Manual A Season of Innocence: Historical Fiction of Jim Crow Days

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California Eagle, 64 32 , pp. Danzer, G. The Americans. Davies, R. Housing reform during the Truman administration. Detroit Public Schools Detroit city school district. Entwisle, D. Summer learning and home environment. Kahlenberg Ed. Farah, M. Childhood poverty: Specific associations with neurocognitive development.

Excerpts in J. Ritzdorf Eds. Urban planning and the African American community: In the shadows pp. Foner, P. O rganized labor and the black worker, Galster, G.

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By words and deeds: Racial steering by real estate agents in the U. Journal of the American Planning Association, 71 3 , Guryan, J. Desegregation and black dropout rates. Hill, H. Black labor and the American legal system. Hirsch, A. Making the second ghetto: Race and housing in Chicago, Original work published Bauman, R. Szylvian Eds. From tenements to the Taylor Homes: In search of an urban housing policy in twentieth century America pp. Jargowsky, P. Concentration of poverty in the new millennium: Changes in the prevalence, composition, and location of high-poverty neighborhoods.

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Mishel, L. The state of working America 12 th Edition. Mohl, R. Trouble in paradise: Race and housing in Miami during the New Deal era. Prologue: The Journal of the National Archives, 19 1 , Whitening Miami: Race, housing, and government policy in twentieth-century Dade County. The Florida Historical Quarterly, 79 3 , Myers, D. Communities and Banking, 19 3 , Neuman, S. Access to print in low-income and middle income communities: An ecological study of four neighborhoods.

Reading Research Quarterly, 36 1 , Orfield, G. Reviving the goal of an integrated society: A 21st century challenge. Brown at Great progress, a long retreat and an uncertain future. E pluribus…separation: Deepening double segregation for more students. Racial transformation and the changing nature of segregation. Plotkin, W. Deeds of mistrust: Race, housing, and restrictive covenants in Chicago, Doctoral Dissertation.

Retrieved from Proquest. Power, G. The development of residential Baltimore, Meade v. Raudenbush, S. Murnane Eds. Rothstein, R. Class and schools: Using social, economic, and educational reform to close the Black-White Achievement Gap. Washington, D. Race and public housing: Revisiting the federal role. Poverty and Race, 21 6 , ; And the soul did not escape. The spirit did not steal away on gospel wings.

The soul was the body that fed the tobacco, and the spirit was the blood that watered the cotton, and these created the first fruits of the American garden. And the fruits were secured through the bashing of children with stovewood, through hot iron peeling skin away like husk from corn. It had to be blood. It had to be the thrashing of kitchen hands for the crime of churning butter at a leisurely clip. The bodies were pulverized into stock and marked with insurance. And the bodies were an aspiration, lucrative as Indian land, a veranda, a beautiful wife, or a summer home in the mountains.

For the men who needed to believe themselves white, the bodies were the key to a social club, and the right to break the bodies was the mark of civilization. And that right has always given them meaning, has always meant that there was someone down in the valley because a mountain is not a mountain if there is nothing below. It is true today. There is no them without you, and without the right to break you they must necessarily fall from the mountain, lose their divinity, and tumble out of the Dream.

And then they would have to determine how to build their suburbs on something other than human bones, how to angle their jails toward something other than a human stockyard, how to erect a democracy independent of cannibalism. I would like to tell you that such a day approaches when the people who believe themselves to be white renounce this demon religion and begin to think of themselves as human. But I can see no real promise of such a day. We are captured, brother, surrounded by the majoritarian bandits of America. And this has happened here, in our only home, and the terrible truth is that we cannot will ourselves to an escape on our own.

But still you must struggle. He died in captivity, but the profits of that struggle and others like it are ours, even when the object of our struggle, as is so often true, escapes our grasp. I now know that within this edict lay the key to all living. None of us were promised to end the fight on our feet, fists raised to the sky. Sometimes you just caught a bad one. But whether you fought or ran, you did it together, because that is the part that was in our control.

