“This country is what it is because (African-Americans) gave our full share and our full measure, as everyone else did. The difference is that we were denied the benefits of our labor,” he said.
“When we look today at the problems in the black neighborhoods, we can look back and see that is because we were denied the benefits of our contributions. So, it’s important now to go back and look and understand the truth.”
Ashworth believes it is Important to revisit this history of terrorism to appreciate how it has shaped our country to this day. He points to the connection between the denial of wealth to African-Americans and their displacement after the Civil War as parallel to the denial of equal access to education, opportunity, wealth, and healthcare in black communities today.
“We all have a way of forgetting and not talking about those things in our past that are painful. You look at the amount of markers and monuments for the Confederate cause in the south. Even though people lost their lives, we see that as less horrific to talk about than the lynchings that occurred,” said Ashworth.
“I’m encouraged that there are so many people now who are willing to begin this very difficult conversation. And I realize the point we’re in now is highly polarized politically and it’d be easy to listen to a lot of noise and say that race relations are really worse today than they were. I personally don’t think that’s true, but, what I’m finding is that across this country, we are saying that we need to have this conversation.
Jan 25 2017 (all day)