Skip to content

Post for 9/28

At the beginning of this chapter, a very important point is brought up. “Liberation from the top would go only so far as the interests of the dominant groups permitted.” The same group of people that weren’t sure about granting freedom to slaves were also being credited with their emancipation. Not only that but their newly found freedom lied in their hands. This just goes to show how important it is for us to look at the context and the bigger picture. This is tied to another very important point that is brought up later in the chapter; the government will only accept the conditions if they are controlled by the whites. The time this was referring to, it solely meant white people but it is still just as true today. The government will only make a change if it is on their terms, not the peoples’, even if they make it seem like it is the peoples’ choice.

We see a lot of this today. Whatever policy change the people want to see never comes easily or without some type of adjustment by the government. This brings me to my next point. There were a few things that were mentioned in this chapter that are closely related to current issues. The first one would be Frederick Douglass’s opinion about the fourth of July. He brings up a very important point, how is it that we are celebrating freedom for a country when some of its people had yet to be free. There was a lot of talk about this past summer because of the recent spark of the Black Lives Matter movement. Even after recognizing that the fourth of July only freed white America, we still celebrate it even though we definitely shouldn’t. We have already started recognizing the problem with Columbus Day and began addressing that but when will the same happen for the fourth of July? Another parallel I thought about between then and now is the KKK. While they are a group that has never disappeared, it feels as if the recent influx of social justice movements has brought them out. The parallel that I see between then and now is not only how they determine justice from a radical perspective, but also how it goes unpunished. In this chapter, we read about the crimes the KKK started committing and how bad they were but that is about it. It is acknowledged that it is pretty bad and gruesome but at the same time, nothing was done to change or stop it. We are seeing the same thing happening right now, but I would say it is even worse. Now, this blatant racism isn’t hidden under KKK robes how it once was, we see it every day behind police badges, in positions of power, by open radical white supremacists, and all around us, but nothing is being done by the government to change it.

I am genuinely curious, what are racists people actually so mad about? Do they genuinely believe that giving other people basic human rights somehow takes away theirs? Or are they just that ignorantly racist? Somehow this anger towards another race has lasted for hundreds of years and that anger is still very much alive today.


Published inUncategorized


  1. Isabela Keetley Isabela Keetley

    I think you bring up a very important point saying that the group of people that weren’t sure about granting freedom to slaves were also being credited with their emancipation. In addition to this, on page 172, Zinn writes “How can slavery be described? Perhaps not at all by those who have not experienced it”. This quote emphasizes the idea that we need to look at the bigger context when deciphering history. While statistics help us to better picture what slave life was like, actual stories from slaves tell us so much more.

  2. Maggie Otradovec Maggie Otradovec

    I believe the quote “Liberation from the top would go only so far as the interests of the dominant groups permitted,” perfectly sums up the motives for emancipation during the Civil War. While Lincoln did want to abolish slavery, he decided against it initially as a means of appeasement, a way to make the South more willing to return to the Union. He only put emancipation into motion when it looked as though Europe was going to get involved. It’s as if the slaves were pawns, and emancipation was a last resort.

Leave a Reply