To the Editor:
RE: Monday, April 30 editorial: “New museum shines light on shameful history.”
I read this editorial several times trying to figure out what goodness the writer saw in his or her story. To me, the rehashing of old hurts does not do much to foster a better future for all Americans.
After reading about the period in question and reviewing the events of Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the Compromise of 1876, and the convict leasing system, I learned that the editorial writer was correct.
This is a shameful period of our national history that was never presented to me in any American history course from grade school to grad school.
The editorial writer gives a good explanation for the establishment of the Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice which opened recently in Montgomery, Alabama.
According to the article, the museum’s purpose is to promote healing by bringing out the true events that occurred during this period into the light of day.
If the writer had ended the editorial at that point, I believe it would have had an informative and healing effect, however, the writer went on with a litany of lynching, rape, murder, burning and mayhem that did nothing to heal the relations between black and white Americans.
The problem as I see it is that all the parties involved are long dead. There is really no way to make whole the disenfranchised black slave who was mistreated or murdered or to punish the white slave owner or a political system that held sway over them.
There is no one alive today that meets the legal tenant of “standing.” Blacks Law Dictionary defines “standing” as: “a right of people to challenge the conduct of another person in a court.”
A plaintiff must have suffered some direct or substantial injury or be likely to suffer such an injury if a particular wrong is not redressed. A defendant must be the party responsible for perpetrating the alleged legal wrong.
Somehow, living black and white Americans are going to have to come to terms with these terrible things from the past and ensure they never happen again.
The Legacy Museum may be a step in the right direction. I believe healing will only come from education, understanding, prayer, and forgiveness.
More simply put, we should all love our neighbors as ourselves.
George Van Riper