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Book Archives - Institute of the Black World 21st Century

Slave Patrol

Slavery and the Origins of the American Police State

By Editors' Choice, Reparations

From the beginning, some Americans have been able to move more freely than others. By Ben Fountain, Medium — They were called patrollers or, variously, “paterollers,” “paddyrollers,” or “patterolls,” and they were meant to be part of the solution to Colonial America’s biggest problem, labor. Unlike Great Britain, which had a large, basically immobile peasant class that could be forced to work for subsistence wages, there weren’t enough cheap bodies…

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Hitler

Leading Civil Rights Lawyer Shows 20 Ways Trump Is Copying Hitler’s Early Rhetoric and Policies

By Editors' Choice

The author, Burt Neuborne, is one of America’s top civil liberties lawyers, and questions whether federal government can contain Trump and GOP power grabs. By Steven Rosenfeld — A new book by one of the nation’s foremost civil liberties lawyers powerfully describes how America’s constitutional checks and balances are being pushed to the brink by a president who is consciously following Adolf Hitler’s extremist propaganda and policy template from the…

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Skin tone band-aids

The Fight to Redefine Racism

By Editors' Choice

In “How to Be an Antiracist,” Ibram X. Kendi argues that we should think of “racist” not as a pejorative but as a simple, widely encompassing term of description. By Kelefa Sanneh, The New Yorker — Sixteen years ago, in 2003, the student newspaper at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, a historically black institution in Tallahassee, published a lively column about white people. “I don’t hate whites,” the author, a…

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Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison Made Words Burn and Cry: Marlon James on His Biggest Hero

By Commentaries/Opinions

By Marlon James, Time — I don’t remember much else about the day I finished Song of Solomon. The Trinidadian novelist Elizabeth Nunez mentioned her in a manuscript-saving mission—mine being the script needing saving—because I didn’t have a clue about women. Nunez said so, and she was right of course, not just about my clueness-ness, but also that this clueness-ness stemmed from a problem universal among male writers: not reading women….

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Toni Morrison

Tayari Jones Honors Toni Morrison’s Work and Legacy

By Commentaries/Opinions

‘The Most Formidable Mind of Our Times.’ By Tayari Jones, Times — I have never been to Lorain, Ohio, but it has been on my bucket list for 20 years at least. I’m curious about this town, population 64,000, located 120 miles north of Columbus, at the mouth of Black River. One of my students drove across the country, passing through the town with which I was so infatuated. I…

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Brazil Slave Plantation

A History of Slavery in the United States

By Reparations

By Calvin Schermerhorn, African American Intellectual History Society — This is an excerpt from Calvin Schermerhorn’s Unrequited Toil: A History of United States Slavery (Cambridge University Press, 2018). This excerpt has been reprinted with permission. African-descended Americans bore the social costs of slavery. They paid several times over, in fact. They paid at the point of sale when children were stolen by strangers, when parents were snatched up by slave traders,…

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Toni Morrison

Beloved author Toni Morrison, dead at 88

By News & Current Affairs

Toni Morrison (February 18, 1931 — August 5, 2019) By Herb Boyd — “We die,” Toni Morrison said at the conclusion of her Nobel Prize address in 1993. “That may be the meaning of life.  But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” Morrison not only did language, she gave it her own special embellishments, an eloquence that elevated the human condition as she probed the…

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The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City after a truck bomb explosion, April, 1995

White Power: At Home and Abroad

By Commentaries/Opinions

Two differently themed books complement each other; one on the rise of white power at home and the other on anti-communist adventures abroad show the domestic scourge nurtured by foreign experiences even as the global Right employed its services. By Thomas Meany, London Review of Books — In the spring of 1975, as America’s war in Vietnam drew to its grim conclusion, a new magazine targeted readers who did not…

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Titus Kaphar: Page 4 of Jefferson’s ‘Farm Book’…, 2018. That page of Jefferson’s ledger lists the names of enslaved people on his plantation at Monticello in January 1774.

How Proslavery Was the Constitution?

By Commentaries/Opinions, Reparations

By Nicholas Guyatt — Were the Founding Fathers responsible for American slavery? William Lloyd Garrison, the celebrated abolitionist, certainly thought so. In an uncompromising address in Framingham, Massachusetts, on July 4, 1854, Garrison denounced the hypocrisy of a nation that declared that “all men are created equal” while holding nearly four million African-Americans in bondage. The US Constitution was hopelessly implicated in this terrible crime, Garrison claimed: it kept free…

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Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee, 1968

The Language of the Unheard: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Social Democracy

By Editors' Choice, Reparations

By Robert Greene II, The Nation — Gone was the optimism of 1963. It had been replaced by a sense of disillusionment, a sense of urgency that America was about to lose the last chance to have its soul.” This was how Jet magazine described the climax of the Poor People’s Campaign, which reached Washington, DC, in the tumultuous summer of 1968. For Jet and for many early civil-rights activists, the Poor People’s Campaign…

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