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Condoleezza Rice says America was born with a birth defect: slavery

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice compared slavery to a birth defect on Sunday.

“We forget in the United States how long it has taken us to make ‘We the People’ mean people like me. And indeed, I do think that America was born with a birth defect; it was slavery,” she said in a CBS interview aired Sunday.

She said the country “wasn’t quite complete” before the civil rights movement that took shape in the 1960s. Rice, who grew up in Alabama, a state harshly affected by Jim Crow laws, called it “the second founding of America.”


“And so I do think that when we were finally able to deliver the promise of the Constitution to people like me, little girls growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, when finally my father was able to vote without difficulty, yes, it’s the second founding of America. The first founding wasn’t quite complete,” she continued.

Rice, who often speaks out on race issues, has made the comparison between slavery and a birth defect in the past. In 2011 she told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that even though America has “gotten to a place [where] race is not the limiting factor that it once was… we’re never going to erase race as a factor in American life.” 

Rice served eight years in the White House as both as a national security adviser and as the nation’s first African-American woman to become Secretary of State in 2005.

She reminisced on traveling with her parents from Alabama to Denver as they both studied to get their advanced degrees.

“If you were black, you couldn’t go to the University of Alabama for graduate school in 1961,” Rice said. “And so my father, who was getting an advanced degree in student personnel administration, and my mother, who was qualifying to teach music in the schools — she was a science teacher before that — would go to Denver.”  


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