Emancipation is Hard to Celebrate When Kids Are Still Slave to City’s Violence

April 18, 2011  |  

(Washington Post) — And it came to pass that many African American youths could not celebrate D.C. Emancipation Day on Friday. For a plague of violence had been visited upon them. And the soil once toiled by slaves was soaked with the blood of free-born blacks.  “I want to know what my son could have possibly done to make someone want to take his life?” a mournful NaClick Webb said to me the other day, as she and family members gathered around a dining table to console each other.  Webb’s son, 16-year-old Ra-Heem Jackson, had been an honor student at H.D. Woodson High in Northeast. He was shot to death April 7 near his home in the Congress Heights neighborhood and buried on Emancipation Day — which commemorates the freeing of the slaves in the nation’s capital.  Whatever the Promised Land was that Martin Luther King Jr. saw before his assassination 43 years ago this month, those parts of the city where Jackson and hundreds of his contemporaries lived and died were definitely not it.

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