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Ch. 3: NOTES FROM THE THIRD YEAR - WHY DO SO FEW BLACKS STUDY THE CIVIL WAR? 
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 Ch. 3: NOTES FROM THE THIRD YEAR - WHY DO SO FEW BLACKS STUDY THE CIVIL WAR?
Ch. 3: NOTES FROM THE THIRD YEAR - WHY DO SO FEW BLACKS STUDY THE CIVIL WAR?


Please use this thread to discuss the above referenced chapter.



Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:32 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 3: NOTES FROM THE THIRD YEAR - WHY DO SO FEW BLACKS STUDY THE CIVIL WAR?
The introduction to this piece is compelling and of course disturbing. It is true that in America there has always been this double reality of the cause of freedom (starting with freedom from England) and equality (of whites) on the one hand and the on the other hand use of slaves, oppression and inequality. Troubling though it is, I seriously doubt that there is or can a remedy that will somehow balance the scales in the present. Coates seems to be hoping for such a remedy. It is very likely a thing that can not be obtained.



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Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:30 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 3: NOTES FROM THE THIRD YEAR - WHY DO SO FEW BLACKS STUDY THE CIVIL WAR?
The piece on the Civil War is excellent. I will make just two comments: I am by birth a New Englander and I have relocated to the south. I have sadly had many conversations with southern whites who think the Civil War was fought for something other than the end of slavery. It is a very sad lot of ignorance and lies peddled to make the war look like something it is not. I will add that Coates glosses a fact about slavery and the Civil War. He does not speak of which political party was founded by two Founding Fathers to establish and defend the place of slavery in the Republic and was revived in the 19th century to very much the same end...and which party was found with the intention of ending slavery. Winking at this, or ignoring it is rather sad.



Last edited by TEKennelly on Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:45 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 3: NOTES FROM THE THIRD YEAR - WHY DO SO FEW BLACKS STUDY THE CIVIL WAR?
I liked Coates' perspective on the Civil War. He repeatedly brings up the prevailing perspective that it is for white people to decide what the war means, as if black people are simply bystanders, and asserts that black people need to take more ownership of the war. The movie "Glory" is a big step in that direction, of course, and "Lincoln" took some further baby steps. But I think he does an excellent job of underlining the way white gatekeepers still act as if it is up to white people to discuss and decide. One more way of separating "us" from "them".

I also like his repeated assertion that the South started the war, and that it was a war to protect slavery (not a war to end slavery). This is demonstrably true, and the other versions are circumlocutions to avoid this fact.

Reading Howard Zinn helped me to focus on the fact that the world at the time of the American War for Independence was about domination systems. All of the history up to that point can be understood as struggle over who would dominate whom. The race slavery in the Americas was just the most egregious (or one of the most egregious) display of this fact. (Exploitation of native Americans in the Latin American world was just as bad - read about the mines of Potosi, for example.)

We live on the other side of the great 20th century contest between democracy and totalitarian domination systems. Democracy, aided by the incredible innovation capacity of free market capitalism, has unquestionably shown itself to be a better system, and justice has thus been vindicated over what might be called "mastery". It is hard to look back at that time and understand that mastery was synonymous with freedom for much of the world. To be free, you had to dominate others.

America represents a great experiment in allowing alternatives to grow, but were it not for the industrial development of the north that experiment would have fractured over the money to be made out of mastery. And perhaps the demonstration of its vulnerability to fracture would have led to a very different outcome in the long struggle between justice and mastery. To some extent the Civil War was a war between white people over which destiny they would choose: justice or mastery. (Lincoln was not engaged in subterfuge when he portrayed the Civil War as a war to save the union, or when he expressed this meaning of the contest in his Gettysburg Address.)

Which does not change one bit the abomination involved in the injustice of race slavery. It does incline me to look out for other ways that domination systems seek to undermine and fracture democracy, which is fundamentally a justice system.



Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:24 am
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