'The winners write the history books'

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Many of us recognize this basic truism. Frequently people cite their interest in and knowledge of history as the basis for their understanding and views.

Is it possible most of us don't know our own full and inconveniently recent history, particularly as it pertains to racial tensions and some of its causes? How did we get here we ask?

I have no corner on the truth of these matters. I simply, humbly hope to share a recommendation on an excellent and deeply researched book that presents the facts on aspects of this recent history. The Color of Law, by Richard Rothstein. It's also available through Audible. Recently published, I found it incredibly informative, moving, disturbing and worth reading.

The book details the largely forgotten and recent history of federally mandated and enforced housing segregation and policy, federally sanctioned labor and wage segregation enforced by the unions, federally sanctioned segregation of our schools, tax policy, banking and insurance policy and the role played by tax subsidized non-profits including colleges, universities, neighborhood associations and churches. Those entities who actively and easily verifiably advocated for or looked the other way, allowing for the economic and spatial segregation of the American black family. The predominantly black and economically depressed urban centers and surrounding white suburbs didn't just happen by chance or choice. They were created by law as well as policy.

Some excellent histories are being published. Consider also The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.

Might it be that we know so little of this history because of who writes the history books, and teaches it? I applaud the Beloit School District for offering the course, African American Literature. I hope more students participate. Not because it is black history but because it is our history.

Rick McGrath

Beloit

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