Legacies links for June 1, 2023: memories of Lincoln, Black cuisine, health inequities, and more memories

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A sculpture by artist Samford Biggers, shows a standing figure of Frederick Douglass removing a black cloak from a seated figure of Abraham Lincoln
Samford Biggers, “Lifting the Veil” (2023). source: Chazen Museum of Art
  • Debra Brehmer, “Anatomy of a Disputed Emancipation Monument,” Hyperallergenic (May 23, 2023): LINK. Wisconsin’s Chazen Museum of Art invited Black artist Sanford Biggers to reimagine Thomas Ball’s (in)famous “Emancipation Group” (1875). Instead of the “Great Emancipator,” Biggers offers a vision of Frederick Douglass lifting the “veil of ignorance” from Lincoln, reflecting the two men’s profound conversations about slavery.
  • Elliot Drago, “There was no color line in Lincoln’s White House,” Jack Miller Center (May 23, 2023): LINK. An interview with historian Jonathan W. White, whose recent bookA House Built by Slaves: African American Visitors to the Lincoln White House (2022)—describes Lincoln’s interactions with African Americans during his time as president. (It wasn’t all just Lincoln and Douglass.)
  • Dorothy Wickenden, “Stephen Satterfield Puts Black Cuisine at the Center of U.S. History,” The New Yorker (May 22, 2023): LINK. Satterfield, host of the Netflix series “High on the Hog,” reflects on his life and work to “refract the history of the United States through the lens of Black food.” (One of his influences: David Blight’s Race and Reunion.)
  • Anirban Basu, “Including race in clinical algorithms can both reduce and increase health inequities—it depends on what doctors use them for,” The Conversation (May 26, 2023): LINK. A health economist/statistician explains how “unobserved factors in data can result in biases that lead to inefficiencies, inequities and disparities in health care.” However, an “equality of opportunity framework” can help temper the algorithms.
  • Lauren Braithwaite and Matt Sinclair, “BIPOC environmental justice leaders call for more resources, agency,” Candid (May 24, 2023): LINK. “[T]he fight [for environmental justice] continues with environmental justice organizations and BIPOC communities working to secure passage of the Environmental Justice for All Act.”
  • Annie Ma, “Black kids face racism before they even start school. It’s driving a major mental health crisis,” AP News (May 23, 2023): LINK. “At predominantly Black schools … students’ mental health is further tested by pressures and discrimination they endure because they are Black, as well as poverty and violence in some communities that have faced years of disinvestment.”
  • Sydney Trent, “A major group of family genealogists plans apology for past racism,” The Washington Post (May 31, 2023): LINK (may require a free account). “One of the nation’s oldest and largest genealogical societies [the National Genealogical Society], founded to help Americans trace their family ancestries, will apologize Thursday for its history of racism, which includes a founder who was a eugenicist, and early resistance to integration.”
  • Koritha Mitchell, “I Was Determined to Remember: Harriet Jacobs and the Corporeality of Slavery’s Legacies,” Los Angeles Review of Books (May 30, 2023): LINK. When the editor of a new edition of Harriet Jacobs’ autobiography visits Jacobs’ birthplace, a local interpreter helps her understand that “dominant discourses and practices elevate straight white men’s perspectives at the expense of other citizens, so the built environment tells a story in which white men make contributions and never commit crimes. Engaging landscapes while telling Black women’s stories inevitably shifts one’s encounter with a location.”
  • Connor Williams, “Treason Made Odious Again: Reflections from the Naming Commission, and the Front Lines of the Army’s War on the Lost Cause,” The Journal of the Civil War Era (May 30, 2023): LINK. Williams, a doctoral student at Yale, served as lead historian for the Naming Commission (a group tasked by Congress to identify military facilities named for Confederate leaders and recommend new, more appropriate names). One unexpected finding: “[H]istorians should have more confidence that our decades of work fighting against the Lost Cause and highlighting Confederate treason really have paid off.”