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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Not all of America today owes its existence to slavery

Reparations hearing
Activists stand in line waiting to enter a House committee hearing about reparations for the descendants of slaves on June 19.
(Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: One letter writer quoted from a book that said, “Enslaved African Americans built the modern United States, and indeed the entire modern world, in ways both obvious and hidden.” This is a gross exaggeration.

The building of railroads linking major cities, the transcontinental railroad, the Erie Canal, the telegraph system, the telephone system, the electrical grid, airplanes, automobiles and many of the major developments of the Industrial Revolution in the last few decades of the 19th century had nothing to do with slavery.

In the United States, the enslavement of African Americans ended before most of these advances took place. America was primarily an agriculture-based economy in its first 80-odd years when slavery existed.

Let’s not rewrite history solely to conform to a modern-day discussion.

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Robert Bubnovich, Irvine


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