The Highwaymen: Mid-20th Century Black Artists Working from the Side of the Road

The art of Florida’s Highwaymen finds a new audience. It was an era when most African Americans in Fort Pierce were relegated to working in kitchens or fields, when Jim Crow prevented them from using the same water fountains as whites, and few, if any, black artists could be found in history books. Despite the[…]

Why We Keep Rediscovering the Flamboyant Godmother of Rock

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was buried in an unmarked grave, but now she’s a YouTube sensation. More than 40 years after her burial in an unmarked Philadelphia grave, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, gospel’s first superstar and its most celebrated crossover figure, is enjoying a burst of Internet celebrity. A video of her playing one of her signature[…]

The Civilian Conservation Corps, Racial Segregation, and the Building of the Angeles National Forest

Obscured in the Angeles’ history is the role that all-African-American CCC camps played in the development of forest infrastructure. By Daniel Medina The Angeles National Forest, granting Los Angeles County 70% of its open space, is today considered the most accessible and popular “playground” in Southern California. Its prominent recreational legacy is rooted in the[…]

A Brief Overview of Post-Civil War Segregation

In the South, segregation reproduced the racial inequality found under slavery. By Angelina Grigoryeva and Martin Ruef Segregation took various forms across the postbellum United States, with important regional differences between the Northeast and South.  In the American Northeast, segregation largely assumed the form of racialized African-American districts, similar to those today.  By contrast, the[…]

Were the Bald Knobbers Law-and-Order Folk Heroes or Murderous Thugs?

In the lawless post-Civil War Ozarks, the vigilante Bald Knobbers took government’s place. When I was seven years old, in 1983, my family took a road trip from Stillwater, Oklahoma, to Branson, Missouri, a family-oriented resort town deep in the Ozark Mountains. Our destination was Silver Dollar City, a Christian-owned theme park that is like[…]

Treason or Loyal Opposition? The Copperheads and Dissent during the Civil War

Were the Copperheads traitors or merely exercising the right to criticize the government? To what extent did federal power increase during the Civil War? By Rachel Rooney and Margaret Storey Introduction The following documents offer perspectives on the Northern wing of the Democratic Party, which opposed the Civil War. These Peace Democrats urged an immediate,[…]