Statues in Stonetown, Zanzibar mark the center of the slave trade in East Africa.
... How does that make you feel?
I ask because, 140 years after the end of slavery, the House of Representatives yesterday apologized to black Americans for the "fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow" -- Jim Crow, being the system of legally enforced segregation and second class citizenship that many people (not all African American) believe still carries important social consequences to this day.
This is not the first apology rendered by the nation's legislative leaders. Previously, Congress apologized for imprisoning Japanese Americans and immigrants during World War II, and the Senate apologized for atrocities committed against Native Americans and for failing to do anything about the century-long lynching campaign against African Americans. Several states, including Virginia and New Jersey, have previously expressed regret for slavery. Many African Americans wonder why, given that history, it has taken so long for the nation to atone for what some consider America's original sin.
But, of course many say, so what?
Why now? Who cares?
Or, what does this have to do with me?
So, we want to know what you think.
Let sleeping dogs lie?
Is the apology an empty gesture, or a powerful symbol of reconciliation?
Listen to what the bill's sponsor, Rep. Steve Cohen, has to say about it. And, if it means anything, Cohen is a Democrat, he is white and he represents a Memphis-based district.
... And then tell us more about what you think.
(I also want to refer you to Tuesday's conversation with Katrina Browne and Juanita Brown. Their documentary, Traces of the Trade, documents Katrina's family's involvement with the slave trade. It turns out they were major slavers, and the film shows what she decided to do about it.)
And, hear about one of America's enduring symbols of slavery, "Uncle Tom." He might not be the guy you think he is.