Glenn Youngkin, the new governor of Virginia, announced during his first day in office this month that he is banning discussion of critical race theory in his state. Many expect him to forbid discussion of the impact of viruses in causing the coronavirus next. Rather than running away from it, the Democratic Party leadership must embrace critical race theory as the basis for educating our young people – and many of their parents – to overcome the divisions that are tearing this country apart and paving the way for a right-wing takeover. America’s culture warriors subscribe to the idea that ignorance is bliss, that is until Covid kills you or a member of your family. Their efforts to suppress history plays a similar role, enforcing ignorance, maintaining the status quo, and suppressing efforts to create a just society.
Bethesda, MD - Tucked behind a McDonalds on River Road, a major thoroughfare, is a deep pit, the site of an African cemetery that is being desecrated to build a self-storage facility. For four years, members of the community and supporters, the Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition, have been fighting to stop the commercial project and create a museum instead to educate about the horrors that happened here. Today, over 100 people converged at the construction site. They sang songs, held a ceremony to honor the dead whose bodies are being desecrated and placed flowers on the fence surrounding the construction site.
Any bright high schooler or Constitutional law expert would say that African Americans were formally liberated when the Georgia legislature ratified the 13th Amendment on December 6, 1865, guaranteeing its addition to the U.S. Constitution. Yet freedom came in varied ways to the four million enslaved African Americans long before the end of the Civil War. Some fortunate black women and men were emancipated as early as 1861 when Union forces captured outlying areas of the Confederacy such as the Sea Islands of South Carolina, the Tidewater area of Virginia (Hampton and Norfolk) or when enslaved people escaped from Missouri, Indian Territory, and Arkansas into Kansas.