Dr. John Hope Franklin: It's going to become epidemic now. People are running around apologizing for slavery. What about that awful period since slavery—Reconstruction, Jim Crow and all the rest? And what about the enormous wealth that was built up by black labor? If I was sitting on a billion dollars that someone had made when I sat on them, I probably would not be slow to apologize, if that's all it takes. I think that's little to pay for the gazillions that black people built up—the wealth of this country—with their labor, and now you're going to say I'm sorry I beat the hell out of you for all these years? That's not enough. They ought to develop some kind of modus operandi that they can do something else—something to absolve themselves of three centuries of guilt from which they are the direct beneficiaries.
How large is the black population now living in abject poverty in this country? How large is the population of blacks who have poor health? Sometimes they inherited the poor health right from their forebears who were beaten and treated like they were animals all over this country. It's simply not enough. And I'm impatient with the piety that goes along with it. They're so syrupy in their apologies. What does it cost? Nothing.
What else do you think they should do?