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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  July 5, 2021 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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07/04/21 07/04/21 [captioning made possible amy: from new york, this is democracy now! >> what, to the erican slave, is your fourth of july? i answer -- a day that reveals to him, more than all other days of the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is a constant victim. to him, your celebration is a sham. amy: "what to the slave is the fourth of july?" we will hear frederick douglas'' 1852 independence
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day address performed by james earl jones. plus, as gun deaths soar in the united states, we will look at the racist roots of the second amendment with emory professor carol anderson, author of the new book "the second: race and guns in a fatally unequal america." >> and as i went on this journey, what i saw was that it wasn't about guns. it was about the fear of black people. it was about the fear of blackness. it was about the societal labeling of black people as dangerous, as a threat to whites, and that this architecture comes in place in order to contain this black population, in order to provide security and safety to the white community from this fear of black people. amy: and we will re-air the inaugural poem by,
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at the time, 22-year-old amanda gorman, the youngest inaugural poet in u.s. history. >> we will rebuild, reconcile and recover in every known nook of our nation, in every corner called our country our people diverse and beautiful will emerge battered and beautiful. when day comes, we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid. the new dawn blooms as we free it. for there is always light. if only we're brave enough to see it. if only we're brave enough to be it. amy: all that and more coming up. this is democracy now!, i am amy goodman. today in this special broadcast, we begin with the words of frederick douglass. born into slavery around 1818, douglass became a key leader of the abolitionist movement.
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on july 5, 1852, in rochester, new york, he gave one of his most famous speeches, "what to the slave is the fourth of july?" he was addressing the rochester ladies' anti-slavery society. this is james earl jones reading the historic address during a performance of voices of a people's history of the united states co-edited by howard zinn. the latereat historian introduced the address. >> frederick douglass, once a slave, became a brilliant and powerful leader of the anti-slavery movement. in 1852, he was asked to speak in celebration of the fourth of july. frederick douglass: [read by james earl jones] fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am i called upon to speak here today? what have i, or those i represent,
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to do with your national independence? are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that declaration of independence, extended to us? and am i, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us i am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. the blessings in which you this day rejoice are not enjoyed in common. the rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence
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bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me. the sunlight that brought life and healing to you has brought stripes and death to me. this fourth of july is yours, not mine. you may rejoice, i must mourn. to drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. do you mean, citizens, to mock me by asking me to speak today? what, to the american slave, is your fourth of july? i answer -- a day that reveals to him,
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more than all other days of the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is a constant victim. to him, your celebration is a sham, your boasted liberty, an unholy license, your national greatness, swelling vanity, your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless, your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence, your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery, your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy -- a thin veil to cover up crimes that would disgrace a nation of savages.
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there is not a nation of the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of these united states at this very hour. at a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. oh! had i the ability, and could reach the nation's ear, i would, today, pour forth a stream, a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. for it is not light that is needed, but fire. it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. we need the storm, the whirlwind, the earthquake. the feeling of the nation must be quickened, the conscience of the nation must be roused,
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the propriety of the nation must be startled, the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed, and the crimes against god and man must be proclaimed and denounced. [applause] amy: that was james earl jones reading frederick dougss' address "what to the slave is your fourth of july?" we turn now to poet amanda gorman. in january, she became the youngest inaugural poet in u.s. history when she spoke at the inaugurati of president joe biden and vice president kamala harris. she was 22 years old when she read "the hill we climb," a poem she finished right after the insurrection at the capitol on january 6. this is amanda gorman. >> mr. president, dr. biden, madam vice president, mr. emhoff,
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americans and the world. when day comes, we ask ourselves, "where can we find light in this never-ending shade, the loss we carry, a sea we must wade?" we've braved the belly of the beast. we've learned that quiet isn't always peace, and the norms and notions of what "just is" isn't always justice. and yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it. somehow we do it. somehow we've weathered and witnessed a nation that isn't broken, but simply unfinished. we, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny black girl, descended from slaves and raised by a single mother, can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one.
