Today, we’re launching E Pluribus Unum with the release of a groundbreaking report on race and class in the South that outlines how we are Divided by Design. Our team travelled across the American South unearthing the roots of our divides, the ghosts of the past, and the human experience that binds us all. We’ve gone to 28 communities across 13 southern states in rural areas and urban ones, in growing metropolitan areas and hallowed out main streets. Over 800 people shared their life stories with us. And we completed a survey of 1,800 southern residents on issues related to race and class.
Learn what they had to say here: unumfund.org/report.
This morning at 10:00 a.m. CT, we’ll be hosting an event in New Orleans to highlight our findings and discuss the pathway to building a more inclusive South for us all.
If we dare to be truthful with ourselves, we must admit that we have yet to fully reckon with race. As a result, generation after generation of black Americans were treated as second-class citizens, subjected to Jim Crow laws and widespread de facto segregation. Today, inequities continue in neighborhoods, housing, schools, healthcare, voting precincts, public transit, banks, and at every step of the criminal justice system.
We were, and in many ways remain, divided by design.
And if we do not reckon soon with our past, we face a future of even greater fissures and failures. In the South, given our role in the slave trade, given the backlash to Reconstruction, given the lasting effects of Jim Crow, given our inability to fully release the stranglehold of the past, we have a special obligation to tackle the issue of race head on — as a step toward bringing people together.