James Baldwin, Restored

Hilton Als at The Paris Review:

Skipping along those tones mentally and emotionally, we’ve left the world of biography, in fact, and we enter the universe of pure metaphor. Growing up and as an artist, Baldwin had a great interest in masks, specifically the masks of blackness and maleness, the various roles we appropriate or condemn the better to define ourselves. In one of his last pieces of writing, he talked about the various projections that Michael Jackson, for instance, had to withstand and survive if he did not internalize what America deemed ugly, which is to say his blackness and his maleness. In Anthony Barboza’s extraordinary image from 1980, we have Jackson’s real pre–Michael Jackson face, the face God made for him and he did not make for himself. His internal life disfigured his body and his face in order to find some approximation of it in front of the camera and in front of the world, and it’s such a gift to have Barboza’s portrait before those decisions were made, and to see his extraordinary vulnerability and the beauty of his real face.

more here.

Like what you're reading? Don't keep it to yourself!
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Reddit
Reddit
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email

Is Public Philosophy Good?

Agnes Callard at The Point:

Here I put forward my own unabashedly partisan view of philosophy, cribbed from Plato’s cave: philosophy does not put sight into blind eyes; rather, it turns the soul around to face the light. A soul will not turn except under painful exposure to all the questions it forgot to ask, and it will quickly turn back again unless it is pressured to acknowledge the meaninglessness of a life in which it does not continue to ask them. Philosophy doesn’t jazz up the life you were living—it snatches that life out of your grip. It doesn’t make you feel smarter, it makes you feel stupider: doing philosophy, you discover you don’t even know the most basic things.

When Aristotle said that the intellectual life is one of serious leisure, I believe he was trying to avoid the Scylla of business and the Charybdis of pleasure. If philosophy offered helpful answers to the questions you were asking anyways, it wouldn’t be leisurely; if it added fun to the life you were living anyways, it wouldn’t be serious.

more here.

Like what you're reading? Don't keep it to yourself!
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Reddit
Reddit
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email

Dred Scott case, March 6, 1857

From Black History.com:

On March 6, 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Scott v. Sanford, delivering a resounding victory to southern supporters of slavery and arousing the ire of northern abolitionists. During the 1830s, the owner of a slave named Dred Scott had taken him from the slave state of Missouri to the Wisconsin territory and Illinois, where slavery was outlawed, according to the terms of the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Upon his return to Missouri, Scott sued for his freedom on the basis that his temporary removal to free soil had made him legally free. The case went to the Supreme Court, where Chief Justice Roger B. Taney and the majority eventually ruled that Scott was a slave and not a citizen, and thus had no legal rights to sue.

According to the Court, Congress had no constitutional power to deprive persons of their property rights when dealing with slaves in the territories. The verdict effectively declared the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional, ruling that all territories were open to slavery and could exclude it only when they became states. While much of the South rejoiced, seeing the verdict as a clear victory for the slave system, antislavery northerners were furious. One of the most prominent abolitionists, Frederick Douglass, was cautiously optimistic, however, wisely predicting that —This very attempt to blot out forever the hopes of an enslaved people may be one necessary link in the chain of events preparatory to the complete overthrow of the whole slave system.”

More here. (Note: Throughout February, we will publish at least one post dedicated to Black History Month)

Like what you're reading? Don't keep it to yourself!
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Reddit
Reddit
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email

February 15, 2019

A Suspense Novelist’s Trail of Deceptions

Ian Parker in The New Yorker:

Dan Mallory, a book editor turned novelist, is tall, good-looking, and clever. His novel, “The Woman in the Window,” which was published under a lightly worn pseudonym, A. J. Finn, was the hit psychological thriller of the past year. Like “Gone Girl,” by Gillian Flynn (2012), and “The Girl on the Train,” by Paula Hawkins (2015), each of which has sold millions of copies, Mallory’s novel, published in January, 2018, features an unreliable first-person female narrator, an apparent murder, and a possible psychopath.

