Race and Racism From Pre-Revolutionary America to the Civil War
By the 1880s, Southern whites had created the Jim Crow system, which enforced racial segregation throughout the South. Only with the advent of the civil rights movement would African-Americans succeed in dismantling this system of local oppression—with the help of Northern supporters and, crucially, a newly engaged federal government under President Lyndon B. Johnson. This account creates two false narratives: it presents institutionalized segregation as a Southern-only problem, and it sets American history on an upward trajectory from oppression to freedom. We miss the national roots of America’s segregation problem because we assume that the battle over slavery predated the fight for black citizenship, and that segregation struggles were a re-run of North versus South. On the contrary, the obstacles to integration in America were an offshoot of the nation’s revolutionary ideology as well as its long history of racial exploitation.
As a result, resolution on the community and societal levels can occur.
François Furstenberg, “Beyond Freedom and Slavery: Autonomy, Virtue, and Resistance in Early American Political Discourse,” The Journal of American History, v. 89, 4 (March 2003), p. 1298; Jared Hardesty, Slavery and Dependence in Eighteenth-Century Boston (New York University Press, 2016)
(Ceasar Sarter (former slave), “Essay on Slavery,” The Essex Journal and Merrimack Packet, August 17, 1774
Richard S. Newman, The Transformation of American Abolitionism: Fighting Slavery in the Early Republic (University of North Carolina Press, 2002).