President Johnson signed the bill into law on July 2, 1964
For President Johnson to sign the Civil Rights Act into law on July 2, 1964, was a no-brainer: the date was a Thursday, just as it is this year, and the symbolism of marking the hard-fought victory just before Independence Day would be a shame to waste.
But, as TIME noted in its original 1964 coverage of the landmark legislation, the Fourth of July wasn’t the only significant date in play. The date on which the Senate passed the bill was June 19, 1964—precisely one year after “President John Kennedy sent to Congress a civil rights bill, [and] urged its speedy passage ‘not merely for reasons of economic efficiency, world diplomacy or domestic tranquility, but above all because it is right.’” Though Kennedy had been assassinated the previous fall, the law he had advocated for had actually grown in strength and scope.
After the House also passed the bill and it went on to the President, the season of its signing—and not just the calendar date—would also prove significant.
The bill included many obviously important provisions affecting matters of great weight, like voting rights and equal employment. But, as TIME pointed out, it would take months to see the voting rules take effect, and the labor matters included a period during which businesses could adjust. On the other hand, one of the parts of the law—a part that may seem today to be far less important—was, as TIME put it, “effective immediately, and likely to cause the fastest fireworks.”
Please view the animation at SLATE.
Usually, when we say “American slavery” or the “American slave trade,” we mean the American colonies or, later, the United States. But as we discussed in Episode 2 of Slate’s History of American Slavery Academy, relative to the entire slave trade, North America was a bit player. From the trade’s beginning in the 16th century to its conclusion in the 19th, slave merchants brought the vast majority of enslaved Africans to two places: the Caribbean and Brazil. Of the more than 10 million enslaved Africans to eventually reach the Western Hemisphere, just 388,747—less than 4 percent of the total—came to North America. This was dwarfed by the 1.3 million brought to Spanish Central America, the 4 million brought to British, French, Dutch, and Danish holdings in the Caribbean, and the 4.8 million brought to Brazil.
This interactive, designed and built by Slate’s Andrew Kahn, gives you a sense of the scale of the trans-Atlantic slave trade across time, as well as the flow of transport and eventual destinations. The dots—which represent individual slave ships—also correspond to the size of each voyage. The larger the dot, the more enslaved people on board. And if you pause the map and click on a dot, you’ll learn about the ship’s flag—was it British? Portuguese? French?—its origin point, its destination, and its history in the slave trade. The interactive animates more than 20,000 voyages cataloged in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database. (We excluded voyages for which there is incomplete or vague information in the database.) The graph at the bottom accumulates statistics based on the raw data used in the interactive and, again, only represents a portion of the actual slave trade—about one-half of the number of enslaved Africans who actually were transported away from the continent.
There are a few trends worth noting. As the first European states with a major presence in the New World, Portugal and Spain dominate the opening century of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, sending hundreds of thousands of enslaved people to their holdings in Central and South America and the Caribbean. The Portuguese role doesn’t wane and increases through the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, as Portugal brings millions of enslaved Africans to the Americas.
Confederate Windows at the National Cathedral
This page-I hope will get some activity-will be following the various attempts to remove Comfederate symbols (long over due) from our society.
Why is this important? Our physical world shapes our social world. Having streets, Symbols are speech-and nonverbal speech at that. Hate speech is no less toxic when it comes in the forms of statues, flags, or streets named after racists. It makes the lives of the targeted more precarious by making it clear that their lives matter less and that prejudice against them is socially acceptable.
Our public spaces should be made truly inclusive and accepting.
Readers: If you run across any more such takedowns, please post a reply. I would like to keep track of it all even when things quiet down. Hopefully there will be scrutiny to make sure there are no “backtracks”.
I was really inspired by Kragar’s article on rebutting Confederate history lessons so I wanted to write a little bit about how the Confederate flag was used politically between the aftermath of the Civil War and World War II.
Too often, the Southern “heritage” people want to cut off their historical discussions at the end of the Civil War or frame them more recently in the post-World War II era. I want to illuminate that quite intentional historical avoidance/forgetfulness, so we understand exactly what ideas clothed the earliest political uses of Confederate battle flag heritage during the aftermath of the Civil War.
Symbols have meanings and they have historical uses. As we all have heard, the St. Andrew’s Cross style Confederate battle flag was first designed to intimidate Northern fighters during the Civil War, including free blacks, while uniting Scots-Irish Southern white men.
After Reconstruction, however, is when the flag started being deployed in what has become an-all-too-familiar manner. In the 1876 election and after, a paramilitary group consisting mostly of Confederate veterans that called themselves the Red Shirts overtook Southern politics. They called for a return to Confederate politics by disenfranchising black power, possibly originating the “Let’s take our country back” approach. Ex-Confederates donned red shirts and fought for blood in the streets. Wade Hampton II, an ex-Confederate cavalry leader, worked with “Pitchfork” Ben Tillman to organize ex-Confederates to disrupt Republicans in South Carolina with violence, in campaigns such as the Hamburg Massacre. They sought to win back Democratic Party control of South Carolina. They prominently displayed the Confederate battle flag at their rallies to intimidate free blacks from voting, and often featured token red-shirt clad blacks in their parades to argue that blacks supported the Red Shirt movement. Unlike the Klan, the Red Shirts were not a secret society… they didn’t have to be. On the strength of the Red Shirt movement, Hampton and Tillman each became Governor, and Tillman later became a five-term US Senator.
