When First Lady Michelle Obama delivered her powerful address at the Democratic National convention this week, she deftly tackled race, American progress, and the still incomplete nature of our experiment in expansive citizenship with unalienable rights. After Mrs. Obama acknowledged that she, an African American woman, “wake[s] up every morning in a house that was built by slaves,” pundits responded by attempting to diminish the horrors of slavery. They argued slavery wasn’t so bad because some enslaved people were paid for their work or their owners took care of them and fed them well. Those pundits sadly raised tired myths about benevolent slaveholders, culling them rather directly from nineteenth and early twentieth century slavery apologists. They remind us that we have so much work yet to do. Michelle Obama Steals DNC Spotlight in Powerful, Rousing Speech July 26, 2016 02:11 The White House, a symbol of American democracy and the home of the “leader of the free world,” was built on land taken from Maryland and Virginia—two slave states—and much of the work was done by enslaved people. Enslaved people’s labor was integral to the construction of the White House and just about any other building constructed anywhere slavery was… Read full this story
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