Historically, lynchings were justified by the myth that black men were eager to rape white women, and that white womanhood needed to be protected. Spurred by her knowledge of the details of this lynching of a dear friend, Ida B Wells started to research the history of other lynchings, discovering that for most lynchings had no connection to any intimate acts, and where there was intimacy, the white woman consented, which was so repugnant that it enraged white men of the day. […]
Many white protestors at School Board meetings have only a vague notion of what Critical Race Theory means, other than somehow it is a communist plot by blacks, or that it intends to make white children feel guilty about themselves or their country, in essence they want teachers to teach their white children some variation of the Lost Cause myth, that the Civil War was not caused by slavery, that the Civil War was fought for states’ rights, and that the North should not have invaded the South by arms. […]
There have been disagreements among the Civil Rights leaders, particularly in the decades following the Redemption era. There was definite tension between those who were followers of Booker T Washington, the accommodationist, and WEB Dubois, the activist. They are like the good cop and bad cop of early Civil Rights history.
These two pioneering black leaders were from two generations. Booker T Washington lived from 1856 through 1915 and was the last black leader who witnessed the emancipation of slaves during the Civil War. WEB Dubois was born later and lived longer, from 1868 through 1963. WEB Dubois earned his PhD in history from Harvard and was part of the Talented Tenth movement who believed that black leaders should seek higher education to better enable them to champion the causes of their race. […]
Southerners were stubborn, Southerners were intransigent, Southerners could never accept St Paul’s declaration that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” It was anathema, unthinkable, incomprehensible that Southerners, and many Northerners, would ever regard negroes as equal to free white men, in their eyes negroes were inferior, they would always be subservient. General Sherman may have burned Atlanta and destroyed livestock, crops, and railroads in his mark to the sea; General Grant may have continually fought and flanked Robert E Lee until he was cornered and cut off from supplies at Appomattox; these two Union generals may have momentarily exhausted the ability of the Southern generals to continue the war; but the true Civil War to change racial attitudes is a war that is being fought to this very day.
The South may have lost the Civil War, but it won the peace. The history of Reconstruction is in three phases. In Presidential Reconstruction lenient terms entice the Southern states back into the Union, but the South overreaches, enacting black codes so harsh that they effectively re-enslave the free blacks to their former masters, denying blacks any rights as citizens. Radical Reconstruction is enacted when many in the North to be outraged by the attitudes of their Confederates, the Radical Republicans gain a veto-proof majority in both houses of Congress, the South is placed under military rule, and new elections are held and policies that benefit free blacks are enforced. But there is mass resistance, the Ku Klux Klan and similar white supremacy bands spring up, terrorizing the South in their night rides and burning crosses, lynchings become commonplace. The Panic of 1873 causes a deep recession, Northern public opinion tires of the endless struggle against the old Confederacy, leading to the final phase, Redemption. Federal troops are withdrawn from the South and the Southerners are free to rule as they see fit, Jim Crow laws are passed denying blacks their civil liberties and their ability to live a normal life with a decent paying job. The KKK and other night riders step up their lynchings to intimidate blacks, in some cases violently overthrowing legitimately elected local governments. […]