Author Topic: The 1619 Project  (Read 2826 times)

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Re: The 1619 Project
« Reply #30 on: October 18, 2019, 06:29:09 am »
The 1619 Project



Led by black activists and a Republican Party pushed left by the blatant recalcitrance of white Southerners, the years directly after slavery saw the greatest expansion of human and civil rights this nation would ever see.

In 1865, Congress passed the 13th Amendment, making the United States one of the last nations in the Americas to outlaw slavery.

The following year, black Americans, exerting their new political power, pushed white legislators to pass the Civil Rights Act, the nation’s first such law and one of the most expansive pieces of civil rights legislation Congress has ever passed.

It codified black American citizenship for the first time, prohibited housing discrimination and gave all Americans the right to buy and inherit property, make and enforce contracts and seek redress from courts.

In 1868, Congress ratified the 14th Amendment, ensuring citizenship to any person born in the United States.

Today, thanks to this amendment, every child born here to a European, Asian, African, Latin American or Middle Eastern immigrant gains automatic citizenship.

The 14th Amendment also, for the first time, constitutionally guaranteed equal protection under the law.

Ever since, nearly all other marginalized groups have used the 14th Amendment in their fights for equality (including the recent successful arguments before the Supreme Court on behalf of samesex marriage).

Finally, in 1870, Congress passed the 15th Amendment, guaranteeing the most critical aspect of democracy and citizenship — the right to vote — to all men regardless of ‘‘race, color, or previous condition of servitude.’’

For this fleeting moment known as Reconstruction, the majority in Congress seemed to embrace the idea that out of the ashes of the Civil War, we could create the multiracial democracy that black Americans envisioned even if our founding fathers did not.

But it would not last.

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Re: The 1619 Project
« Reply #31 on: October 28, 2019, 10:44:02 am »
The 1619 Project



Anti-black racism runs in the very DNA of this country, as does the belief, so well articulated by Lincoln, that black people are the obstacle to national unity.



The many gains of Reconstruction were met with fierce white resistance throughout the South, including unthinkable violence against the formerly enslaved, wide-scale voter suppression, electoral fraud and even, in some extreme cases, the overthrow of democratically elected biracial governments.

Faced with this unrest, the federal government decided that black people were the cause of the problem and that for unity’s sake, it would leave the white South to its own devices.



In 1877, President Rutherford B. Hayes, in order to secure a compromise with Southern Democrats that would grant him the presidency in a contested election, agreed to pull federal troops from the South.

With the troops gone, white Southerners quickly went about eradicating the gains of Reconstruction.



The systemic white suppression of black life was so severe that this period between the 1880s and the 1920 and ’30s became known as the Great Nadir, or the second slavery.


Democracy would not return to the South for nearly a century.


White Southerners of all economic classes, on the other hand, thanks in significant part to the progressive policies and laws black people had championed, experienced substantial improvement in their lives even as they forced black people back into a quasi slavery.


As Waters McIntosh, who had been enslaved in South Carolina, lamented,

‘‘It was the poor white man who was freed by the war, not the Negroes.’’

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Re: The 1619 Project
« Reply #32 on: October 28, 2019, 03:06:32 pm »
The 1619 Project



Georgia pines flew past the windows of the Greyhound bus carrying Isaac Woodard home to Winnsboro, S.C.

After serving four years in the Army in World War II, where Woodard had earned a battle star, he was given an honorable discharge earlier that day at Camp Gordon and was headed home to meet his wife.

When the bus stopped at a small drugstore an hour outside Atlanta, Woodard got into a brief argument with the white driver after asking if he could use the restroom.

About half an hour later, the driver stopped again and told Woodard to get off the bus.

Crisp in his uniform, Woodard stepped from the stairs and saw the police waiting for him.

Before he could speak, one of the officers struck him in his head with a billy club, beating him so badly that he fell unconscious.

The blows to Woodard’s head were so severe that when he woke in a jail cell the next day, he could not see.

The beating occurred just 4 & a half hours after his military discharge.

At 26, Woodard would never see again.

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Re: The 1619 Project
« Reply #33 on: October 30, 2019, 07:58:33 am »
The 1619 Project



There was nothing unusual about Woodard’s horrific maiming.


It was part of a wave of systemic violence deployed against black Americans after Reconstruction, in both the North and the South.

As the egalitarian spirit of post-Civil War America evaporated under the desire for national reunification, black Americans, simply by existing, served as a problematic reminder of this nation’s failings.



White America dealt with this inconvenience by constructing a savagely enforced system of racial apartheid that excluded black people almost entirely from mainstream American life — a system so grotesque that Nazi Germany would later take inspiration from it for its own racist policies.

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Re: The 1619 Project
« Reply #34 on: November 12, 2019, 05:51:00 am »
The 1619 Project






Despite the guarantees of equality in the 14th Amendment, the Supreme Court’s landmark Plessy v. Ferguson decision in 1896 declared that the racial segregation of black Americans was constitutional.

With the blessing of the nation’s highest court and no federal will to vindicate black rights, starting in the late 1800s, Southern states passed a series of laws and codes meant to make slavery’s racial caste system permanent by denying black people political power, social equality and basic dignity.

They passed literacy tests to keep black people from voting and created all-white primaries for elections.

Black people were prohibited from serving on juries or testifying in court against a white person.

South Carolina prohibited white and black textile workers from using the same doors.

Oklahoma forced phone companies to segregate phone booths.

Memphis had separate parking spaces for black and white drivers.

Baltimore passed an ordinance outlawing black people from moving onto a block more than half white and white people from moving onto a block more than half black.

Georgia made it illegal for black and white people to be buried next to one another in the same cemetery.

