Sometime this spring Kevin Bales will speak in Louisville, and receive U of L's Grawemeyer award for Ideas Improving World Order...and $100,000.
His revolutionary idea?? End slavery. A sociologist, Bales started looking into this when he heard there were a million slaves in our world. He didn't believe that was true, but his research led him to believe the number is closer to 27 million!
These include people forced to work on farms without pay, and in mines and brothels. Every now and then such "slaves" turn up in the US, usually immigrants..and not all illegals. And occasionally American citizens are found to be working for far less than the minimum wage under intolerable conditions-- usually in agriculture--and long before our economy tanked. (We journalists date our modern social awareness of this situation from CBS's "Harvest of Shame" documentary by Ed Murrow, over 50 years ago. Periodic checks find many of the conditions he found then still exist.)
This year begins the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. As Kentucky "observes" (not "commemorates") various events in connection with the War of the Rebellion, I'm sure we will hear many arguments the war was not about slavery; it was about States Rights. Do not be misled. States Rights was merely a code phrase for.."y'all can't tell us what to do with our slaves!"
Bales talk hopefully may dwell on that. In the meantime you may wish to check out his 2007 book which led to the award.."Ending Slavery."
Because slavery is still with us.
I'm just sayin'...