Winner of the 2022 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Titles
From the New York Times bestselling author of White Rage, an unflinching, critical new look at the Second Amendment-and how it has been engineered to deny the rights of African Americans since its inception.
In The Second, historian and award-winning, bestselling author of White Rage Carol Anderson powerfully illuminates the history and impact of the Second Amendment, how it was designed, and how it has consistently been constructed to keep African Americans powerless and vulnerable. The Second is neither a “pro-gun” nor an “anti-gun” book; the lens is the citizenship rights and human rights of African Americans.
From the seventeenth century, when it was encoded into law that the enslaved could not own, carry, or use a firearm whatsoever, until today, with measures to expand and curtail gun ownership aimed disproportionately at the African American population, the right to bear arms has been consistently used as a weapon to keep African Americans powerless--revealing that armed or unarmed, Blackness, it would seem, is the threat that must be neutralized and punished.
Throughout American history to the twenty-first century, regardless of the laws, court decisions, and changing political environment, the Second has consistently meant this: That the second a Black person exercises this right, the second they pick up a gun to protect themselves (or the second that they don't), their life--as surely as Philando Castile's, Tamir Rice's, Alton Sterling's--may be snatched away in that single, fatal second. Through compelling historical narrative merging into the unfolding events of today, Anderson's penetrating investigation shows that the Second Amendment is not about guns but about anti-Blackness, shedding shocking new light on another dimension of racism in America.
About the Author
Carol Anderson is the Charles Howard Candler Professor and Chair of African American Studies at Emory University. She is the author of One Person, No Vote, longlisted for the National Book Award and a finalist for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award; White Rage, a New York Times bestseller and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award; Bourgeois Radicals; and Eyes off the Prize; and a contributor to The 1619 Project. She was named a Guggenheim Fellow for Constitutional Studies and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
About the Moderator
Peter Canfield is a graduate of Amherst College and Yale Law School who lives and practices law in Atlanta. He specializes in media and First Amendment but has decades of experience with Second Amendment issues, dating back to his defense of then New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg in a defamation lawsuit brought by Georgia gun dealer Adventure Outdoors. He has worked with the Brady Center, Everytown for Gun Safety, Giffords and Moms Against Gun Violence in connection with gun safety issues and litigation nationally and in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Texas and Washington State. For over ten years he has chaired an annual conference on Second Amendment issues for the State Bar of Georgia.
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