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Author photo. Photo by Lonnie Tague for The Department of Justice [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Lonnie Tague for The Department of Justice [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Roger Wilkins has 1 media appearance.

Aug
12
Roger Wilkins
Booknotes, Sunday, August 12, 2001
Roger Wilkins discusses Jefferson's Pillow: The Founding Fathers and the Dilemma of Black Patriotism.

A civil rights advocate and historian reconsiders life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness As the recent fervor over the confirmation of Thomas Jefferson's black descendents demonstrates, Americans have yet to reconcile American ideals with the legacy of slavery. In Jefferson's Pillow, noted journalist, educator, and activist Roger Wilkins looks at the lives of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Mason. His admiration and discomfort with these mythic heroes compels him to reexamine his relationship to those who forged a nation in which ostensibly "all men were created equal," but whose property included African women, children, and men. Wilkins was a determined participant in the civil rights movement, and Assistant Attorney General during the Johnson administration. His public activity emerges from the aspiration to live up to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Gettysburg Address. Carefully reflecting upon the lives of the founding fathers, Wilkins searches for the individual and institutional responses that enabled them to enjoy the fruits of slavery even as they declared to the world the inalienable rights of man. Rich in both personal and political revelation, Jefferson's Pillow reminds us not only of the long journey toward ideals set forth more than two centuries ago, but of the remarkable unifying power of shared dreams. —from the jacket of the book (timspalding)… (more)
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