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Judge Dismisses Lawsuit by Professor Quoted as Saying Slavery Was ‘Not So Bad’

A professor of economics at Loyola University New Orleans who was quoted in The New York Times as saying that slavery was “not so bad” has seen his libel lawsuit against the newspaper thrown out by a federal judge, reports The Times-Picayune.

Walter Block, who holds an endowed chair in economics at the private college, was quoted in an article in The New York Times last year as saying several controversial things, including that Woolworth’s had a right to deny service to African-Americans at its lunch counters.

Mr. Block subsequently defended himself, writing on a blog that he believed slavery was “vicious, depraved, and monstrous.” In the lawsuit, he contended that the reporter had taken his remarks out of context.

In his decision, Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle of the U.S. District Court in New Orleans wrote that Mr. Block’s ideas about race-related issues “were largely fueled and published by Block himself.” Because of that, he wrote, the professor “cannot complain about resulting perceptions of insensitivity and levity on serious issues like slavery.”

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