The Town That Desegregated in the 1870s

Source: Wall Street Journal (free link).

I persist in believing there has been less racism in the USA throughout its history than is generally assumed. This is not to say that the violent racism we all know about didn’t exist. Rather, I think we overestimate it.

If I could find the words to do so, I would suggest that the oppressions of slavery and Jim Crow were never as powerful in our society as the many equalities that ordinary human relationships produce.

35 thoughts on “The Town That Desegregated in the 1870s

          1. I found who the author was, as I was curious as to his background and reason for the piece.

            His statement in the opening paragraph, ” Most schools don’t teach their students about Covert, Mich. The question is: Why not?” brought up in my mind this question. Most schools don’t teach about the Tulsa Massacre of the Greenwood neighborhood. Why not?”

            The empowerment of Black Americans has been a long time coming. And while there have been successes (Mr. Woodson and Mr. Sowell come to mind), there are many more who did not succeed or were KEPT from succeeding just because of their race or religious heritage.

            All of the aspects of our history SHOULD be taught, good and bad. (and there IS as bad and good in our history). The idea that teaching the negatives of our history will make some kids feel bad for what their ancestors did while others feel victimized because of what happened to their ancestors is overstated hyperbole.

            Kids are a lot smarter than we tend to give them credit for. Did a kid come home from school and ask his parents about their family’s role in slavery (as owner or slave) and that is what prompted Christopher Ruffo’s (He is the one who “identified” CRT as an issue in our schools, when in actuality it was just an GRAD LEVEL academic exercise to study and understand the racism that has been running through the thread of our history) attack on education in this country? Or is he just another white guy trying to downplay the facts that there was (and still is) racism in this country? Teach the kids the good and the bad. Explain it to them in the context of HISTORY, and maybe, just maybe, one of them will find the true answer to close the racial divides that still exist

            The basis for my opening comment on the thread was YOUR words …”I would suggest that the oppressions of slavery and Jim Crow were never as powerful in our society”… You “suggest” that things weren’t as bad as many people think because you NEVER had to deal with it personally. Downplaying historical facts is just another attempt to “whitewash” history so no one “feels” bad.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. RE: “The basis for my opening comment on the thread was YOUR words…”

            Then you had only half a basis.

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          3. Commenting on YOUR own words seems to cause you some discontent. As the saying goes “F*** your FEELINGS.” Isn’t that what the Right tells people all of the time?

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          4. RE: “Isn’t that what the Right tells people all of the time?”

            It isn’t what I tell people, ever.

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          5. Fair enough. However, you have used posts from folks that HAVE said that.

            Point being, you took exception to my use of your own words. Use better words or explain better what you are trying to say. I still say that you are downplaying something you have never personally experienced.

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          6. RE: “Point being, you took exception to my use of your own words.”

            I take exception to your use of half a statement to make a comment you can’t support.

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          7. Only half of the statement was necessary as the entire statement is exactly what I called it: An apparent downplaying of racism in this country by a white guy who never had to deal with it personally.

            So instead of addressing my contention, you take exception to me calling you out for your lack of candor and ability to twist your pretzel.

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        1. So being a racist who sees racism in everything including white bread, you think not teaching your racist CRT history slant of modern day oppressors and victims is racist? You will never see that YOU and people like you are the problem. An itegrated society has already left you behind to wallow in your self induced victimhood.

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          1. You are full of the same hyperbole I was talking about. So full of it that it now, once again , spews from your keyboard.

            There is no CRT slant to history. There are facts and then there are those such as yourself that refuse to accept those facts as being part of our history.

            But you can continue to rant. It is just so much sewage coming from the potty.

            …”in your self induced victimhood.”

            Projection? Methinks the smith doth protest too much.

            No racial victimhood here. Once more you see what you want. I have faced anti-Semitism in my life. You being white, Christian, male and straight are clueless and refuse to believe that people who don’t look, love, pray or live as you do are not worthy of equal treatment. I believe that all people are created equal. Its just some of them got in line more than once for stupid pills.

