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Database of advertisements for fugitive slaves reveals the roots of Black Resistance in America

A fugitive slave ad from just over 200 years ago reads: “Run away from the subscriber in Albemarle, a Mulatto slave called Sandy. His stature is rather low, inclining to corpulence, and his complexion light; he is a shoemaker by trade, in which he uses his left hand principally, can do coarse carpenters work, and is something of a horse jockey… Whoever conveys the said slave to me, in Albemarle, shall have 40 s. Reward.” Placed by future president Thomas Jefferson, the ad in search of the runaway Sandy is one of more than 27,000 collected so far by...

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Life of a Slave Girl: The tarnished Southern pride of a history based on sexual violence

Trigger Warning: this essay contains the mention of Rape and Sexual Abuse As a Black woman born in Louisiana, I was elated by NASCAR’s and the U.S. Navy and Marine’s decision to ban the Confederate flag because those are three fewer places where a flag that represents systematic torture is flown. Supporters of the stars and bars love to argue that the flag stands for rebellion, and that flying the flag is not “about slavery,” but about the pride of being from the South. However, the flag makes me think of something else: violence—sexual violence, in particular. It reminds...

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Truth and Reparations: A cultural shift is needed to eradicate manifestations of violence against Blacks

“This is a cycle, and I feel that in some ways, the issue is that we’re addressing the wrong problem. We continue to make this about the police — the how of it. How can they police? Is it about sensitivity and de-escalation training and community policing? All that can make for a less-egregious relationship between the police and people of color. But the how isn’t as important as the why, which we never address. The police are a reflection of a society. They’re not a rogue alien organization that came down to torment the black community. They’re enforcing segregation. Segregation...

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The New Normal: Prolonged uprisings against injustice will continue

From March to May, as many of us were adjusting and settling into quarantine life, we began thinking and talking about a “new normal.” In an article by People magazine, Nick Tilsen, of NDN Collective said, “Everyone says, ‘I can’t wait until things get back to normal.’ There’s a part of me that’s like, ‘Normal never did us justice.’ The normal meant injustices for Indigenous people. The normal meant underinvestment of our people. The normal meant fossil fuel industry exploiting our lands and our communities. This is a point in time for me where (I) don’t want to go...

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The Metaphor of War: When this pandemic is over the problems of inequality will remain

After several years of troop drawdowns, the country is back to waging rather than ending war. True to precedent, the enemy was unknown to most Americans mere weeks before the conflict began. Only on February 11 did the World Health Organization name the COVID-19 virus now on everybody’s figurative lips. Five weeks later, President Donald J. Trump proclaimed himself a “wartime president.” Soon after came the U.S. Surgeon General’s warning declaring the COVID-19 outbreak a modern Pearl Harbor moment, or a new 9/11. Democrats, too, have rallied around the metaphor of war. As Susan E. Rice, Barack Obama’s national...

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A “Black” New Deal: Racial equality is the great unfinished task of America

It’s been two weeks since George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes until he died. It’s been almost as long since protests erupted in all 50 states and numerous countries across the continents of Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America – amid a global pandemic – calling for an end to police violence against Black people in the United States. But surrounding the central demands of the moment — of stopping police killings, and holding officers accountable when they do kill — there are systemic issues...

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