Mallory sold the novel in a two-book, two-million-dollar deal. He dedicated it to a man he has described as an ex-boyfriend, and secured a blurb from Stephen King: “One of those rare books that really is unputdownable.” Mallory was profiled in the Times, and the novel was reviewed in this magazine. A Washington Post critic contended that Mallory’s prose “caresses us.” The novel entered the Times best-seller list at No. 1—the first time in twelve years that a début novel had done so. A film adaptation, starring Amy Adams and Gary Oldman, was shot in New York last year. Mallory has said that his second novel is likely to appear in early 2020—coinciding, he hopes, with the Oscar ceremony at which the film of “The Woman in the Window” will be honored. Translation rights have been acquired in more than forty foreign markets.

More here.

Like what you're reading? Don't keep it to yourself!
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Reddit
Reddit
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email

The Proverbial Murder Mystery

Scott Alexander in Slate Star Codex:

“We’re the United States’ only proverb laboratory. Our mission is to stress-test the nation’s proverbs. To provide rigorous backing for the good ones, and weed out the bad ones.”

“I’d never even heard of your organization before today, I have to admit. And now that I’m here…it’s huge! Who pays for all of this?”

“Everybody who uses proverbs,” said the Doctor, “which is to say, everybody. Consider: he who hesitates is lost. But also: look before you leap. Suppose you’re a business executive who spots a time-limited opportunity. What do you do? Hesitate? Or leap without looking? Eggheads devise all sorts of fancy rules about timing the market and relying on studies, but when push comes to shove most people are going to rely on the simple sayings they learned as a child. If you can keep your stock of proverbs more up-to-date than your competitor’s, that gives you a big business advantage.”

More here.  [Thanks to Misha Lepetic.]

Like what you're reading? Don't keep it to yourself!
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Reddit
Reddit
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email

On Memory and Myth

Maia Cruz Palileo at Artforum:

THIS SHOW’S TITLE comes from a letter that my grandmother wrote to me around ten years ago. I had just begun collecting stories from my family and had asked her to describe the house she lived in as a young girl in the Philippines. She drafted a long, detailed letter, filled with drawings. But she forgot to specify my apartment number on the address, so the letter was eventually returned to her. When she re-sent it, she added a note, lamenting, “All the while I thought you had received this.”

There was something about that phrase that really resonated with me. My work has so much to do with the oral history of my family and how stories construct a sense of our past and build a mythology. Growing up in Chicago, I’d hear so many tales about the Philippines from family members, but they always seemed a bit hazy and fragmented. My other grandmother, who never emigrated to the US, would reference bits and pieces of the past: “Your grandfather was in the war.” I was so interested in what their lives used to be like, but I could never get a full picture. I became curious about which stories don’t get told and what information doesn’t get passed on.

more here.

Like what you're reading? Don't keep it to yourself!
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Reddit
Reddit
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email

Iris Murdoch and The Power of Love

Anil Gomes at the TLS:

In contrast to her opponents, Murdoch stresses the reality of moral life. To acknowledge the reality of moral life is to recognize that the world contains such things as kindness, as foolishness, as mean-spiritedness. These are genuine features of reality, and someone who comes to know that some course of action would be foolish comes to know something about how things are in the world. This view is sometimes thought to be ruled out by a certain scientistic conception of the natural, one that restricts what exists to the things that feature in our best scientific theories. Such a view is too restricted, Murdoch thinks, to capture the reality of our lives – including our lives as moral agents. Goodness is sovereign, which is to say a real, if transcendent, aspect of the world.

Making sense of these ideas requires a metaphysics of morals, one that helps us to make peace with the existence of transcendent goodness. But if morality is to move us, we need not just a metaphysics of morals but also a moral psychology: an account of how we creatures, concrete as we are, are able to know about, and be guided by, the transcendent good.

more here.

Like what you're reading? Don't keep it to yourself!
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Reddit
Reddit
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email

How Tech Utopia Fostered Tyranny

Jon Askonas in The New Atlantis:

The rumors spread like wildfire: Muslims were secretly lacing a Sri Lankan village’s food with sterilization drugs. Soon, a video circulated that appeared to show a Muslim shopkeeper admitting to drugging his customers — he had misunderstood the question that was angrily put to him. Then all hell broke loose. Over a several-day span, dozens of mosques and Muslim-owned shops and homes were burned down across multiple towns. In one home, a young journalist was trapped, and perished.

