You need to understand, that who you are now, you are the physical manifestation of a conspiracy of love; that people whose names you don’t even know who struggled for you, who fought for you, sweated for you, who volunteered for you - you are here because of them. Do not forget that.
Corey Booker (paraphrasing his father), Stanford University, Commencement 2012
According to the historian David Blight, by the dawn of the Civil War “there were more millionaires (slaveholders all) living in the lower Mississippi Valley than anywhere else in the United States.” Indeed, by 1860 the American South was home to the second largest slave society in the entire world, one whose net worth exceeded “all of America’s manufacturing, all of the railroads, all of the productive capacity of the United States put together.” In terms economic, cultural, and political, slavery made America possible. Reducing this grand, indefensible and complicated institution to the simple act of slave-holding is like reducing the Holocaust to mass murder…