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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Civil Rights Update

There were a number of these "street signs" at the De Young Museum's "Summer of Love" exhibit, and while many of them demonstrate real change, this is one where I think we really have a very long way to go.  On the one hand, it was 100 years after the end of the Civil War before we had legislation that rolled back hard on the "separate but equal" doctrine shamefully adapted by the Supreme Court in Plessy vs. Ferguson case in 1986.  The state of Louisiana enacted a law that required separate railway cars for blacks and whites. In 1892, Homer Adolph Plessy, who was seven-eighths Caucasian, took a seat in a "whites only" car of a Louisiana train. He refused to move to the car reserved for blacks and was arrested.  His grave is in New Orleans, and should be one of many stops in that interesting city.  So progress is slow, very slow, and a big part of it is the refusal of many to shoulder the legacy of slavery, to really own it and to then try to move forward.  The model that Germany has waged in the 20th century for owning their history is something to think long and hard about I think.  Black Lives Matter is something to strive for, to speak for, and to live for.

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