The End of Apartheid: Valuable Lessons in a Turbulent Age

Anti-Apartheid protest in the 1980s are mere snapshots of time in the long journey towards equality, paved by the sweat and blood of those in the African National Congress and beyond. Paul Weinberg/Wikicommons Understanding the impact of Apartheid requires looking beyond Nelson Mandela’s achievements to the bloody struggles of the African National Congress and international forces prolonging the violence. By Dr. David Robinson / 10.10.2018 Lecturer of[…]

The African Union Society of Rhode Island, 1780-1824

The first separate black church in Newport was the Union Colored Church and Society The society is considered one of the first formal organizations founded by free blacks in the United States. By Michael J. Barga Board Member Catholic Social Workers’ National Association Background Mutual aid societies were created by free blacks in the early[…]

A Brief History of Jim Crow Laws and Racial Segregation

Convict labor at the State Lime Grinding Plant, Virginia / From Virginia; Its Agricultural and Industrial Resources, 1914 Immediately following the Civil War and adoption of the 13th Amendment, most states of the former Confederacy adopted “Black Codes”, laws modeled on former slave laws. Introduction Immediately following the Civil War and adoption of the 13th Amendment,[…]

Who Was Emmett Till?

A 1950s photograph of Emmett Till and his mother Mamie Till Mobley, during a visit to Jackson, Miss. AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis Most Mississippi civil rights history leads back to the widespread outrage over the Till case in the summer of 1955. By Dr. Davis W. Houck / 07.13.2018 Professor of Communications Florida State University The U.S.[…]

Government Reopens Case of Emmett Till

This undated photo shows Emmett Louis Till, a 14-year-old Black Chicago boy, who was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered in 1955 in Mississippi. The federal government has reopened its investigation into his slaying. | AP The federal government has reopened its investigation into the slaying of Emmett Till. By Jay Reeves / 07.12.2018 The federal government[…]

The History of Jim Crow Segregation

By Dr. Katherine Mellon Charron Associate Professor of History North Carolina State University Introduction Segregation contradicts what most students have learned about American freedom and democracy. Textbooks locate segregation’s origins in Southern disenfranchisement laws of the 1890s and highlight the Supreme Court’s 1896 “separate but equal” ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson. The majority of African Americans still lived[…]

The Hidden Influence of Langston Hughes on MLK

Martin Luther King Jr.‘s dream – which alternated between shattered and hopeful – can be traced back to Hughes’ poetry. AP Photo In order to avoid being labeled a communist sympathizer, King needed to publicly distance himself from the controversial poet. Privately, King found ways to channel Hughes’ prose. By Dr. Jason Miller / 03.30.2018 Professor[…]

Josephine Baker: Iconic Entertainer, Resistance Spy, and American Hero

Josephine Baker | AP By Chauncey K. Robinson / 03.01.2018 It seems only fitting with Black History Month closing out, and Women’s History Month beginning, to highlight a Black woman who exemplified strength and resilience in the face of discrimination and oppression. Famed entertainer Josephine Baker was not only a pioneer in breaking color barriers[…]

Meet the Theologian Who Helped MLK See the Value of Nonviolence

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. , chats with African-Americans during a door-to-door campaign in 1964. AP Photo/JAB By Dr. Paul Harvey / 01.11.2018 Professor of American History University of Colorado After this last tumultuous year of political rancor and racial animus, many people could well be asking what can sustain them over the next coming days: How do they[…]

Race and the White Elephant War of 1884

P. T. Barnum’s white elephant Toung Taloung, featured in an extra supplement to the Illustrated London News, January 26th 1884 / Wikimedia Commons Feuding impresarios, a white-but-not-white-enough elephant, and racist ads for soap — Ross Bullen on how a bizarre episode in circus history became an unlikely forum for discussing 19th-century theories of race, and inadvertently[…]

