The Worst Thing We’ve Ever Done
How do you fix a case of national amnesia? A case study in Berlin, and in Montgomery
WNYC’s On The Media recently featured an episode that explores what needs to happen in order for the United States to reckon with and make amends for our history of enslavement and its legacy – the ideology of white supremacy. Because as host Brooke Gladstone put it, “getting history right is pretty much the most important thing citizens can do in a nation at war with itself as ours was, and is.”
Featured guests include Bryan Stevenson, founder of Equal Justice Initiative and creator of the Legacy Museum and memorial and the historian, Sir Richard Evans, who has written about the denazification process in Germany after World War II, which included the use of film and television, the creation of memorials, and reparations.
Stevenson discussed the value of sites of conscience in preserving accurate historical narratives and acknowledging harm:
“I just don’t think we’ve created cultural spaces in this country that motivate people to say ‘never again’ to this history of enslavement and lynching and segregation, and the absence of that commitment I think has left us vulnerable…I have no interest in punishing this nation for its history. I want to liberate us.”