The George Floyd Uprising

I Overnight mass conversions to the cause of African American rights are a rare phenomenon in America, and, even so, a recurrent phenomenon, and ultimately a world-changing phenomenon. The classic instance took place in 1854 in Boston. An escaped slave from Virginia named Anthony Burns was arrested and held by United States marshals, who prepared to send him back into bondage in Virginia, in accordance with the Fugitive Slave Act and the policies of the Franklin Pierce administration. And a good many white people in Boston and environs were surprised to discover themselves erupting in violent rage, as if in mass reversion to the hot-headed instincts of their ancestors at the glorious Tea Party of 1773. Respectable worthies with three names found themselves storming the courthouse. Amos Adams Lawrence, America’s wealthiest mill owner, famously remarked, “We went to bed one night old-fashioned, conservative, Compromise Whigs & waked up stark mad

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