They’ve got history

Re “Sharpton’s ancestor was owned by Thurmond kin,” Feb. 26

Modern technology enables us to confirm specific instances of what was previously understood only in generalities. The sweat of the brows of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s ancestors created huge wealth for the Thurmond family, which was expropriated forcibly and without consent from the Sharptons. That wealth has been handed down as a free and unearned inheritance to the Thurmond family, while Sharpton’s legacy was that his family had to flee the South and claw its way up through squalid conditions of Northern urban poverty, such that everything Sharpton has achieved today is truly self-made -- and the wealth of the Thurmonds is also Sharpton-made.

Slavery was not a crime before passage of the 13th Amendment and cannot be prosecuted as such against long-dead defendants, but civil claims against estates remain legitimate, with the statute of limitations commencing only upon discovery (which for the Sharptons was just a few days ago). Where specific instances of wealth misappropriation can be proved, recovery of damages can and should be pursued.





For the 2007-2008 campaign, a great new game that can be played on both sides of the aisle: Six degrees of Strom Thurmond.