Saturday 21 October 2017

Still black and white when it comes to racism in US

Reverend A Prioleau of Goose Creek, South Carolina, carries a sign at a rally in North Charleston
Reverend A Prioleau of Goose Creek, South Carolina, carries a sign at a rally in North Charleston
Officer Michael Slager stands over Walter Scott

Tim Stanley

It was 150 years to the day yesterday since the end of the American Civil War - and still race divides the United States.

The shooting of Walter Scott in South Carolina is yet more evidence that the bloodiest conflict in US history failed to resolve the question of racial equality. It was a defining moment. General Robert E Lee of the Confederate Army surrendered to General Ulysses S Grant, leader of the Union Army, in the village of Appomattox Court House, Virginia. A war that had claimed 750,000 lives - by far the bloodiest in American history - was over.

Yet the mood was not triumphant but tragic. The victorious Northerners did not make the traditional demand that the Southerners hand over their swords. Grant's aide-de-camp recollected an air of mutual regard: "General Grant… saluted [Lee] by raising his hat… Lee raised his hat respectfully, and rode off to break the sad news to the brave fellows whom he had so long commanded."

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