Legacies links for November 14, 2022: the racial wealth gap and other topics

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Visit the YouTube channel of Yale’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition for recordings of all the sessions from their recent conference on “Teaching Race & Slavery in the American Classroom.”

First, a few recent links about the racial wealth gap:

  • Jhumpa Bhattacharya, Anne Price, and Andre M. Perry, “Why Homeownership Fails to Build Wealth for Black Women,” Nonprofit Quarterly (November 9, 2022): LINK. “Black women sit at the intersection of racial and gender wealth inequality and, as a result, own 90 percent less wealth than white men. This shocking statistic illustrates our collective failure to accurately diagnose the sources of racial and gender wealth inequality.”
  • Arrman Kyaw, “Study: Racial Wealth Gap Leads to Shorter Life Expectancy for Black Americans,” Diverse: Issues in Higher Education (November 8, 2022): LINK. A new study in JAMA shows that “the odds of dying for Blacks [are] 26% higher than for white counterparts and that much of that life expectancy gap can be attributed to wealth differences.”    
  • Cameron Oglesby, “Rebuilding the Homestead,” The Nation (October 26, 2022): LINK. “How Black landowners in eastern North Carolina are recovering generational wealth lost to industry encroachment.”  
  • Phillip Levine and Dubravka Ritter, “The racial wealth gap, financial aid, and college access,” Brookings Institution (September 27, 2022): LINK. “Seemingly race-neutral policies sometimes generate and perpetuate racial inequities…. [For example,] the treatment of home ownership and retirement savings in financial aid determination contribute to perpetuating racial disparities in college access.”
  • Devin Fergus and Trina R. Shanks, “The Long Afterlife of Slavery in Asset Stripping, Historical Memory, and Family Burden: Toward a Third Reconstruction,” Families in Society 103:1 (2022): https://doi.org/10.1177/10443894211061283. “[T]he question of financial capability and asset building is as old as Black freedom. … [T]his article examines the many false starts since Reconstruction in which expectations were raised, but then hopes subsequently dashed when reality produced outcomes that kept tangible economic progress just out of reach of Black families.”

And the rest of this week’s curated links:

  • The New Books in African American Studies podcast has an interview with historian David Silkenat, author of Scars on the Land: An Environmental History of Slavery in the American South (Oxford Univ. Press, 2022). “Although typically treated separately, slavery and the environment naturally intersect in complex and powerful ways, leaving lasting effects from the period of emancipation through modern-day reckonings with racial justice.”
  • Rebekah Sager, “Four U.S. states voted against slavery in the midterms. One did not,” Daily Kos (November 9, 2022): LINK. “Americans in Alabama, Tennessee, Vermont, Oregon, and Louisiana voted on amendments to limit involuntary servitude in state jails and prisons [as a punishment for crimes, per the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution]. Louisiana voters were the sole holdouts.”
  • Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, “Why slave descendants want the Benin Bronzes to stay in U.S.,” BBC News (November 6, 2022): LINK. “A group of African Americans has filed a lawsuit to stop the return of some Benin Bronzes from the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC to Nigeria. They claim that the bronzes—looted by British colonialists in the 19th Century from the kingdom of Benin in what is now Nigeria—are also part of the heritage of descendants of slaves in America, and that returning them would deny them the opportunity to experience their culture and history.”
  • Brian Jones, “The Moral Force of the Black University,” Chronicle of Higher Education (November 3, 2022): LINK. “In a moment when Black studies and Black history are widely under attack, it can be useful to remember that Black student activists have historically been at the center of fights to democratize higher education and expand the curriculum.” This article focuses on the 1968 student uprising at CIC member Tuskegee University that pushed for more expansive teaching about the African diaspora.