Gentrification Destroys Charleston Black Heritage, Yet Black Leaders Are Silent

Local Activist Jerome Smalls

An open letter to the community by Jerome Smalls

As a 65-year old African-American, I have been confronting former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley for the last 20 years on his leadership. Unfortunately I was dealing with a man who seemed blind to the racist injustices his policies were causing. Yet he, and so many of Charleston’s black so-called “Leaders”, act like he is a friend of the black community.
Now I’m attacking the silence of the general white community, especially the educational and historical societies and institutions.

What are they teaching their students when they are silent, at home, when a part of Charleston’s Black population as well as their heritage is being wiped out and not a word is even said about it? Yet they are very quick to highlight some other cultural disaster in another part of the world to show how much more civilized we are and how far we have come in terms of race relations.

That’s why I’m very quick to point out to those S.C. officials who tell the world that since those 9 murders at Mother Emanuel, S.C. is a much better place as far as race relations is concerned, that gentrification in Charleston, where almost the whole slave port city has been turned to apartheid city proved them wrong, so it’s a lie. Blacks in Charleston are the worse off in their history and heritage than they have ever been in the last 50 years.

And it’s because of the last 40 years of racist leadership by Mayor Riley and all those black so-called leaders who got over for themselves for doing nothing to go against Riley.

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