Category: A Retrospective on the American Presidency

A Retrospective on the American Presidency is an acknowledgement that; throughout American history, presidents have uttered comments, issued decisions and made public and private moves that critics said were racist, either at the time or in later generations. The presidents did so both before taking office and during their time in the White House.

Many of the early presidents, George Washington to Zachary Taylor, owned black slaves and held power when African Americans, Native Americans and Latinos did not have the right to vote or serve on juries and could be refused service in public accommodations. They often repeated racist views that were commonly held in their times, even when challenged by scholars or civil rights leaders.

Of course there’s only so much a president can do when the president aims to tackle centuries-old, deeply entrenched racial disparities, but for many Americans, the White House stands as a symbol of liberty and justice. But its gleaming facade hides harsh realities, from the slaves who built the home to the presidents who lived there and shaped the country’s racial history. A Retrospective on the American Presidency challenges the traditional view of our Presidents and instead demands the reader look at the institution with a wider lens.