Feb 16, 2015 Our staff is off today. I am working a modified schedule – George Washington owned slaves, and finally freed them
As with all federal holidays other than Columbus Day (Columbus did not discover the Western Hemisphere) and Veterans Day (we are closed Memorial Day, and we need a holiday for peacemakers before a second holiday for soldiers), our office is closed today, except that I am working a modified schedule.
Today is the federal Washington’s Birthday holiday. Sadly, George Washington and his wife, who inherited great wealth, were slaveholders. Fortunately, the slaves owned by George Washington (which were less than half those at Mount Vernon) were ultimately freed pursuant to his will, which cannot be said for Thomas Jefferson, despite all of Jefferson’s lofty pronouncements about all being endowed with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (or did Jefferson only mean white people, or, even more narrowly, white men or white male landowners?). Also, many subsequent United States presidents owned slaves, some even during their presidential terms.
Out of slavery came racial segregation, and long has remained virulent and violent racism.
The United States was born through the power of violence through the Revolutionary War, and during the shamefulness of brute force of slavery and the slave trade.
Genocidal killing and treatment of Native Americans was heavily intertwined particularly with the first century of the United States. The United States remains an overly militaristic nation, and a nation still suffering too deeply and widely with the disease of racism.
End racism now.