Legacies links for December 12, 2022: apologies, reparations, and overlooked histories

As always, we encourage you to share this post. A link here does not imply agreement or endorsement by the Council of Independent Colleges.

A Black church in rural Eloy, Arizona, in the early twentieth century. Black contributions are often forgotten in this Southwestern state. photo source: Library of Congress.

Apologies and reparations:

  • Senay Boztas, “Dutch wrestle with national apology for 250 years of slavery,” The Guardian (December 4, 2022): LINK. “The Netherlands is expected to formally apologise for its role in 250 years of slavery but the planned move is threatening to cause a split in the country, with some critics calling it ‘complete nonsense.’” Meanwhile, some descendants of people held in slavery in former Dutch colonies call it “too little.”
  • Jim Salter, “St. Louis mayor appoints commission to consider reparations,” Associated Press (December 8, 2022): LINK. “St. Louis joins a growing list of places trying to determine how to make amends for past practices that have harmed Black Americans. The new commission will hold open monthly meetings. There is no stated deadline for recommendations.”
  • Michael Gartland and Denis Slattery, “NYC Mayor Adams backs renewed push for reparations bill in Albany,” New York Daily News (December 8, 2022): LINK. “Mayor [Eric] Adams expressed support Thursday for an effort in Albany to lay the groundwork for Black New Yorkers to receive reparations for slavery—saying specific attention should be paid to still-existing companies that benefitted from slave labor.”
  • Peter Kasperowicz, “Democrats pressure banks to atone for slavery-era activities to ‘redress past wrongs’,” Fox News (December 7, 2022): LINK. “Banks should fund community development in Black communities, support the education of the next several generations of Black students and take other steps to atone for the role they played financing and supporting slavery in America, witnesses told a House committee” during a hearing on “The Role of Financial Institutions in the Horrors of Slavery and the Need for Atonement.”

Overlooked histories:

  • Matthew E. Stanley, “The Failure of Reconstruction Is to Blame for the Weakness of American Democracy,” Jacobin (December 8, 2022): LINK. “A new book argues that the American right emerged out of a backlash to multiracial democracy following the Civil War. This is only partly true: reactionaries did not just fear democracy, they feared the economic redistribution former slaves associated with it.”
  • Anne Marshall, “Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s pending promotion sheds new light on his overlooked fight for equal rights after the Civil War,” The Conversation (December 5, 2022): LINK. A posthumous promotion tucked into the latest defense spending bill “would highlight the overlooked legacy of a man who fought to end the last vestiges of slavery.”
  • Christy Clark-Pujara, Ashley Howard, and Erik S. McDuffie, “The 1539 Project: Why Black Midwest and Iowa history matters,” Des Moines Register (December 11, 2022): LINK. “In 1539, an enslaved African set foot in what we today call Nebraska as part of a Spanish expedition, some 80 years before the arrival of enslaved Africans in the Jamestown Colony.” Yet the Midwest is often ignored in histories of slavery and race relations. The producers of a new documentary, “The African American Midwest: A 500 Year Fight for Freedom,” are trying to change that.  
  • “Anthropologist shines light on the erasure of Black history in Arizona,” ASU News (December 9, 2022): LINK. An interview with scholar Meskerem Glegziabher, who discusses the “deep history of Black people and African Americans in the Southwest that has been erased and forgotten.”