AfriGeneas Call to Action Forum
Ken Burns Keynote Speech
Ken Burns tells WashU grads that 'black lives matter'
ST. LOUIS • Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns invoked the Black Lives Matter slogan in Washington University’s graduation ceremony Friday morning, calling continued struggles with racism the country’s greatest shame.
Much of his keynote address centered on race as he spoke about the need to collectively work on our imperfect nature.
He reminded the crowd that state-sanctioned racism lives on past slavery’s abolishment, and he chastised politicians for shying away from meaningful conversations on race.
“Four centuries of discrimination, but politicians insist on this hypocritical color-blindness,” he said.
Slavery has given way to Jim Crow and sharecropping, he said, which has transformed into today’s prison system and corrupt municipalities.