HB: Anything else to add?
RB: One day, I believe those who fought for abolition will be seen as visionaries. Historian Adam Hochschild notes that there are numerous institutions in history that appeared unchangeable and moreover, small numbers of people have sparked extraordinary change.
Until the late 18th century, when the British slavery abolitionist movement began, the idea of eliminating one of the fundamental aspects of the British Empire's economy was unimaginable. Yet, 12 individuals who first met in a London printing shop in 1787 managed to create enough social turbulence that 51 years later, the slave ships stopped sailing in Britain.
In the US, the first slavery abolitionists were represented as extremists and it took almost a century to abolish slavery. Similarly, many who lived under Jim Crow could not envision a legal system without segregation.
As Hochschild wrote, "The fact that the battle against slavery was won must give us pause when considering great modern injustices, such as the gap between rich and poor, nuclear proliferation and war" and I would add the Prison Industrial Complex. "None of these problems will be solved overnight, or perhaps even in the fifty years it took to end British slavery, but they will not be solved at all unless people see them as both outrageous and solvable."
--Hans Bennett (insubordination.blogspot.com), is an independent multi-media journalist and co-founder of Journalists for Mumia, whose website is Abu-Jamal-News.com. This interview is featured in the new 4th of July issue of the Journalists for Mumia newspaper.
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