As the nation comes to deal with our slave-holder democracy history in a way we have never acknowledged it in the past, there’s just a few local bits of history to note.
In more than several hundred years of recorded history in Everett, there have been no slave owners, no slaves and certainly, no plantations.
Everett then and today was not conducive to slavery and or to plantations.
What did exist for all people who lived in this city for the past several centuries and beginning with the rise of the industrial era were horrible jobs at slave labor pay in deplorable factory environments where pollution and job accidents, sickness and horrible working conditions did not discriminate against the early Irish and Italian immigrants who came to Everett seeking out the promise of America.
That promise was about the old-time Protestants who owned the land and the means of production here treated their Irish and Italian and Eastern European workers – who were almost entirely white – the way plantation owners down south stole labor from their slaves, who were entirely black.
The early European immigrants to this city were treated like chattel and slaves. They toiled like slaves and were paid meager wages like slaves.
But what were they to do?
They all needed to work like animals, like beasts of burden, by owners of factories and industry to get a toe hold in the new land.
Fast forward to the recent riots across the nation and Blacks and browns wanting their freedom from what they consider to be oppression and violence against them by police and the white communities within the nation because of the color of their skin.
Most reasonable people who understand our history have to understand that slavery for Black African Americans was a grave crime.
It is difficult, and almost impossible to correct the crime except to end slavery and allow for opportunity.
This has been accomplished in this nation, especially during the past 50 years more so than ever before.
The scars of slavery, the open wound of slavery, seems impossible to heal.
What all of us Black and white must understand clearly is that America was a slave keeper democracy.
Abraham Lincoln ended all that in 1863 with the Emancipation Proclamation.
Hat followed to the present day are a steady stream of gains for Blacks and people of color and for every race of people who have come to live here.
The American experiment today provides for rights – absolute rights in our courts – for hundreds of millions of our citizens. This is a testament to the greatness of America.
Slavery is a stain that will never be erased.
Segregation and racism are twin evils being erased gradually across the nation.
All of us here are slaves to the dollar, to our checking accounts, to our bills that must be paid, to our salaries which must be earned.
The American Melting Pot miracle has come a long way. There remains a long way to go.
The American miracle continues.
For all its faults and inequities, life in America is more about fighting for economic survival, success and for freedom in our lives than it is about beating people down because of the color of their skin or national origin.