Race Inquiry Digest (May 9) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Featured – Russian Efforts to Exploit Racial Divisions in 2016 Found Firm Ground in U.S., Report Says. By Mihir Zaveri and Jacey Fortin / NYT

Russian disinformation operations to exploit racial tensions during the 2016 presidential election in the United States found firm ground in a country where legislators have long sought to suppress the black vote, according to a report released Monday. The report, “State of Black America,” was released by the National Urban League, a civil rights organization based in New York. It underlined the Russian interference in particular but said that black voting rights were under attack from a wide range of actors, including domestic politicians. Read more

Yes, white supremacists are emboldened. But that’s not the whole story in America today. By Fred Hiatt / Wash Post

Recently, a man allegedly burned down three black churches in Louisiana. Another wrote a white-nationalist screed and then allegedly shot up a synagogue, killing one and injuring three. But here’s something else that has been happening: Some 400,000 people have visited a memorial to the victims of racial-terror lynchings since it opened in Montgomery, Ala., about one year ago. Read more

Cory Booker unveils ‘sweeping’ but ‘simple’ gun violence prevention plan. By Rebecca Buck / CNN

Sen. Cory Booker will unveil a suite of proposals Monday to reform the nation’s gun laws in what his campaign describes as “the most sweeping plan ever put forth by a presidential candidate” to address gun violence. The proposal would make gun licenses the federal standard, similar to a driver’s license or a passport — requiring fingerprints, an interview, and completion of a gun safety course. Read more

Once Defiant, All Four White Supremacists Charged in Charlottesville Violence Plead Guilty. By A. C. Thompson / ProPublica

Guilty pleas last week by two prominent members of the Rise Above Movement came after pledges to fight federal charges and claims that those jailed were political prisoners punished for their controversial views. Read more

The failure of Reconstruction was a ruthless act of sabotage. By Michael Gerson / Wash Post

With the defeat of the Confederacy, the federal government’s enforcement of civil and voting rights was beginning to work a revolution. Hundreds of thousands of African American citizens registered to vote and eventually elected an estimated 2,000 black officials at every level of government. The white South, however, was having none of it. A broad counterattack was mounted to undo the work of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments. Read more

Brazil’s long, strange love affair with the Confederacy ignites racial tension. By Jordan Brasher / The Conversation

After the Civil War ended in 1865, ending slavery in the United States, some 8,000 to 10,000 Southern soldiers and their families left the vanquished Confederacy and went to Brazil. There, slavery was still legal. Roughly 40% of the nearly 11 million Africans forcibly brought across the Atlantic between 1517 and 1867 went to work on sugarcane plantations in Brazil. It was the last country in the Western Hemisphere to formally abolish slavery, in 1888 – 23 years after the United States. Read more

Why Don’t White Athletes Understand What’s Wrong With Trump? By Jemele Hill / The Atlantic

So far, the conversation about the upcoming Boston Red Sox visit to Donald Trump’s White House has centered around the people of color who are skipping the event. The manager Alex Cora, a critic of the Trump administration’s inexcusable treatment of Puerto Rico amid the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017, cited his home island’s continuing troubles as his reason for opting out. Read more

In their differences, Tiger Woods and Alex Cora show America belongs to us. By Roxanne Jones / CNN

I’m not mad at Tiger Woods, never have been. But I get why so many people have always wanted more from the man. In his 23-year-career, the golf great has been idolized, then demonized, and now almost idolized again — until he showed up at the White House Monday and let President Trump put the Presidential Medal of Freedom around his neck. Read and watch here

Medieval Scholars Joust With White Nationalists. And One Another. By Jennifer Schuessler / NYT

Since the 2016 presidential election, scholars have hotly debated the best way to counter the “weaponization” of the Middle Ages by a rising tide of far-right extremists, whether it’s white nationalist marchers in Charlottesville, Va., displaying medieval symbols or the white terrorist who murdered 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, using weapons inscribed with references to the Crusades. Read more

The Royal Baby and Blackness as a Badge of Honor. By Lizzie Skurnick / NYT

Usually, when discussing the latest addition to a royal line, the baby’s sex is paramount, then its name, and then, as far as physical characteristics go, general cuteness. Now we know that the baby whom Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, gave birth to yesterday is a boy and that he’ll have a name that unites Britain and the United States. I’m pretty sure he’s cute. But none of that is what I have been focused on amid the royal baby fever. I can’t help but wonder: Will he have kinky hair? Read more

Univ. of Alabama’s first black student receives honorary doctorate. By Ali Gostanian / NBC News


The first black student to enroll at the University of Alabama, who was expelled from the school after three days following riots on the campus protesting her admission, has been awarded an honorary doctorate 60 years later. Autherine Lucy Foster, 89, of Shiloh, Alabama, first applied and was accepted to the University of Alabama in 1952. Her acceptance, however, was rescinded because she is black. A federal court order reversed the decision, allowing Lucy Foster to enroll at the university in 1956. Read more

Dave Chappelle To Be Awarded Mark Twain Prize For American Humor. By Elizabeth Blair / NPR

Comedian Dave Chappelle will be awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor this year, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has announced. “Dave is one of the truly original voices in comedy — the definition of a creative artist,” Matthew Winer, director of comedy and special programming at the Kennedy Center, said to NPR. “He’s a modern day sociologist, skewering stereotypes, defying boundaries and showing us that laughter can be a way to contextualize issues that we struggle to understand.” Read more

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