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Opinion: James Clyburn: America needs us to get outside our comfort zones

February 23, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 24.8%. 1 min read.

Getting beyond this moment where the US is besieged by chronic economic insecurities, exacerbating racial inequalities and serious gender inequities, requires us all to reflect on moments in Black history when many got out of their comfort zones to make America better, writes Congressman James Clyburn.

The majority whip's offices in the US Capitol include a room named in honor of Abraham Lincoln whose February birth date and that of Frederick Douglass are the reasons Black history is celebrated in February.

Two years ago, I invited Republican House Minority Whip Steve Scalise to join me in the Lincoln Room -- which he previously occupied -- as I honored Frederick Douglass and Robert Smalls for their roles in helping Lincoln preserve the Union, by hanging their portraits in that room.

I have never seen any indication that Douglass ever traveled south of Washington, DC, or that Smalls traveled north of our nation's capital, but at a critical point during the Civil War, together they met with President Lincoln and received his blessing to recruit Blacks into the Union Army.

In light of current events, I feel compelled to mention another of my favorite Black History Month lessons drawn from the lives of Thomas Edison and Lewis Latimer.

It prevents the taking of bold and courageous steps like Douglass and Smalls did, and respecting the experiences of others like Edison and Latimer did.

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