States Keep Failing Black PeopleHistorians in the News
tags: racism, States Rights, COVID-19, Federalism
It is state policy — both criminal and health — that leaves black people exposed and vulnerable and with little recourse for safety or justice.
To be sure, the federal government has played a premier role in black oppression and discrimination from the beginning. The Constitution as originally written is a thoroughly racist document, with its three-fifths rule and the effective establishment of the Electoral College, a move to placate slave owners.
It was the federal government that allowed the Freedman’s Bank to fail and allowed Reconstruction to fail.
But during the civil rights movement, the federal government also became black people’s greatest guard against their greatest oppressors: the states.
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