Bill opens this weekend’s Moyers & Company (check local listings) with thoughts about the origins and lessons of Independence Day. We should remember, he says, that behind this Fourth of July holiday are human beings, like Thomas Jefferson, who were as flawed and conflicted as they were inspired, who espoused great humanistic ideals while behaving with reprehensible racial discrimination. That conflict – between what we know and how we live – is still a struggle in contemporary politics and society.
No stranger to the contradictions of history and their racial touchpoints is Bill’s studio guest Khalil Muhammad. Head of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Muhammad is the author of The Condemnation of Blackness, which connects American histories of race, crime and the making of urban America to modern headlines. Muhammad and Moyers discuss the importance of confronting the contradictions of America’s past to create a stronger present.