As we witness this unexpected and I think historic sea change at least in the symbolism of neo-Confederate nostalgia, it is worth remembering that the fight for equality and civil rights for African-Americans and against white supremacy in its various forms has never been a march in a single direction. If the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice, it's very much been a zigzag arc.
Even after the federal government withdrew its final support from Reconstructed, biracial governments in the South in 1876, those governments and movements didn't collapse overnight. Biracial politics and political movements continued on in diminished but persistent forms well until the 1890s, before being finally snuffed out in a wave of Supreme Court decisions, mass disenfranchisement and violence. As Gregory Downs noted in his article on the origins of Juneteenth, in the 1890s there were some 100,000 African-American voters in Texas. By 1906 that number had fallen to fewer than 5,000. The blanket of Jim Crow absolutism that had come to rest over the South by the first years of the 20th century may have looked like some time immemorial reality. But it was actually a very new creation, finally secured only in the 1890s through an interlocking chain of Supreme Court decisions, extra-judicial violence, new legislation and the collapse of interracial political coalitions.
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