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Civil War Archives - Institute of the Black World 21st Century

View of the Confederate memorial, with an added Confederate flag made out of flowers, Jasper, Alabama, 2010.

White America’s “hidden wound” threatens to destroy the country — and not for the first time

By News & Current Affairs

Half a century ago, writer Wendell Berry saw this coming: What white people can’t talk about is destroying them. By Kirk Swearingen, Salon — Words matter; poetry has power. It’s not for nothing that authoritarians first go after the intellectuals, the journalists, the poets. Consider these well-wrought statements: All men are created equal Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness Liberté, égalité, fraternité Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice…

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African Americans were used as slave labour in California and other western US territories during the 1850s. (

The little-known story of how slavery infiltrated California and the American west

By Reparations

By Kevin Waite, The Conversation — The history of American slavery generally conjures a set of familiar images: sprawling plantations white with cotton, gangs of enslaved African Americans stooped low over the fields, bullwhips cracking in the summer heat. It’s a strictly southern story – or so we’re told. But that narrative misses a huge swath of the North American map and a crucial chapter in US history. American slavery…

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The Eli Jackson Methodist Church and cemetery, located on a ranch once operated by Nathaniel and Matilda Jackson, who are believed to have helped slaves escape to Mexico, San Juan, Texas, 2019

When the Enslaved Fled to Mexico

By Reparations

A new book tells the forgotten story of fugitive slaves who found freedom south of the border. David S. Reynolds, The New York Review There has long been a fascination with the plight of enslaved Blacks who ran away from southern slaveholders in the decades before the Civil War. Powerful autobiographies by runaways such as Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, and Harriet Jacobs immerse us in their physical pain and…

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White Terrorism: From Post-Civil-War Lynchings to the Present

By Commentaries/Opinions

By Walter G. Moss — The violent occupation of the U. S. Capitol building on January 6 shocked many people into realizing White terrorism is scary. Soon afterward, D. C. Mayor Muriel Bowser  “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd that the essential question was how seriously our country will take threats of “domestic white extremism” and terrorism. Todd later added that “right-wing [White] terrorists perpetrated the majority of all plots…

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Living in the Age of the White Mob

By Editors' Choice

By Victor Luckerson— For most of the hundred and fifty-six years since the Civil War, white mobs have had free rein over American society. They burned Black schools during Reconstruction, strung Black bodies from trees during the lynching era, and harassed Black students during the civil-rights movement. These were acts of racism, but they were also flexes of political power—murderous demands that the legal and cultural norms of the rioters’…

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The Whole Story in a Single Photo

By Editors' Choice

An image from the Capitol captures the distance between who we purport to be and who we have actually been. By Clint Smith— On Wednesday afternoon, as insurrectionists assaulted the Capitol, a man wearing a brown vest over a black sweatshirt walked through the halls of Congress with the Confederate battle flag hanging over his shoulder. One widely circulated photo, taken by Mike Theiler of Reuters, captured him mid-stride, part…

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How the Black Codes Limited African American Progress After the Civil War

How the Black Codes Limited African American Progress After the Civil War

By Reparations

The black codes effectively continued enslavement for African Americans by restricting their rights and exploiting their labor. By Nadra Kareem Nittle — When slavery ended in the United States, freedom still eluded African Americans who were contending with the repressive set of laws known as the black codes. Widely enacted throughout the South following the Civil War—a period called Reconstruction—these laws both limited the rights of Black people and exploited them as a…

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Commentary, Articles and Essays by Dr. Julianne Malveaux

Symbols, Statues, and Substance

By Dr. Julianne Malveaux

By Julianne Malveaux — Socially isolated and alone in my home, I lifted my fist into the air when I learned that the Mississippi legislature voted to remove the Confederate stars and bars from their flag. As NACCP President Derrick Jackson said, “it’s been a long time coming.”  A long time since the songstress Nina Simone put it out there with Mississippi G—damn. A long time since Emmitt Till was…

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A woman takes part in a rally to mark Juneteenth on June 19 in San Francisco.

Reparations need to be part of the conversation about racial justice

By Reparations

Police violence sparked an uprising, but racial equality demands economic reforms as well. By Nichole Nelson, The Washington Post — Over the past month, protests across the country, and even the world, have erupted in response to the death of George Floyd by white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. While the protests have focused on police violence, the issues of racism are deeply rooted and multifaceted. In fact, addressing police…

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Social Distancing = Communism: this is the ideological angle of Trump’s most belligerent storm-troopers.

Trump’s Zealots: White Supremacists and Evangelicals Gearing up for a New Civil War?

By Commentaries/Opinions, COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Social Distancing = Communism: this is the ideological angle of Trump’s most belligerent storm-troopers. By: Gilbert Mercier — What the gun-toting, Trump 2020 and Confederate-flag waving Trump supporters have been organized and likely paid to do, is to make sure the U.S. goes back to work as soon as possible. Let us not be naive. If President Trump recently called on his adoring followers to “liberate” states like Michigan, Virginia, Maryland,…

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Black community on a plantation in Beaufort, South Carolina, 1862

‘A White Man Took Her’: Trauma, Loss, and Grief among the Enslaved

By Reparations

By Tyler Parry, AAIHS — In November 1864, a formerly enslaved man named Peter Bumper and his fiance Bucinda Nelson had their marriage registered with the federal government. Long denied access to a legally-recognized, protected union, Bumper and Nelson pursued a path to freedom taken by many formerly enslaved people during the Civil War era. Their heroism in escaping Confederate-controlled territory and finding a Union minister is compelling enough, but the…

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Celebration of the Abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia by the Colored People, in Washington, April 19, 1866,”

Since Emancipation, the United States Has Refused to Make Reparations for Slavery

By Reparations

But in 1862, the federal government doled out the 2020 equivalent of $23 million – NOT to the formerly enslaved but to their white enslavers. By Kali Holloway, The Nation — In 1870 a black woman named Henrietta Wood sued the white deputy sheriff who, nearly two decades earlier, kidnapped her from the free state of Ohio, illegally transported her to slaveholding Kentucky, and sold her into a life of enslavement that…

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