Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor writes on Black politics, social movements, and racial inequality in the United States. Her articles have been published in Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society, Jacobin, New Politics, the Guardian, In These Times, Black Agenda Report, Ms., International Socialist Review, Al Jazeera America, and other publications. Taylor is Assistant Professor in the department of African American Studies at Princeton University. Her book, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation was published by Haymarket Books in January 2016.
The below is extracted from Keeanga Yamahtta-Taylor's From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, with thanks to the publisher Haymarket Books for their permission.
On 12 April 1865, the American Civil War officially came to an end when the Union Army accepted the unconditional surrender of the Confederacy on the steps of a courthouse in Appomattox, Virginia. The Union Army, led by 200,000 Black soldiers, had destroyed the institution of slavery; as a result of their victory, Black people were now to be no longer property but citizens of the United States. The Civil Rights Act of 1866, the first declaration of civil rights in the United States, stated that:
citizens of every race and color, without regard to any previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude, shall have the same right, in every State and Territory in the United States ... to full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of person and property, as is enjoyed by white citizens.