What we must never do is willingly hand over our own bodies or the bodies of our friends. That was the wisdom: We knew we did not lay down the direction of the street, but despite that, we could—and must—fashion the way of our walk. And that is the deeper meaning of your name—that the struggle, in and of itself, has meaning. That wisdom is not unique to our people, but I think it has special meaning to those of us born out of mass rape, whose ancestors were carried off and divided up into policies and stocks.

I have raised you to respect every human being as singular, and you must extend that same respect into the past. Slavery is not an indefinable mass of flesh. It is a particular, specific enslaved woman, whose mind is as active as your own, whose range of feeling is as vast as your own; who prefers the way the light falls in one particular spot in the woods, who enjoys fishing where the water eddies in a nearby stream, who loves her mother in her own complicated way, thinks her sister talks too loud, has a favorite cousin, a favorite season, who excels at dressmaking and knows, inside herself, that she is as intelligent and capable as anyone.

She can hope for more. She can imagine some future for her grandchildren. But when she dies, the world—which is really the only world she can ever know—ends. For this woman, enslavement is not a parable. It is damnation. It is the never-ending night. And the length of that night is most of our history.

Never forget that we were enslaved in this country longer than we have been free. Never forget that for years black people were born into chains—whole generations followed by more generations who knew nothing but chains. You must struggle to truly remember this past. You must resist the common urge toward the comforting narrative of divine law, toward fairy tales that imply some irrepressible justice. The enslaved were not bricks in your road, and their lives were not chapters in your redemptive history.

They were people turned to fuel for the American machine. Enslavement was not destined to end, and it is wrong to claim our present circumstance—no matter how improved—as the redemption for the lives of people who never asked for the posthumous, untouchable glory of dying for their children. Our triumphs can never redeem this. Perhaps our triumphs are not even the point. Perhaps struggle is all we have. So you must wake up every morning knowing that no natural promise is unbreakable, least of all the promise of waking up at all.

This is not despair. These are the preferences of the universe itself: verbs over nouns, actions over states, struggle over hope. The birth of a better world is not ultimately up to you, though I know, each day, there are grown men and women who tell you otherwise. I am not a cynic. I love you, and I love the world, and I love it more with every new inch I discover. But you are a black boy, and you must be responsible for your body in a way that other boys cannot know.

Indeed, you must be responsible for the worst actions of other black bodies, which, somehow, will always be assigned to you. And you must be responsible for the bodies of the powerful—the policeman who cracks you with a nightstick will quickly find his excuse in your furtive movements. You have to make your peace with the chaos, but you cannot lie. You cannot forget how much they took from us and how they transfigured our very bodies into sugar, tobacco, cotton, and gold. You were almost 5 years old. The theater was crowded, and when we came out we rode a set of escalators down to the ground floor.

As we came off, you were moving at the dawdling speed of a small child. There was the reaction of any parent when a stranger puts a hand on the body of their child. And there was my own insecurity in my ability to protect your black body. And more: There was my sense that this woman was pulling rank.

I knew, for instance, that she would not have pushed a black child out on my part of Flatbush, because she would be afraid there and would sense, if not know, that there would be a penalty for such an action. But I was not out on my part of Flatbush. And I was not in West Baltimore. I forgot all of that. I was only aware that someone had invoked their right over the body of my son.

I turned and spoke to this woman, and my words were hot with all of the moment and all of my history. She shrank back, shocked. A white man standing nearby spoke up in her defense. I experienced this as his attempt to rescue the damsel from the beast. He had made no such attempt on behalf of my son. And he was now supported by other white people in the assembling crowd. The man came closer. He grew louder. I pushed him away. I told him this, and the desire to do much more was hot in my throat. This desire was only controllable because I remembered someone standing off to the side there, bearing witness to more fury than he had ever seen from me—you.

I came home shook. I have told this story many times, not out of bravado, but out of a need for absolution. But more than any shame I felt, my greatest regret was that in seeking to defend you I was, in fact, endangering you.

One must be without error out here. Walk in single file. Work quietly. Pack an extra No. Make no mistakes. But you are human and you will make mistakes. You will misjudge. You will yell. You will drink too much. You are called to struggle, not because it assures you victory but because it assures you an honorable and sane life. I am ashamed of how I acted that day, ashamed of endangering your body. I am ashamed that I made an error, knowing that our errors always cost us more. I am sorry that I cannot make it okay. I am sorry that I cannot save you—but not that sorry.

Part of me thinks that your very vulnerability brings you closer to the meaning of life, just as for others, the quest to believe oneself white divides them from it. The fact is that despite their dreams, their lives are also not inviolable. When their own vulnerability becomes real—when the police decide that tactics intended for the ghetto should enjoy wider usage, when their armed society shoots down their children, when nature sends hurricanes against their cities—they are shocked by the rages of logic and the natural world in a way that those of us who were born and bred to understand cause and effect can never be.

And I would not have you live like them. You have been cast into a race in which the wind is always at your face and the hounds are always at your heels. And to varying degrees this is true of all life. The difference is that you do not have the privilege of living in ignorance of this essential fact. I am speaking to you as I always have—treating you as the sober and serious man I have always wanted you to be, who does not apologize for his human feelings, who does not make excuses for his height, his long arms, his beautiful smile.

You are growing into consciousness, and my wish for you is that you feel no need to constrict yourself to make other people comfortable. None of that can change the math anyway. I never wanted you to be twice as good as them, so much as I have always wanted you to attack every day of your brief bright life determined to struggle.

The people who must believe they are white can never be your measuring stick. I would not have you descend into your own dream. I would have you be a conscious citizen of this terrible and beautiful world. A dangerous trend in fake news has the potential to affect the upcoming U.

Dolly Lucio Sevier evaluated dozens of sick children at a facility in South Texas. She found evidence of infection, malnutrition, and psychological trauma. More than 1, migrant children sat in the detention facility here, and Sevier, a local pediatrician, had been examining as many as she could, one at a time. There have, of course, been massive changes to the institution over the past few generations, leading the occasional cultural critic to ask: Is marriage becoming obsolete?

But few of these people seem genuinely interested in the answer. More often the question functions as a kind of rhetorical sleight of hand, a way of stirring up moral panic about changing family values or speculating about whether society has become too cynical for love.

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In popular culture, the sentiment still prevails that marriage makes us happy and divorce leaves us lonely, and that never getting married at all is a fundamental failure of belonging. If humans ever discover life on Mars, this is how it might start: with a breaking-news alert heralding a startling development well beyond Earth.

NASA quickly published a press release acknowledging the detection, which, the Times had reported , marked the largest amount of methane ever registered by the Curiosity rover, a NASA mission that touched down on the red planet in But after that, the agency went quiet.

The news had come from an email between scientists on the Curiosity team that had been leaked to the Times. Hello, comrades! Unless, of course, our Sherman tanks after their arduous trip through the Time Tunnel plunge through the Arlington Memorial Bridge and we have to fish them out of the Potomac. In which case, it will clearly be the result of sabotage by wreckers determined to ruin yet another celebration of the Most Abused President in All of Human History.

Common Cause purporting to withdraw the Court once and for all from passing judgment on the constitutionality of partisan gerrymanders, ended thus:. The practices challenged in these cases imperil our system of government. None is more important than free and fair elections. With respect but deep sadness, I dissent. Five years ago, the flight vanished into the Indian Ocean. Officials on land know more about why than they dare to say. At a. The designator for Malaysia Airlines is MH. The flight number was Fariq Hamid, the first officer, was flying the airplane.

