Simultaneously, the Washington Post published an article by noted reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia (with help from Megan McDonough) on my paper, "Researcher finds slaves quarried sandstone used to build Smithsonian Castle."
As of this evening, the Post article has elicited something like 869 on line comments, and risen to be the second most popular article in the day's Style section of the Post website. It has been circulated nationally on AP Wire, and seems be showing up around the country. I've gotten many emails and calls from interested parties, some with very strong opinions on my paper or the Post article.
Many of the comments on the Post website are, I'm afraid, inane or vituperative, dismissing the whole consideration of the legacies of slavery in American society, often re-visiting long running debates over reparations and affirmative action, sometimes with racially insensitive or inflammatory language. Yet some of the postings are deeply thoughtful and sensitive.
For the record, I reproduce some of the more interesting, insightful postings below, starting with the most recent and going back to about 8:00 a.m. this morning (Eastern Time).