Kanye West, “Barracoon” and some history of African slavery
Do you recollect the uproar caused by the musician Kanye West a couple of months ago when he said the ancestors of today’s African-Americans “chose” to remain in slavery? Arguments bounced around the word “choice.” What choices did slaves have? What choices do African-Americans have today? One point . . .
The two angles are from the English conservative writer and philosopher Roger Scruton, and from the economist Dani Rodrik, who, outside his technical economic writings, appears to be a conventional American liberal – horrified by Trump and so forth. Yet both, in sometimes overlapping, sometimes complementary ways, make a persuasive case . . .
"Mountain Towk", the speech of the Appalachian backcountry ... "Oh ah lived in Washington DC 'bout four and a half years, 'n I'd soon as be in hell with mah back broke as live thar"... David Hackett Fisher says of the speech of the 'Scots-Irish', or, perhaps more accurately, the descendants of the Northern British border folk who . . .
From the Washington Post of April 4, 1905:
“Richmond, Va., April 3 -- Thousands of Negroes observed Emancipation Day in Virginia today. The occasion resulted in an outpouring of the race never before equaled, armed with miniature United States flags and attended by brass bands.
"In addition, there was a unique feature to-night, . . .
In early 2016 historian Walter Russell Mead wrote a prescient analysis of the American political crisis that was to burst fully into the open only some months later, with Donald Trump’s victory in the November presidential election. I vaguely recalled Mead’s brilliant description of the enormous elite interests lined up . . .
Three English ships sail into the mouth of a river somewhere on the Eastern shore of North America. It is May 1607 ... the opening sequence of Terrence Malick's "The New World", on the shimmering swells of Wagner's "Das Rheingold".
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