What does it mean to call oneself an abolitionist?
The word doesn’t mean today what it meant 150 years ago. Then, it meant an end to what some have called ‘America’s Original Sin’–Slavery.
Today? Well, it’s not a common term today, but it should be. It was the nation’s first bi-racial Movement, built by both Blacks and white, to oppose the evils of Slavery.
But it’s important for us today to recognize that when they were active, during the 1830s, ‘40s and ‘50s, they were portrayed in the press, and spoken about by prominent and powerful men as madmen and crazy women, who dared to oppose something so fundamental to American wealth like Slavery.
Abraham Lincoln, speaking at New York’s Cooper Union before his election, depicted the radical abolitionist, John Brown as a madman, and not a member of the Republican Party.
It was only after the US Civil War that abolitionists were regarded as sane people — not before.
There is a lesson here for you all; people at the Abolitionist Forum. That is, don’t worry about what people in power or media say about you.
Ask yourself if what you’re doing is right — then roll with it.
It’s right to oppose mass incarceration.
It’s right to seek to abolish the racist death penalty.
It’s right to fight against state repression.
And the right time to do that — is Now!