American History

I found the article "Bound by Slavery" in the January /February 2005 issue of The Crisis very moving and encouraging. My father has researched our family history and the information he has collected traces our heritage back more than 200 years. Like sisters Kalimah and Teresa Johnson, certain members of my family met with the White descendants of the family that owned our ancestors. The reunion that Kalimah described is much different than what my family experienced, but the feelings were the same. I do believe that more meetings like this need to occur to help race relations today.

Rosylin Washington

Kansas City, Mo.

Trailing in the Polls

I felt vindicated when Spencer Overton's excellent article ("Stealing Liberty: How Politicians Manipulate the Electorate," January/February 2005) corroborated my belief that the pious concern for "voter integrity" may well be the most effective method since poll taxes and literacy tests to disenfranchise people of color.

Overton mentions three "safeguards that limit politicians' ability to manipulate the electorate." I propose a fourth safeguard: Every voting system should leave an auditable paper trail. My recollection of the November election is that exit polls showed Sen. John Kerry was winning and that the vote count, always in favor of President Bush, disagreed with the polls only when there was no paper trail. If my suspicions of widespread hacking into the electronic voting machines are correct, elections will always go to those who can pay the best hackers.

Margaret S. Goodman

Glen Mills, Pa.

Musical Influences

I find it interesting that one of the reasons for continued White violence against Blacks is listed as "hatecore" music distributed by supremacist groups to recruit teens (Up Front, "FBI Reports Increase in Hate Crimes Against African Americans," January/February 2005). The article recognizes that music may be a learning tool to convince teens to commit violence against Blacks.

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