Legacies links for September 26, 2022: textbooks, remembering the Clotilde, and other afterlives of slavery

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Slavery as presented in a popular Virginia middle school textbook from the 1950s–1970s.
source: Civil Rights History Museum Online


  • David Yacovone, “How white supremacy became part of nation’s fabric,” Harvard Gazette (September 19, 2022): LINK. An excerpt from his new book, Teaching White Supremacy: America’s Democratic Ordeal and the Forging of Our National Identity (Pantheon, 2022). Key quote: “Surveying American history school textbooks from the early 19th century to the present day provides a profound insight into the full depth of the national commitment to white supremacy. It also allows us to trace exactly how white supremacy and Black inferiority have been drilled into student minds generation after generation.”
  • Vera Carothers, “Reckoning with the Slave Ship Clotilda,” The New Yorker (September 21, 2022): LINK. “A new documentary [Margaret Brown’s ‘Descendant’] tells the story of the last known slave ship to enter the United States and takes on the difficult question of how to memorialize America’s history of racial violence.”
  • Geoff Dembicki, “This nine-year-old was enslaved in the US. Her story could help stop a chemical plant,” The Guardian (September 20, 2022): LINK. Recovering the names and histories behind the gravesites of the enslaved has become a tactic in the fight against petrochemical plants in Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley.”
  • Brady Dennis, “EPA unveils new office to place environmental justice at agency’s core,” Washington Post (September 24, 2022): LINK.
  • “The Racial Income Gap Narrowed in 2021, But There is Still a Long Way on the Road to Equality,” Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (September 19, 2022): LINK. Summarizes recent data from the U.S. Census bureau; notes that “with only minor fluctuations, the racial gap in median income has remained virtually unchanged for more than a half-century.”

Some recent scholarship (may be pay-walled):

  • Mathew Russell Cook, et al., “Dead Labor: Fetishizing Chattel Slavery at Contemporary Southern Plantation Tourism Sites,” ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies 21:3 (2022): https://acme-journal.org/index.php/acme/article/view/2057. “Drawing upon semi-structured interviews with owners of four major tourism plantation sites in Louisiana, we argue that the dead labor of the enslaved is still an economically productive force that creates value in the contemporary landscape for plantation property owners, which must be critically considered in light of ongoing calls for socially just memory practices at tourism plantation sites.”
  • Jeffery L. Wilson, et al., “Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion at Urban Institutions: An Introduction to the Special Topic Issue,” Metropolitan Universities 33:2 (September 2022): https://doi.org/10.18060/26508. The editors of this special issue note that “The United States continues to be fundamentally characterized by economic, educational, and social disparities grounded in the legacies of slavery, legal segregation, varying degrees of discrimination, and institutional racism. American higher education has been formed and shaped within this historical and cultural context and is not exempt from the practices and structures undergirding social systems which support and replicate racial injustice.”