The Confederates didn’t stop fighting after the Civil War. The next chapter of southern history played out not just in the use of violence by ex-Confederates, but on an ideological battlefield that still exists today.
In the late 19th & early 20th centuries, deep underground in the mountains of West Virginia laid vast deposits of coal. The coal barons lived in luxury. Just like the plantation owners in the old South, they got rich off the back-breaking of working people. The mineworkers, on the other hand, had a very different existence.
On July 20, 1969, one month before Woodstock and the very day Neil Armstrong would make the first successful moonwalk, a young white guy in a denim work coat, sunglasses, and beret took the stage at the Black Panther Party’s National Conference For A United Front Against Fascism in Oakland California. His name was Bill Fesperman, but he went by Preacherman among his comrades.
A few weeks ago, Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton appointed “The Commission for Racial Justice & Equality” to look at ways to address systemic racism. While that commission has created a number of subcommittees to look at various aspects of the matter, it has left one overarching issue to the vagaries of history. Lexington was one of the two largest slave markets in the South. Even more important was the fact...