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Johnson-Walter

Walter Johnson

Walter Johnson teaches history at Harvard and is the author of The Broken Heart of America: St. Louis and the Violent History of the United StatesSoul by Soul: Life Inside in the Antebellum Slave Market, and River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Mississippi Valley's Cotton Kingdom. His autobiographical essay, “Guns in the Family,” was included in the 2019 Best American Essays; it was originally published in Boston Review, of which Johnson is a contributing editor. Johnson is a founding member of the Commonwealth Project, which brings together academics, artists, and activists in an effort to imagine, foster, and support revolutionary social change, beginning in St. Louis.

Walter Johnson Mark Patricia McCloskey St Louis Portland Place

Photos of Mark and Patricia McCloskey waving guns at St. Louis Black Lives Matter protesters became instantly iconic. But the McCloskeys are also only a symptom of how racism is served by private property.

Walter Johnson
St Louis COVID redlining

Black Americans are dying of COVID-19 at much higher rates than whites, and nowhere more so than in St. Louis. This is the result of racist policies which collapsed the social safety net while setting blacks in the path of danger.

Walter Johnson Jason Q. Purnell Colin Gordon Jamala Rogers
Walter Johnson American Bottom 3 copy 2

Designed as a bucolic working-class suburb of St. Louis, the nearly all-black town of Centreville now floods with raw sewage every time it rains.

Walter Johnson
Nell Painter Freedom from Truth installation

After retiring from Princeton, celebrated historian Nell Irvin Painter decided to go to art school. In this interview with Walter Johnson, she discusses what it’s like to be an old student, and how art lets her tell truths about history that she couldn’t as an academic.

Jonathan M. Square Nell Painter Walter Johnson
walter tef 3

Harvard professor Walter Johnson and rapper Tef Poe reflect on their shared activism, and the place they see for allies—accomplices, even—in the long struggle for racial justice.

Tef Poe Mordecai Lyon Walter Johnson
Johnson--Guns_feature

A childhood steeped in guns shows that toxic masculinity and racism are at the heart of U.S. gun culture.

Walter Johnson
taney1

The spectre of Dred Scott is haunting St. Louis.

Walter Johnson
kara walker

What can W. E. B. Du Bois and the black radical tradition tell us about Trump's election and radical political action today?

Walter Johnson
Johnson_test

What if we use the history of slavery as a standpoint from which to rethink our notion of justice today?

Walter Johnson
Johnson_test

What if we use the history of slavery as a standpoint from which to rethink our notion of justice today?

Walter Johnson

Going beyond liberal notions of justice.

Walter Johnson