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and yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn't mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect. we are striving to forge our union with purpose, two compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man. and so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. we close the divide, because we know, to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside. we lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another. we seek harm to none and harmony for all. let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true -- that even as we grieved, we grew that even as we hurt, we hoped that even as we tired, we tried
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that we'll forever be tied together victorious, not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division. scripture tells uso envision that "everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree. and no one shall make them afraid." if we're to live up to our own time, then victory won't lie in the blade, but in all the bridges we've made. that is the promise to glade, the hill we climb, if only we dare it, because being american is more than a pride we inherit. it's the past we step into and how we repair it. we've seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy. and this effort very nearly succeeded. but while democracy can be periodically delayed,
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it can never be permanently defeated. in this truth, in this faith, we trust, for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us. this is the era of just redemption we feared at its inception. we did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour, but within it we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves. so while once we asked, "how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?" now we assert, "how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?" we will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be -- a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free. we will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation,
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because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation. our blunders become their burdens. but one thing is certain -- if we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change, our children's birthright. so let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left. with every breath from my bronze-pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one. we will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west. we will rise from the wind-swept northeast, where our forefathers first realized revolution. we will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states. we will rise from the sun-baked south. we will rebuild, reconcile and recover. in every known nook of our nation, in every corner called our country,
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our people, diverse and beautiful, will emerge battered and beautiful. when day comes, we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid. the new dawn blooms as we free it, for there is always light, if only we're brave enough to see it, if only we're brave enough to be it. [applause] amy: poet amanda gorman reading her poem "the hill we climb" at president biden's inauguration in january. at 22, amanda gorman became the youngest inaugural poet. when we come back, we will spe to emory university professor carol anderson about her new book "the second: race and guns in a fatally unequal america." stay with us. ■■ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, i am amy goodman. as gun violence soars in the united states, we spend the rest of the hour looking at the second amendment and its racist roots. democracy now!'s nermeen sheikh and i recently interviewed carol anderson, author of the new book "the second: race and guns in a fatally unequal america."
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in the book, anderson details how the second amendment was written to empower local militia groups to put down slave revolts and protect plantation owners. she writes the second amendment is "rooted in fear of black people, to deny them their rights, to keep them from tasting liberty." professor anderson joined us from atlanta where she is a professor at emory university. she is also the author of "one person, no ve: how voter suppression is destroying our democracy" and "white rage: the unspoken truth of our racial divide." i began by asking her to go back in time and talk about where the second amendment came from. >> this emerged out of the fear of black people, from slavery, that there was this massive fear about the slave revolt, black people demanding their freedom, being willing to have an uprising to gain their freedom.
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and what that meant then was that you had this language of "we've got to keep this ferocious monster in chains." and you saw, with each revolt, with each uprising, a series of statutes being put in place to say that african -- that the enslaved, that black people could not own weapons, thathey coulnot have access to weapons. and you also saw the rise in the structure of slave patrols and militias that were there and designed to contaithat black population. ashe natiobegan to develop, as you had this war of independence, there was this fear of arming black people, the fear that even freed blacks who were armed would get -- would provide a kind of sense of what freedom looked like to the enslaved.
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but the exigencies of war required that arming, required having black folks in the continental army. but as the nation developed ter that war, one of the things that you had happening was with the constitution, with the drafting of the constitution. beuse the militias themselves had proven so untrustworthy, unreliable as a force to fight against the british invasion, at james madison, in drafting the constitution, had language in there that you would have federal control of the militias. we, when the constitution went up for ratification to the states, by the time it got to virginia, the anti-federalists in virginia were in an uproar. george mon and patrick henry were thinking about this militia
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being under the control of the federal government. they were like -- "we will be left defenseless. we cannot trust the federal government, that has these folks from pennsylvania and these folks from massachusetts, to be willing to engage the militia when the slaves relt. we cannot trust the federal government to protect us. we will be left defenseless." and they began to demand a bill of rights that would pvide protection, that would curtail federal power. and theyegan to demand, as well, new constitutional convention. that threat of what that meant sent james madison into the 1st congress determined to write a bill of rights that would quell that dissent, that would short-circuit that movement for a new constitutional convention.
