Barack Obama and the “black everything”

Ta-Nehisi Coates, on the Emancipation of Barack Obama:

The second chapter of the Obama presidency begins exactly a century and a half after Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation took effect. Much like the proclamation, the Obama presidency has been a study in understated and reluctant radicalism. The proclamation freed no slaves in those lands loyal to Lincoln and was issued only after more-moderate means failed. Yet Lincoln’s order transformed a war for union into a war for abolition, and in so doing put the country on a road to broad citizenship for its pariah class. The 2012 election ranks among the greatest milestones along that road. We are not yet in the era of post-racialism. But the time of “black everything” is surely upon us.

I don’t have much to add to this beyond recommending you read the full piece. It’s succinct. The 150th anniversary of those great and terrible events in our nation’s past should not go unmentioned. They aren’t, of course. We as a nation are remembering this history everywhere, in our national elections and in our popular cinema. Still, the slow but real movement from where this country was 150 years ago to where we sit today inspires, and is worth reflection.


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