COVID-1619: A Brief History of Racism

30 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2020

See all articles by Audra Savage

Audra Savage

Wake Forest University - School of Law

Date Written: August 10, 2020


Racism is the use of Black people to achieve the goals of white people without regard to the personhood, humanity, and agency of Blacks. This essay explores this definition of racism by tracing the influence of the twin institutions of law and religion in creating and maintaining the slave system in early colonial America. The essay then demonstrates the pernicious and persistent nature of racism by mapping this definition onto the current COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate impact on Black Americans.

Keywords: race, racism, legal history, law and religion, COVID-19

Suggested Citation

Savage, Audra, COVID-1619: A Brief History of Racism (August 10, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Audra Savage (Contact Author)

Wake Forest University - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 7206
Winston-Salem, NC 27109
United States

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