coates on jefferson

If you would like to read something meaty (but short) I would commend to you Ta-Nehisi Coates' recent series of blog posts on Thomas Jefferson and slavery. An excerpt from the most recent installment:

When people say Jefferson was merely a "man of his times" they sell him short. I don't mean this as some sort of rhetorical jiu-jitsu. I find myself quoting these words when trying to explain slavery's problems. What Jefferson, the man, did doesn't make these words any less meaningful.

At some point we are going to have to develop something beyond an infantile desire to know whether Daddy was a "good guy" or a "bad guy." In fact, Daddy was an avowed white supremacist, whose words help inspire the black freedom movement. Daddy was an American slave-holder to the end, who brilliantly elucidated the moral and practical problem of American slavery. Daddy railed against miscegenation, while practicing it.
There is a great deal more here and here. He's also busily picking apart Lincoln and continues to write some of the best contributions to the ongoing discussion of head injuries in football. The dude is prolific. But I really hope he finds a way to spin this Jefferson stuff into a book, or at least a feature in The Atlantic.

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