Mar. 13, 2019
Freedom Still Awaits: Looking At Black Reconstruction
The Blackman Who Reads Aloud
The Atlantic Magazine/Sherrilyn A. Ifill
"A century and a half after the Period of Black
Reconstruction fights over voter suppression and police brutality reveal that it remains an unfinished project."
African Americans continue to face suspicion, challenges, and violence from the state for engaging in the most routine daily activities. The term “driving while black” has spawned references—at once ironic and devastating—to “walking,” “laughing,” “staring,” and even “breathing” while black, which demonstrate the ongoing precariousness of African American freedom. Foner cites Henry Adam’s statement to his former master in 1865 to define what freedom meant to newly emancipated slaves: “If I cannot do like a white man, I am not free.” By this definition, freedom still awaits.