Remember the Masters who did not play golf
By Kevin Palmer
The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The time is always right to do what is right.” For this reason, Master’s Golf week is the right time to remind Augusta, Ga. residents how the slave master abused African slaves. For over 250 years in America, African slaves were systematically abused and the white supremacist John C. Calhoun publicly and unapologetically publicly defended the institution of slavery.
Even more egregious, Calhoun defended the evil institution until his death in 1850. Therefore, it is not the color of Calhoun’s skin, but the content of his character, that is judged by the words of Mahatma Gandhi who said, “An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his or her soul.” Thus, according to Gandhi’s standard, Calhoun cannot be considered a good person.
Nor, can those who oppose renaming the John C. Calhoun expressway be considered good people. Their opposition is an endorsement of Calhoun’s racism and defense of slavery. For Blacks, especially, there is no excuse to not support renaming the Calhoun expressway. Black Augusta commissioners, do you not remember millions of free African men, women, and children were captured, branded with a hot iron, crammed in the lower deck of slave ships, transported thousands of miles wallowing in their own excrement, contracting disease, and malnourished? Therefore, when it is time to vote to remove Calhoun’s name, do not tell me “there are bigger issues on the table right now.”
Again, Black Augusta commissioners, do you not remember in 1849 Harriet Tubman escaped slavery and risk her life on numerous occasions to enter slave states to lead escaping slaves to freedom? Therefore, since you are not risking your life, do not tell me removing Calhoun’s name “Is not your priority.”
Likewise, White Augusta commissioners, do you not remember in 1859 the white abolitionist John Brown lost his life while courageously executing a plan to liberate slaves? Therefore, do not attempt to justify your cowardice by showing fake concern to preserve history. Do not tell me you are opposed to removing Calhoun’s name because, “We’re screwing up trying to reach back and re-write history.”
In the final analysis, renaming the John C. Calhoun Expressway is not about rewriting history; it is about the city which hosts the world renowned Masters Golf tournament showing the fruit of repentance. Deeds are better than words. In 2017, for Augusta, Georgia to continue to publicly honor a white supremacist and slavery defender is to endorse the evil for which he stands. Hopefully, Augusta will see the error of its way.
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