Friday, February 19, 2021

Quote of the Day (David Blight, on America’s Two Rights Revolutions and Their Reverses)

“Today, Americans live in a country forged by Reconstruction and remade again by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the profound social movements that forced their passage. Pluralism and equality were born and reborn in those two revolutions, which took place a century apart. But the events of recent years, especially during the Trump era, serve as a reminder that no change is necessarily permanent and no law can itself save protect Americans from their own worst impulses: racism, nativism, authoritarianism, greed. The past few years have revealed the potency of sheer grievance, whether born of genuine economic travail or ludicrous conspiracy theories. It should be clear to all now that history does not end and is not necessarily going to any particular place or bending in an inevitable arc toward justice or anything else.”—Yale historian David W. Blight, “The Reconstruction of America: Justice, Power, and the Civil War’s Unfinished Business,” Foreign Affairs, January/February 2021

(The image accompanying this post is an engraving of the Freedmen’s Bureau, a post-Civil War attempt to help millions of former black slaves and poor whites in the South.)

No comments: