Some Thoughts on Slavery and Making Amends
The European American Kilbys of Culpeper and Rappahannock counties, Virginia, chose to enslave persons of African descent, and I believe, harmed them. After emancipation, these Kilbys and many others in American society continued to oppress African American persons. This oppression continues to this day as demonstrated, for example, by the mass incarceration of a disproportionate number of African Americans in US prisons.
I myself have prejudices that I picked up in my youth and have not always treated African Americans with respect, though I now work hard to change my thoughts and behaviors. And I have been able to live a life of privilege. I have had advantages, particularly in the area of education, that my African American cousins have not been accorded. James Wilson Kilby of Front Royal, Virginia, had to fight to force the opening of the local high school to African American children, so that his children could attend. I was sent to a fine private school in Baltimore.
I believe that it is time to make amends for the harms that I and my family have committed against our African American cousins. After getting to know them and listening to their concerns, I came up with the idea of the Kilby Family Endowed Scholarship as a small way to repair the harms. This seems to have resonated with them. It responds to a family need – greater access to a college education.
Some may say that reparations are not due to African Americans in the United States, but I believe otherwise.
By Phoebe Kilby