“Pitchfork” Ben Tillman
It wasn’t until the last Confederate veterans were dying after World War I that the battle flag became used a symbol of nostalgia. President Woodrow Wilson encouraged it because he was a Virginian, and he thought nostalgia would unify the nation and maybe help bring the South up to speed. By this time Tillman was also dead, but his political successors in South Carolina continued his white supremacist legacy and rallied around the Confederate battle flag.
Between 1920 and 1944, the most powerful white politicians in South Carolina used the flag and racist rhetoric to unite their white working-class political base in the Upstate. United States Senators from South Carolina Cole “Coley” Blease, and Ellison “Cotton Ed” Smith dominated state politics between 1910 and 1944. They encouraged voter intimidation of black people and refused to fund any black schools. They encouraged their white constituents to rally around Confederate memory against Washington and racial reform, symbolized by waving the Confederate battle flag. They loved lynching so much that they each performed a gruesome interpretive “lynch dance” during their political campaign speeches, mocking hanged black men. Senator Blease’s reading of a doggerel titled “N****** in the White House” had to be stricken from the Congressional Record in 1929. When a black minister took the podium for the convocation of the 1936 Democratic Convention in Philadelphia, Senator Smith walked out and told reporters that it was no place for a white man and that John C. Calhoun was proud of him. Smith was also known for riding to Washington in a wagon full of cotton, emblazoned with Confederate battle flags.
So when Governor Ernest “Fritz” Hollings raised the Confederate flag over the state house in 1961, it was already a very familiar political symbol in South Carolina with a long history of usage to rally white supremacists to suppress black voters. Essentially, the flag said “Black voters aren’t welcome here” — with a reminder of past violence.
All of that hate is also part of the history of the heritage, conveniently obscured by our nostalgic friends.
On Jan. 4, 1861, a Catholic bishop named Rev. A. Verot ascended a pulpit in The Church of St. Augustine, Florida, and defended the right of white people to own slaves.
The apostle Paul, Verot claimed in his sermon, instructs slaves to obey their masters as a “necessary means of salvation.” Quoting Colossians 3:22, he said, “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not serving to the eye, as pleasing men, but in simplicity of heart, fearing God.”
It’s no secret that hundreds of Christian pastors like Verot used the Bible during the Civil War to justify slavery. But the massacre last week of nine black people inside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, has once again forced white Christians in America to re-examine the white church’s historical ties to racism — and how hateful rhetoric like Verot’s had more power because it came from the pulpit.
White Christians in the South didn’t just support slavery — the Southern church was the backbone of the Confederacy and its attempts to keep African Americans in bondage, according to Harry Stout, Jonathan Edwards Professor of American Religious History at Yale University.
“If you pull the church out of the whole equation, it’s highly likely that there never would have been a Civil War,” Stout told The Huffington Post. “Southern clergy had no doubt that slavery was not a sin.”
After they lost the war, white Southerners and their religious leaders tried to recast it by observing the “religion of the lost cause” — arguing that the South fought righteously not to keep slaves in chains, but to fight for states’ rights or to protect themselves from Northern aggression. As part of this “lost cause” religion, they began to idolize fallen Confederate war heroes and celebrate the Confederate flag.
The title of this article is a well justified dig at Fox News, but otherwise I’m just going to let it speak for itself:
When you imagine France and its scenic countryside, you might think of the picturesque villages, vineyards a plenty and endless rolling green hills to drive through on a blissful summer road trip. But there’s one corner of this scenic country that no one has been allowed to enter for nearly a century, known as the “Zone Rouge” (the red zone).
Pictured above is an artist’s impression of the forsaken territory, originally covering more than 1,200 square kilometres (460 sq miles) in the years following the Great War. Today, around 100km2 (roughly the size of Paris), is still strictly prohibited by law from public entry and agricultural use because of an impossible amount of human remains and unexploded chemical munitions yet to be recovered from the battlefields of both world wars.
Step inside the real “No Go-Zone”…
Photography (c) Olivier Saint Hilaire
After WWI, unable to keep up with the impossible task of removing endless undetonated weapons, human and animal remains, the French government decided on a forced relocation of residents which led to the creation of the Zone Rouge. Entire villages wiped off the map were considered “casualties of war”.
Read the whole thing. Comments welcome.
D-Day was arguably the most significant and well-known event in military history. The Allies landed more than 150,000 troops in Normandy, involving 11,590 aircraft and 6,939 naval vessels. There were thousands of casualties.
These Artists Created A Powerful Visualization Of D-Day Casualties
The staggering size of these numbers can actually make it difficult for our brains to truly comprehend the devastation. That’s why these artists set out to create a simple art project with a powerful message. By simply agitating the sand on the beach, they provided a true scale of the lives lost on June 6th, 1944: