Leonard Pitts, in his March 8 column, “Ben, you’re a fool — slaves were not immigrants,” is wrong regarding Ben Carson’s reference to slaves as immigrants.
The applicable technical terms are “voluntary migration” and “forced migration.” The corresponding terms are “voluntary immigrants” and “forced immigrants.” Both types of individuals are immigrants. For an example, see Jennifer Farley’s Spring 2006 article in the Tar Heel Junior Historian Association, North Carolina Museum of History, “Forced Migration of African Americans,” and Professor Ira Berlin’s article in the The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History: “African Migration to Colonial America.”
Pitts should emote less and do more research. Carson may not have sufficiently distinguished between voluntary and forced immigration, but Pitts’ statement that slaves brought here against their will were not immigrants is not correct.
Robert E. Panoff, Pinecrest