            Liked by 1 person

  1. I think the real end to racism comes one heart at a time. Stoking animosity interferes with that process.

    My dad dropped out of LSU shortly after Pearl Harbor to drop bombs on Japan, three semesters short of his civil engineering degree. When he returned, he got a job as a surveyor in Louisiana. Surveying in pre-GPS days in swamps and marshes was hard work and Dad had a crew of 12 mixed Black and White.

    The crew stopped at a roadside restaurant for lunch(the state provided him an allowance for feeding the crew) He was told the Black members of the crew could not enter, but they could buy a box lunch at the back door and eat at picknick benches behind the restaurant. Fresh from the military, unit cohesion was a big deal for him, so he took the whole crew to the back door for box lunches and they all ate together in the back.

    I think it was acts like that that change hearts. Not just his, but others who witnessed it, and those on the crew. When you see someone do the right thing. and it is not what you’re used to, you can’t see the status quo the same. But if you scream at people and call them names, you just harden their hearts.

    I really believe racism is dying, and much of what passes for anti-racism serves only to keep it on life support.

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    1. “I think it was acts like that that change hearts. Not just his, but others who witnessed it, and those on the crew. When you see someone do the right thing. and it is not what you’re used to, you can’t see the status quo the same. But if you scream at people and call them names, you just harden their hearts.”

      I agree with the concept of changing hearts. But at issue is giving people the knowledge to understand others so that hearts can be changed.

      I don’t believe teaching a full account of history qualifies as screaming at people or calling them names (That is a VERY TFG thing to do, but not the point). Awareness of truth is the key. Denying things don’t exist or aren’t as bad as they are is distracting and preventative of changing hearts (and minds). – IMO

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        1. It is not helpful to those who suffer from Whiteness. Teaching the history is NOT casting guilt on anyone. But if you feel guilty, then maybe you can realize how wrong something is. And you heart and mind is changed for the better.

          This sentence is important. – IMO. “When remembered and represented, the ravages wreaked by the chronic condition can function either as warning (“never again”) or as temptation (“great again”).”

          All it talks about is how “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught to Hate” can be educational. “Never again” is a good sentiment; “great again”, not so much. The old battle cry of “The South Will Rise Again” comes to mind, also.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I am well aware of the bad parts of our history, but I don’t feel any guilt over anything done by people the same race as me long before I was born.

            And “You’ve got to be carefully taught to hate” is about Polynesians, like three of my grandchildren. SOUTH PACIFIC was ahead of its time in many ways.

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          2. “And “You’ve got to be carefully taught to hate” is about Polynesians”…

            Point missed again. Polynesians, Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, BLACKS, have all been targets of hate, and still are, though not to the levels we have seen in the past.

            …”I don’t feel any guilt over anything done by people the same race as me long before I was born.”

            No one is asking anyone to feel guilty for the sins of the past. But understanding those sins so that they do not occur again, or are eliminated from today’s world, should be considered a noble effort. Instead, the idea of teaching a full accounting of our history is spun to be something it is not for political reasons.

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          3. See??? You want children and other people to feel guilty for that of which they had NO part. You are the problem trying to do that with your phony CRT and no matter how you try to sugar coat it, it’s racist trash.

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    2. RE: “I think the real end to racism comes one heart at a time.”

      That’s very true. When the first bi-racial marriages occurred in my family I was surprised by the reaction of the oldest generation, the ones who were closest to slavery and Jim Crow. Without exception they all counseled tolerance and acceptance. It made me think that our world is ruled more by hearts than minds.

      I looked it up yesterday to see how old I am. I was born the year the last veteran of the Civil War died, at which time seven persons who had once been slaves were still living.

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      1. Where in the country did this happen? Geography in this instance is important.

        I am not saying that things aren’t getting better; they absolutely are. But the attempts to downplay racism or ignore it as something that has run through the history of this country CAN allow for “great again” (see my answer to Don) to overtake “never again”.

        Like you I recall a similar situation with acceptance. It is not about race in my family, but homosexuality. My cousin Leslie’s oldest daughter came out as a lesbian to her VERY Catholic grandmother. (My mother was raised Episcopalian, but her mother’s family was Catholic) Leslie told me this several years ago, and my first question was “What did your mother say?” She told me Jean said that Joanna was her granddaughter and she loves her. Period. Jean also attended the wedding when Jojo and her partner were legally wed.