He was 27 years old. This was a training flight for him, the last one; he would soon be fully certified. His trainer was the pilot in command, a man named Zaharie Ahmad Shah, who at 53 was one of the most senior captains at Malaysia Airlines. In Malaysian style, he was known by his first name, Zaharie. He was married and had three adult children.

He lived in a gated development. He owned two houses. In his first house he had installed an elaborate Microsoft flight simulator. T he horrors detailed in the press were hard to believe. The images so traumatized the Northern public that after the war, the warden of the prison, Henry Wirz, became one of the only people tried for war crimes. Accutane is already controversial for its possible links to depression. It could also have a range of other effects. I had met the president a few times before. I saw him as playing both sides.

I attempted to press my points in these sessions. My efforts were laughable and ineffective. I was always inappropriately dressed, and inappropriately calibrated in tone: In one instance, I was too deferential; in another, too bellicose. I was discombobulated by fear—not by fear of the power of his office though that is a fearsome and impressive thing but by fear of his obvious brilliance.

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These were not like press conferences—the president would speak in depth and with great familiarity about a range of subjects. Once, I watched him effortlessly reply to queries covering everything from electoral politics to the American economy to environmental policy. And then he turned to me. I thought of George Foreman, who once booked an exhibition with multiple opponents in which he pounded five straight journeymen—and I suddenly had some idea of how it felt to be the last of them. Last spring, we had a light lunch. We talked casually and candidly. He talked about the brilliance of LeBron James and Stephen Curry—not as basketball talents but as grounded individuals.

I asked him whether he was angry at his father, who had abandoned him at a young age to move back to Kenya, and whether that motivated any of his rhetoric. He said it did not, and he credited the attitude of his mother and grandparents for this. Then it was my turn to be autobiographical. I told him that I thought it was not sensitive to the inner turmoil that can be obscured by the hardness kids often evince. I told him I thought this because I had once been one of those kids. Nonetheless, he agreed to a series of more formal conversations on this and other topics.

The improbability of a black president had once been so strong that its most vivid representations were comedic. In this model, so potent is the force of blackness that the presidency is forced to conform to it. But once the notion advanced out of comedy and into reality, the opposite proved to be true. But black people, then living under a campaign of terror for more than half a century, had quite a bit to fear, and Roosevelt could not save them.

To reinforce the majoritarian dream, the nightmare endured by the minority is erased. It is also the only tradition in existence that could have possibly put a black person in the White House. Whenever he attempted to buck this directive, he was disciplined. His mild objection to the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. Race and Politics in the Obama Era , very little had improved. Yet despite this entrenched racial resentment, and in the face of complete resistance by congressional Republicans, overtly launched from the moment Obama arrived in the White House, the president accomplished major feats.

He revitalized a Justice Department that vigorously investigated police brutality and discrimination, and he began dismantling the private-prison system for federal inmates. Obama nominated the first Latina justice to the Supreme Court, gave presidential support to marriage equality, and ended the U.

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Millions of young people now know their only president to have been an African American. In , the Obama administration committed itself to reversing the War on Drugs through the power of presidential commutation. The administration said that it could commute the sentences of as many as 10, prisoners. As of November, the president had commuted only sentences. Obama was born into a country where laws barring his very conception—let alone his ascendancy to the presidency—had long stood in force.

A black president would always be a contradiction for a government that, throughout most of its history, had oppressed black people. The attempt to resolve this contradiction through Obama—a black man with deep roots in the white world—was remarkable. The price it exacted, incredible. The world it gave way to, unthinkable. When Barack Obama was 10, his father gave him a basketball, a gift that connected the two directly. Obama was born in in Hawaii and raised by his mother, Ann Dunham, who was white, and her parents, Stanley and Madelyn.

They loved him ferociously, supported him emotionally, and encouraged him intellectually. They also told him he was black. Ann gave him books to read about famous black people. This biography makes Obama nearly unique among black people of his era. That passion was directed at something more than just the mastering of the pick-and-roll or the perfecting of his jump shot. These are lessons, particularly the last one, that for black people apply as much on the street as they do on the court. Basketball was a link for Obama, a medium for downloading black culture from the mainland that birthed the Fabulous Five.

