The intractable spirit of US history moves through Americans. It can be seen, in daily life, if you look for it closely. It was asleep in this old veteran’s medals, on his lapel. Once awakened, images of segregated military units in World War II appeared, with tales of how blacks could die for the nation in war but, under Jim Crow, could not vote. The medals spoke of black servicemen hanging from nooses, strung in trees, by Klan terrorists – the “strange fruit” a Jewish schoolteacher wrote a song about, and Billie Holiday sang. Those bib overalls conjured up indentured servants and white laborers in “slops” first worn in Colonial times, and the rivalries between blacks and whites working on the rich soil of the Black Belt. In the pockets were stories of Scottish white workers, replaced with slaves by a ruthless Englishplanter class, and stories of how these white-working men salved their wounded dignity by denigrating blacks to enhance their whiteness. Sadly, both whites and blacks lost much of their humanity in the way that racial difference has been constructed.