Kate Masur’s new book about DC emancipation struggles over a century ago speaks directly to DC today. In her book, Masur examines the revolutionary changes in politics and society in DC allowed by the 1861 secession of eleven slaveholding states and the ensuing Civil War. According to Masur, Lincoln’s Republican Party and African American activism made DC into a laboratory for egalitarian policy and "An Example for All the Land." This revolutionary period continued up until 1874 when, in response to these policies, conservative business elites dismantled elected government altogether for all DC residents and presented DC as a failure, a different kind of example for the country. It would take 99 years, until Christmas Eve 1973, for DC residents to regain self-rule. The struggles by DC residents and others to end slavery and realize equality, in the words of Masur, "resonate into the present, as do the strategies of those who ultimately defeated them" (p. 12). I highly recommend this book because Masur provides us a wonderfully well-documented and fascinating history of our city with lessons for today. Read more>>See Kate Masur's recent op-ed about DC in the New York Times.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Kate Masur's new book on DC
I wrote a review of Kate Masur's new book, An Example for All the Land: Emancipation and the Struggle over Equality in Washington, D.C., for Susie Cambria's great blog Susie's Budget and Policy Corner. Here's the first part of the review: