Legacies links for October 10, 2022: So many entangled histories!

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Syd Carpenter, “Mother Pin Transitions” (2022).
Carpenter, a professor of studio art at CIC member Swarthmore College, explores the underrepresented history of black farmers through her sculpture. source: Constance Mensh, Rowan University Art Gallery (via Culture Type).

A virtual event of interest to anyone who works at a college or university:

  • Virtual Symposium (November 2, 2022): Reckoning with Entangled Histories: Higher Education and Slavery. Sponsored by SCUP: The Society for College and University Planning. Learn more and register.

This week’s links:

  • Tiffany Cusaac-Smith, “How Black Latinos found a future in an Alabama HBCU after slavery,” USA TODAY (October 9, 2022): LINK. “[D]ozens of Black Cubans and Puerto Ricans [were] drawn to Jim Crow Alabama in the late 1890s through 1920s to attend what was then known as the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute.” Today, Tuskegee University is a member of CIC.
  • Steven Mintz, “How Blacks Shaped Every Facet of American Culture,” Inside Higher Ed (October 6, 2022): LINK. A review of David Hackett Fischer, African Founders: How Enslaved People Expanded American Ideals (Simon & Schuster, 2022). Among the many implications of this historical study: “Blacks have given this country a host of unrequited gifts, of style, sensibility and ethics, language and speech, music and dance, and most important of all, spirit and soul that have continuously revitalized this country’s core values of freedom, aspiration and equality.”
  • Michael E. Ruane, “In graves of a lost Black cemetery, hope for links to family history,” Washington Post (October 5, 2022): LINK. This article describes the efforts by aging congregants and their allies to preserve the history of a cemetery that was destined to become a parking lot at Historic Williamsburg—one of many ongoing efforts by “descendants and volunteers to fight to preserve historically Black burial sites.”
  • Rod McCullom, “What science tells us about structural racism’s health impact,” Harvard Public Health (October 3, 2022): LINK. An overview of the “growing body of research [that] is pinpointing how structural racism—the ongoing impact of discriminatory practices—affects the health of people of color, especially Black people, from infancy to old age.”
  • Mark Wingfield, “On question of what to do with Confederate monuments, Americans are all over the map,” Baptist News Global (October 3, 2022): LINK. Discusses a recent survey by the Public Religion Research Institute that includes some “stark differences of opinion when sorted by race and religion,” with “white Protestants … among the least likely” to support the removal or reinterpretation of Confederate monuments. (Nonetheless, in September the members of the Presbytery of Lake Michigan adopted an official “An Apology to African Americans for the Sin of Slavery and Its Legacy.”)
  • Dianne Lugo, “’Long overdue’: Oregon voters can prohibit slavery, involuntary servitude in state constitution,” Salem [Ore.] Statesman Journal (October 2, 2022): LINK. “Oregon will join at least four other states in voting this November on state constitutional amendments prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude.” This constitutional vestige of slavery is a link between Oregon’s Black exclusion laws of the 1840s–1850s and the disproportionate incarceration rates of African Americans today.

Some recent scholarship:

  • Itai Bavli and David S. Jones, “Race Correction and the X-Ray Machine—The Controversy over Increased Radiation Doses for Black Americans in 1968,” New England Journal of Medicine 387:10 (September 8, 2022): https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMms2206281. “Th[is] history shows how assumptions about biologic differences between Black and White people [have] affected the theory and practice of medicine in the United States in ways that may have harmed patients.”
  • Tianna Bruno, “Ecological Memory in the Biophysical Afterlife of Slavery,” Annals of the American Association of Geographers (October 3, 2022): https://doi.org/10.1080/24694452.2022.2107985. “The biophysical afterlife of slavery describes how the precarity and devaluation of Black life has affected the natural environments in which these lives exist. Slavery left lingering impacts on soil, water, and vegetation regimes as it maneuvered and settled across the earth, but importantly, its ideological and sociopolitical legacies continue to impact Black ecologies today.”
  • Sherally Munshi, “Dispossession: An American Property Law Tradition,” Georgetown Law Journal 110:5 (May 2022): LINK (or read an excerpt at Racism.org). This article “consider[s] the role that property law has played in perpetuating forms of racialized dispossession,” noting that “[p]erhaps more than other areas of [legal] study, property does evoke a sense of history, but it is a deceptively curated history, one that situates the origins of our tradition in the English pasture rather than the American plantation.” The author, who teaches at the Georgetown University Law Center, also draws out some implications for the training of future lawyers.