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First-Person Accounts Stir Emotions, Pride

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I have just finished reading the article by Melissa Scott Sinclair “These Eyes Have Seen” (Cover Story, Dec. 8). As an American and an African-American, my heart almost burst from my chest with pride. There was pride in being an African-American and sharing some genetic makeup with your wonderful subjects: Wesley Theodore Carter, Helena Marie Fountain, Lettie Coleman Madison and Virginia Ann Henry Shelton. There was pride that my nation has progressed so far in such a relatively short period of time. It is not there, but it is moving.

But there was also the realization that segregation and Jim Crow not only taught whites that African-Americans were inferior, but also trained many, if not most, African-Americans that they were inferior. Many African-Americans did not think they were as smart or as talented as whites. That was and is the real curse of bigotry and segregation: the creation of a genuine belief in one's own inferiority: self-deprecation.

African-Americans were thought to be too innately ignorant or cowardly to serve in the military, play organized sports such as major-league baseball or professional football or basketball, serve as surgeons or scientists. Well, as evidenced by so many, there is no natural inferiority due to race. One race or color does not enjoy any natural superiority as to any human attribute.

Thank you and thank your subjects for this wonderful feeling that I, an educated and experienced African-American adult, feel at this moment.

David P. Baugh
Richmond

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