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Schools across the country are adorned with posters of the 44 U.S. presidents and the years they served in office. U.S. history textbooks describe the accomplishments and challenges of the major presidential administrations—George Washington had the Revolutionary War, Abraham Lincoln the Civil War, Teddy Roosevelt the Spanish-American War, and so on. Children's books put students on a first-name basis with the presidents, engaging readers with stories of their dogs in the Rose Garden or childhood escapades. Washington, D.C.'s Smithsonian Institution welcomes visitors to an exhibit of the first ladies' gowns and White House furnishings.

Nowhere in all this information is there any mention of the fact that more than one in four U.S. presidents were involved in human trafficking and slavery. These presidents bought, sold, and bred enslaved people for profit. Of the 12 presidents who were enslavers, more than half kept people in bondage at the White House. For this reason, there is little doubt that the first person of African descent to enter the White House—or the presidential homes used in New York (1788–90) and Philadelphia (1790–1800) before construction of the White House was complete—was an enslaved person.

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Growing up, I never had a good sense of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life. In elementary school, I thought of him as a secular saint, a monument in history who dreamed of people of all colors holding hands around a globe.

Indeed, the "I have a dream" soundbite is the most common version of Dr. King taught in school and pushed through media coverage leading up to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday. Although my after school program at the Boys Club on Manhattan's Lower East Side had a viewing of the documentary Eyes on the Prize, which made Dr. King a more real person, he still felt distant, as if the events in his life were more scripted than lived. Because such a caricature puts perfection in front of process, the Dr. King "sainthood" message puts the work for social justice at a disadvantage.

Only in college did Dr. King's life become real to me. His part in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, his leadership for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, his sacrifices and arrests when forcing himself into segregated places, and his fiery oratory when speaking out against poverty, war, and racial justice are large parts of his astounding and well-celebrated legacy. I also learned about the rarely-taught, less luminous aspects of his history.

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Why the 'Harriet Tubman Sex Tape' is a Sign We Need to Teach Slavery's Real History

How do we get a 'Harriet Tubman Sex Tape"? Thank the watered-down history of slavery taught in schools.

Last week saw the video release of "Harriet Tubman Sex Tape" through Russell Simmons' YouTube channel, All Def Digital. As a student artist focusing on the portrayal of women in society, especially that of black women, I have a lot of strong feelings about this video.

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Why Won't Chipotle Sign the Fair Food Agreement?

Some simple changes would give Florida tomato pickers a living wage and humane conditions and give you a burrito to be proud of.

Here at GOOD, we love the burrito. Efficient and highly portable, cheap and tasty, the tortilla-wrapped meal holds a special place in our bellies. We've also long favorably covered burrito supplier Chipotle and its "Food With Integrity" philosophy. But we're currently in a moment of putting fast food chains under the ethical microscope though, and couldn't let this slide.

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Can Social Media End Modern Slavery?

Coffee-drinkers and cosmetics-users can't just wash their hands of forced labor by firing off an angry letter and realigning their brand allegiances.


How many people does your lifestyle enslave? A new website and mobile app will calculate your "slavery footprint" based on how many forced laborers around the world likely harvested the beans in your coffee or mined the mica in your eyeshadow.

The sleekly-designed application—which queries users on their consumption habits, then helps them draft letters to companies addressing the slaves in their supply chains—is aimed squarely at the socially-minded social media user accustomed to the instant gratification of accessing e-activism in her back pocket. Sign a petition! Tweet a hashtag! End modern slavery in 11 easy steps! The technological approach is already a hit: After launching yesterday morning, overwhelming traffic crashed the website for much of the day.

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@GOOD Asks: What Can We Do to Diminish Human Trafficking? The Community Answers

Friday on Twitter, and Facebook, we asked our friends: What Can We Do to Diminish Human Trafficking? We ask a question to our Twitter and...

Friday on Twitter, and Facebook, we asked our friends: What can we do to diminish human trafficking?

We ask a question to our Twitter and Facebook faithful once a day, so if you’re not yet following @GOOD or a fan, make sure to sign up and participate in the conversation.

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