Indeed, people here are still talking about the story the New York Times ran in June declaring neighboring Clay County “the hardest place in America to live.” Which was positively complimentary compared to a piece the National Review ran six months before, declaring Owsley “The White Ghetto.” Reporter Kevin D. Williamson wrote that instead of contemplating their bleak reality, the people here escape it with “the pills and the dope, the morning beers, the endless scratch-off lotto cards, healing meetings up on the hill, the federally funded ritual of trading cases of food-stamp Pepsi for packs of Kentucky’s Best cigarettes and good old hard currency, tall piles of gas station nachos, the occasional blast of meth, Narcotics Anonymous meetings, petty crime, the draw, the recreational making and surgical unmaking of teenaged mothers, and death …” … “You’ve got to understand,” says Logsdon, “people shy away from reporters.” Sure enough, a worker at the Family Dollar store doesn’t want her name used. A woman at a medical conference in Hazard warns everyone in earshot in a loud voice that a reporter is among them. So it goes during a week spent wandering this county and adjacent counties discussing something America almost never talks about: white poverty.
It is no secret that slavery rests at the foundation of American capitalism and is often synonymous with the sugar, tobacco, and/or cotton plantations that fueled the Southern economy. What many may not know is that slavery also rests at the foundation of many notable corporations. From New York Life to Bank of America, several companies have benefitted from slavery. Many of the companies even acknowledged their involvement in slavery and offered apologies in an attempt to reconcile their tainted history but, is an apology enough? Hell no! (More)
In the 1830s, powerful Southern slaveowners wanted to import capital into their states so they could buy more slaves. They came up with a new, two-part idea: mortgaging slaves; and then turning the mortgages into bonds that could be marketed all over the world. (More)
Apologies cannot compensate an entire race of people for all of the social and economic ills they face as a result of their enslavement. They cannot address the residual effects of slavery. They cannot provide job opportunities to a race of people who are experiencing high unemployment rates. Apologies without action from the very systems they helped to create. Had it not been for slave labor, many corporations would not be where they are today and for these companies to acknowledge their involvement in slavery and then simply say ‘Oh, I’m sorry”, is to downplay their role in perpetuating the degradation are nothing more than a futile attempt to correct a wrong by pacifying the wronged. (More)