SOURCE: Black Perspectives
William Still Preserved the Black History of Abolition at a Time of Danger
by Julia W. Bernier
After emancipation, the meticulous records William Still kept about the fellow Black people he helped to reach freedom became a tool in a different struggle: to fight against the erasure of Black humanity and power by proponents of Jim Crow and the Lost Cause.
"Divisive Concepts" Bans Will Undermine Teaching Some of the Values Conservatives Claim to Uphold
by John Marot
The story of Frederick Douglass, to single out one prominent abolitionist, is "divisive" in the sense that students engaging with it will find echoes of values claimed by both left and right. That's why this history must be taught.
SOURCE: The Atlantic
Review: Reevaluating the Grimke Sisters and White Abolitionism
by Drew Gilpin Faust
Kerri Greenidge's new history of the Grimke family of South Carolina shows that, while sisters Sarah and Angelina left the south to advocate abolition and feminism, the institution of slavery compromised all white people connected to it.
William Still: Forgotten Father of the Underground Railroad
by Andrew Diemer
William Still died in 1902 as one of the most famous and well-respected Black men in America. But since, the quiet nature of his work and his preference to preserve the stories of the individuals he helped to find freedom have diminished his standing among abolitionist heroes.
Have We Chosen to Forget our Abolitionist Ancestors, Too?
by James D. Richardson
The author wonders whether his great-great grandfather's commitment to justice before and after emancipation became socially inconvenient and morally demanding to later generations in white America.
SOURCE: Los Angeles Times
If American History Needs Heroes, Why Aren't We Teaching about the Abolitionists?
by Stephanie Coontz
Those who feel discomfort over studying the history of abolitionism do so because of their refusal to build on the work of an interracial group of American visionaries.
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Education
The Unbearable Whiteness of Ken Burns
by Timothy Messer-Kruse
In the context of today's battles over teaching the history of racism in America, the new Franklin documentary unfortunately uses its subject to spin a narrative of national self-correction that ignores historians' attention to conflict and struggle.
SOURCE: Boston Review
T. Thomas Fortune: The Forgotten Founder of Abolition Democracy
by Robin D.G. Kelley
T. Thomas Fortune's critique of Reconstruction is a radical intellectual document that has valuable lessons for the activists and scholars associated with the prison abolition movement.
SOURCE: Washington Post
Linda Hirshman Offers a Lively Dissection of the Competing Strains of American Abolitionism
by Drew Gilpin Faust
Hirshman focuses on the complex character of abolitionist editor Maria Weston Chapman, whose combination of moral fervor and racial prejudice pushed Frederick Douglass from the moralistic Garrisonian camp to a pragmatic and more effective strategy of political activism.
How Lincoln and Douglass Joined Forces for Freedom
by Jonathan W. White
Lincoln's discussions with Frederick Douglass should make clear the difference between the president's public statements and his inner convictions on emancipation.
SOURCE: New York Times
Wilentz: New Book Says Jefferson Davis was Right About the Constitution. What About Lincoln?
by Sean Wilentz
Noah Feldman's new books says that, in 1861, Jefferson Davis was right about the Constitution's sanction of slavery, and only the rupture of the Civil War could amend and reset the document. Sean Wilentz disagrees.
An American Conception of Justice
by Michael Kazin
While historians have demonstrated the racist operation of American institutions, it's important to recognize that those institutions have also been instruments for justice.
SOURCE: Mother Jones
Today It’s Critical Race Theory. 200 Years Ago It Was Abolitionist Literature
In 1829, South Carolina and Georgia responded to a series of fires they assumed were set by enslaved people by banning both the abolitionist literature they blamed for inciting rebellion and the teaching of literacy to slaves. Today's battles over curriculum are likewise about ideas deemed threatening to social hierarchies.
Elijah Lovejoy Faced Down Violent Mobs to Champion Abolition and the Free Press
by Ken Ellingwood
In 1837, Elijah Lovejoy was killed by a pro-slavery mob in Illinois, and the press he used to publish his abolitionist newsletter was thrown into the Mississippi River. Lovejoy's championing of both abolition and the free press should inspire us today.
SOURCE: Civil War Memory
Manipulating Frederick Douglass and His Historical Record
by Kevin M. Levin
Frederick Douglass intended his portraits as visual representations of freedom, autonomy and dignity. The author wonders if it's appropriate to take the liberty of indulging in the trendy photo animation technology with the portraits of historical figures.
It's Time to Stop Calling Slavery America's 'Original Sin'
by James Goodman
The theological origins of "original sin" mean that the metaphor portrays slavery, racism, and the dispossession of Native American lands as evils foisted upon Americans, rather than as social and political products of choices made by them.
SOURCE: The Atlantic
A Forgotten Black Founding Father
by Danielle Allen
The figure of Black abolitionist Prince Hall has been discussed for his advocacy for abolition in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but there remains a deeper work of historical reconstruction to understand his connections to family, community and civil society in the founding era.
SOURCE: Tropics of Meta
Josh Hawley Is Not the First Missouri Senator with Blood on His Hands
by Steven Lubet
Senator Josh Hawley arguably helped incite a mob to invade the Capitol to thwart the certification of Biden's victory. Missouri's antebellum senator David Rice Atchison helped incite a civil war in Kansas in 1854.
SOURCE: The Hill
Democrats Introduce Legislation to Strike Slavery Exception in 13th Amendment
The proposal would eliminate a loophole written into the 13th Amendment that allows involuntary servitude to be imposed on persons convicted of a crime. Some recent scholars have argued that this exemption is a foundation of the current system of mass incarceration.
SOURCE: Labor and Working Class History Association
Wishbone of The Good Lord Bird
by Mark Lause
"In the end, The Good Lord Bird spins a worthwhile and entertaining yarn, but each episode starts with the unfortunate and misleading words: 'All of this is true. Most of it happened'."
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