Old Unpaid Debt

Donald W. Shriver, Jr.

in Honest Patriots

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780195151534
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199785056 | DOI:
 Old Unpaid Debt

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Americans live in a culture resistant to much talk about the evils in their past; they prefer to think about the future. But like the descendants of victims of evil in Germany and South Africa, some living Americans are not about to forget the evil past. Prominent among them are African Americans. This chapter explores the stubborn persistence of racism in America, the work of a growing number of citizens to remember the pains of racism past and present, and to express that memory in public ways. Local illustrations of public repentance include Richmond, Virginia; Rosewood, Florida; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Salem, Oregon; and Selma, Alabama. After a “tour” of high school history books of 1960-2000, the chapter ends with some summary answers to the question, “Can the past be repaired?” as well as arguments for and against reparations for slavery.

Keywords: racism; slavery; segregation; reparations; Black history; empathy; high school history books; personal-public repentance; American public memory; multiculturalism

Chapter.  37526 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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