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The Nation

The Nation August 12, 2019

The Nation is America's oldest weekly magazine and is independently published. The Nation speaks to an engaged audience as a champion of civil liberties, human rights, and economic justice. The Nation breaks down critical issues with lively editorials, in-depth investigative reporting and analysis, as well as award-winning arts coverage. Publisher and Editor: Katrina vanden Heuvel.

United States
The Nation, LP
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2 min.
letters @thenation.com

Forgotten History Although David Cole’s review of Steve Luxenberg’s book Separate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson, and America’s Journey From Slavery to Segregation [“Inherently Unequal,” July 15/22] fails to delve into an important forerunner of this historic case, one hopes Luxenberg did not. The Civil Rights Act of 1875 expanded the 14th Amendment to include public accommodations, and this expansion was tested by a black man, Bird Gee, who was denied service at a hotel. His case made it to the Supreme Court, which not only ruled against Gee but used the case to annul the Civil Rights Act, thereby setting the stage for Plessy and 70 more years of Jim Crow. In a nifty coincidence, however, Gee’s grandnephew Loren Miller, a prominent civil rights attorney, filed the appellate briefs…

3 min.
a moon shot for the earth

What is it about the left and the space program? Back in the summer of ’69—long before he became The Nation’s lead editorial writer—the late Andrew Kopkind pointed out the inextricable ties between American militarism on earth and our country’s higher aspirations. “We Aim at the Stars (But Hit Quang Tri),” he wrote, decrying a system “that swells the profits of the biggest military/space corporations without changing the system of distribution of those profits one whit.” Critics might say we’re still at it, still harshing the national buzz by noticing those on whose backs that giant leap was launched—just as we did at the time, when The Nation impertinently remarked that amid all the talk about “the blackness of space,” the faces on the screen were uniformly white. So perhaps this is…

1 min.
by the numbers

125 Number of retailers bought by private equity firms since 2002 61% Percentage of layoffs in the retail sector in 2016 and 2017 that occurred at private-equity-owned companies 9 Number of the 10 largest retail bankruptcies in 2017 that were backed by private equity firms $5T Aggregate worth of private-equity-backed companies—more than the annual GDP of Japan 11 Number of Democratic presidential candidates who have received donations from employees of Blackstone, the world’s largest private equity firm $0 Amount given to Elizabeth Warren’s and Bernie Sanders’s campaigns by private equity firms —Spencer Green…

4 min.
an author’s artifacts

Litchfield, Connecticut It was a curious moment in the annals of American literary fetishism: On Saturday, July 20, an auction house in Litchfield held an online sale of 134 lots from the estate of Philip Roth, who died in 2018. In the run-up to the big day, the bidding did not seem especially brisk, though there was some interest in the master’s Sandy Koufax baseball card, two IBM Selectric typewriters, a badly chipped Pat and Dick Nixon souvenir plate, and a few pieces of good furniture—the leavings of a man well known for taking to heart Flaubert’s advice that writers should live modestly if they want to be wild and original in their work. (Were the contents of Philip’s Manhattan apartment to come up for sale, they would be even less…

5 min.
adulting while white

Dear Liza, I’m a 35-year-old white woman working for an arts and community nonprofit on the South Side of Chicago. Last summer, while we were painting a mural, a 12-year-old girl from the neighborhood befriended me. Later she asked me to take her to a high school open house when her parents were working and she needed a ride. Since then, I’ve been helping her with homework and occasionally taking her and her siblings to dance lessons. Her parents, who work a lot, say they appreciate my help. A couple of months ago, I went to her school’s talent show, and this is where race comes in. Out of 200 people in this space, I appeared to be the only white person, which brought her obvious attention. She told me after the…

1 min.
workers against ice

In response to the inhumanity of the Trump administration’s immigration policies, workers around the country are rising up to hold accountable private employers that participate in the cruelty. In June hundreds of employees at Wayfair, a home goods e-commerce corporation, staged a walkout at the company’s headquarters in Boston to oppose its $200,000 contract furnishing a child migrant detention center in Carrizo Springs, Texas. In July leaked audio of a company meeting revealed employees of the ad agency Ogilvy Worldwide lashing out at their CEO for pursuing contracts with Customs and Border Protection. Amazon workers recently recirculated an employee letter calling on the company to cut ties with Palantir, whose software is crucial to ICE operations. WNYC uncovered e-mails that show that the data analytics firm continues to help ICE conduct…