40 Acres and a Mule
Originally published 03/26/2013
We've all heard the story of the "40 acres and a mule" promise to former slaves. It's a staple of black history lessons, and it's the name of Spike Lee's film company. The promise was the first systematic attempt to provide a form of reparations to newly freed slaves, and it was astonishingly radical for its time, proto-socialist in its implications. In fact, such a policy would be radical in any country today: the federal government's massive confiscation of private property -- some 400,000 acres -- formerly owned by Confederate land owners, and its methodical redistribution to former black slaves. What most of us haven't heard is that the idea really was generated by black leaders themselves....
- "I've studied the history of Confederate memorials. Here's what to do about them."
- Annette Gordon-Reed writes about why Jefferson matters more than ever after Charlottesville
- Harvard’s Maya Jasanoff vists the Congo and discovers people there probably live harder lives than they did 100 years ago when Joseph Conrad was there
- Eric Foner says in an interview that it’s not necessary to remove Confederate statues
- Philip Zelikow says the government should crack down on armed groups of militants