Some blacks take Freeman to task over CBS interview

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Sylvia Cyrus-Albritton isn't going to hold it against actor Morgan Freeman for slamming the need for Black History Month.

She isn't mad that the Oscar winner said on CBS' 60 Minutes that it's "ridiculous" to relegate one month to black history and that the practice should be abolished.

But as director of the group founded by the father of Black History Month, Carter G. Woodson, Cyrus-Albritton says she has an important message for Freeman: "We're not there yet, Morgan."

It was a response echoed by many civil rights leaders and historians across the country yesterday after Freeman's statements, broadcast Sunday, sparked a heated debate over whether, as he suggested, the only way to eliminate racism is to just stop talking about it.

"Mr. Freeman was giving an opinion that does not jibe with the best information we have," civil rights activist the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson says. "Unless blacks are given due credit for what they do, we need to continue teaching black history, for both esteem purposes and edification. ... I have a lot of respect for him as an actor, but [the] actor makes a statement, an observation. He is not a historian. He is projecting an idealism. We should leave this debate to historians."

Cyrus-Albritton of the 90-year-old Association for the Study of African American Life and History in Washington, agreed that the job of educating Americans about black history is far from done.

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