As the generation that built the system that promoted peace in Europe fades away, we find ourselves struggling to maintain those institutions. This is in large part because we forget too easily that their original and true purpose was not the sacrifice of national identity at the altar of economic integration. The purpose was peace.
Sometime in the late 1930s, Irene Robertson interviewed Mary Teel about her memory of slavery and her life since. Some of Robertson’s questions clearly made the formerly-enslaved Teel feel uncomfortable, like when she asked about the Klan, education, and voting. Nonetheless, Teel’s account of slavery and its aftermath repeated a theme common among her peers: years of hard work still left her “hard up.”