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The Memo by John Hope Bryant

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GETTING THE MEMO

On April 7, 2016, I did what I thought would be a fairly routine radio interview with commentator and friend Roland Martin. The topic was turning our inner city and our underserved communities around, and I assumed it would be a straightforward discussion. No drama here, I thought.

I was dead wrong.

During the course of the interview, I mentioned something I wrongly assumed everyone already knew: Slavery was first and foremost economic in nature. It was about money and wealth before it was about anything else. It was about free labor.

The radio station switchboard lit up.

I went on to explain that slavery—as immoral and cruel as it obviously was—was primarily and at its core about building a country for free, and building wealth ...

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