Southern History and Civil Rights in the News 10 July 2020

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Southern History and Civil Rights in the News

10 July 2020


As we marked Independence Day this last week, thousands are still marching in the streets for racial justice and continuing the conversation about race and memory. In the spirit of the holiday, you can read the words of one of the foremost civil rights leaders, Frederick Douglass, here, in “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”


As these conversations have continued, many municipalities and colleges are discussing the removal of statues and the renaming of buildings, and as the New York Times reports here, the world’s largest Confederate monument, Stone Mountain, in Georgia, is increasingly being targeted for removal. Related coverage on the challenge to do so can be found here, from Slate. For the ways in which this movement is affecting colleges and universities, you can read about the moves that Clemson University has been making in The Guardian, here, and Tomás Mier, of the LA Times wrote here about how the University of Southern California is facing similar issues.


While many are comparing the current protests to those of the 1960s, ProPublica notes that there is one important difference: the lack of a robust Community Relations Service. Established by LBJ in an effort to prevent bloodshed during those previous protests, the organization has been largely absent from current protest marches. Read more here.


Additionally, the sports world has been front and center during these current protests, both from the athletes calling and working for change, and teams that have found themselves the center of controversy because of their racist mascots. Read about the work of athletes here, from the StarTribune, of Minneapolis, and here from The Black Chronicle. NPR has a “4-Minute Listen” (with transcript) discussing the teams that are, and some teams that the panelists think should be, considering name changes. You can access that here.


Social media, particularly Facebook, has also been under fire for what critics say are business models that make it difficult to remove, much less prevent, racist online behavior. The Black Chronicle covers the meeting held between Facebook’s top officers and civil rights groups here.


Until next week, stay well


Michele “Scout” Johnson

Editor, H-South


This series of weekly posts to H-South, “Southern History and Civil Rights in the News,” aims to track informed public discussions of southern history and civil rights. To recommend a reading, please email Dr. Michele Johnson at