Charles T. Minimah
612 Virginia Street, East, Suite 300
Charleston, West Virginia 25301
November 15, 2016
President Barak Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW,
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
Request for Clemency
As a young man--like many others--chasing the dreams of the American ideal of equality, human rights and prosperity for all, I journeyed to the USA, in 1976. I came from a West African family with a grandmother, who was sold into slavery at a very early age. Her life's experience, greatly influenced my formative years and I feel very fortunate, to have grown up to adulthood, under her loving care and tutelage.
Expectedly, being a direct descendant of an ex-slave left an indelible mark that I discovered later in life, matched the experiences of my distant African-American cousins and relatives, whose roots are in Africa. The common and shared experiences of slavery place us in a vantage position to better understand the devastating impact of chattel slavery in Africa and America. I am, thus, compelled by my ancestral misfortune to venture onto an uncharted path; championing and seeking clemency for a historical figure that was criminalized and executed due to the nature of our social and judicial system at the time.
After over 40 years of reflection and introspection, I have now decided that the time has come for me to make a daring and seemingly unpopular demand that the President of the United States consider and redress a historical wrong. I am, sure that many in our society, will question the wisdom of this request. Nevertheless, the fact that a grave miscarriage of justice occurred then and even now continues to be perpetuated leaves me agonized and painfully conflicted over this state of affairs. The request for John Brown's clemency, is timely and within the purview of more recent historical occurrences in the country.
True freedom inextricably and undeniably, comes with a price tag. John Brown was a sacrificial lamb for advocating and fighting to free enslaved Africans. Furthermore, his crusade was hinged on the American ideal of freedom, justice and liberty which abhors oppression in all its forms and ramifications. Such an act of clemency would remind us that justice is blind and must be the right of all citizens regardless of creed, color or race. In 1881, the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass wrote of John Brown, "his zeal in the cause of my race was far greater than mine--it was as the burning sun to my taper light--mine was bounded by time, his stretched away to the boundless shores of eternity. I could live for the slave, but he could die for him." Consequently, Brown's death as speculated by sympathizers escalated and ignited tensions that led to the civil war; eventually, giving birth to West Virginia, the 35st state of the union.
I ask with conviction and humility that you please, consider that a presidential pardon for John Brown will lay the foundation and create a pathway for your vision of Hope and Change for our children. The actualization of this vision is desperately needed in communities across America. A presidential pardon represents a gift to society that will be appreciated long after you leave office but long enough, to bear fruit during your lifetime and beyond. I make this request Mr. President, because the timing is right for action to emanate from the White House; just before you say goodbye to the American people after a very fruitful and successful tenure.
Thank you for all the groundbreaking accomplishments--that most Americans thought were impossible--which you spear-headed to the greater good of our country and our people. God bless you and God bless America.
Sincerely and respectfully yours,
Charles T. Minimah
Charles T. Minimah
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