Douglas Blackmon Lecture Opens up Race at SUNY Oswego

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Douglas Blackmon, a Pulitzer Prize winning author, gave a lecture about race inequality at SUNY Oswego on Feb. 12th

Blackmon discussed the racial issues that have plagued America from the end of the Civil War to the present day.

“Things are far better than they were 30,40, 50 years ago,” Blackmon said. “We remain a country that is grapples in the fundamental ways, in how we interact with one another.”[su_custom_gallery source=”media: 14988″ width=”270″ height=”270″]

Blackmon went into detail explaining how even though slavery was abolished, freed slaves were still being treated as slaves.

“There was a real dilemma in the south. The whites knew how to grow cotton, but they couldn’t imagine working with freed blacks,” Blackmon said.

Blackmon also took questions from the audience and one of the questions asked seemed to make him ponder.

“You’re obviously not black,” the student said, “So what was a turning point where you wanted to research this?”

Blackmon responded by saying that by growing up in a rural Mississippi, he was surrounded by these stereotypes.[su_custom_gallery source=”media: 14989″ width=”270″ height=”270″]

“My graduating class (1982) was the first class to graduate together (white kids and black kids),” he said, “My class was majority black.”

Blackmon’s knowledge on the topic of race inequality was very to the point and explained very well. His explanations on how freed blacks ended up back in a slavery like situation.[su_youtube url=”” width=”420″ height=”480″]J?[/su_youtube]

“By the time you get the 1900 no one going to come to the rescue of the blacks,” he said. “Even the most well intention white people didn’t believe that black people were equal to white people.”

“White America had arrived. It was the right thing to end slavery, but it was a mistake to allow black people to think they were citizens,” Blackmon said. [su_audio url=”″ width=”50%”]

Blackmon goes on to explain the laws that were placed on black workers that were unfairly pushed upon the blacks.

“It was illegal to ‘break contract’,” he explains, “once you have entered into that contract, if you sought work somewhere else, you would get whipped.”

Blackmon was energetic the entire time, making sure that his points were being driven home. One of the last questions asked was one that got a very deep answer.

“We are a long way from a post-racial society,” he said, “and I hope we never get there, depending on what it means. I don’t like a colorblind society. I like the range of colors in the room, I like the differences of people.”[su_custom_gallery source=”media: 14991″ width=”270″ height=”270″]