To the editor:
I’m writing in response to Mr. Emmett S. Sparks’ letter Sunday, March 14 ("Cash reparations would be disaster"). First, what harm would it be to create a “commission to examine the history of slavery in the U.S.” and see if some “appropriate” remedy would be possible? What might actually be the outcome? Reparations? (The making of amends for a wrong one has done, by paying money to or otherwise helping those who have been wronged; the action of repairing something.) Remediation? (The act of correcting an error or a fault or an evil; remedy, redress, correction, rectification – the act of offering an improvement to replace a mistake; setting right.) Restitution? (The restoration of something lost or stolen to its proper owner.) I don’t believe this would be a mere “giveaway.”
Second, if Mr. Sparks had been wronged, been the victim of another’s error or fault, or had something stolen, wouldn’t he want that person (perpetrator) to make amends? To suggest that the richest country in the world can’t afford to right a wrong is to suggest that you wouldn’t deserve any reparation, remediation, or restitution if the person who owes it can’t afford it. Wouldn’t he still want what’s coming to him? That would NOT be a gift. And, as far as the “descendants” of slaves in America having the “privilege” to rise to new heights and freedoms: That, my friend, has still not become a reality because of slavery.
Third, I believe comparing U.S. slavery to that of the Israelites is flawed. The slaves of that day were not taken from their homeland in chains.
And finally, I agree it would be awesome if we all could “rise above what has happened in our history and look to the future.” Let me close with this, “The AX forgets, the TREE cannot.”
Dr. Frank K. Thomas
Mount Zion Baptist Church