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Tue Dec 31, 2019, 05:35 AM

To recognize Black History Month, GOP lawmaker proposes a list of mostly white people

In Wisconsin this February, one lawmaker wants to mark Black History Month by celebrating 10 Americans ó including a Civil War colonel, a newspaper editor and a church deacon. All are heralded for their bravery, but most on the list are white.

The resolution, circulated this month, identifies a group of people integral to the stateís Underground Railroad system, both slaves who traveled it and abolitionists who sheltered them. The author, state Rep. Scott Allen (R), says itís a sincere effort to salute important historical figures. But several black legislators have called the effort disingenuous and said it undermines the purpose of Black History Month: to highlight the accomplishments of African Americans so often overlooked in classrooms and history books.

Itís the third year in a row that Wisconsinís commemoration of Black History Month has devolved into a largely partisan struggle over issues of cultural appropriation, identity politics, privilege and power ó a small-scale tableau of some of the nationís deepest divides.

ďWhy should you be leading what we do on Black History Month?Ē state Sen. Lena Taylor (D) said in an interview, referring to Allen, who is white. ďThe fact that this even needs to be discussed is a reflection of where we are as a society. I wake up every day as a black woman, Iím not exactly sure what it is that Scott Allen believes he knows better than me."


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