The Civil War continues

Here is the Black History presentation we made to the West Oakland Black and Yemeni parents last week. Someone would read one of the vignettes and then we would do a 3 minute each way dyad, where the parents took turns listening to each other, a good way to deal with material that’s on the heavy side.



 Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.[1]


 U. S Prison Population

1970 –   338,029

2015 – 1,476,847

African Americans represent 13% of the population of the U. S. and 40% of the prison population.



When slavery was abolished at the end of the Civil War in 1865, the defeated South underwent Reconstruction. While never compensated for their centuries of free labor – the promised 40 acres and a mule – Blacks and their allies were granted considerable power, including many seats in the state legislatures. For 10 years, former enslaved peoples got to at least glimpse the kind of freedom that their white counterparts enjoyed. Then, in 1876, there was an election. Tilden won the popular vote, but the Electoral College was tied, so the House of Representatives got to choose the president. Rutherford Hayes made a deal with the South. Elect me, and I’ll remove the Northern troops from the Southern states. He did indeed recall the troops, Reconstruction ended, and the age of Jim Crow (aka the Reign of Terror) was born with its KKK, its segregation, and its near re-enslavement of blacks as sharecroppers.



In the 1930s, Roosevelt passed the New Deal, which provided Social Security, a minimum wage, unemployment insurance, and workers compensation (if you get hurt on the job). However, the Southern Congress people amended the laws so they didn’t apply to domestics or farm workers, the industries which employed the majority of Black people at the time.

In the 1940s, the banks began the practice of “redlining,” which segregated Black families into poor communities and refused to lend them money to buy a house. This practice is now illegal but still continues.

As a result, in 2013, the median wealth of white families in the U.S. was $141,000, thirteen times more than the $11,000 median net worth of black families.


In compiling these vignettes, I realized that we are still fighting the Civil War. With Trump, the South has risen again. It will not hesitate to use horrific violence to maintain its White Supremacy. We need to be ready.

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