Mob violence is an old phenomenon, but the tools encouraging it, in this case, were not. As the New York Times reported in April, the rumors were spread via Facebook, whose newsfeed algorithm prioritized high-engagement content, especially videos. “Designed to maximize user time on site,” as the Times article describes, the newsfeed algorithm “promotes whatever wins the most attention. Posts that tap into negative, primal emotions like anger or fear, studies have found, produce the highest engagement, and so proliferate.” On Facebook in Sri Lanka, posts with incendiary rumors had among the highest engagement rates, and so were among the most highly promoted content on the platform. Similar cases of mob violence have taken place in India, Myanmar, Mexico, and elsewhere, with misinformation spread mainly through Facebook and the messaging tool WhatsApp.

More here.

Like what you're reading? Don't keep it to yourself!
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Reddit
Reddit
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email

AI: Better Language Models and Their Implications

Alec Radford, Jeff Wu, Dario Amodei,Daniela Amodei, Jack Clark, Miles Brundage & Ilya Sutskever in the blog of OpenAI:

Our model, called GPT-2 (a successor to GPT), was trained simply to predict the next word in 40GB of Internet text. Due to our concerns about malicious applications of the technology, we are not releasing the trained model. As an experiment in responsible disclosure, we are instead releasing a much smaller model for researchers to experiment with, as well as a technical paper.

GPT-2 is a large transformer-based language model with 1.5 billion parameters, trained on a dataset[1] of 8 million web pages. GPT-2 is trained with a simple objective: predict the next word, given all of the previous words within some text. The diversity of the dataset causes this simple goal to contain naturally occurring demonstrations of many tasks across diverse domains. GPT-2 is a direct scale-up of GPT, with more than 10X the parameters and trained on more than 10X the amount of data.

GPT-2 displays a broad set of capabilities, including the ability to generate conditional synthetic text samples of unprecedented quality, where we prime the model with an input and have it generate a lengthy continuation.

More here.

Like what you're reading? Don't keep it to yourself!
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Reddit
Reddit
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email

Friday Poem

Rain on Tin

If I ever get over the bodies of women,
I am going to think of the rain,
of waiting under the eaves of an old house
at that moment
when it takes a form like fog.
It makes the mountain vanish.
Then the smell of rain, which is the smell of the earth a plow turns up,
only condensed and refined.
Almost fifty years since thunder rolled
and the nerves woke like secret agents under the skin.
Brazil is where I wanted to live.
The border is not far from here.
Lonely and grateful would be my way to end,
and something for the pain please,
a little purity to sand the rough edges,
a slow downpour from the Dark Ages,
a drizzle from the Pleistocene.
As I dream of the rain’s long body,
I will eliminate from mind all the qualities that rain deletes
and then I will be primed to study rain’s power,
the first drops lightly hallowing,
but now and again a great gallop of the horse of rain
or an explosion of orange-green light.
A simple radiance, it requires no discipline.
Before I knew women, I knew the lonely pleasures of rain.
The mist and then the clearing.
I will listen where the lightning thrills the rooster up a willow,
and my whole life flowing
until I have no choice, only the rain,
and I step into it.

by Rodney Jones
from Salvation Blues: One Hundred Poems, 1985-2005
Mariner Books, 2007

Listen

Like what you're reading? Don't keep it to yourself!
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Reddit
Reddit
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email

I’m Not Black, I’m Kanye

Ta-Nehisi Coates in his blog:

Jackson cranked up “Billie Jean” and I felt it too. For when I saw Michael Jackson glide across the stage that night at Madison Square Garden, mere days before the Twin Towers fell, I did not imagine him so much walking on the moon, as walking on water. And the moonwalk was the least of things. He whipped his mop of hair and, cuffing the mic, stomped with the drums, spun, grabbed the air. I was astounded. There was the matter of his face, which took me back to the self-hatred of the ’80s, but this seemed not to matter because I was watching a miracle—a man had been born to a people who controlled absolutely nothing, and yet had achieved absolute control over the thing that always mattered most—his body.

