Slavery is a curse known worldwide. Its history goes back to the beginning of civilization. Some historic landmarks: Around 500 A.D., Anglo-Saxons from northern Europe conquered England and enslaved the native Britons. By 1000 A.D., slavery was a normal practice in England’s rural, agricultural economy, as destitute workers placed themselves and their families in a form of debt bondage to landowners. In 1526, Spanish explorers brought the first African slaves to settlements in what would become the United States. In 1641, Massachusetts became the first British colony to legalize slavery.

And slavery was the cause of the Civil War (April 12, 1861 to April 9, 1865). That led to the Emancipation Proclamation, effective January 1 1963, that freed all the southern slaves. It was followed two years later by the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution which abolished slavery in the U.S.

In the aftermath of slavery, racial prejudice and White supremacy have prolonged the U.S. disgrace. They are still with us today. Following the Democratic presidential victory in 2020—made possible by minority support for the Democrats—Republicans across the country passed laws making voting more difficult, especially for Blacks and Latinos. Nineteen states have enacted 33 laws that will make it harder for Americans to vote, obviously aimed at minority voters.

So the stain of slavery is still with us. We have work to do.

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