Bernie Kubiak: Cruelty pervasive in history of United States

Thursday, August 31, 2017
Cruelty pervasive in our history

I assuming that the Belchertown resident advocating for a change in Amherst’s name because of Lord Jeffery’s behavior has his tongue in cheek.

At any rate, it’s not the first time the subject has come up. Perhaps he’s aware that Jonathan Belcher (the namesake of Belchertown, as in its charter) was involved in the slave trade through the family business. Belcher owned slaves and once presented an enslaved Native American to German royalty. Neither Governor Belcher nor Lord Jeffery ever set foot in the towns that bear their names.

This isn’t to engage in the “whataboutism” that’s pervasive these days but to take the opportunity to point out that cruelty was pervasive in our history, shaped beliefs and behavior, and that each of us must try to end whatever of it remains today. In some cases that may mean removing symbols and in others remembering that painful past.

Bernie Kubiak