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and we've already seen what the power of the south has meant, in terms of the -- when the constitution was being drafted itself, how the south said that "we will not sign on toecome part of this united states america if we don't get the three-fifths clause, we don't get 20 additional years on the atltic slave trade, if we don't get a fugitive slave clause." and so the south had already wielded its power in terms of being willing to scuttle the united states of america. and madison believed strongly that this threat coming out of t anti-federalists in the south, out of virginia, would do the same thing. and that becomes the basis r the second amendment. amy: and can you talk about all of the players -- i mean, you just mentioned james madison, patrick henry, the slave states --
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and how this country came together based on this terror of slaves rebelling? >> yes. i mean, so -- amy: ensved people rebelling? >> yeah, ensled people belling. and at fear that -you know, so you have george washington, who is a slave owner, who brings, in fact, some of his enslaved people to philadelphia for the constitutional convention. you have thomas jefferson, who is nothere, but he is writing in to madison and madison is writing to him. and one of the things that jefferson is concerned about is slavery, is the way that it will be depicted. and so you have th silence. there is a silence in the constitution. it's hovering over the formation of the constitution, like banquo's ghost, haunting it, in shaping it,
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but not being explicitly said. but it is the power that is creating this sophistry, this really weird "we believe in freedom and equality, but we want 20 additional years on the atlantic slave trade." what they said in south carolina was that "south carolina would be just a backward place. our wealth comes from the negroes. that is our natural resource. and weust protect it at all cost." so this is what is part of the tectonic plates mong at th time in this founding of this nation. nermeen: professor anderson, could you also explain the significance of the uniform militia act of 1792
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and its role in ensuring that weapons and guns remained in the hands of white people? >> yes. and so, one of the first laws passed by congress was the uniform militia act of 1792. what it said was that all able-bodied white men between the ages of 18 and 45 would have to be part of e litia. and so, here in the law, it is specifying white men. and it said that they must own a gun. this is part of -- the militia is part of citizenship. it is how you give your service to the nation, how yoprovide your bona fides, as it were, as an american citizen. and so, white meare the definition of american citizen in this aming, and that they must own a gun. and so what you see here is that the militia
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is given this high status in terms of what it means to be able to control a unruly population, what is seen as a dangerous population. nermeen: professor anderson, could -- >> i'm sorry. nermeen: no, please go ahead. >> interestingly enough for me is that we have had shays' rebellion that happened right before the constitutional convention, where white men gathered together to attack the government because they didn't like a taxation policy, and that the militia would not put down these white men. in fact, you had members of the militia joining this rebellion. and you had toave ston merants basically finance a mercenary army to put down shays' rebellion. but what you didn't see coming out of that was a law saying,
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you know, "white men with arms are dangerous. white men with arms atck the governme. so we need to ban ite men from having access to weapons." you don't see that hapning. but you do see tt happeng th slave revolts. you see the language, the laws comg in place, saying they shall not ve access, black people shall not haveccess to weapons, and that the militia and the slave patrol are there to ensure that black people do not have access to weapons. nermeen: and, professor anderson, it seems -- i mean, you begin yourook by talking about the police murders of philando castile, as well as alton steing, and you point out that the nra did not come to their defense, despite the ct that they were also killed for having guns in their possession,
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whereas a cparable violence perpetrated by white mass violence, the nra immediately leapt to the defense of the people responsible for that violence, who were white men. absolutely. and so there was a basic silence on philando castile. there was nothing said about alton sterling. and what was said about philando castile from the nra was -- and this was only after being pushed by their african american members -- was that "we believe that everyone, regardless of race, sexual orientation, should have access to guns, to arms," but thing really substantive. what happened after ruby ridge and waco, texas, with the branch davidians, was that wayne lapierre called outederal officers as being jackbooted government thugs
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who believe they have the right to storm into people's homes and take their guns and kill law-abiding citizens. several officers had been killed in those events. and so to then label the response as jackbooted thugs, when you get silence with philando caile, it really led meo -- you know, as journalists, we are asking, "don't african americans have second amendment rights?" d that's what sent me down this path, all the way to the 17th ceury, to be able to answer that question. amy: so let's go back to 2016. and is you write in your book, carol anderson, about how this inspired you to write this whole book. the immediate aftermath of the police shooting of philando casle was broadcast live on facebook by his girlfriend, diamond reynolds,
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who's speaking in the car next to her dying boyfriend as a police officer continues to point the gun into the car. her little child is in the backseat. a warning to our viewers, the content is deeply disturbing. >> they killed my boyfriend. he's licensed. he's carried to -- he's licensed to carry. he was trying to get out his id in his wallet out his pocket, and he let the officer know that he was -- he had a firearm, and he was reaching for his wallet. and the officer just shot him in his arm. amy: so dashcam video released nearly a year later shows the four-year-old daughter of diamond reynolds consoling her heartbroken mother, who's handcuffed in the back of a police squad car minutes after the st. anthony police officer jeronimo yanez shot and killed philando.
