Don’t take that arc of justice or march of progress for granted

Eric Foner writes:

Reconstruction poses a challenge to Americans’ historical understanding because we prefer stories with happy endings. Unfortunately, the overthrow of the South’s biracial governments, accomplished in part by terrorist violence, was followed by a long period of legally enforced white supremacy. Yet this itself offers a timely lesson – that there is nothing inevitable or predetermined in the onward march of freedom and equality. Reconstruction and its aftermath remind us that rights in the Constitution are not self-enforcing, and that our liberties can never be taken for granted. [link]

Old wine in new bottles: why the alt right are just neo-Nazis

Last year, during the Presidential campaign, Osita Nwanevu wrote:

In 2012, Alternative Right ran an essay called “Is Black Genocide Right?” by Colin Liddell. “Instead of asking how we can make reparations for slavery, colonialism, and Apartheid or how we can equalize academic scores and incomes,” he wrote, “we should instead be asking questions like, ‘Does human civilization actually need the Black race?’ ‘Is Black genocide right?’ and, if it is, ‘What would be the best and easiest way to dispose of them?’” [link]

Advice from the past

[Pay close attention to the date. This and the video are meant ironically]

“Half of the people have been very sure that if he were elected the country would come to an end, if the world did not. But we are inclined to believe that the Union will last a little longer, and that we shall have some good times yet, in time to come. It has been said that a “special Providence watches over children, drunkards, and the United States.” They make so many blunders, and yet live through them, it must be that they are cared for, for they take very little care of themselves. So we are disposed to trust Providence, and not to worry.”

— Editor’s Drawer” column in the December 1856 issue of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine Volume 14.

Hate not heritage

A timeline of the genesis of the Confederate sites shows two notable spikes. One comes around the turn of the 20th century, just after Plessy v. Ferguson, and just as many Southern states were establishing repressive race laws. The second runs from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s—the peak of the civil-rights movement. In other words, the erection of Confederate monuments has been a way to perform cultural resistance to black equality. [link]