Testing My Conscience

February is Black History month in America, and a good occasion to learn more about the plight of slavery in our past. I have not undertaken a study of black history because I have a burning desire to do so, but because when I went to the library to find reading material, black history was featured rather heavily on the shelves. Usually, I pick up four books at a time, but this time I opted to take three. Two of them are definitely black history, the third is about the coming new civil war in America.

The first title I read was “The Next Civil War,” which I rated three stars. The author, Stephen Marche did a skillful job of detaining the difficulty we would have conducting a shooting war with our neighbors. The difficulty comes from all the laws that are of the books to give the government power to put down any future insurrection. Marche spends the entire first chapter on a civil war. His next chapter deals with assassinating the president and how the many attempts too do so have been thwarted by the Secret Service. The last third of the book deals with the evils of global warming.

In the second book, “To Rescue the Republic” * * * * * by Bret Baier he tells the story of President Ulysses S. Grant and his two terms trying to unify the country which was split by secession of southern states from the Union, and insuring the six million newly freed slaves the lawful rights provided by the constitution. He called this program “Reconstruction.” To that end Grant placed Federal troops in the Southern States to enforce those rights. He was not very successful at either of his goals. Immediately after Grant left office the new President Hayes removed the troops from the south, and let the States cope with the problems themselves. Hayes believed the Constitution gives the States the right and the responsibility to govern their citizens without interference from the Federal government.

What impressed me was the similarity between the election of Hayes and our own election in 2020 when Trump and Biden went after each other and claiming a stolen election. There was a slew of accusations by both parties of gerrymandering, and vote count fraud in 1876-77 election. What I learned was that the South did not treat the freed people any better than they treated them as slaves.

The third book, “The Warmth of Other Suns,” by Isabel Wilkerson is a real eye opener for me. Ms WIlkerson does a skillful job of narrating “The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration.” It seems that after many years of freedom, the former slaves decided that their treatment was so unbearable that they fled from the South to the North. The conditions they endured on jobs at plantations was the same or even worse than is was as a slave.

So many times while traveling from one end of this country to the next, I have passed through towns in the remotest, most obscure places, and found sizable black populations living there. My question was always, “how in the heck did they get here, and why.” This story chronicles the living conditions former slaves were being forced to live under. I also hear the term “Jim Crow” bandied about during political debate between blacks and whites. The black debater will always accuse the white of using Jim Crow tactics. The story told is that Jim Crow was most likely a fictitious character used when referring to laws and treatment invented by lawmakers to deny blacks their rights while appearing to fulfill the Constitutional obligations.

Even though I have only read a hundred pages of Wilkerson’s book I have learned a lot about the plight of blacks in their fight for equality. What baffles me is why blacks insist on demanding reparations to correct these past sins. I agree they were not treated very well during the period 1865 – 1970, but that is the past, and now we have a new era of laws, and fifty-two years of education and indoctrination to overcome past grievances. I agree that whites mis-treated blacks horribly back then, but compare the treatment they get today to what is was and realize that treatment is exponentially better than is was back in the good old days.

The bottom line is that I am happy that I opened my mind and chose to read some Black History.

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