A good first step to right an old wrong
Good for the people of Gainesville, Ga., who have not stopped at engaging in “a conversation” about race. They are doing something extraordinarily powerful to make it clear that for the overwhelming majority of Americans, the bigotry of the past is unacceptable.
For many years, black Americans suffered many forms of discrimination in Gainesville. One was refusal to inter them in the main section of city’s Alta Vista Cemetery. It was for whites only.
Blacks were buried in an area to the rear of the main cemetery. It was neglected to the point that 1,146 of those interred there are unknown. Many of their graves are marked only with uninscribed rocks.
Now, Gainesville as a community has erected a memorial to them all. It reads, in part, that, “we embrace them as our own.”
Is it enough? Perhaps not, but it is all that can be done, for now. Efforts to identify those buried in the section should continue.
Gainesville’s effort is an admission of a great wrong in the past — and a collective vow that it will not occur again. It is doing something, rather than just talking, about racism. As such, it is important.