Historically, in black autobiography, to be remanded into the black race has meant exposure to a myriad of traumas, often commencing in childhood. Frederick Douglass is separated from his grandmother. The enslaved Harriet Ann Jacobs must constantly cope with the threat of rape before she escapes. The division is not neat; the two are linked, and it is incredibly hard to be a full participant in the world of cultural identity without experiencing the trauma of racial identity. Obama is somewhat different. But the kinds of traumas that marked African Americans of his generation—beatings at the hands of racist police, being herded into poor schools, grinding out a life in a tenement building—were mostly abstract for him.

Moreover, the kind of spatial restriction that most black people feel at an early age—having rocks thrown at you for being on the wrong side of the tracks, for instance—was largely absent from his life.

A Season of Innocence: HIstorical Fiction of Jim Crow days

In its place, Obama was gifted with a well-stamped passport and admittance to elite private schools—all of which spoke of other identities, other lives and other worlds where the color line was neither determinative nor especially relevant. Obama could have grown into a raceless cosmopolitan. Surely he would have lived in a world of problems, but problems not embodied by him. He was sitting on Air Force One , his tie loosened, his shirtsleeves rolled up. Why that is, I think, is complicated. You feel pretty good about it. Stanley, his grandfather, who came originally from Kansas, took him to basketball games at the University of Hawaii, as well as to black bars.

Stanley introduced him to the black writer Frank Marshall Davis. The facilitation was as much indirect as direct. That suspicion of rootlessness extends throughout Dreams From My Father. But instead of being in awe, Obama realized that he and the woman lived in different worlds. After college, Obama found a home, as well as a sense of himself, working on the South Side of Chicago as a community organizer. It was less obvious to me. How do I pull all these different strains together: Kenya and Hawaii and Kansas, and white and black and Asian—how does that fit?

And through action, through work, I suddenly see myself as part of the bigger process for, yes, delivering justice for the [African American community] and specifically the South Side community, the low-income people—justice on behalf of the African American community.

But also thereby promoting my ideas of justice and equality and empathy that my mother taught me were universal. And I can fit the African American struggle for freedom and justice in the context of the universal aspiration for freedom and justice. If women, as a gender, must suffer the constant evaluations and denigrations of men, black women must suffer that, plus a broad dismissal from the realm of what American society deems to be beautiful. But Michelle Obama is beautiful in the way that black people know themselves to be.

Her prominence as first lady directly attacks a poison that diminishes black girls from the moment they are capable of opening a magazine or turning on a television. The South Side of Chicago, where Obama began his political career, is home to arguably the most prominent and storied black political establishment in the country.

Washington forged the kind of broad coalition that Obama would later assemble nationally. But Washington did this in the mids in segregated Chicago, and he had not had the luxury, as Obama did, of becoming black with minimal trauma. Axelrod recalled sitting around a conference table with Washington after he had won the Democratic primary for his reelection in , just as the mayor was about to hold a press conference. He felt those things. He had fought in an all-black unit in World War II.

He had come up in times—and that and the sort of indignities of what you had to do to come up through the machine really seared him. Like Washington, Obama attempted to forge a coalition between black South Siders and the broader community. But Obama, despite his adherence to black cultural mores, was, with his roots in Kansas and Hawaii, his Ivy League pedigree, and his ties to the University of Chicago, still an exotic out-of-towner. But even as many in the black political community were skeptical of Obama, others encouraged him—sometimes when they voted against him.

You just have to be patient. And being able to break through in the African American community is difficult because of the enormous loyalty that people feel towards anybody who has been around awhile. There was no one around to compete for loyalty when Obama ran for Senate in , or for president in He was no longer competing against other African Americans; he was representing them. Obama ran for the Senate two decades after the death of Harold Washington. Axelrod checked in on the precinct where Washington had been so loudly booed by white Chicagoans.