And then the song climaxed. He screamed and all the music fell away, save one solitary drum, and boneless Michael seemed to break away, until it was just him and that “Billie Jean” beat, carnal, ancestral. He rolled his shoulders, snaked to the ground, and then backed up, pop-locked, seemed to slow time itself, and I saw him pull away from his body, from the ravished face, which wanted to be white, and all that remained was the soul of him, the gift given onto him, carried in the drum.

I like to think I thought of Zora while watching Jackson. But if not, I am thinking of her now:

It was said, “He will serve us better if we bring him from Africa naked and thing-less.” So the bukra reasoned. They tore away his clothes so that Cuffy might bring nothing away, but Cuffy seized his drum and hid it in his skin under the skull bones. The shin-bones he bore openly, for he thought, “Who shall rob me of shin-bones when they see no drum?” So he laughed with cunning and said, “I, who am borne away, to become an orphan, carry my parents with me. For rhythm is she not my mother, and Drama is her man?” So he groaned aloud in the ships and hid his drum and laughed.

There is no separating the laughter from the groans, the drum from the slave ships, the tearing away of clothes, the being borne away, from the cunning need to hide all that made you human. And this is why the gift of black music, of black art, is unlike any other in America, because it is not simply a matter of singular talent, or even of tradition, or lineage, but of something more grand and monstrous. When Jackson sang and danced, when West samples or rhymes, they are tapping into a power formed under all the killing, all the beatings, all the rape and plunder that made America. The gift can never wholly belong to a singular artist, free of expectation and scrutiny, because the gift is no more solely theirs than the suffering that produced it.

More here. (Note: Throughout February, we will publish at least one post dedicated to Black History Month)

Like what you're reading? Don't keep it to yourself!
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Reddit
Reddit
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email

February 14, 2019

Thursday Poem

The Kitchen Gods

Carnage in the lot: blood freckled the chopping block —
The hen’s death is timeless, frantic,
Its numbskull lopped, one wing still drags
The pointless circle of a broken clock,
But the vein fades in my grandmother’s arm on the ax.
The old ways fade and do not come back.
The sealed aspirin does not remember the willow.
The supermarket does not remember the barnyard.
The hound of memory come yipping and yapping.
One morning to too large to fit inside the mouth.
My grandmother’s life was a long time
Toiling between Blake’s root and lightning
Yahweh and the girlish renaissance Christ
That plugged the flue in her kitchen wall.
Early her match flamed across the carcass.
Her hand, fresh from the piano, plunged
The void bowel and set the breadcrumb heart.
The stove’s eye reddened. The day’s great spirit rose
from pies and casseroles. That was the house —
Reroofed, retiled, modernized, and rented out,
It will not glide up and lock among the stars.
The tenants will not find the pantry fully stocked
Or the brass boat where she kept the matches dry.
I find her stone and rue our last useless
Divisive arguments over the divinity of Christ.
Only where the religion goes on without a god
And the sandwich is wolfed down without blessing,
I think of us bowing at the table there:
The grand patriarch of the family holding forth
In staunch prayer, and the potato pie I worshipped.
The sweeter the pie, the shorter the prayer.

by Rodney Jones
from Transparent Gestures
Houghton Mifflin, 1989

Like what you're reading? Don't keep it to yourself!
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Reddit
Reddit
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email

In This Ingenious Satire, a Father Goes to Extremes to Protect His Son From Racism

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah in the New York Times:

Good questions breathe life into the world. “We Cast a Shadow,” Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s debut novel, asks some of the most important questions fiction can ask, and it does so with energetic and acrobatic prose, hilarious wordplay and great heart.

“We Cast a Shadow” is the story of a black lawyer in a version of the American South. We are dropped into a future where the country is even more willing than now to follow its worst, most racist inclinations. The unnamed narrator describes how, in the next state over, black people must wear tracking devices.

