding, a stain that we have not yet wiped clean.
“When people talk about America’s founders they mention the likes of Washington and Jefferson and Franklin and Adams. Too often they ignore another group of founders — men and women and children who did not come to America of their free will, but in chains. These founders literally helped build our country. They chopped the wood, they built the homes, they tilled the fields, and they reaped the harvest. They raised children of others, even though their own children had been ripped away and sold to strangers. These founders were denied the most basic birthright, and that’s freedom.
… They toppled Jim Crow through simple deeds: boarding a bus, walking along the road, showing up peacefully at courthouses or joining in prayer and song. Despite the sheriff’s dogs, and the jailer’s scorn, and the hangman’s noose, and the assassin’s bullets, they prevailed.”
Sitting there in the Washington, D.C. Convention Center, I remembered hearing Bush utter similar remarks at the National Urban League’s 2003 convention in Pittsburgh. Read More>>>
George E. Curry is editor-in-chief of the NNPA News Service and BlackPressUSA.com. To contact Curry or to book him for a speaking engagement, go to his Web site, http://www.georgecurry.com.