In a relative sense the American Civil War wasn’t that long ago. Soon after I was born, my parents took me to visit my great grandfather, Charles Davis, who everyone called “Pappy.” Pappy was living in a VA hospital in Aspinwall, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh and it was his 93rd birthday when he was photographed holding me in his arms. Pappy was a veteran of the Spanish-American War and Pappy’s father, Richard B. Davis, was a corporal with a Zouave regiment, the 155th PA, in the Union Army and fought at Little Round Top during the battle of Gettysburg, among other engagements.
That’s how recent the war was. As a baby I was once held by the son of a Civil War veteran.
But on the other hand, 150 years or so is a very long time when we consider post-war racial equality. As many of us observed in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in America for good, passed through Congress on its way to ratification in the states in early 1865. Yet the real struggle for racial equality had only just begun and, to this day, still hasn’t been fully realized.
On February 7, 2013, after all this time, the state of Mississippi finally ratified the amendment that abolished slavery. [continue reading here]