Obama believes that his statewide victory for the Illinois Senate seat held particular portent for the events of Illinois effectively allowed Obama to play a scrimmage before the big national game in And so part of the reason I was willing to run [for president in ] was that I had had two years in which we were generating enormous crowds all across the country—and the majority of those crowds were not African American; and they were in pretty remote places, or unlikely places.

So what that told me was, it was possible. What those crowds saw was a black candidate unlike any other before him. For most African Americans, white people exist either as a direct or an indirect force for bad in their lives. Biraciality is no shield against this; often it just intensifies the problem. What proved key for Barack Obama was not that he was born to a black man and a white woman, but that his white family approved of the union, and approved of the child who came from it. They did this in —a time when sex between black men and white women, in large swaths of the country, was not just illegal but fraught with mortal danger.

The first white people he ever knew, the ones who raised him, were decent in a way that very few black people of that era experienced. And he was like a blue-black brother. And so, yeah, I will always give my grandparents credit for that. In this, the first lady is more representative of black America than her husband is. African Americans typically raise their children to protect themselves against a presumed hostility from white teachers, white police officers, white supervisors, and white co-workers.

But that willingness to help is also a defense, produced by decades of discrimination. Obama sees race through a different lens, Kaye Wilson told me. He needs that frame of reference. He needs that lens. Or Al Sharpton. Different lens. What Obama was able to offer white America is something very few African Americans could—trust. The vast majority of us are, necessarily, too crippled by our defenses to ever consider such a proposition. But Obama, through a mixture of ancestral connections and distance from the poisons of Jim Crow, can credibly and sincerely trust the majority population of this country.

That trust is reinforced, not contradicted, by his blackness. That, too, is defensive, and deep down, I suspect, white people know it. Four days earlier, The Washington Post had published an old audio clip that featured Donald Trump lamenting a failed sexual conquest and exhorting the virtues of sexual assault.

As we flew to North Carolina, the president was in a state of bemused disbelief.

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A feeling of cautious inevitability emanated from his staff, and why not? He had likely not paid taxes in 18 years. He had been denounced by leadership in his own party, and the trickle of prominent Republicans—both in and out of office—who had publicly repudiated him threatened to become a geyser. At this moment, the idea that a campaign so saturated in open bigotry, misogyny, chaos, and possible corruption could win a national election was ludicrous.

This was America. It is a quintessentially Obama program—conservative in scope, with impacts that are measurable. But what are we going to do? They told stories of being in the street, of choosing quick money over school, of their homes being shot up, and—through the help of mentoring or job programs brokered by MBK—transitioning into college or a job.

Obama listened solemnly and empathetically to each of them. When he asked the young men whether they had a message he should take back to policy makers in Washington, D. He was correct. The ghettos of America are the direct result of decades of public-policy decisions: the redlining of real-estate zoning maps, the expanded authority given to prosecutors, the increased funding given to prisons. And all of this was done on the backs of people still reeling from the year legacy of slavery. The results of this negative investment are clear—African Americans rank at the bottom of nearly every major socioeconomic measure in the country.

Blacks disproportionately benefit from this effort, since they are disproportionately in need. Its full benefit has yet to be felt by African Americans, because several states in the South have declined to expand Medicaid. Obama also emphasized the need for a strong Justice Department with a deep commitment to nondiscrimination. And what the [George W.

Holder is certainly blunter, and this worried some of the White House staff. But positioning the two men as opposites elides an important fact: Holder was appointed by the president, and went only as far as the president allowed. I asked Holder whether he had toned down his rhetoric after that controversial speech. He is the Zen guy. But he and I share a worldview, you know? Obama would deliver this lecture to any black audience, regardless of context. This part of the Obama formula is the most troubling, and least thought-out.