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>> mom, please stop saying cusses and screaming, because i don't want you to get shooted. >> ok. give me a kiss. my phone just died. >> i can keep you safe. >> it's ok. i got it, ok? come here. i can't believe they just did that. amy: there we hear the crying of diamond's daughter. the video was released just days after the police officer, jeronimo yanez, was acquitted of manslaughter. i wanted to ask you, carol anderson, to take us on that journey that you took, experiencing all of this, taking it in, telling us who philando was,
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talking about the fact that he had a gun -- legally had a gun -- and told the police officer about it. in fact, had told his mother before, "i'm thinking of not carrying the gun, though it's legal," because of -- well, i mean, just the day before, another african american man, alton sterling, had been killed by police in louisiana. but you take us on this journey that led to this book. >> yes. and so, it was the killing of philando castile. you know, i start off the book going, you know, it wasike a snf film because we all saw that video image. and it was horrific. it was jarring. and to then get the back story, that this was a n who followed nra guidelines, saying -- letting the officer know that "i have a licensed-carry weapon with me. you have asked for my id. i am reaching for my id." and the officer begins to shoot.
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so he is killed because he has a weapon, not that he is brandishing the weapon, not that he is threatening anyone. he simply has a weapon. and that really led me to begin on this journey -- as i saw the nra's virtual silence on this --on this journey figure out, do african americans have second amendment rights? you know, we're in this moment where the second amendment is like hallowed ground. it is sacred. it is one of those things that has been defined as the bedrock of citizenship. and so i started looking. and as i went on this journey, what i saw was that it wasn't about guns. it was about the fear of black people. it was about the fear of blackness. it was about the societal labeling of black people
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as dangerous, as a threat to whites, and that this architecture comes in place in order to contain this black population, in order to provide security and safety to the white community from this fear of black people. and you get this really weird matrix happening where black people are feared but needed. and so it is the "how do we contain them? how do we snuff out their quest for freedom? how do we snuff out their quest for their basic human rights, while also keeping them as labor without rights? how do we do that? how do we make that subjugation happen? how do we talk about in this land of the united states of america -- how do we lk about freedom but try to keep it contained from this black population? we don't want them getting the ether
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that we're talking about in this revolutionary moment about freedom and democracy and justice. we don't want them hearing the words about equality. how do we do that?" and when there was a revolt in virginia in800 with gabriel, and gabriel had fed on the language, the revolutionary language from the united states, from the french revolution, and from the haitian rolution. that sent shock waves -- shock waves -- throughout the united states. and virginia was trembling at the expansiveness of gabel'revolt. and the response was, you know, the wrong people are getting thword about freedom and democracy. thwrong pele are hearing this revolutionary langue and thinking that it applies to them.
