The North had won the war and slavery had ended, but there the gains stalled, leading Quaker poet/abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier to lament that, between…carpet-baggers and Confederate vigilantes, the newly freed slaves in the South “had not been saved from suffering,” yet “I see no better course”…”The negro will disappear from the field of national politics,” wrote the Nation, a modern liberal beacon then in its infancy. “Henceforth that nation, as a nation, will have nothing to do with him.” It’s hard in an era of voter suppression efforts in minority neighborhoods, with a Supreme Court that devalues the Civil Rights Act, and when an armed Florida vigilante can spark a confrontation and then claim self-defense, to not measure past against present. Especially given the argument streaming through conservative America that this is a post-racial society in which blacks no longer need special protections from the legal system. Whites and blacks have a different history in these same United States, and it behooves us to recognize that. And to sense—in the present—the weight of the past.