Watershed Voice columnist Aundrea Sayrie writes, “Although there has been much recognition of the historical trauma experienced by people of color in this country, there has never been a time that these racist institutions have been tossed out and rebuilt. They have only been reimagined and enforced in ways that continue to oppress people of color. Racial inequalities exist in financial, educational, judicial, medical and social constructs.”
A poem by Torrey Brown titled “June 19th, 1865” about Juneteenth: Freedom Day.
Content Warning: The following contains unsettling and graphic details concerning the life of Sarah Baartman. Baartman was sold into slavery, and put on exhibit as a “freakshow attraction” due to her naturally curvaceous body. She endured unimaginable cruelty as she was sexually exploited for others’ profit. This piece is intended to educate and bring a broader awareness of racist colonial exploitation, and the dehumanization of Black people. Reader discretion is advised.
Elizabeth Freeman, best known as “Mum Bett,” was the first Black woman to sue and win her freedom in the state of Massachusetts.
This is the story of Tom Molineaux, America’s first international boxing superstar.
WSV Columnist Amy East writes, “In researching my own genealogy, I’ve found a number of ancestors who fought for the idea that all men were created equal in the American Revolution, and some that owned slaves. The movement of my ancestors to Cass County was very near to the time the Potawatomi were forcibly removed. Were they involved? I don’t know. Did they benefit? Without a doubt. But just because this knowledge might make me uncomfortable, or challenge how I’d like to see myself, it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. When you ask ‘what did you learn that you didn’t know before?’ you don’t get to choose if that knowledge aligns with your worldview. That’s the cost of curiosity, my friend.”
Teachers from Tennessee to Iowa are swept up in a wave of outrage led by GOP politicians nationwide over how schools teach kids about race in U.S. history.
Rob Schofield writes, “Here in the United States, it has taken many decades – indeed, centuries – for the tragic scope of what was done to Native Americans to slowly penetrate the consciousness of a population raised on cowboy movies and fanciful Thanksgiving stories.
“And so it is, perhaps not surprisingly, that many modern Americans continue to struggle with one of the most horrific of all episodes of oppression in human history: the forced enslavement of millions of people of African descent by white Americans. While no one denies the fact of slavery, millions still avert their eyes from its gruesome reality and, even more importantly, from its legacy.”
From statehouses to Congress, Republicans have launched into a fight against the teaching of “critical race theory,” which just a year ago was a niche academic term. Experts in critical race theory say it’s about acknowledging how racial disparities are embedded in U.S history and society, and the concept is being mischaracterized by conservatives. But GOP lawmakers in the past few months have succeeded in pushing it to the top of state legislative agendas.
WSV’s Eddie Leboeuf writes about the “strength” and “incredible legacy” of Black American abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth.