The acquittal of the man who killed unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, the release of the film Fruitvale Station dramatizing the murder of Oscar Grant (another young black man) by police, and a federal judge’s August 2013 ruling that the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy has resulted in millions of incidents of blacks being unjustly harassed by police have all contributed to a broader awareness of America’s ongoing racist treatment of African Americans.

Perhaps it’s time to think more deeply about how we expose each new generation to the history of slavery, segregation, and their consequences. We could start by requiring every middle school child to watch the televised version of Alex Haley’s Roots. We would also do well to share the essays of Frederick Douglass and national columnist Byron Williams’s reflections on the year 1963, when southern police set their dogs on peaceful anti-segregationist blacks....

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