Skip to main content

american revolution

USS Constitution. Cannons below decks.

Tale revealed of 8-year-old Black veteran of USS Constitution

By Reparations

By Brian MacQuarrie, The Boston Globe — David Debias passed explosives to the thundering guns of the USS Constitution on the night of Feb. 20, 1815. He heard US Marines shooting from the masts, watched razor-sharp splinters gash his comrades, and basked in the Constitution’s resounding victory over two British warships in its final battle, 180 miles southwest of Gibraltar. Debias was from Beacon Hill. He was 8 years old….

Read More
Former enslaved people in a Southern town shortly after the end of the Civil War, circa 1865.

American Slavery and ‘the Relentless Unforeseen’

By Editors' Choice, Reparations

This essay is an adaptation of the fourth annual Philip Roth Lecture, delivered at the Newark Public Library on November 4, 2019. The lecture began with an appreciation of Roth’s merging of fiction and history. An admirer of great historical writing, Roth understood that, to be truly great, it had to grapple with what he called, in The Plot Against America, “the relentless unfolding of the unforeseen.” Flipped on its…

Read More
Freed Slaves Civil War

A Lesson on Slavery for White America

By Editors' Choice

By Paul Street — Look at the following series of tweets from the president of the United States, reflecting Thursday on the tearing down of Confederate statues in the U.S. South: Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson—who’s next, Washington, Jefferson?…

Read More