This is what an antiracist America would look like. How do we get there?
Opposing racism is not the same as building an antiracist society. Our new series, Antiracism and America, looks at the structures that sustain a racist society – and how we dismantle them
Congressman George H White opted not to seek re-election in 1900. North Carolina’s brand-new poll tax, literacy test and grandfather clause – the forebears of today’s voter ID law, voter purge and felon clause – ensured the defeat of the last black congressman.
When the all-white, male 57th Congress sat in 1901, America had been made great again after decades of dueling, after “all the forces that made for civilization were dominated by a [southern] mass of barbarous freedmen,” according to the nation’s leading Reconstruction historian, William Archibald Dunning. Racist progress seemingly overtook antiracist progress, like when Donald Trump overtook Barack Obama. Powerful white men were colonizing and disenfranchising, convict leasing and lynching, pillaging and selling land and labor, segregating public spaces and raising up Confederate statues. They were writing literature to “demonstrate to the world that the white man must and shall be supreme”, as attested by the bestselling novelist Thomas Dixon.