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confederacy Archives - Institute of the Black World 21st Century

Commentary, Articles and Essays by Dr. Maulana Karenga

Taking Down Flags and Tearing Down Walls: Some Seriously Needed Distinctions

By Dr. Maulana Karenga

By Dr. Maulana Karenga — This is a revisiting of an ongoing conversation beginning in 2015 about taking down symbols of oppression, especially Confederate flags, but also statues, murals and all public signs, symbols and celebrations of our domination, deprivation and degradation as a people and other people of color. My argument here, as then, is that these acts are necessary, but not sufficient, an important start, but not the end of the long, difficult and…

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Folk dancers gather before performing at the 2018 Confederate Festival in Santa Bárbara d’Oeste, Brazil. Each of their dresses is embroidered with the name of a state in the U.S. Confederacy.

They lost the Civil War and fled to Brazil. Their descendants refuse to take down the Confederate flag

By News & Current Affairs

Brazil’s confederados gather in Sao Paulo state each year to celebrate all things Dixie. As in the United States, calls are growing for a reassessment. By Terrence McCoy — To Marina Lee Colbachini, it was a family tradition. Each spring, she would join the throngs who descended on a nondescript city in southern Brazil, don a 19th-century hoop skirt and square dance to country music. The theme of the annual…

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Be Careful What Monuments You Go After

By Commentaries/Opinions

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson — I recently called for Long Beach, California school officials to re-examine having the name of former President Woodrow Wilson on one of its schools. A day later a reporter doing a story on the controversy asked, “I wonder in response to those who say changing school names is going too far…” It was a fair question. My answer as far as Wilson was concerned was easy….

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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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Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass Statue Torn Down on Anniversary of Famous July 4 Speech

By News & Current Affairs

The landmark 1852 speech by the Black abolitionist was titled, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” By Chris Walker, Truthout — A statue of Frederick Douglass, a formerly enslaved Black abolitionist in the mid-1800s who helped to transport other enslaved people seeking freedom on the Underground Railroad, was removed from its pedestal in a park in Rochester, New York, by vandals over the weekend. The statue was…

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Robert E. Lee

Robert E. Lee Wasn’t a Hero, He Was a Traitor

By Reparations

By Michael McLean, HNN — There’s a fabled moment from the Battle of Fredericksburg, a gruesome Civil War battle that extinguished several thousand lives, when the commander of a rebel army looked down upon the carnage and said, “It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.” That commander, of course, was Robert Lee. The moment is the stuff of legend. It captures Lee’s…

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The statue depicts Roosevelt on horseback, with a Native American man and an African man

How Do We Address a Statue of President Roosevelt That Affirms Racist Hierarchies?

By Commentaries/Opinions

By Nick Mirzoeff, Hyperallergic — Almost two years after the 2017 fascist rally at Charlottesville around a mediocre statue of Robert E. Lee, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) opened its exhibition Addressing the Statue for an unspecified run. The statue in question is James Earle Fraser’s massive “Theodore Roosevelt Equestrian Memorial,” situated outside the Museum’s main entrance, depicting Roosevelt flanked by his gun carriers, a stereotyped Plains Indian and a generic African. It…

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L. Prang & Co. print of the painting Hancock at Gettysburg by Thure de Thulstrup, showing Pickett's Charge.

The Diaries Left Behind by Confederate Soldiers Reveal the True Role of Enslaved Labor at Gettysburg

By Reparations

Even as some enslaved men escaped North, the retreat by the Army of Northern Virginia would have been disastrous without the support of its camp servants. By Kevin M. Levin, Smithsonian —  Walking the Gettysburg battlefield today, it’s easy to imagine the Union and Confederate armies dueling for control of the Pennsylvania town and its surrounding picturesque fields and rocky hills for three days in July 1863. For many tourists,…

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Confederate Statue Nathan Bedford Forrest

Tennessee Just Showed That White Supremacy Is Alive and Well

By Commentaries/Opinions

By Keisha N. Blain, The Washington Post — Honoring a former Confederate general and KKK grand wizard in 2019 is outrageous An obscure Tennessee law required Gov. Bill Lee to declare this past Saturday “Nathan Bedford Forrest Day” to commemorate the Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader. But Lee went further, admitting he had not even considered whether the law should be changed. His actions drew sharp criticism from politicians throughout…

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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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