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slavery

Since Appomattox

April 9, 2015

“It was after sunrise of a bright morning when from the Manchester high grounds we turned to take our last look at the old city for which we had fought so long & so hard... The whole river front seemed to be in flames, amid which occasional h [...]

Ariadne Van Zandbergen

A Brief History of Near and Actual Losses

We are at Cape Coast Castle, and Callie refuses to be held. She won’t let me carry her in my arms. She won’t let me put her in the cloth carrier on my back. She won’t ride on her father’s shoulders. She won’t sit astride my hip. She wants to be in charge of exactly where her body goes. She wants both feet on the ground.

Confederate  reenactor with straps.  Gettysburg,  PA, 2011.

Lost Causes

Confederate reenactors take pride in their Southern heritage, but struggle with the centrality of slavery and racism to the Confederacy.

Private family graveyard at Monticello. Charlottesville, VA. (iStockPhoto / Gene Krebs)

Remembering the Randolphs

As soon as I began to ask questions, I realized how much work had gone into no longer asking them, into silences or re-​routings, into omissions, not-​noticings—​into a carefully pruned rhetoric of absence. When I began to realize I wanted the answers to such questions, I realized how afraid I was of asking them at all. 

The House Slave

The first horn lifts its arm over the dew-lit grass
and in the slave quarters there is a rustling—
children are bundled into aprons, cornbread

Doing the Work: Why We Need Affirmative Action

The arguments about whether affirmative action has run its course, has accomplished its purposes, or now constitutes an enshrined system of discrimination against white people contain so little historical perspective that they are eviscerated at the core. They remind me of trees felled by a hurricane. Most of these arguments seem to locate our entire racial history in a period beginning at about the end of World War II, with the defining events being the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.