The novel draws its power from this unnamed man’s love for his family, particularly for his biracial son, Nigel. The narrator loves his son so much it seems he can’t even see him. What he does see is the boy’s figure outlined and defined by all the lurking dangers to his person and his potential. Our narrator is especially worried because of the metastasizing birthmarks that cover his son’s body: differently sized tokens of color that remind the world that Nigel is black, a fate as unfortunate as any in the mind of his father.

More here.

Like what you're reading? Don't keep it to yourself!
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Reddit
Reddit
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email

When gravity breaks down

Sabine Hossenfelder in Back Reaction:

Einstein’s theory of general relativity is more than a hundred years old, but still it gives physicists headaches. Not only are Einstein’s equations hideously difficult to solve, they also clash with physicists other most-cherish achievement, quantum theory.

Problem is, particles have quantum properties. They can, for example, be in two places at once. These particles also have masses, and masses cause gravity. But since gravity does not have quantum properties, no one really knows what’s the gravitational pull of a particle in a quantum superposition. To solve this problem, physicists need a theory of quantum gravity. Or, since Einstein taught us that gravity is really curvature of space-time, physicists need a theory for the quantum properties of space and time.

It’s a hard problem, even for big-brained people like theoretical physicists. They have known since the 1930s that quantum gravity is necessary to bring order into the laws of nature, but 80 years on a solution isn’t anywhere in sight. The major obstacle on the way to progress is the lack of experimental guidance. The effects of quantum gravity are extremely weak and have never been measured, so physicists have only math to rely on. And it’s easy to get lost in math.

More here.

Like what you're reading? Don't keep it to yourself!
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Reddit
Reddit
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email

The Rawlsian Diagnosis of Donald Trump

Samuel Scheffler in the Boston Review:

These are difficult times for liberal theorists. Fewer than thirty years after the end of the Cold War ushered in a period of unprecedented liberal ascendancy, liberalism today is in retreat—or at least on the defensive—in many parts of the world. A new generation of authoritarian strongmen have come to power in a number of countries, riding waves of populist, nationalist, and anti-globalist sentiment, and other countries may well be headed in the same direction.

It is tempting to interpret these developments as revealing a deep flaw of some kind in liberalism. As one political scientist told the New York Times, “What we’ve seen is a kind of backlash to liberal democracy. . . . masses of people feel they have not been properly represented in liberal democracy.” Some critics place the blame on liberalism’s excessive individualism: its failure to recognize the importance of national identity or patriotic sentiment, its marginalization of religion, its devaluation of the nation-state, or its general tendency to privilege the global and universal over the local and particular. Others have suggested that the fault lies with contemporary liberalism’s insufficient individualism: its creation of huge state bureaucracies exercising control over virtually every area of human life, its endorsement of unsustainable social welfare programs, or its policies of rights inflation.

More here.

Like what you're reading? Don't keep it to yourself!
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Reddit
Reddit
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email

Society will be much improved by loosening the stranglehold of top universities on the education of elites. But how?

Jennifer M Morton in Aeon:

Education is crucial to a democratic society because it is how we ensure that future citizens will have the knowledge and skills our societies need. In countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and France, some educational institutions play a further role – they educate the elite. All of the current Supreme Court Justices in the US attended either Harvard University or Yale Law School. In the UK, 41 out of 54 of the country’s past prime ministers received their education at the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge. Seven recent French presidents and 12 prime ministers attended the Paris Institute of Political Studies, commonly called Sciences Po. These universities pride themselves not only in offering superb educational opportunities, but in educating those who will go on to hold influential positions.

One might reasonably ask, how is a system of educational institutions for the elite democratic? Ideally, a democratic society should make sure that the interests of all sectors of society are represented. Those in the elite have disproportionate power in making their voices heard, whether through lobbying, writing policy briefs, or deciding what news gets coverage in The Times or The Wall Street Journal, while voices from groups and classes with less power are chronically underrepresented. The idea of an elite would seem to be at odds with central democratic values.

More here.

