Ta-Nehisi Coates on 'Why So Few Blacks Study the Civil War'

Monday, December 12, 2011

The uneasy embrace of slavery in colonial America produced an economic boom, rendered the founder's debates over freedom from kings and despots questionable distortions of truth and logic, slavery enshrined rascism in the U.S. Constitution and made the Civil War inevitable. The War itself created an identity for the United States from which there was no escape, even though it seems from time to time that the Civil War blinks out in relevance. Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates says this narrative has to change. In a piece in this month's Atlantic, Coates says more black Americans need to study the war and their role in it in order to understand their place in history.

Coates is senior editor for The Atlantic, and author of "The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood."


Ta-Nehisi Coates

Produced by:

Hsi-Chang Lin

Comments [1]


The reason for this disinterest for some may be because that in the Civil War the "bad guys" were Democrats and the "good guys" were Republicans and that leaves modern Democrats "confused and frustrated". At least that's true for those that are even aware of that paradox in US history which challenges an arrogant and false historical narrative that they have been conditioned with and lives on in this discussion.
Considering we have the same two major political parties today that we had during the Civil War, progressives tend to shy away from the political history of that era for obvious reasons.

In order to avoid "questionable distortions of truth and logic" it should be rememberd that states's rights was a two way street.
The Fugitive Slave Act was a federal law and the Northern free states asserted their states rights by not recognizing it to the consternation of southern Democrat Congressmen.
States rights for Republicans meant rescuing people from slavery and states rights for Democrats meant enforcing slavery.
Is that an identity the Democratic Party created for themselves "of which there is no escape" no matter how much they change the subject by indicting the US Constitution and the nation as a whole to conceal that shameful political legacy?

Dec. 12 2011 11:22 AM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.