Friday marks the 150th anniversary of Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s famous field order to confiscate 400,000 acres of land from former slave-owners and distribute it to former slaves — the promise of 40 acres and mule that we so often hear about.
In the wake of the Civil War, the United States could have provided a solid foundation for black economic development. But the government failed to follow through with General Sherman’s ambitious land reform initiative; instead his order was repealed by President Andrew Johnson in the fall of 1865 and former slaves were drawn into various forms of peonage, which kept them in economic bondage.… Seguir leyendo »
Nelson Mandela’s selfless brand of leadership surprised the world and won him universal accolades during his lifetime. After being confined to Robben Island for most of his 27 years in prison, Mandela became South Africa’s first black president, and his goal was always reconciliation rather than revenge. But now that we have had a year to mourn his death, it’s important to also begin to critically evaluate his legacy, including his role in cementing the land-based inequalities created under colonialism and apartheid.
Starting in the 18th century, colonial and apartheid governments systematically stole property from black South Africans and gave it to whites at nominal cost.… Seguir leyendo »