Like what you're reading? Don't keep it to yourself!
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Reddit
Reddit
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email

How Classical Ideas Were Lost and Found

David Abulafia at Literary Review:

Adelard of Bath would be in demand in the present day. This 12th-century English scholar, arrayed in his striped hat, brilliant green or red cape and lapis lazuli shirt, ‘had a talent’, Violet Moller explains, ‘for communicating complex scientific ideas and adapting them for an amateur, but interested, audience’. Yet he also devoted a good part of his time to profound research, translating mathematical, astronomical and astrological texts from Arabic – astrology being regarded in his time, especially at the Norman court in Sicily, as a very exact science with medical as well as political uses. Adelard knew that court well, but what is particularly interesting is that when he translated Euclid’s Elements into Latin he chose to do it not from its original Greek, the language of nearly half the population of Sicily at that time, but from Arabic, the language of the other half. Nor was he alone in taking such a route: works such as Ptolemy’s Almagest, fundamental for the medieval study of the heavens, seemed to inhabitants of Christian western Europe easier to understand through translation of the Arabic version rather than of the Greek original. The Arabic translators had interspersed their texts with explanations of terms and concepts the meanings of which in the original Greek puzzled western European readers, even if (as was rarely the case) they could understand that language.

more here.

Like what you're reading? Don't keep it to yourself!
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Reddit
Reddit
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email

The ‘Loyal Slave’ Photo That Explains the Northam Scandal

Kevin M. Levin in The Atlantic:

The yearbook photo that appears on Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s personal page, featuring a man in blackface and another in a Klan robe, looks to me like a modern update of a familiar image from the Civil War, of a Confederate soldier from the slaveholding class posing with his body servant. The history of the Civil War pairing clarifies the meaning of the Northam scandal.  Perhaps the most famous of the soldier-slave photographs depicts Sergeant Andrew Chandler and his uniformed body servant, Silas Chandler. Andrew served in the 44th Mississippi Infantry in the Army of Tennessee from 1861 to 1863. Camp slaves such as Silas were expected to oblige their masters’ every need, including by preparing food, tending to horses, and carrying personal supplies during long marches. Silas likely experienced many of the challenges of military life in camp, on the march, and even, on occasion, the battlefield.

Camp slaves performed essential tasks in an army that was always outnumbered and short on supplies. The historical record makes clear that they were not, on the whole, happy participants in the war effort; they routinely committed acts of disobedience, including running away to join the Union army. But the photograph of Andrew and Silas—likely taken early in the war, when enthusiasm was at its height—reinforced the widely held belief among white Southerners that slaves supported the Cause. The presence of men such as Silas reassured Confederates that invasion, battlefield loss, and even emancipation itself could not sever the strong bonds of fidelity between master and slave.

…Doesn’t the Northam yearbook photograph send a similar message, if only subconsciously? The performance of blackface reinforces the belief that blacks smiled through slavery, and later, the post-Reconstruction period of white-supremacist terrorism, on through the indignities of Jim Crow—that these darkest periods of American history were, in fact, not so dark, but joyous times when all people knew their place. The man in blackface stands next to a man in Klan costume, like Silas next to his master, preposterously content in the company of his oppressor.

More here.

Like what you're reading? Don't keep it to yourself!
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Reddit
Reddit
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email

He Fought for His Freedom in the Revolution. Then His Sons Were Sold Into Slavery

Sarah Pruitt in History:

Born into slavery before the American Revolution, Jude Hall fought valiantly in several of the war’s most crucial battles, earning the nickname “Old Rock” for his strength and heroism. Yet while he would gain his freedom after the war, and a small plot of land in Exeter, New Hampshire on which to raise his family, Hall couldn’t shield his children from the many perils that befell people of color in early America—from the ever-present burden of poverty to the terrifying possibility that they might be abducted and sold into slavery. Kidnapping free blacks to transport south was a lucrative business, as southern plantation owners were hungry for laborers. And African Americans rarely had documentary proof of their status, much less legal standing to question the word of a white man in court. Children and teens made especially attractive targets.

Three of Hall’s sons would be kidnapped and shipped south, never to return home.

Like what you're reading? Don't keep it to yourself!
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Reddit
Reddit
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email