Living With Legacies of the Civil War (Race & Inequality)

As was the case with many American wars, Blacks fought in the Civil War with hopes of equality afterward only to see the nation miss such an opportunity.

As I mentioned in a past post, there are currently missed opportunities to improve our nation. This is nothing new. When it comes to race, wealth and inequality in American politics and society; American history is littered with missed opportunities. The Civil War and it’s aftermath serve a one of many major moments of missed opportunity. After the war, which was fought in great part over the issue of slavery, reconstruction was prematurely halted and Blacks were given no opportunity to work on a level playing field when it came to working towards equality of opportunity in the political arena, economic arena and the social arena.

Recently, I had the pleasure of writing a column in the Quad City Times on the legacies of the Civil War. My focus in that article matched up with a talk I gave at the Rock Island Public Library as part of the Frieze Lecture Series. In the lecture I elaborated on the ways in which current-day economic inequalities can be clearly traced to missed opportunities to work towards equality after the Civil War. Much work would have to be done to provide anything close to a level playing field for people who were property before the war. Instead a system of second class citizenship was further extended along with the placing of numerous hurdles in the way of any work towards equality of opportunity.

Please read the article and watch the lecture. Let us, The Denizens, know how you feel about these issues.

Issues of race, wealth and inequality are a major part of my passion and my research agenda. Thus, these issues will be revisited in isolation as well as in relation to the upcoming election. Black people and other “marginalized groups” continue to contribute to the fabric of the United States regardless of the ways in which they may be treated or the equality of their access to the American Dream. We all must maintain a balance view of race and equality in America. We have come a very long way and that should be celebrated, but it should not be celebrated to the pint of contentment. We also have a long way to go in our push for true equality of opportunity. There is still much to overcome for all of us to work together as Americans.

Black people have been promised "The American Dream" for generations. In many cases the United States missed opportunities to deliver. Let's keep on pushing for that "American Dream" for all people and not allow too many more missed opportunities!


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