In these first two chapters, Napolitano makes it clear that in his opinion, while slavery is always wrong, American-instituted slavery is the worst of all historical institutions of slavery because of the ideals this country was founded upon. Based on the information he’s given us and the information we may have from different sources, what do you think of this labeling? Is he correct in placing such a damning judgment on America? Why or why not?
How has the discussion of natural versus positive law in Napolitano’s work changed the way you see the decisions of lawmakers and the courts in the history of the early USA? Specifically, has it changed the way you view the Dred Scott case ruling? Why or why not?
The only US President it might be more rare to see someone criticize than Abraham Lincoln is George Washington. Yet Judge Napolitano makes it very clear that he will not join in deifying Lincoln, but instead expose Lincoln’s racist motivations underlying all his actions during the Civil War era. I know this may have been a shock for some to read (I know when I learned about it, it was harder to swallow than I’d like to admit), and Napolitano, as far as I’m aware, is one of the only so loudly outspoken critics of Lincoln. So, what are your thoughts on Napolitano’s assessment of Lincoln? What are your thoughts regarding Lincoln’s role in ending *formalized, government sanctioned* slavery in the US?
One of the most frustrating things mentioned in these chapters was that as the segregation laws were struck down, particularly regarding education, there was no timeline put in place for ensuring integration. What connections can you draw from this lack of timeline and the experience of the Freedom Writers (which, if you’re interested in, you can go buy their book at any bookstore worth its salt)?
Since this is the song that John Legend chose to end his All Star Game performance with this year, I think it’s a good time that we have a post discussing it in context of Selma, Civil Rights, and political rhetoric used by both parties to win minority votes. What are the ways you see the newest Civil Rights Movement continuing the legacy of the 1960s wave of Civil Rights activism?
How do you see Jackie Robinson and other groundbreaking black public figures influencing how we view progress and civil rights activists today? More specifically, what do you think about the way the movie 42 portrays the Jackie Robinson story? Rachel Robinson, Jackie Robinson’s wife, says that of all the films and documentaries made about her husband, this movie is the one she likes best.