Foundations for Writing

A St. Cloud State Site for English 191

August 24, 2019
by Judith Kilborn
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Pitts on U.S. racial history articles

Leonard Pitts, Jr., who writes a regular opinion column for the Miami Herald, tweeted about two published pieces yesterday — one his own piece and the other an interesting New York Times’ piece. Here are both tweets, which include links to the articles. Pitts’ columns are always interesting, thoughtful reading, and he tackles difficult stuff. Kevin Kruse, the author of the Time’s article, is an historian who specializes in modern American political history (from the Civil War forward) and is among a group of very active historians on Twitter (https://twitter.com/KevinMKruse)

August 22, 2019
by Judith Kilborn
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Closing the 1619 Project magazine with a final tribute

August 22, 2019
by Judith Kilborn
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The 1619 project

The Washington Post begins “The 1619 Project and the far-right fear of history” with this lead:

In the summer of 1619, two warships manned by English privateers raided a Portuguese vessel the pirates hoped was brimming with gold. Instead, they found and divided up an altogether different cargo:  some 350 African slaves, taken in bondage possibly from what is now Angola. What happened to all those poor souls may never be known — they were among the early wave of the more than 12 million Africans sent across the Atlantic to live and die in slavery in the New World.

But we do know that, in August of that year, the English privateers appeared not far from the colony of Jamestown, in modern-day Virginia, and bartered 20 to 30 of these Africans for food from the English settlers there. That transaction 400 years ago marked the first landfall of black people on the shores of what would become the United States.

If you haven’t heard of the 1619 project, the project emerged on the occasion of the 400th anniversary arrival of slavery in America via privateers in Jamestown. The Washington Post lauds this “ambitious series of reported essays published in a special issue of the New York Times magazine this past weekend. The ‘1619 Project’ takes this arrival as a seminal event with which to reframe the history of the United States. It charts how — from prison systems to land laws, the origins of capitalism to the evolution of the American diet — there’s little that defines the United States that doesn’t somehow have the legacy of slavery at its foundation.”

You can check out this article, which links to lots of supporting material, including the New York Times magazine article, at

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/08/20/project-far-right-fear-history/

August 22, 2019
by Judith Kilborn
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“The Hopefulness and Hopelessness of 1619”

The Atlantic explores the historical significance of 1619  in “The Hopefulness and Hopelessness of 1619: Marking the 400-year African American struggle to survive and to be free of racism” (https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/08/historical-significance-1619/596365/).  Here’s the lead for the article:

Her name was Angela, one of the first known Africans in British North America.

His name was John, the first known antiblack racist in colonial America.

In 1619, this black woman and white man—what they embody—arrived months apart in 12-year-old Virginia, the first of the 13 British colonies that became the United States. Angela was the original embodiment of enslavement, of survival, of the 400-year African American struggle to survive, to be free of racism. John was the original embodiment of elite white male power, of the democracy of racists, of its 400-year struggle to survive, to be free of anti-racism.

The article also begins with this image and in the image source information reflects upon the use of the image in the fight to abolish slavery in the 18th century.

The unattributed oil painting titled ‘Am I not a Man and a Brother’ that was used in the 18th century as a symbol during the fight to abolish slavery is displayed at the Wilberforce House Museum in Hull, Britain, July 4, 2019. The painting is based on an 1787 anti-slavery design produced by British potter Josiah Wedgwood. The widely available image was reproduced on a range of items, including plates, bowls, hat pins and snuff boxes. August 2019 marks 400 years since the slave trade to North America began. Picture taken July 4, 2019. REUTERS/Russell Boyce NO ARCHIVES NO RESALES – RC1C349723C0

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