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this was the journey that i was on to hear and to get into this milieu of how frightening, how dangerous ack people were seen as, and then to follow it all the way through to the 21st century by looking at -- do black people have the right to bear arms? do they have the right to a well-related militia? do they have the right to self-defense? and seeing how in each of those, has been usedgainst black blood people and that the status, the legal status of black folk has not altered that significantly. so whether enslaved, whether free black, whether denizen -- which was that halfway limbo land between enslaved and citizen -- whether newly emancipated freed people,
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whether jim crow black or whether post-civil rights african american, the right to bear arms, the right to a well-regulated militia, d the right to self-defense are in fact fractured. that citizenship is fractured. it is hobbleby this intense anti-blackness, is fear of black people, this sense of black people as a danger to white americasociety. nermeen: so professor anderson, could yotalk about tt, in particular, the role of black militias, which you talk about in the book, their role in the early 19th century, to what use they we deployed, and then how it is that whites stripped black militias of their official standing? >> yes. and so in louisiana, when it was stl the louisiana territory -- it was before the u.s. had puhased it
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but was on its way, it was on its way -- you had a well-heeled, well-trained black militia that had been very effective. well, as the u.s. came in, one of the first cries coming out owhite new orleans was to strip the black militia, disband the black militia. well, the governor, william claiborne at the time, you know, at first he's like, "yesyou know, asking for more arms, because we have all of these free blacks, and we've got these black folks wi arms," and so he's asking for more arms fromhe federal government. but th he startsoticing how effective this black militia is, anso he tries to square the circle -- white fear and the sense that the black milia is t only real effective fighting force there given all of the challenges that are happening in that territory at the time.
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and so what he comes up with is to remove the black officer class from this black militia and put in white offers, thinking that that wilbe enou for whites in new orleans who want the black militia disbanded. but then there is a massive, massive slave revolt coming from charles deslondes. and this massive slave revt that incded somewhere between 150 to 500 people, headed to new orleans heed to at they lieved was freedom, st sent terror through what is called the german coast of louisiana. and so william claiborne, seeing this massive movement, this massive slave revolt, in fact, begins to enlist the black militia as part of the forces to take onhis slave revolt. and the slave revolt is ushed. i mean, the u.s. army comes in.
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the u.s. ny comes in. you have thehite milit th is there, but the black militia is vereffective. and so you have a ack militia fighting against black folk who are enslaved and tryi to be free. the reward that the black militia received for ts was a further push to be disbanded, further push to not have access to be able to purchase arms. they put a law in place that folks of color, black people, could not buy arms. th came the war of 1812, anandrew jackson is the leader, the military leader, and he sees the british coming in this battle of new orleans. and he sees this black militia, and he's telling claiborne, "we need them. this is an effective fighting force."
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and clborne is like, "yes, they are. but i'm telling you, they're just not feeling it right now because of the way we treat them." and he's like, "i will treat them equally. i will treat them wi the honor th all soldiers should have. and they will be paid equal to whites. they will receivthe same pay. and besides the black militia, i want two additional battalions." claiborne came back and he said, "you can get the black militia, but getting two additional battalions is going to be difficult because whites in this area believe that arming them is arming the enemy." so you havblack folks who are identified as the enemy. and in that fighting force, that force beat the british. it was like 3000 or so oandrew jackson's troops against 8000 british troops and they won.
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and andrew jackson was like, "wow! i knew you guys were good. i just didn't know how good." but the response, the reaction to that then was to send them off as a labor battalion to work in the swamps, that white men didn't want to go into to do the work. so you have this denigration of black military contributions to fighting for america. and that was a csistent theme that we saw. so you get this erasure of this history and this erasure for the men themselves who are doing the fighting, who are being wounded, who are dealing with the loss of the fighting brethren. that has been thsense that black men under arms bear a threat, and black men whare trained how to use arms, they' really a threat.
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so they must be disarmed after th have seed our ppose. amy: professor anderson, i just wanted to follow up on the term you used, "anti-blackness," that you're actually saying that the second amendment is not about guns, but it's about anti-blackne. explain. >> yes. it is about the fear. so -- the best way to do this is to talk about the kind of history that we have about the second amendment. we hear the history of the militia, about being this really effective fighting force to fend off a foreign invasion and also being there to fend ofdomestic tyranny. but what they knew at the time was that the militia had proven to be uneven, unreliable in the war of independence, the war for independence. george washington was beside himself at the lack ofeliability of the militias. sometimes they would show up, sometimes ey wouldn't.
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sometimes they'd fight, sometimes they wouldn't. sometimes they wou just take off and r away. it's ally diffilt to fo a battle plan when your fighting force is like, "mmm, i'm not feeling it today." and it led gouverneur morris, who was out of new york and one of the founding fathers, to say, "to rely upon the milia ainst a foreign vasion is like to depend upon a broken reed." and so they knew that the militia was really not strong against a professional army. and then there was shays' rebellion. what they saw with shays' rebellion is that you could not really rely upon the militia in order to deal with an uprising and insurrections against government. you could not rely upon them for that. where the militia was consistently good was in slave revolts, in crushing slave revolts.
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and so this is what led george mason and patrick henry to talk about "we must control our militia. we will be left defenseless against slave revos if the federal government controls it." and so it is that fear of sla revolts, that fear of black rebellion, the fear of blacks as a dangerous population that mt be controlled by these militias, that was essential in the drafting of the second amendment. when you think aut the bill of rights, how you've got the right freedom othe press, how you have no state-sponsored ligion, how you have freedom of assembly, the right noto be illegally searched a seized, the right to a speedy and fair trial, the right not to he cruel and unusual puniment --
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and you see these incredible rights. and then you've got thisell-regulated militia? the right to bear arms for the security of the state? thatmendment is an outlier this bill of rights. and that outlier is because it was the payoff to the south to have a force unr state corol that could contain black aspirations, black freedom quests, that cld contain what is seen as a dangerous black population. amy: that is carol anderson, professor at emory university. her new book is "the second: race and guns in a fatally unequal america." we will be back with her after a short break. ■■ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now! democracy i am amy goodman. we return to our conversation with carol anderson, professor at emory university, author of the new book "the second: race and guns in a fatally unequal america." i recently interviewed her with nermeen sheikh. nermeen: professor anderson, another issue that you raise in the book as absolutely critical has to do with the denial of the rights of citizenship to blacks.
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so if you could explain thcrucial supreme court decision here, dred scott v. sandford in 1857, and how evenfter the 14th amendment was passed, dred scott continued to take precedence? >> yes. and so the dred scott decision was designed to try to stop the explosion that was happening, the secessionist crisis that was happening in the united states, becae there d been a sees of evts -- the missouri compromise, the war for texas, the kaas -- and bleeding kansas. all of these things were about the expansion of slavery and the fight to contract slavery. and so the dred sct decision- so dred scott was a black man who was enslaved.
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and his owner had taken him to free-soil states, wisconsin and to illinois. and then he was taken to missouri, which was a slave state. he had argued that because he had been on free soil for years, that he was free. what this decision said, wrien by chief justice roger taney, was that black people were never considered citizens of the united states. they weren't considered citizens at the founding with the constitution. they weren't considered citizens in that there's -- with the uniform militia act of 1792. they weren't considered citizens when the secretary of state refused to issue black people passpor, saying they're not citizens. they're denied the ability to carry the mail. all of these things prove that they're not citizens.
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he said in this decision, "if they were tizens, they would be able to go easily from state to state. but the were ls that prevented that." and he said, "and they would be able to carry arms wherever they went." and so in there, you see that being able to carry arms is a sign ofitizensh in this framing and is saying they're not citizen dred scott w the onehat said that a black man has no rights that a white man is bound to respect. dred scott, in fact, did not stop the crisis. in fact, it added to it. and it helped ad to the civil war. after the civil war, you had andrew johnson as the president of the unitestates, basically issuing these mass amnesties to the confederacy, to confederate leaders,
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who then reassumed their positions in these states. and they passed constitutions and laws that denied black people their rights. one of the laws that they passed were the black codes. the ack code-- amg other things, besides trying to control labor, the black codes said that black people could not br arms, they could not have weapons, and that they needed to be disarmed. you had the rise of these paramilitary groups working in league with these neo-confederate stat trying to disarm black people. you had a bloody massacre, one right after the next there's a travelogue of carnage by carl schurz who writes on the report of the conditions in the south that ijust harrowing. historian and legal scholar annette gordon-reed calls it a "slow-motion genocide."
