Annotating the AEI (An Exercise in Reading)

Over at the American Enterprise Institute’s online magazine The American, John E. Calfee tries to replace one version of American Fiction with his own, in his post “Progressives, Jim Crow, and Selective Amnesia” (05-25-10). In the interest of promoting quality reading, Bookbread has provided a few samples of Calfee’s American Fiction (a.k.a. cherry picked American history) with annotations in italics:

The Jim Crow system did not start in the South. It first arose in the North (although the term dates only from the early 20th century) as a way to deal with free blacks, including ex-slaves [also I neglect to mention that the eligible voters in the South never bothered to step up to become the first American region to abolish the Jim Crow System].

…. Thus by the 20th century, the Jim Crow system was vastly diminished in the North but had become thoroughly embedded in the South—through [state and not the boogie-man federal] government action—despite the incentives of many business owners to reap the economies of scale and consequent profit from treating all customers alike.

…. One particular political party should recall, painful as it is, that when people spoke for decades of the “Solid South,” they referred to a reality in which Democratic politicians could be counted on to keep blacks from voting in the states of the former Confederacy [even though such members as Jessie Helms and Strom Thurmon were later welcomed with open arms into the Republican party].


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