Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic
I've always had a murky sense of what went on between Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in 1862 and the desegregation ruling of Brown v. Board in 1954. The question I would ask myself -- and forgive the naivete -- is, Why didn't the civil rights movement happen earlier, like, say, during the 20s and 30s? What took so long? Turns out, slavery wasn't really over when Lincoln said it was over. A new book by Douglas Blackmon called Slavery by Another Name argues that slavery persisted in different forms long after 1862. Black men arrested for petty or non-existent crimes that couldn't make bail were leased to white cotton farmers or sold to coal mining companies to pay it off. To me, it sounds like a form of indentured servitude, and Blackmon says this extension of slavery helps explain why black Americans made so little economic progress before the civil rights movement. If you have questions about where, when and how this happened, and what it means for us today, leave them here.