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America’s Original Sin Examined On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

January 15, 2018

I thought this article should be posted today, MLK Day, as it speaks to our history and the turmoil in which we find ourselves. THE LINK WILL WORK AS ONE READ IS FREE EACH MONTH AT FOREIGN AFFAIRS. I have listened to the author Annette Gordon-Reed and find her most grounded in history and also most gifted with the art of communication. Take a few minutes today and reflect on MLK, our history, and the way forward.

As a result, American slavery was tied inexorably to white dominance. Even people of African descent who were freed for one reason or another suffered under the weight of the white supremacy that racially based slavery entrenched in American society. In the few places where free blacks had some form of state citizenship, their rights were circumscribed in ways that emphasized their inferior status—to them and to all observers. State laws in both the so-called Free States and the slave states served as blueprints for a system of white supremacy. Just as blackness was associated with inferiority and a lack of freedom—in some jurisdictions, black skin created the legal presumption of an enslaved status—whiteness was associated with superiority and freedom.

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