I would, in all seriousness, like to ask Leonard Pitts what specifically he wants the American people to do about the history of slavery in this country (“‘12 Years a Slave’ provides a good starting point for healing,” March 6).
I hear his cry about the mistreatment and cruelty the slaves suffered at the hands of their masters, how they were deprived of their liberty and pursuit of happiness and valued only as beasts of burden.
What is it that must be done for today’s “slaves” to erase that long-ago memory of suffering and abuse, or will they always remain victims of a time in history?
Should Americans create a national monument on the Washington Mall and engrave it with the names of all imported slaves?
Should we create a national DNA slave identity tracking team so that descendents might receive a payment that reflects the time their ancestors spent as slaves?
Since some of my Eastern European ancestors apparently arrived in America as guests in the debtor’s prison and were farmed out to the landowners to work off their debts at less than the federal minimum wage, I too have the feeling of having been considered a beast of burden.
I have asked God to forgive my ancestors who might have participated in slavery in any way.
I also have asked all my brothers and sisters, of whatever color, to forgive me for anything I might have done.
While we can not be indifferent to our country’s history, the future is where we should be looking as we build relations for tomorrow, loving our neighbor as ourselves.
David L. Busby