In response to Richard Cohen's Nov. 6 column about the "12 Years a Slave," I saw the movie last week and also found it a very compelling presentation. I grew up in Colorado and California and don't recall any sugar coating of slavery, and I graduated from high school in 1965. The movie was well done.
I take offense at Mr. Cohen's use of the imperial "we" crediting all of us with slavery. That is not the truth of slavery in the U.S. or Europe. There were always people and parts of the U.S. and Europe that fought slavery. There were many who participated in the underground railroads to help slaves escape from the South. To credit all Americans with being part of slavery is inaccurate.
I have family history of members who fought slavery from their first arrival in the late 1600s. The Civil War brought an end to slavery in the U.S., and we are all thankful that slavery was forcefully ended in states where it had been allowed.
There has never been justification for slavery anywhere in the universe, and the slavery in areas of the world today is just as abhorrent. Mr. Cohen, clearly "12 Years a Slave" tells us that there were free black men and women in the U.S. It also shows how horrible slavery was, but many Americans never supported it and tried to change it in ways they could.