Why did I love this book?
Slavery was abolished in the U.S. over 150 years ago. So while race and racism might still shape life and politics in the U.S., surely the institution of slavery does not. This book, and the detailed empirical research that informs it, says otherwise. More specifically, the authors show that white residents in southern counties that were heavily reliant on slavery are significantly more likely than whites elsewhere to hold racially conservative views on a host of attitudinal items. I’m not surprised. In a similar research project, I found that the strongest county-level predictor of arson attacks on southern black churches in the 1990s was the number of lynchings that took place in that county historically, even though the great majority of those horrific events took place 80-100 years before the arson attacks in question.