Jim Crow-era signage in Durham, NC | Georgetown University photo
Jim Crow-era signage in Durham, NC | Georgetown University photo

To the Editor, 

My heart is continually sickened that this Trump has allowed out of the closet the founding sin of our republic. That being slavery, hatred and bigotry and a belief that one race is superior to another. 
Until these sins are ended within humanity there will be war and violence. 
I borrow liberally from Haile Selassie’s speech to The League of Nations, Geneva, June 1936. 
I despair now how close to the surface these racists have been harboring their evil thoughts. I fear it never went away.  
As a 12-year-old kid from a highly diverse neighborhood in Brooklyn, I spent one summer in rural Tennessee, somewhere northeast of Memphis. 
I have seen Jim Crow in all its terrible ways. (Whites only drinking fountains, toilets, buses, movie theaters and all the rest that black people needed to endure there). The life of the People being humbled just because of their race was something I could not understand at age 12, but I knew in my heart it was wrong. 
I could continue with what I saw, but my understanding of what I saw has greatly affected me for the rest of my life. 
Sadly, its still going on every day in our nation, indeed right here in Southold, in one form or another.
What I despair of most is that what I witnessed in 1963 is still here today.
I hope someday soon we will we learn that these feelings of hatred and supremacy will always keep us all shackled and unable to grow and advance as human beings.
As we grow we need to learn compassion, trust, acceptance and of course Love Thy Neighbor.”  If you cannot love thy neighbor at least learn to understand your neighbor. Once understood, we then understand how much we have in common.
Rick Kedenburg

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East End Beacon
The East End Beacon is your guide to social and environmental issues, arts & culture on the East End of Long Island.

2 thoughts on “Letter: This Nation’s Founding Sin, Alive in the Present Day

  1. Thanks Rick for this heartfelt letter. Sadly this disease of racism, because it really is a form of mental illness, has spread across this great country

    1. Dear Jennifer, It makes me sad to read your words but in my heart I know the sickness still is upon our land. I would have hoped it would have passed away from atrition by now but under our present leadership it seems to be spreading.

      We must hope that at least here in the first modern democracy this would be possible.
      If not then the future of a humankind that is benificial to all is doubtful.

      We need to pave the way for other parochail cultures not go backward.
      Yours in Freedom, rk

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