Outside Reading — The Road Leads Back to You edition

Black Voters Understood What the Stakes Were by Clint Smith

In part because of the damage wrought by the pliant disciples of the psychopathic blowhard who has commanded too much of our collective intellectual, emotional, and spiritual energy the last five years or so, there has been barely a moment to consider the happy outcome of Georgia’s runoff election for both of its U.S. Senate seats. As with the state’s selection of Joe Biden for the nation’s top job in the November election, it seems the main story is the inspiring efforts to register voters and get them to the polls, often in the face of institutions committed to making it as difficult as possible for their people to exercise their foundational right to have a voice in selecting their representatives in government. And again, it is Black voters and advocates who were most committed in the face of the most concerted — and insidious — opposition. Writing for The Atlantic, Clint Smith details the history and justly celebrates the civic engagement.

A Viral Photo Identified Her as a Vote-Rescuing Hero During the Capitol Insurrection. Hear This 19-Year-Old’s Account of What Really Happened. by Rosa Cartagena

A photo made the rounds after the Beer Belly Putsch on Wednesday, lauding the quick-thinking efforts of low-level Senate workers in securing the electoral college votes before the red-capped marauders violated the Senate Chamber. By reliable accounts, it seems true that female staffers are primarily responsible for rescuing the paperwork that, regardless of available backups, would have provided the idiot insurrectionists with a highly symbolic visual had they gotten their hands on them. It wasn’t the two women in the widely-shared snap, though. Instead, that image was from earlier in the day, when the votes were ceremonially delivered to the center of our government. Even so, those women were in the midst of the melee, and their stories are as important as any of the elected representatives who got to expound on their experience in from of network news cameras. Rosa Cartegena tracked down one of the photo’s women, college sophomore Virginia Brown, and got her account. In the most telling and heartrending detail, Brown notes that she and her fellow chamber assistants, all current college students or recent graduates, were more prepared for the harrowing moment because school shooter drills mean they’ve spent much of their young lives preparing for such an assault. This article is published by The Washingtonian.

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Trump’s Presidency Was Always Going to End This Way by Laura Bassett

With impressive economy, Laura Bassett summarizes the way toxic masculinity informed the grotesque display of ignorant malevolence on Wednesday, before, during, and after the illegal assault on the U.S. Capitol. And she ties it back to desperate displays of feigned masculinity that the instigator-in-chief brought to his candidacy and misbegotten administration. As the headline argues, the shocking events of this week were also sadly predictable. This article is published by Cosmopolitan.

Sadie Alexander: Meet the First Black Woman Economist in the U.S. by Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman

Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman, a Black woman at the beginning of her career as an economist, shares her admiration for Sadie Alexander, who, in 1921, got her doctorate in economics, becoming the first Black woman to earn that degree. The piece skillfully traces Alexander’s history, showing how it aligns with the most laudable — if perpetually overdue — progress in the nation, and offers a necessary criticism of the way Black women are still discouraged to participate in a field that, among other things, concerns itself with making proclamations about why the economy does or doesn’t work for Black citizens. This article is published by Teen Vogue.

Say Nothing (2018) by Patrick Radden Keefe

Patrick Radden Keefe, a longtime staff writer for The New Yorker, employs the 1972 abduction of widowed mother of ten as a broad and sturdy framework to examine the decades of acrimony that roiled Northern Ireland. Say Nothing is a history of the Troubles that gives attention to the most well-known figures, such as Gerry Adams, but is more concerned with honest, empathetic scrutiny of lives and pains of those caught up in the conflict, either as players or bystanders. Especially through the most fraught times, Radden Keefe’s approach creates an intense intimacy, making the recounted incidents from a not-so-distant past as real and immediate as a scar on one’s own palm.

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