11/22 The Violence Black Communities Endured After Emancipation w/ William A. Blair

November 22, 2021

Sam hosts William A. Blair, Professor of Middle American History at Penn State University, to discuss his recent book The Record of Murders and Outrages: Racial Violence and the Fight Over Truth at the Dawn of Reconstruction, on how the true histories of reconstruction, both in the horrible violence and influential policy, has been obscured by a white supremacist “redemption narrative”. They begin by discussing the historical study of the reconstruction era, and the influence of the Dunning School on manipulating the narrative, as Professor Blair walks through the influence of William A. Dunning’s thoughts on a group of historians that did state by state studies of reconstruction, finding it overwhelmingly as a time of little accomplishment, while downplaying and normalizing the presence of racial violence. Next, Professor Blair contextualizes the Dunning School’s development in the 1920s with an overwhelming turn towards professionalized history within a moment dominated by mainstream racist pseudoscience, before he and Sam dive into the professor’s study of contemporary sources of the time, looking first at the Freeman’s Bureau, the first national welfare agency which worked to bolster freed Black American’s transition into society, alongside keeping “the record of murders and outrages,” which tracked the overwhelming racial violence against Black folks in the South. Introducing the data officially in 1867 with the Reconstruction Acts, William and Sam explore how Congressional Republicans used the bureau as an investigative arm to surveil the state of the South’s reconstruction, particularly focusing on the issue of violent voter suppression, which began to boil over after these acts, with the Ku Klux Klan’s influence and violence reaching their first peak in 1868. Next, they move into the violence that took place at the time, parsing through the coverage of both more notorious massacres, like those in Memphis and New Orleans in 1866, and the myriad unknown and hardly-reported massacres throughout the rest of the south, all of which contributed to overwhelming voter suppression, and touch on the harrowing historical impossibility of genuinely tracing and acknowledging the trauma that took place. They also cover the ideological organizing of the southern Democrats, from Charles Blackford’s letter for the 1889 local elections and the emphasis on not deserting the polls, like some deserted the Confederacy, to Birth of a Nation in the early 1900s. Lastly, Professor Blair and Sam explore how narrative spinning begins immediately in the aftermath of massive issues with an ideological split, with Edward Pollard’s “Lost Cause” being published in 1866, and the Dunning School following quickly. Sam also covers the wake of the Rittenhouse decision, contrasting it with the coverage of the Ahmaud Arbery case, in which the defendant cited lynchings, not to refer to the racist murder, but the treatment of the murderers.

And in the Fun Half: Sam and the MR crew cover the Daily Wire’s discussion on the Rittenhouse decision, and Candace Owen’s putting discussing her “vengeance for Kyle,” in a segment that should’ve been produced by Monster Energy, John from San Antonio calls in to discuss the Freedom to Vote act and helps clarify the tally on the swings in Congressional seats, Pat from Nebraska chats the hypocrisy of gun nuts, and Aaron from CA tries to do inflation for houses, forgetting that, just like there’s always open jobs that don’t offer enough, there are always open houses that simply are used for wealth hoarding. They also cover Seb Gorka and Kid Rock both choosing incredibly embarrassing ways to return to the spotlight, Tucker Carlson and Chuck Todd blank on questioning their interview subjects, and Senator Kennedy asks Saule Omarova to renounce her middle school, plus, your calls and IMs!

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