Tuesday, March 20, 2007

'I Feel the Weight of That History' from Newsweek.com

Baroness Valerie Amos

"First black woman cabinet minister and joint first black woman peer and recently appointed Leader of the House of Lords, the third woman in history to lead the upper house of Parliament". Picture and quote from 100 Great Black Britons

I think this is a great article: I Feel the Weight of That History. This year is the 200th anniversary of Britain's abolition slavery. As we know, the legacy of the African slave trade is still with us. This is particularly true in my home, the United States.

Anyway this is a good article from a British perspective. They've interviewed Valerie Amos is the leader of Britian's House of Lords. They say she may be "Britain's most powerful black woman". She has some excellent observations on democracy, on how the public must be active and on how we're not as cynical as the press makes us out to be.

I'd disagree with that last point to a certain degree. However, as I'll be feeling "the weight" of not finishing my reading in class tomorrow if I don't get off of this computer, that's another post for another time.

On ordinary people doing extraordinary things via democracy:

The grass-roots movement against slavery was incredible—a lot of people focus on [abolitionist William] Wilberforce, but you also had ex-slaves, you had churches. Most amazingly, and I think most importantly, you had thousands of ordinary people who campaigned. Sugar was a product of slavery, so people boycotted sugar. They signed petitions. In the British Parliament’s archives you can see those petitions, and they run into foot after foot after foot, reams of ordinary people’s signatures. We sometimes forget there’s a whole tradition of ordinary people campaigning and lobbying for change, and that should inspire us today.

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