- Peniel Joseph: Trump's version of Black History Month turns our unfolding national racial tragedy into a reality TV farce
- He writes: Trump's comments on Douglass aren't only evidence of a need for more and better black history at the White House
Peniel Joseph is the Barbara Jordan Chair in Political Values and Ethics and the founding director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is also a professor of history. He is the author of several books, most recently "Stokely: A Life." The views expressed here are his.
(CNN)During what he characterized as "our little breakfast" to celebrate Black History Month, President Donald J. Trump, without the least hint of irony, awkwardly praised Frederick Douglass, the nineteenth-century black abolitionist "is an example of somebody who's done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice." Trump's language prompted immediate speculation that Trump might not know Douglass had been dead since 1895. Twitter lit up with ridicule, with Trump drawing eye-rolls from academics and celebrities alike.