The commemoration of war has often, as in the case of Charlottesville, been used to bind together the sinews of power. The three articles in this series seek to explore avenues in the other direction, commemorating war as a means of bending the arc of history toward justice. As their authors suggest, changing the way we remember war has the potential to fundamentally rework our understandings of both the past and present. In the process, we may find new opportunities to foster more equitable approaches to our shared history and society.
Racism and oppression, like domestic terrorism, have deep roots in the United States. As modern Americans confront a seemingly endless barrage of racial violence and terrorism, the language associated with these crimes serves as an important marker of national values and beliefs.
While the response of the president was certainly unprecedented, the inclination to highlight violence on the Left, and especially violence from black Americans, is not. In the mid 1960s, as black activists engaged in a decidedly nonviolent struggle for justice, that same tactic appears.