The incident at the St. Lawrence Hotel [mentioned in the editorial] refers to how some of the liberated slave children were originally taken for white and given lodging. When their identity was discovered they were summarily tossed out. I think that incident, as I've written before, underscores why the notion that a beige America is a some kind of civil rights strategy is naive. Racism creates races where there are none.I'm also struck by how the abolitionists took this moment to put the horrors of slavery on full display. There is an interesting symmetry between this and how the Civil Rights Movement used propaganda and spectacle to fully expose segregation to a generally indifferent white nation. It's easy to turn away from segregation, in theory, when it's a he said/she said fight over the exact nature of the institution. But when you see police-dogs attacking children, when you see water-hoses unleashed on people for marching, when you see Emmett Till's open casket, and no one prosecuted, the horror is brought home in a specific way.
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