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Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Date: October 19, 2005
Byline: Sharon Ann Holt, Philadelphia

Letter: We can handle the nuances of the slavery story

ROBERT MORRIS' letter scorning the effort to interpret the President's House expresses a common fear that in America people can only handle simple stories, simple heroes, simple "truths." George Washington can only be a hero or a horror, not a human being. Slavery has to be trivialized and ignored or else it will obliterate all else.

But my conviction is that we are a better people than that. Most of us know that our nation has never been perfect, that it sold its soul to slavery at the start, and we pay the price to this day. But we can also cherish the centuries of striving to keep faith with our ideals, a history full of the deepest heroism that humans are capable of.

Robert Morris' story can be told at the house, along with Washington's, and Adams', and Hercules' and Oney Judge's. I will bring my children to see it all, to learn about liberty and slavery together and grow proud, not of a nation that falsely claims perfection, but of a people who, no matter how far we stray from our chosen path, never stop reaching for justice, and the truth.


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