Alabama barred black people from using public libraries that their own tax dollars were paying for.

Black people were expected to jump off the sidewalk to let white people pass and call all white people by an honorific, though they received none no matter how old they were.

In the North, white politicians implemented policies that segregated black people into slum neighborhoods and into inferior all-black schools, operated whites-only public pools and held white and ‘‘colored’’ days at the country fair, and white businesses regularly denied black people service, placing ‘‘Whites Only’’ signs in their windows.

States like California joined Southern states in barring black people from marrying white people, while local school boards in Illinois and New Jersey mandated segregated schools for black and white children.

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Re: The 1619 Project
« Reply #35 on: November 14, 2019, 12:37:06 pm »
The 1619 Project





This caste system was maintained through wanton racial terrorism.

And black veterans like Woodard, especially those with the audacity to wear their uniform, had since the Civil War been the target of a particular violence.

This intensified during the two world wars because white people understood that once black men had gone abroad and experienced life outside the suffocating racial oppression of America, they were unlikely to quietly return to their subjugation at home.

As Senator James K. Vardaman of Mississippi said on the Senate floor during World War I, black servicemen returning to the South would ‘‘inevitably lead to disaster.’’

Giving a black man ‘‘military airs’’ and sending him to defend the flag would bring him ‘‘to the conclusion that his political rights must be respected.’’

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Re: The 1619 Project
« Reply #36 on: November 22, 2019, 03:32:40 am »
The 1619 Project




Many white Americans saw black men in the uniforms of America’s armed services not as patriotic but as exhibiting a dangerous pride.


Hundreds of black veterans were beaten, maimed, shot and lynched.

We like to call those who lived during World War II the Greatest Generation, but that allows us to ignore the fact that many of this generation fought for democracy abroad while brutally suppressing democracy for millions of American citizens.

During the height of racial terror in this country, black Americans were not merely killed but castrated, burned alive and dismembered with their body parts displayed in storefronts.

This violence was meant to terrify and control black people, but perhaps just as important, it served as a psychological balm for white supremacy:

You would not treat human beings this way.

The extremity of the violence was a symptom of the psychological mechanism necessary to absolve white Americans of their country’s original sin.

To answer the question of how they could prize liberty abroad while simultaneously denying liberty to an entire race back home, white Americans resorted to the same racist ideology that Jefferson and the framers had used at the nation’s founding.

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Re: The 1619 Project
« Reply #37 on: November 24, 2019, 05:57:22 am »
The 1619 Project




This ideology — that black people belonged to an inferior, subhuman race — did not simply disappear once slavery ended.

If the formerly enslaved and their descendants became educated, if we thrived in the jobs white people did, if we excelled in the sciences and arts, then the entire justification for how this nation allowed slavery would collapse.

Free black people posed a danger to the country’s idea of itself as exceptional; we held up the mirror in which the nation preferred not to peer.

And so the inhumanity visited on black people by every generation of white America justified the inhumanity of the past.

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Re: The 1619 Project
« Reply #38 on: November 25, 2019, 07:09:23 am »
The 1619 Project







Just as white Americans feared, World War II ignited what became black Americans’ second sustained effort to make democracy real.


As the editorial board of the black newspaper The Pittsburgh Courier wrote,


‘‘We wage a two-pronged attack against our enslavers at home and those abroad who will enslave us.’’


Woodard’s blinding is largely seen as one of the catalysts for the decades-long rebellion we have come to call the civil rights movement.


But it is useful to pause and remember that this was the second mass movement for black civil rights, the first being Reconstruction.


As the centennial of slavery’s end neared, black people were still seeking the rights they had fought for and won after the Civil War:


the right to be treated equally by public institutions, which was guaranteed in 1866 with the Civil Rights Act; the right to be treated as full citizens before the law, which was guaranteed in 1868 by the 14th Amendment; and the right to vote, which was guaranteed in 1870 by the 15th Amendment.


In response to black demands for these rights, white Americans strung them from trees, beat them and dumped their bodies in muddy rivers, assassinated them in their front yards, firebombed them on buses, mauled them with dogs, peeled back their skin with fire hoses and murdered their children with explosives set off  inside a church.

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Re: The 1619 Project
« Reply #39 on: December 02, 2019, 05:28:24 am »
The 1619 Project





For the most part, black Americans fought back alone.

Yet we never fought only for ourselves.


The bloody freedom struggles of the civil rights movement laid the foundation for every other modern rights struggle.

This nation’s white founders set up a decidedly undemocratic Constitution that excluded women, Native Americans and black people, and did not provide the vote or equality for most Americans.


But the laws born out of black resistance guarantee the franchise for all and ban discrimination based not just on race but on gender, nationality, religion and ability.

It was the civil rights movement that led to the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which upended the racist immigration quota system intended to keep this country white.

Because of black Americans, black and brown immigrants from across the globe are able to come to the United States and live in a country in which legal discrimination is no longer allowed.


It is a truly American irony that some Asian-Americans, among the groups able to immigrate to the United States because of the black civil rights struggle, are now suing universities to end programs designed to help the descendants of the enslaved.

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Re: The 1619 Project
« Reply #40 on: December 03, 2019, 11:47:45 am »
The 1619 Project





No one cherishes freedom more than those who have not had it.

And to this day, black Americans, more than any other group, embrace the democratic ideals of a common good.

We are the most likely to support programs like universal health care and a higher minimum wage, and to oppose programs that harm the most vulnerable.

For instance, black Americans suffer the most from violent crime, yet we are the most opposed to capital punishment.

Our unemployment rate is nearly twice that of white Americans, yet we are still the most likely of all groups to say this nation should take in refugees.