Legacies links for April 10, 2023: Whitewashing, “woke culture,” and the Klan

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KKK rally in Washington, DC, in 1926.
Ku Klux Klan parade, Washington, D.C., Sept. 13, 1926. source: The Library of Congress
  • Timothy Egan, “When the Klan Ruled Indiana … and Had Plans to Spread Its Empire of Hate Across America,” Literary Hub (April 4, 2023): LINK. In this excerpt from his new book, A Fever in the Heartland, Egan reminds us that the “second KKK” had an epicenter in Indiana.
  • Robin Abcarian, “Whitewashing America’s history,” Midland Daily News (April 4, 2023): LINK. An L.A. Times columnist reflects on the culture wars in Florida (and elsewhere) — starting with a White mother’s complaint about a Disney movie relating the story of 6-year-old civil rights pioneer Ruby Bridges. In the “charged political environment [of Florida], it only makes sense that a white parent mistakenly believes that a movie about racism is designed to make your white child feel bad.”
  • Taneeza Islam, “The rise of ‘woke’ culture, or maybe, how it really is,” [Sioux Fall, SD] Argus Leader (April 9, 2023): LINK. The daughter of Bangladeshi immigrants teaches her sons “how racism, slavery and genocide [still] impacts our society…. Those who are not equipped to have the conversation with their 8-year-old, or their 40-year-old self, cannot be the reason why we cannot acknowledge these horrific events actually happened.” (P.S., her family learned a lot from the Disney movie about Ruby Bridges.)
  • Kristi Marohn, “College students uncover history of racist housing deeds in Stearns County,” MPR News (April 5, 2023): LINK. Students from two CIC member institutions — the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University — have been investigating racial covenants (deeds that historically barred African Americans from home ownership) in the Twin Cities and beyond.
  • Bob Hennelly, “21st century slavery: Remembering MLK in the age of infectious greed,” Salon (April 5, 2023): LINK. The author draws a bright line from MLK’s support for workers’ rights to resisting the “country’s predatory healthcare system [today]. As long as we continue to link our healthcare to our jobs, working Americans will never get ahead. We need to see it for the 21st century slavery it is, imposed by a rigged system that’s based on healthcare NOT being a human right.”
  • Zachary Rogers, “Black Americans could be asked on census if they’re descendants of slaves, report says,” The National Desk via KHQA-TV (April 3, 2023): LINK. As American communities ponder questions of identity and reparations, the federal government is “reportedly considering adding questions on the census asking Black Americans if any of their ancestors were enslaved by Americans.”

Finally, next weekend marks two important anniversaries: the death of Abraham Lincoln (April 15, 1865) and Emancipation Day in the District of Columbia (April 16, 1862). To honor Emancipation Day, the Supreme Court Historical Society is hosting a virtual lecture on abolitionism and the constitution by Manisha Sinah (April 17, 2023).