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How The South Still Struggles With Slavery And How The Rest Of The World Struggles To Understand


A couple of weeks ago, a producer for the British television news channel ITV sent me an e-mail asking for help on a story they were putting together. Somehow, they had stumbled across my essay “Why ’12 Years a Slave’ Will Always Matter to Louisiana,” and they were interested in exploring my thesis: That Louisiana has failed at properly acknowledging the role and the legacy of slavery.

I was, of course, flattered by the pitch, and I was even more impressed that the producer immediately and intuitively understood that the story wasn’t really mine. She wasn’t asking to interview me, necessarily; she was asking me to share my notes. I gave her my phone number, and the next day, we talked for about a half an hour.

“It’s going to be difficult to find a white person in Louisiana, especially someone who owns a plantation, to admit, on…

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