In The Underground Railroad Colson Whitehead writes
The whites came to this land for a fresh start and to escape the tyranny of their masters, just as the freemen had fled theirs. But the ideals they held up for themselves, they denied others. Cora had heard Michael recite the Declaration of Independence back on the Randall plantation many times, his voice drifting through the village like an angry phantom. She didn’t understand the words, most of them at any rate, but created equal was not lost on her. The white men who wrote it didn’t understand it either, if all men did not truly mean all men. Not if they snatched away what belonged to other people, whether it was something you could hold in your hand, like dirt, or something you could not, like freedom. The land she tilled and worked had been Indian land. She knew the white men bragged about the efficiency of the massacres, where they killed women and babies, and strangled their futures in the crib.
Stolen bodies working stolen land. It was an engine that did not stop, its hungry boiler fed with blood (116-117).
For your final essay I would like you to place the above excerpt in conversation with Ronald Takaki’s A Different Mirror, in addition to other, relevant texts we have read and explored in this course. Restate Whitehead’s passage that begins the second paragraph (“Stolen bodies working stolen land”) as your thesis to analyze and critique Takaki’s history in a relational and intersectional manner. How does Takaki’s history explain Whitehead’s statement? How does Takaki’s history understand the questions vexing the narrator? You will need to draw from two of Takaki’s assigned chapters in your response, and support your position with the appropriate references from our course.