1619: “Inheritance,” by Trymaine Lee
“Every time we take a step up, there’s someone trying to crush it.”
Happy Monday and welcome to Week 17! Hope you had a good weekend. It’s time to get back to reading. Here’s our schedule.
This week, let’s read “Inheritance,” by Trymaine Lee. The essay explains how white people’s jealousy of Black people’s financial success after the Civil War led to the end of the Freedmen’s Bureau, the shuttering of the Freedmen’s Bank, the storming of Wilmington, the massacre of Tulsa, and the lynching of successful Black entrepreneurs like Elmore Bolling. The result is that Black people are now twice less likely to receive an inheritance as white people, and when they do, their inheritance is one-third as much.
Mr. Lee writes:
Black people’s financial success often seemed to provoke the harshest response, especially from white people who felt threatened by a real or perceived rise in African American prosperity. With limited opportunities to accumulate wealth or even financial stability, Black folks had to work extraordinarily hard and strike just enough luck to cobble together a living. Gathering the means to educate their children and keep their families safe was a full-time mission — a tough one, given that nearly all of them started with nothing. Again and again, when Black people did manage to build any kind of success, they were met with violence.
Read “Inheritance,” by Trymaine Lee.
Find a person with a strong opinion on The 1619 Project (either for or against), ask them if they’ve read the book, and see what they say.
Also, please feel free to reach out. Let me know if you need anything or want to chat. All you need to do is hit reply. Thank you and have a great week!