American Slavery: Separating Fact from Myth

Five generations of a slave family / Shutterstock By Dr. Daina Ramey Berry / 06.19.2017 Associate Professor of History and African American Diaspora Studies University of Texas at Austin People think they know everything about slavery in the United States, but they don’t. They think the majority of African slaves came to the American colonies,[…]

What Japanese Internment Taught Us About Standing Up for Our Neighbors

Artwork by Steve Gardner at the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial in Washington state. The memorial wall is 276 feet long—one foot for every Japanese person who lived in that community in 1942. First, we must demand justice for ourselves. Second, those who have privilege and power must intervene for those without. By Tracy Matsue Loeffelholz[…]

Slavery in the Americas

  Edited by Dr. AnaMaria Seglie / 01.18.2011 Professor of English Rice University Transported Labor, Indentured Servitude, and Slavery in the Americas: A Comparative Approach[1] While slave labor comprised the majority of the plantation workforce across the Americas, it was never the sole labor system in use. Historical records now show that slaves often worked[…]

The Story of Anna May Wong, Internationally Acclaimed Actress

Anna May Wong was the first Chinese-American movie star and the first Asian-American actress to gain international fame. She used her fame and influence to talk about and protest the racist practices in Hollywood, protesting against racist depictions of Chinese characters, and opening up more significant and starring roles for herself and many actors of[…]

An Early Attempt to Build an African-American Museum in 1907

By Dr. Eric S. Hintz / 09.15.2016 Historian and Fellowship Coordinator Lemelson Center for the Study of Innovation and Invention Smithsonian National Museum of American History Vista of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, from Constitution Avenue, looking across the north lawn to the Washington Monument, 2016. Photo credit: Alan Karchmer/NMAAHC. On September[…]

How Black Americans Protected Fleeing Slaves before the Civil War

Slave shackles in a display case at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.. Kevin Lamarque/Reuters By Dr. Barbara Krauthamer / 02.06.2017 Associate Professor of History University of Massachusetts, Amherst Opposition between federal authorities and local communities is hardly new. As a scholar of slavery and emancipation, I have studied[…]

The Dawn of Freedom: Events Leading to the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil War

Photo of Frederick Douglass, by George Kendall Warren, c. 1879 / National Archives By Dr. Jonathan Holloway / 01.11.2010 Edmund S. Morgan Professor of African American Studies, History, and American Studies Yale University Frederick Douglass’ Speech, Delivered to Abolitionist Friends in 1852 From Frederick Douglass’s speech, delivered in Rochester, New York to abolitionist friends on[…]

‘With an Even Hand’: Brown v. Board of Education – Before, During, and After

When one undertakes to administer justice, it must be with an even hand, and by rule; what is done for one, must be done for everyone in equal degree. Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Rush, 1803 Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 02.06.2017 Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Ruby Bridges, 1960. Gelatin silver print. New York World-Telegram and Sun[…]

Martin Luther King, Jr. in Dialogue with the Ancient Greeks

Martin Luther King Jr. statue. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters By Dr. Timothy Joseph / 02.01.2016 Associate Professor of Classics College of the Holy Cross In “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” the soaring and chilling speech he delivered the day before his assassination, Martin Luther King Jr. ponders the thought of life in other places and times. Among[…]

African Passages, Lowcountry Adaptations

Captives being brought on board a slave ship on the West Coast of Africa (Slave Coast), c1880. Although Britain outlawed slavery in 1833 and it was abolished in the USA after the defeat of the Confederacy in the Civil War in 1865, the transatlantic trade in African slaves continued. The main market for the slaves[…]

Richard Spencer’s Host at Texas A&M is the Country’s ‘Strongest Skinhead’

Preston Wiginton, right, during a celebration of Second Amendment Day he organized on the Texas A&M University campus in 2013. Courtesy The Battalion The man bringing Richard Spencer to speak at Texas A&M University next week is himself a white nationalist who has been inviting incendiary guests to College Station for years. By Matthew Watkins[…]