The Great American Story, Or Something Close to It (The Pre-College Years)


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In Brazil I was taught about it, but not extensively.


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It was usually perceived as an important step to understand the French Revolution of , as a reminder that the Enlightenment could be more than just philosophy and could be transformed into an actual political system. However, as many history teachers in Brazil have fairly anti-US biases they fail to give it proper attention in their own studies. Think we spent a class on it in high school. Not even a little bit.

I am French too and I remember that I had a class about it during middle school, but it was a quick, something like:. It was more an introduction class to the French Revolution than a class about American Revolution. Skip to navigation Skip to content. The bit of world history they did teach us, however, was all about the French Revolution. I am French too and I remember that I had a class about it during middle school, but it was a quick, something like: -Americans wanted independence, so they made the Tea Boston Party.

They would hire a black woman to walk up and down the street with a stroller. To keep up with his payments and keep his heat on, Clyde Ross took a second job at the post office and then a third job delivering pizza. His wife took a job working at Marshall Field. He had to take some of his children out of private school. He was not able to be at home to supervise his children or help them with their homework. Money and time that Ross wanted to give his children went instead to enrich white speculators.

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They think this neighborhood is where they supposed to be. It changes their outlook. Instead she was hired by Western Electric, where she worked for 41 years. I met Lewis in the home of her neighbor Ethel Weatherspoon. Both had owned homes in North Lawndale for more than 50 years.

Both had bought their houses on contract. Weatherspoon bought her home in The blacks are coming. Before moving to North Lawndale, Lewis and her husband tried moving to Cicero after seeing a house advertised for sale there.


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In , the couple bought a home in North Lawndale on contract. They were not blind to the unfairness. But Lewis, born in the teeth of Jim Crow, considered American piracy—black people keep on making it, white people keep on taking it—a fact of nature. And that was the only way I could get it.

If everybody else can have one, I want one too. I had worked for white people in the South. Whenever she visited white co-workers at their homes, she saw the difference. Lewis and Weatherspoon, like Ross, were able to keep their homes. The suit did not win them any remuneration. But it forced contract sellers to the table, where they allowed some members of the Contract Buyers League to move into regular mortgages or simply take over their houses outright.

But for all our exceptional ones, for every Barack and Michelle Obama, for every Ethel Weatherspoon or Clyde Ross, for every black survivor, there are so many thousands gone.

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I met him in his office at the Better Boys Foundation, a staple of North Lawndale whose mission is to direct local kids off the streets and into jobs and college. On June 14, , his year-old son, Billy Jr. Every day. Brooks was not raised in the streets, though in such a neighborhood it is impossible to avoid the influence. You got to go to school.

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I lived here. I went to Marshall High School. Over here were the Egyptian Cobras. Over there were the Vice Lords. But he is still working in North Lawndale. When they tore down the projects here, they left the high-rises and came to the neighborhood with that gang mentality. We walked over to a window behind his desk.

The name and face of the other man had been spray-painted over by a rival group. The men drank beer. Occasionally a car would cruise past, slow to a crawl, then stop. One of the men would approach the car and make an exchange, then the car would drive off.

Brooks had known all of these young men as boys. We watched another car roll through, pause briefly, then drive off. From that alley to that corner. See the big brother there? He almost died a couple of years ago. The one drinking the beer back there … I know all of them. And the reason they feel safe here is cause of this building, and because they too chickenshit to go anywhere. Brooks showed me a picture of a Little League team he had coached. He went down the row of kids, pointing out which ones were in jail, which ones were dead, and which ones were doing all right.

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Then he wondered aloud if keeping his son with him while working in North Lawndale had hastened his death. From the White House on down, the myth holds that fatherhood is the great antidote to all that ails black people. But Billy Brooks Jr. Trayvon Martin had a father. Jordan Davis had a father. Adhering to middle-class norms has never shielded black people from plunder.

Adhering to middle-class norms is what made Ethel Weatherspoon a lucrative target for rapacious speculators. Contract sellers did not target the very poor. They targeted black people who had worked hard enough to save a down payment and dreamed of the emblem of American citizenship—homeownership.

But they generally find white predation to be thrice as fast. Liberals today mostly view racism not as an active, distinct evil but as a relative of white poverty and inequality. They ignore the long tradition of this country actively punishing black success—and the elevation of that punishment, in the midth century, to federal policy.

After his speech, Johnson convened a group of civil-rights leaders, including the esteemed A. The urge to use the moral force of the black struggle to address broader inequalities originates in both compassion and pragmatism. But it makes for ambiguous policy. Is it meant to make amends for the crimes heaped upon black people?

Not according to the Supreme Court. In its ruling in Regents of the University of California v. If so, it only tangentially relates to the specific problems of black people—the problem of what America has taken from them over several centuries. But this does not necessarily include preferential treatment. Yet America was built on the preferential treatment of white people— years of it. Vaguely endorsing a cuddly, feel-good diversity does very little to redress this. Today, progressives are loath to invoke white supremacy as an explanation for anything.

The Great American Story, Or Something Close to It (The Pre-College Years) The Great American Story, Or Something Close to It (The Pre-College Years)
The Great American Story, Or Something Close to It (The Pre-College Years) The Great American Story, Or Something Close to It (The Pre-College Years)
The Great American Story, Or Something Close to It (The Pre-College Years) The Great American Story, Or Something Close to It (The Pre-College Years)
The Great American Story, Or Something Close to It (The Pre-College Years) The Great American Story, Or Something Close to It (The Pre-College Years)
The Great American Story, Or Something Close to It (The Pre-College Years) The Great American Story, Or Something Close to It (The Pre-College Years)

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