African AmericansBlack InterestsBlack Men

Alabama Senator Teaches Charles Barkley How Bad Slavery Was In Epic Open Letter

Charles Barkley

By   December 26, 2014 4:30 pm

Earlier this month, Charles Barkley referred to Ferguson protesters as “scumbags” who “aren’t real black people.” After being called out for his offensive remarks by TNT colleague Kenny Smith in an open letter, the pair confronted each other during an episode of “NBA on TNT.” That’s when Barkley made an asinine statement about slavery.

“I don’t think anytime anything bad that happens in the black community we have to talk about slavery,” Barkley said. “Listen, slavery is, uh, well, I shouldn’t say one of the worst things ever, because I don’t know anything about it other than what I read or what my grandmother told me.”

According to Barkley, slavery wasn’t so bad. It’s a statement that many white supremacists are probably pinning to bulletin boards in glee. But Alabama Senator Hank Sanders was deeply hurt by what Barkley said, and composed an epic open letter to teach Sir Charles just how bad slavery was and how it still affects us today.

Here’s is the full letter as published by

Dear Mr. Barkley:

I write you out of love. I write you out of profound pain. I write you out of deep concern. I hope you accept this letter in the spirit that I write.

Mr. Barkley, I understand that you said, in so many words, that slavery was not so bad and that you were tired of people bringing up slavery. I was shocked by both statements. Then I was mad. Then I was terribly disappointed. Finally, I was just in deep hurt and great pain. Now, I am trying to help you and all those who may think like you.

Mr. Barkley, allow me to tell you why slavery was “not so bad,” but very, very bad. First, African people were snatched from their families, their villages, their communities, their tribes, their continent, their freedom. African people were made to walk hundreds of miles in chains. They were often beaten, poorly fed and abused in many ways. Women and girls were routinely raped. The whole continent was ravaged and still suffers to this day. Mr. Barkley, this is very, very bad.

Second, African people were placed in “slave dungeons” for weeks and sometimes months until the slave ships came. They were often underfed, terribly beaten, raped and stuffed together so tightly they could hardly move. African people were packed in the holds of ships with little space to even move. They performed bodily functions where they lay and then lived in it. They were oftentimes beaten, raped and abused mentally, physically and emotionally. Many died from disease and broken spirits. Some were so terribly impacted that they jumped overboard and drowned when brought to the deck of the ships. Millions died during the Middle Passage from Africa to the Americas. Mr. Barkley, this is very, very bad.

Third, African people were broken like wild animals. They were stripped of every element of their identity. Their names were taken. Their languages were taken. Their religions were taken. Their histories were taken. They were forbidden to have family. They had no rights to own anything. They were considered property. Their personalities were permanently altered. Their freedom was taken. They became chattel sold from “slave blocks.” This crushing of identity impacts us to this day. I call it the psychology of the oppressed. Mr. Barkley, this is very, very bad.

Fourth, African Americans were worked from “kin to can’t;” that is from “can see” in the morning to “can’t see” at night. There was no pay for their long, hard labor. Many were poorly fed. Most felt the lash of the whip. All felt the lash of the tongue. Many were repeatedly raped. Their children and other loved ones were sold at will. Some mothers killed their baby girls so they would not have to endure the ravages of slavery. Mr. Barkley, this is very, very bad.

Fifth, African Americans had no right to defend themselves no matter what was done and how wrong it was. By law, they could not even testify against their abusers. As U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Toney said in the 1857 Dred Scott case, “A Black man has no rights a White man is bound to respect.” This became the law of the land and its legacy bedevils us to this day. Mr. Barkley, this is very, very bad.

Sixth, African Americans were perceived and treated as sub human. The only way enslavers could square this terrible treatment with their Christian beliefs was see us as less than human. Therefore, they could proudly place such beautiful words in the Declaration of Independence and the U. S. Constitution with impunity: i.e. – “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” To them, African Americans were not human so these beautiful words did not apply. Even the U.S. Constitution designated us as 3/5 of a person. That’s why White terrorists, in and out of uniforms, can kill us without punishment. The legacy of being less human lingers with us today. Black lives are worth much less than White lives. Mr. Barkley, this is very, very bad.

