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Editors’ Choice

What is Independence Day without Freedom?

By Editors' Choice, Reparations

Video by Movement For Black Lives — We know you’ve seen reparations in the news a lot lately, but this is not a new topic. Black people have been fighting for reparations since before the end of slavery. Because of decades of organizing and struggle, we are finally in a position where reparations is within reach. However, as the idea of reparations is popularized, there is growing confusion about what…

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American abolitionist Frederick Douglass, circa 1855.

The History of Frederick Douglass’ Searing Independence Day Oration

By Editors' Choice, Reparations

By Olivia B. Waxman,Time  — After the Independence Day military parade in the nation’s capital on Thursday, President Donald Trump will give a speech at the Lincoln Memorial, the most recognizable memorial to his predecessor’s leadership during the Civil War and the abolition of slavery. And yet, alternative Fourth of July commemorations across the United States often draw attention to a different side of that story, with readings of the…

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Frederick Douglass, 1850.

What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July? By Frederick Douglass

By Editors' Choice, Reparations

The entire speech by Frederick Douglass, July 5, 1852 — Mr. President, Friends and Fellow Citizens: He who could address this audience without a quailing sensation, has stronger nerves than I have. I do not remember ever to have appeared as a speaker before any assembly more shrinkingly, nor with greater distrust of my ability, than I do this day. A feeling has crept over me, quite unfavorable to the…

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“If there was something to do in this town, this town would prosper, because there’s a lot of loyal people here, a lot of good people,” said Tre Lewis, who lives with his family on Youngstown’s south side.

The Nonwhite Working Class

By Editors' Choice

Talking to the people in Youngstown, Ohio, that the national media usually ignores. By Henry Graber, The Slate — YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio—In 1984, Lewis Macklin stood up at a community meeting and argued that city officials should shut down his high school. It had been seven years since Black Monday—when Youngstown Sheet & Tube announced it was closing its largest factory, costing 5,000 people their jobs and setting off a chain of plant…

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A mural of Bob Marley at Notting Hill Carnival in 2012.

Jamaica Is Using Bob Marley’s Legacy to Market Austerity

By Editors' Choice

The reggae icon would be embarrassed by his country’s attempts to rebrand a disastrous ideology. By Keston Perry, The Nation — The island nation of Jamaica holds a special, almost spiritual significance for many people of color, as well as for anyone concerned about advancing equality and justice in the world. It is the birthplace of the Rastafari movement, reggae, dancehall—and democratic socialism before it became popular in the United States.…

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Customs and Border Protection

A Brief History of US Concentration Camps

By Editors' Choice

There is no doubt that concentration camps are in operation on US soil once again. By Brett Wilkins — Concentration camp (noun): a place in which large numbers of people, especially political prisoners or members of persecuted minorities, are deliberately imprisoned in a relatively small area with inadequate facilities, sometimes to provide forced labor or to await mass execution. – Oxford English Dictionary Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has ignited a…

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General William Tecumseh Sherman in May 1865. Portrait by Mathew Brady.

The Truth Behind ’40 Acres and a Mule’

By Editors' Choice, Reparations

By Henry Louis Gates, Jr. — 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…

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Ta-Nehisi Coates

When will a white man say what Ta-Nehisi Coates said?

By Editors' Choice, HR 40 Congressional Hearing, Reparations

By Peter Birkenhead — How can it be that, in 2019, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates was forced to give testimony in front of the House Judiciary Committeethat sounded like it could have been given in front of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction in 1866? How is it that, more than a century and a half after the end of the Civil War, a black man had to instruct members of the United…

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