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Opinion: America's Third Reconstruction is happening now

July 31, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

George Floyd Hologram

The right's obsession with the 1619 Project reflects a much bigger conflict, writes Peniel Joseph. America in 2020 is on the brink of a moral precipice more than a century in the making, Joseph says; this year of plague, protest and violence has hastened America's political reckoning with aspects of White supremacy that have narrated myths about our nation's collective past.

(CNN)Americans are living through truly historic times: the Covid-19 pandemic, protests catalyzed by the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the national embrace of Black Lives Matter 2. 0, and the specter of black-clad federal law enforcement officers engaging in pitched battles against peaceful mothers purposefully dressed in white, all of which can be refracted through America's original sin of racial slavery.

This year has ushered in the most dynamic social movement for racial justice in American history as Black Lives Matter 2. 0 awakened the entire nation to a reality of White supremacy -- made more legible to millions of White Americans who, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, shelter-in-place orders and mass unemployment showed new layers of empathy in taking the streets to protest against the killing of George Floyd.

This year of plague, racial justice protest, and violence has hastened America's moral and political reckoning with over a century of longstanding monuments, citadels, and symbols of White supremacy that have narrated myths about our nation's collective past.

The 1619 Project, the New York Times' multimedia history of racial slavery and democracy since the arrival of the first enslaved African in Jamestown Colony, Virginia, has become the latest battleground in our long running cultural war over the very meaning of freedom, democracy and citizenship.

Published in August 2019, the 1619 Project quickly went viral, becoming a much-needed teaching tool to help public school teachers avoid glossing over America's brutal history of racial slavery and Jim Crow.

The 1619 Project refutes this hollow narrative victory with a national history that reflects the bitter fruits of racial slavery and violence as well as the beauty of generations of Black Americans who helped reimagine democracy with an indefatigable will.

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