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and you have black troops, black union troops, u.s. troops, who are part of the occupying army in the south. you have white stherners absolutely outraged that you would have black soldiers- black soldiers -- as an occupyg force in what they see as their space. and so they begin to tk about the violence that we're seeing, the violence that is happening is becau these black soldiers are here. and if these black soldis weren't here, then this killing wouldn't be happening. and so andrew johnson remos the blacsoldiers. first he removes them from the interior of the south and puts them on coastalortifications, and then shortly thereafter, removes them as an occupying force in the south altogether. those black soldiers saw themselves as a line of defense protecting the newlyreed people from the terror
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that was raining dowon them. so t denigrati oflack soldiers, the attempt to disarm black people after the war, the language that black people aren't rely citizens, that black people are dangerous and they cannot have access to weapons because it cllenges the safety and the security of white southerners, i mean, that's what was going on at this time. amy: professornderson, i wanted to leap forward to ask about how authorities responded to the black panthers, which urged black people to arm themselves in the 1960's. this is bobby seale, co-founder of the black panther self-defense party, speaking in 1967. >> the black panther party for self-defense calls upon the american people in general, and the black people in particular, to take full note of the racist california lislature,
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whicis now considering legislation aimed at keeping the black people disarmed and powerless at the very same time that racist police agencies throughout the country are intensifying the terror, brutality, murder and repression of black people. amy: so if you could respond to this, carol anderson, to respond to bobby seale? >> yeah, so, what bobby seale is talking about is the depth othe police violence and brutality that was raining down on the black community. the uprisings that we saw in watts, in cleveland, in newark, in detroit were all fueled not only by those horrific conditions in those places, but also by police btality. and the black panther party for self-defense was founded as a response to the brutality of the oakland police department. d so what the black panthers did, they said, "we will police the poli." they knew what the law said about open carry in california. and they also knew what the law said about the distance
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that you had to maintain from a police officer arresting someone. so the black panthers woulcome to those arrests fully armed with the kinds of legal weons that they were allowed to have and the police did not like it. they did not like it. and so the oakland police department went to don mulford, an assemblyman, a california assemblyman, and said, "we need your help. we need to make what the black panthers are dng illegal because currently it's legal. we stop them but they've got the right kinds of weapons. we can't arrest them for what they're dng. we need to be able to ma their work illegal." and so what mulford did, with the help of the nra, was to write the mulrd act, which banned open carry -- whicwas a gun control act. and it was a gun control act targeted at thblack panthers. so mulford said, "no, there's no racial targeting in this at all.
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this is about the klan, as well." but it wasn't. e letters make it really clear that the genesis for this, the catalyst for it, was the "how do we curtail the black panthers? how we make them illegal?" amy: fascinatingly, moving forward 20 years, i want to go to form supreme court chief justice warren burger, 1991, appearing on the macneil/lehrer newshour. >> if i were writing the bill of rights now, there wouldn't be any such thing as the second amendment. >> which says? >> tt a we-regulated militia being necessary for the defense ofhe state, the people's rights to bear arms. this has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud -- i repeat the word "fraud" -- on the american public by special interest groups that i have ever seen in my lifetime. amy: "this has been the greatest fraud." we're going to have to end with this final comment of yours,
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professor anderson. >> yes. and that fraud has been that swaddling of the second amendment in the flag, in patriotism, in a sense of -- that the militias were there to protect and defend democracy, when in fact the mitia were there designed to control black people and deny black people their rights. so in the second amendment, what we have in the bill of rights is the right to destro black ople's rights. that ianathema. that is what has been committed. amy: what most shocked you in your research? >> how consistent this anti-blackness was and how it carries through to today with stand yr ground laws, how it carries through with theays that black people are seen as threats, monster as dangerousimply because of their very being,
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and that puts a crosshairs on them. that is -- writing this book was hard because wring about the past and carrying it to the future in the mid of the killing of george floyd, ahmaud arbery, breonna taylor, was just -- in the midst of the pandemic, was just a lot. amy: that is emory university carol anderson, author of the new book "the second: race and guns in a fatally unequal america." her other books include "one person, no vote: how voter suppression is destroying our democracy" and "white rage: the unspoken truth of our racial divide." and that does it for today's show. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to or mail them to democracy now!
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