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The War That Never Ended

150 years ago, shells were lobbed into Fort Sumpter, South Carolina, and the Civil War began.

In 4 years, over 600,000 combatants were killed, more than in Vietnams long, 9-year war.

Isn’t it interesting that the war fought to preserve slavery was fought in the nation called “land of the free?”

From 1861 to 1865 the war raged all across the country.

At war’s end the U.S. Congress passed the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, and it would take nearly 100 years for the courts to even begin to recognize them (for most of that time, they granted constitutional rights to corporations -not Black persons.) For the courts supported white supremacy rather than Black equality.

While one of the biggest offenders was the Supreme Court, American presidents also played key roles in supporting policies designed to restrict, deny and undermine Black rights.

Under state laws, Blacks were denied the right to vote, to enjoy public accommodations, to hold public office, and to purchase homes in most neighborhoods.

Schools, from elementary to college were both racially segregated and economically under funded.

150 years later, and urban schools remain segregated by class, as well as woefully under funded.

Over 50% of kids in big-city schools, like Baltimore, New York and Chicago are drop-outs. such schools are often more segregated today than they were 50 years ago, and the political elites are pushing to privatize education.

It’s been a century and half since that bloody war began, and still legal scholars like Michelle Alexander (author, The New Jim Crow), argue that the Black poor and working class constitute a “caste” in American society, subject to disparate and discriminatory treatment in the nation’s courts, and virtual social exclusion, afterwards.

For too many people, the war continues.