James Baldwin, in his essay “Fifth Avenue Uptown: A Letter From Harlem,” 1960, said “It is a terrible, an inexorable, law that one cannot deny the humanity of another without diminishing one’s own: in the face of one’s victim, one sees oneself.”
And, in “East River, Downtown: Postscript to a Letter From Harlem,” 1961, “What is demanded now, and at once, is not that Negroes continue to adjust themselves to the cruel racial pressures of life in the United States but that the United States readjust itself to the facts of life in the present world.”
Now, and At Once. In 1961. Sixty-nine years ago. Ninety-six years after the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment.
In 2020 we have new hope that a real movement for change has begun. It is the responsibility of white people to change themselves and our society. We, the Springs Museum along with many others, are in the process of becoming better educated about racism, white privilege, and white supremacy. Education and action must proceed together. We humbly expect to discover, in the coming months and years, what that can mean.