Race Inquiry Digest (July 4) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Featured – “What to the Slave Is 4th of July?”: James Earl Jones Reads Frederick Douglass’s Historic Speech. By Democracy Now 

In a Fourth of July holiday special, we begin with the words of Frederick Douglass. Born into slavery around 1818, Douglass became a key leader of the abolitionist movement. On July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York, he gave one of his most famous speeches, “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro.” He was addressing the Rochester Ladies Antislavery Society. This is actor James Earl Jones reading the speech during a performance of historian Howard Zinn’s acclaimed book, “Voices of a People’s History of the United States.” He was introduced by Zinn. Listen here

A Crime by Any Name. By Adam Serwer / The Atlantic

The horrors detailed in the press were hard to believe. Detainees described overcrowding so severe that “it was difficult to move in any direction without jostling and being jostled.” The water provided them was foul, “of a dark color, and an ordinary glass would collect a thick sediment.” The “authorities never removed any filth.” A detainee wrote that the “only shelter from the sun and rain and night dews, was what we could make by stretching over us our coats or scraps of blanket.” As for the food, “Our ration was in quality a starving one, it being either too foul to be touched or too raw to be digested.” Read more

“The Long Southern Strategy”: How Southern white women drove the GOP to Donald Trump. By Paul Rosenberg / Salon

The Long Southern Strategy,” a new book by political scientists Angie Maxwell and Todd Shields, first caught my eye because there’s a long history of denialism surrounding the “Southern strategy.” People sometimes claim that it’s a liberal myth or that it’s ancient history, or that wasn’t the real reason for the Southern realignment in American politics. That denialism has only intensified and grown more significant since the election of Donald Trump. Read more

Trump Needs His Base to Burn With Anger. By Thomas B. Edsall / NYT

John Kane, a political scientist at N.Y.U. and a co-author of a new paper, “Ingroup Lovers or Outgroup Haters? The Social Roots of Trump Support and Partisan Identity,” described Trump’s lock on a key set of voters: “For Republicans that absolutely loathe and detest” such progressive constituencies as minorities, immigrants and members of the LGBT community, Kane wrote, “an appeal from Democratic Party elite is likely to be dismissed. Read more  

Proud Boys and Allies to Rally in D.C. to Capitalize on ‘Trumpstravaganza.’ By Will Sommer / Daily Beast

Washington, D.C.’s Fourth of July week will go from a sweaty fete of fireworks, security checkpoints, tanks, and sunscreen to what is shaping up to be a protest-fest, featuring some of the pro-Trump right’s most extreme groups two days after the Donald Trump-centric festivities. Read more

Civil Rights Groups Have Been Warning Facebook About Hate Speech In Secret Groups For Years. By Ariana Tobin / ProPublica

Dozens of hateful posts in a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents raise questions about how well if at all the company is policing disturbing postings and comments made outside of public view. Read more

Florida makes the restoration of voting rights contingent on criminal debt payments. By Victoria Shineman / The Conversation  

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a measure approved by state lawmakers that makes the restoration of voting rights for people convicted of felonies contingent on having paid off all criminal debt associated with their conviction. A coalition of civil rights groups immediately filed a lawsuit in federal court to block the new law by having it declared unconstitutional. Read more

New Data Finds Black Homebuyers, Despite Their Income, Are More Than Twice as Likely Than Whites to Be Denied Mortgages. By Tanasia Kenney / AtlBlackStar

African-American homebuyers in the U.S. are more than twice as likely to be denied a home mortgage as white applicants, even when controlling for factors such as income, a recent analysis of data released by the federal government revealed. Read more

Dear Kamala Harris, here’s why Joe Biden worked with segregationists in the Senate. By Ross K. Baker / USA Today

After hearing Sen. Kamala Harris attack former Vice President Joe Biden’s civil rights record, I felt a little bit like the Vietnam War veteran who feels the need to defend his role in the unpopular war by saying, “You weren’t there; you don’t know what it was like.” I had a ringside seat at the Senate in the late 1970s while writing my book “Friend and Foe in the U.S. Senate.” I can assure Sen. Harris that had she been serving at that time, she would have been as ingratiating and collegial with Southern segregationists from her own party as she accuses Biden of being back then. Read more

Kamala Harris is right about busing: It worked, and should be used to end segregation today. By Amanda Marcotte / Salon

What makes Harris’ line of criticism so fascinating is that Biden and other opponents of aggressive desegregation won the argument back then. In modern America, schools have largely become segregated again. But when Harris was asked by a reporter on Sunday if she supported the return of busing to desegregate schools, she said she did. “We need to put every effort, including busing, into play to desegregate the schools,” she said, adding that busing was “one small piece of the very big piece.” Read more

Kamala Harris and Classmates Were Bused Across Berkeley. The Experience Changed Them. By Nellie Bowles / NYT

In 1967, the superintendent of the Berkeley, Calif., school district had resolved to desegregate the city schools. “We will set an example for all the cities of America,” he wrote in a report called “Integration: A Plan for Berkeley,” which he presented to the Berkeley Board of Education. “The children of Berkeley will grow in a community where justice is part of their pattern of life,” the report stated. Read more

Venus Williams Blazed a Trail for Coco Gauff, Who Looks Like the Future of Tennis. By Gerald Marzorati / The New Yorker

Early Monday evening in London, as a chill breeze drove thickening clouds over Wimbledon’s No. 1 Court, Venus Williams, now thirty-nine, lost her first-round match in straight sets to the fifteen-year-old American Cori (Coco) Gauff, 6–4, 6–4. It felt like another inflection point. After the match ended, Williams said that she planned to be back at Wimbledon next year, but her voice was choked and whispery. She’d lost in the first round at the French Open, too; she is drifting out of the top fifty. Read more  Also see, Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff: 6 Fast Facts to Know About the Tennis Phenom Who Beat ‘Idol’ Venus Williams

Everyone in the NBA Just Changed Teams. By Josh Levin / Slate

All of these guys are on the same team now! (Not really.) (But maybe.)
It all began just before 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, when ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski announced that Kevin Durant would sign with the Brooklyn Nets. A little more than an hour later, the soon-to-be ex-Warrior confirmed that news with an Instagram post that offered no explanation for his impending move but did feature both a Biggie backing track and the phrase “free agent moratorium period.” Read more

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