Despite the attempted wordsmithing by a recent letter writer (“Leonard Pitts incorrect,” March 10), to validate Ben Carson’s statement that African slaves were immigrants to the United States and to repudiate Pitts’ dissenting column, let me point out one critical difference between my European immigrant ancestors and those of my African-American brothers and sisters — my immigrant ancestors were automatically allowed to become U.S. citizens when they qualified for citizenship.
The Dred Scott decision of 1857 specifically decreed that neither African slaves nor their descendants could ever become citizens. Citizenship could be denied to African-American “immigrants” until the ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1868, nearly 100 years after we — both black and white — became a nation.
As President Trump demonstrates, citizenship is vital to our enjoyment of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — now, more than ever.
Jan Pottker, Coral Gables