        Tolerance and acceptance are key. However, there are still a lot of intolerant folks out there. And they are raising their children to be intolerant.

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      2. RE: “I am not saying that things aren’t getting better; they absolutely are.”

        I am not interested at all in the idea that things are “getting better.” I am, however, interested in seeing things clearly — in this case by questioning our assumptions about racism.

        If racism were as pervasive and systemic as we often assume, then communities like Covert Township should have been impossible, there would be no examples of white slavery in the USA, and foolish scholarship of the CRT variety would be unnecessary.

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        1. “I am, however, interested in seeing things clearly — in this case by questioning our assumptions about racism.”

          What assumptions? Racism has run rampant in this country for over 400 years. What kind of assumption is there that the White man thought himself to be superior to all others, including indigenous people and those that were brought here as slave labor. HISTORICALLY speaking, racism WAS a major problem in this country. There are still pockets of it here and there. TO deny that is to ignore the reality.

          Like I posed to you (and you did not answer, by the way) GEOGRAPHY matters. Covert Township in Michigan. I ask you this: Would Covert been able to exist in Mississippi? Or Alabama? Or even Virginia at that time?

          Foolish scholarship? Just because you think something need not be studied does not make it foolish. It does make you appear foolish. Understanding history is important so that the mistakes of history are not repeated.

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          1. Never said it wasn’t. But then again if YOU and your ancestors had been held in slavery for 400 years, you might feel the same way.

            And you keep looking in the mirror while posting. Moron.

            Liked by 1 person

      3. You have a point there about those closest in time to slavery perhaps being less racist than those who came later in the Jim Crow era.

        At the Cabildo Museum in New Orleans I saw a very old photograph of one of the more prominent families in which one of the men, by his Negro facial features, was clearly Black, but the photo had been clumsily retouched to lighten his face to match the rest of the family.

        I didn’t think of it at the time, but reflecting on your observation, the family had clearly seen no problem with including their Black family member in the picture but at some later time, someone had gone back and tried to ‘whiteface’ him.

        Of course, that was New Orleans, which had a rather large and often wealthy free Black population prior to the War Between the States.

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        1. …”someone had gone back and tried to ‘whiteface’ him.”

          DO you know for sure it wasn’t someone in the family that did that to protect them from those who were not as accepting and tolerant of others and would take exception?

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          1. Hard to know for sure, and probably was someone in the family, but the point is that at the time the photo was taken(I would guess 1890 or later because it was on paper) they were comfortable including him and at some later time, someone was not comfortable with a Black ancestor.

            I didn’t make the connection then, and Katrina almost certainly got the photo anyway,

            The Cabildo, BTW, had a museum on the cruelty of slavery at least 60 years ago. We didn’t just become aware of it.

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          2. And that is kind of the point. Even some of the good things that were happening in the Deep South had to be covered up so as not to offend those not as progressive and cause distress to that family.

            “The Cabildo, BTW, had a museum on the cruelty of slavery at least 60 years ago. We didn’t just become aware of it.”

            Yet a memorial to national lynching victims just recently came to be. People are uncomfortable with parts of our history. They should be as it isn’t all rainbows and glitter. But that does not mean we should ignore the ugly parts. They should be taught so that they can be understood and that “great again” does not become the norm.

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    1. RE: “Could anything be more ridiculous?”

      Sure: White people and die-hard Democrats pretending to be champions of black grievance.

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  2. https://www.ncdcr.gov/learn/history-and-archives-education/1898-wilmington-race-riot-commission

    As a counter to your example of what may have gone right (I wonder what happened in the ensuing 80 years), I give you the Wilmington, NC race coup. White Supremacist, upset at the election results and the opinions of a local newspaper, led an uprising that uprooted the duly elected officials (black and white) and imposed Jim Crow laws in the county.

    What I also find remarkable, is that, as a citizen who was born and raised in NC, we were never taught about this event in my 16 years of formal education. It wasn’t until long after I left NC for my career that I read and learned about this terrible event. This is the type of event that should be taught in schools, even if it makes you uncomfortable.

    Liked by 2 people

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