Why 2020 Feels Like the Longest Year Of Our Lives — And Yet It’s Only Half Over.Historians in the News
tags: racism, COVID-19, historical comparison
One historian likened the first half of 2020 to other critical moments in American history, including 1970, when National Guard members opened fire on anti-war protests on the Kent State University campus in Ohio, killing four students and wounding nine others.
“It’s terrible and fascinating. I think all of us who study history are feeling whipsawed because there are so many parallels to the past, but it’s so confusing because one day it feels like 1861, the next 1918, then suddenly 1970,” said Ted Widmer, author of the recent book “Lincoln on the Verge” and a professor at CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College.
“So many things are happening at the same time,” he said. “We have so many extremes feeding each other, driving each other forward, while everyone is simultaneously fearful of the global pandemic.”
During the start of the Civil War in 1861, the breaking point was deep division over the enslavement of black people. Today, the flash points are police brutality and systemic racism, enduring echoes of that shameful institution.
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