VOL. 19 NO. 12 -- JUNE 10, 2024

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REFLECTIONS/Jonathan Gramling

Jonathan Gramling

The Second Reconstruction

It has been said that those who don’t know history are bound to repeat it. I couldn’t help but think about that as Baraboo Superintendent Dr. Rainey Briggs was forcibly moved out of the way on the high school graduation stage by a white man who didn’t want Rainey — I’ve known him since he was in middle school — to shake the hand of his daughter as she received her diploma.

What empowered this man to take such an action against the head of Baraboo’s school system? While racists in our society have always been present in every community in America, I feel that it was the impact of the Civil Rights Movement that disempowered people like this man and they sulked individually or as a group at the corner tavern.

But there has been a resurgence of white nationalism and sense of entitlement over the past decade or so that became visibly national with the election of former President Donald Trump back in 2016. And to me, it just seems there are so many parallels to the Reconstruction period in U.S. History that I — and many others — believe that we are in the Second Reconstruction.