Black history is American history. And like other chapters of our history, it’s a study in courage, conviction, joy, and perseverance — but also of grievous injustices never made right.

That tension has produced the social movements, arts, culture, and achievements that make our country what it is. By studying it, we learn not only about our past but our present — and maybe how to work toward a better future.

But a handful of extremist politicians are at war with that future — so like all demagogues, they’re declaring war on the past. 

This week in OtherWords, Tracey L. Rogers marks Black History Month by calling out the politicians who are trying to criminalize teaching it. Their efforts are deadly serious — but, Tracey notes, they should be no match for the students who won’t take it anymore.

Also this week, as the new Congress tries to cut programs Americans rely on, Tom Conway shares stories from the ordinary workers who are fighting to defend Social Security. And Pamela M. Covington shares a moving personal story about how housing aid helped her young family achieve safety and security.

Finally, with a horrific video circulating showing how Memphis police beat Tyre Nichols to death, cartoonist Khalil Bendib wonders if policing looks any different here than in dictatorships abroad — a fitting complement to Sonali Kolhatkar’s call last week to not simply accept this violence.

New This Week….

Teach Black History — Don’t Ban It | Tracey L. Rogers
Politicians fire teachers and ban books, but more and more Americans are standing up against this effort to erase our history.

Don’t Let Politicians Cut Housing Aid | Pamela M. Covington
Housing vouchers and food stamps helped my family escape a dangerous situation. Will families today get the same chance?

Social Security Is America’s Contract with Working People | Tom Conway
Fairer taxes on the rich could fund the program. Instead, the far right wants to stiff workers who’ve already paid in.

Cartoon: Freedom v. Tyranny | Khalil Bendib
An unflattering comparison for America’s unchecked police departments.

In Case You Missed It…

Taking a Hard Look at Police Killings | Sonali Kolhatkar
Police killed more people last year than any other on record. Can reimagining city budgets make our communities safer?

The Clearest Case for Taxing Billionaires Yet | Sam Pizzigati
Last year, the world’s wealthiest lost billions and didn’t suffer one bit. They wouldn’t suffer if they had to pay their fair share of taxes either.

America’s Inequality Problem in One Statistic | Sarah Anderson
If you work for a big corporation, your boss likely made more money on January 2 than you will this whole year.

Beyond the ‘Border Crisis’ | Farrah Hassen
Reducing a humanitarian crisis to an issue of “border security” puts real solutions out of reach.

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Peter Certo

Peter Certo is the communications director of the Institute for Policy Studies and editor of

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