We children of the South — direct descendants of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, an enslaved woman, and Martha Wayles Jefferson, his wife — hold hands at last as brothers and sisters at the edge of a new day in race relations. Our optimism is not born of naiveté. The terrible reality is that the long march towards freedom and equality proclaimed so long ago in colonial America remains unfinished. That has been made plain in the racial tensions that have afflicted our nation these past few years. It has been made plain in our own struggle to come together as one family after being rent by divides that go back to our nation’s founding.
The wave of nationwide protests following the mass murder of nine worshipers in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and a series of shootings and other deaths of young black men in police custody remind us that the work of healing and reconciliation for the legacies of enslavement, discrimination, and socio-economic inequity has a long way to go.
To read the rest of this article, go to: Let Freedom Ring, by David Works and Diana “Toddy” Redman for MSNBC