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390 Years Minus 100 Days, Pt. 1

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 05:25 PM
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390 Years Minus 100 Days, Pt. 1
from OurFuture.org:




390 Years Minus 100 Days, Pt. 1
By Terrance Heath

April 30th, 2009 - 3:04pm ET


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Many poeple including the president himself mentioned how absurd it is to judge Obama's success at cleaning up messes that were decades in the making, based on his first 100 days in office. It's equally absurd to expect the first 100 days in the administration of our first African American president to change 390 years of racial history in this country. But it's at least an opportunity to assess where we really are, where we're headed, and how far we've yet to go.

Racism and the social construct of race itself are much older than the United States, with deep roots European colonialism. But its beginnings in this continent can be traced back to August of 1619, when the first Africans in America 20 or so, stolen from a Spanish ship were traded for food by a ship's captain, upon arrival at the Jamestown colony, in Virginia. Categorized as "indentured servants," but without vital dates indicating the end of their bondage, some were almost certainly slaves. By 1640, as least one African was listed as a slave, and slavery was underway.

The space between here and there is covered by enough history books to fill entire libraries. Suffice it to say that the election of a person such as Barack Obama reflects much that has changed for the better since then. The spectacle of our first African-American president, though not a descendant of slaves himself, being sworn in on the Lincoln bible held by his wife, who is a descendant of slaves was a "pinch me" moment for many of us. Reality, on that day, took on a dreamlike quality.

As I watched the inauguration from home, sitting on the carpet in our family room, with our two sons, I look up at my bookshelf. There, pictures of my father and grandfather seemed be to looking down at the scene. I sensed a division in time was born at that moment. On one side was the America they'd known all their lives. On the other, my family and I along with the everyone else were carried along by history into an America forever changed by what was unfolding before our eyes. ..........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2009041830/390-year...




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