Today It’s Critical Race Theory. 200 Years Ago It Was Abolitionist Literature.

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We bet you’ve heard one phrase more and more this year than ever before: Critical Race Theory. It’s an obsession on Fox News, and it’s the topic, along with anti-mask protests, raging at school board hearings across the country—a new frontier in a roiling culture war. But what is Critical Race Theory? And how did it come to be used to whip up a new hysteria on the right? States are now racing to ban the teaching of CRT, many successfully, even while many of its fiercest critics can barely explain what it is.

For this week’s episode of the Mother Jones Podcast, some much-needed history. Journalist Anthony Conwright argues that this current anti-CRT movement is part of a long standing war in America against Black liberation dating back hundreds of years. This compelling essay originally appeared in the September/October edition of Mother Jones Magazine. It is read aloud here by our partners at Audm.

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