This week on WCLK's The Local Take(Saturdays 8am), I reached out to Professor Douglas A Blackmon about his seminal book Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II. The book was released in 2008 and awarded the Pulitzer Prize. PBS produced a documentary about the facts Blackmon documented in 2012.
If you’re not familiar with either, I encourage you to take in this content to understand better what is going on today. Blackmon, a former writer at the Wall Street Journal, is currently a professor at Georgia State University.
I asked Blackmon about the impetus for the book on our nation’s history and he spoke about growing up in Mississippi. As a writer throughout his career, he explored the intersection of racial history and the economy. As a child of the Mississippi Delta, he was aware of the obstacles faced by African Americans.
His book outlines the start of systemic and institutional racism in our country, which never ended. He speaks about prison labor, the 13th Amendment, and the allowance of involuntary servitude for committing a crime. He talks about the Jim Crow system that arrested Black men and boys for standing on the sidewalk. He shares that those who deny structural racism in the USA are delusional.
I ask him about the voter suppression law recently passed in our state. He says that all people of goodwill should be exasperated. But the arc of the moral universe will ultimately bend towards justice. He also says that the closer we get, it might bounce back, but it moves in the right direction.
For information on Blackmon’s book - Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II
For information on the PBS documentary Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II
For information on Douglas Blackmon