Seventh, it required great violence to implement and maintain the worse form of human slavery known to humankind. It required unbridled violence by enslavers, slave catchers, local, state, federal governments and the entire society. Maintaining the institution of slavery created a very violent society that infests us to this day. That’s why the United States has far more violence than any country in the world. Mr. Barkley, this is very, very bad.

Eighth, even after slavery formerly ended, we still had Jim Crow. These same imbedded attitudes generated state-sanctioned terrorism for nearly another 100 years. The Ku Klux Klan and other terrorist groups hanged, mutilated, maimed and murdered without any punishment. It was state sanctioned terrorism because the “state” did not do anything to prevent it. That’s why even during the Civil Rights Movement murders took many years before even a modicum of justice was forged. Just look at the deaths of Medgar Evers, James Chaney, the three little girls murdered by the bombing of a Birmingham Church and so many others. That is why today Trayvon Martin could not walk the streets of his neighborhood and Jordan Davis could not play loud music in his car and Eric Garner was choked to death and Michael Brown was gunned down. Mr. Barkley this is very, very bad.

Mr. Barkley, if you knew your history, you would not say slavery is not so bad and you are tired of people bringing up slavery. The legacy of slavery is everywhere. However, you are not totally to blame because you were deliberately denied the opportunity to learn your history. That is one more legacy of slavery. I hope you will seek the full history for yourself so that you will not ever say such things again.

In deep concern,

Hank Sanders


Black Men In
Black Men In is a popular website with a focus on black men. Approximately 45% of our site visitors are women. According to Alexa Internet and, Black Men In is consistently ranked as one of the Top 10 most popular web sites (online community) on the Internet in the Ethnic/African/African-American category. Although our focus is on black men, we welcome all people, points of views and perspectives. Please do not use this site to post or transmit any unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane or indecent information of any kind, including without limitation any transmissions constituting or encouraging conduct that would constitute a criminal offense, give rise to civil liability or otherwise violate any local, state, national or international law. You alone are responsible for the material you post.

Statistics About Online Dating

Previous article

The John Lewis Experience

Next article

You may also like


  1. Guys like Barkley and Michael Wilbon are one of the reasons we are still struggling!

  2. I enjoyed immensely in reading your historical slavery edification regarding Sir Charles Barkley. After all, its very ignorant, asinine, inane when African-Americans are quick to dismiss their overwhelming devastation of chattels but eager to accept others and even empathize with their painful journey, but neglecting their OWN! Deeply Scorning your own race is another form of the deeply-rooted scars from slavery that many do not recognize or simply disown, just to get ahead for opportunities, a new form of buffoonery!

    Sadly, many don’t fully comprehend the painful austerity of slavery that are surely to surface one day, when he’s or she’s ready to sincerely deal with truth. Painfully, he and others, someday, they’ll have to look at that man or woman in the mirror and deal with the mendacities or truth and honesty and no longer are able to fabricate their imaginary visions in their minds but REALITY, a true call to action for self-realization!

    Today, many are living witnesses of the scourges of meritorious ManuMission from all the babbled-brainwashing that occurred in slavery and continues today, and loudly, nonsensical exuded by Mr. Barkley and others lost in a terrible storm of disillusionment, or worse. Remember, God make us all, but the 2 worse tragedies in America are slavery and what they did to the Indians and I proudly am a product from both of these wonderful ethnic groups.

    I’ll pray for those that want to minimize the overwhelming and horrifying days of the deeply brutal events of enslavement. I like to ask Mr. Barkley what would he call those card-carrying Klansman serving in the Same navy that I served in and tried to murder me!

    It’s time to speak truth and deal with the ugly head of racial injustices for what It is, without taking sides and not minimize it just to keep your television shows.

    To make matter worse, if you can’t speak truth then they don’t respect you anyway and accept you as the Buffoon they know you are and you don’t! May God bless us all!

    Thank you!

    Dr. Knox

  3. I can’t believe Charles Barkley, an educated man (supposedly) can be so STUPID. How can he, being born and raised in one of the most racist states in this abomination called America, deny the facts that he had to have been surrounded by be in such denial. SHAME on you Barkley, Shame. His comments makes a mockery of all the black men and women who died in the Civil Rights Movement and who are still being murdered today. Does he realize that his good fortune is directly due to the sacrifice of others? I am glad I was not in that studio because I don’t think I could’ve restrained myself from attacking him. I hope he wakes up to the reality of what America is and resolve himself to work toward what she should be.

Leave a Reply