Status: Complete

6 the planning and work that preceded the speech.

Instead of a series of well publicized marches and protests, we see long organizing compaigns and brave and lonely soldiers often working in near solitude.

And instead of a sudden upsurge in activities in Montgomery in 1955, we see a long and unceasing history of challenges to white supremacy that began in slavery.

When we look back at our times from the 21st Century, what will we see?

If we look at today - at the 1980s and early 1990s - through the same lens we used to use to examine the 1950s and 1960s, we may well see only the electoral and ideological victories and Ronald Reagan and George Bush.

In that narrow view, Ronald Reagan discovered a cultural and electoral backlash against the 1960s and rode it to power. Once in office, he and his successor institutionalized their revolution, discrediting and then weakening the government's efforts to help the poor and powerless, strenthening the effort to reward the rich and powerful.

But Ronald Reagan and George Bush did not create the politics that gave them power, however skillful they become at exploiting racial fears and selfishness.

Instead, they should be seen as the natural descendants and heirs of two centuries of racial politics, modern-day proponents of an ancient series of arguments against equality.

More than 35 years ago, for example, whites in Montgomery used arguments against integrating the buses that were the same

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