Edward E. Baptist, professor of history at Cornell University, relates in sharp relief the history, context and continuing impact of slavery and its powerful impact on U.S. economic, social and political life in his book, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. Using heretofore rarely published oral histories, narrative and data historian Baptist relates in compelling prose, the hidden reality of slavery as the fuel for the rise of the U.S. to its status as the world’s economic powerhouse.
The culture of slavery and the economics of black American labor is an essential, substantive and undeniably powerful aspect of U.S. history. Without the labor of blacks in America, the cultural and economic history of this nation would be vastly different. The rest of America’s story must be told. It must never be forgotten. It must be fully explored, affirmatively acknowledged and accurately related if we are to understand its consequences as they have played out in every century, generation, decade, year and moment of this country’s existence. Merely refusing to speak it, acknowledge or look at it will not erase the indelible mark of this undeniable and still reverberating reality in U.S. history.
Do not look away. Lean in. Learn. Be freed.