Southern History and Civil Rights in the News 13 November 2020

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Southern History and Civil Rights in the News

13 November 2020


Last week’s election continues to be the biggest news. After Saturday’s projection of former Vice President Joseph R Biden, Jr as president-elect, that made his running mate, Senator Kamala D Harris, the Vice President-elect, becoming the first woman, first person of color, and first person of Asian descent to hold the office. While these firsts are all something to celebrate, historians Stacie Taranto and Leandra Zarnow wrote in The Washington Post this week that results further down the ballot show that women still have an incredibly difficult time getting elected in the US. Read their analysis here.


In spite of the barriers women still face, many saw the election results as a bright spot for reimagining and rebuilding civil rights. Read Erik Larson’s take from Bloomberg, here, and the ACLU’s statement, here. While Slate’s Joshua Branch advises that for the president-elect to fulfill that promise, he needs to create a tribunal, as many other countries have done in order to confront and overcome a racist past. You can read his story here. The Aspen Institute’s Pamela Karlan and James Steyer discuss the efficacy of drawing on previous movements for civil rights in addressing the current crisis in this week’s “Aspen Ideas to Go” podcast, which you can access here. For fans of podcasts,, the statewide Alabama news source, featured a new podcast this week, “Unjustifiable,” which tells the story of Bonita Carter, who was shot and killed by police in Birmingham. The six-part series argues that it was that shooting of an unarmed African American woman that “changed Birmingham history forever.” The first part airs this coming Monday, 14 November, and you can see the preview here.


We’ve featured quite a few stories about archeological discoveries expanding the reach of southern historians lately, and the news continues. Fox45 News in Baltimore reports that archeologists with Maryland’s Department of Transportation State Highway Administration believe they are close to the location of Harriet Tubman’s father’s house. You can read about the search and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway here.


And finally this week, NPR covers the story of another glass ceiling being shattered, this time in Major League Baseball, as the Miami Marlins named Kim Ng as their new General Manager today. Ng becomes not only the first woman to hold that position in MLB, but is believed to be the first to do so for any of the four major men’s professional sports in North America. You can read their coverage 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