'99 Problems' but Mitt Ain't One

I don't much care if it's cliché to say this—we live in amazing times. Slavery is within our memory. In 1996, Jay-Z released Reasonable Doubt. Daisy Anderson, widow of escaped slave and USCT veteran Robert Anderson died two years later. In 2003 Jay-Z released The Black Album, the same year Gertrude Janeway, the last Union war widow died. A year later, Alberta Martin, the last Confederate widow passed.  Not even a decade later the country elected a black president, and Jay-Z is performing his lovely gutter music at his rallies. 


Sometimes I get really down. I look at Sandy and think nothing will ever change. And yet the fact of America is that in its 200-plus years the rate of its moral improvement has been breathtaking. 
No matter what happens tomorrow, I must remember—I fight to remember—that never in my wildest dreams did I see a black man competing for white votes the way Barack Obama has.

This is not the country I thought it was. Also, Jay-Z should have done "Threat" just to see the steam pop out their ears. OK, so maybe not...


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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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