"You have to take the children away"—Donald Trump
Taking Children provocatively argues that the United States has taken children for political ends for four hundred years. Black children, Native children, Latinx children, and the children of the poor have all been seized from their families. As Laura Briggs’ sweeping but concise narrative shows, the practice existed on the auction block, in the boarding schools designed to pacify the Native American population, in the growth of the foster care system to put down the Black freedom movement, in the US’s anti-Communist coups in Central America, and in the moral panic about “crack babies.” In chilling detail we see how Central Americans were made into a population that could be stripped of their children and that every US administration beginning with Reagan has put children of immigrants and refugees in detention camps. Yet this history of terror has met resistance from every generation, and Laura Briggs challenges us to stand and resist in this powerful corrective to American history.