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African American history



  • Why Supermarkets Are Powerful Flash Points In Racial Politics

    by Tracey Deutsch and James McElroy

    In addition to selling food, grocery stores have also preserved a social order that treats shoppers of different races differently, dispensing hierarchy along with food — and, in fact, creating it.



  • How the Black Vote Became a Monolith

    by Theodore R. Johnson

    Despite the political diversity within Black America, the political system's accommodation of bigotry and the political utility of appeals to white identity have pushed the overwhelming majority of Black voters to cast ballots for the same party. 



  • Look What Has Been Taken From Black Americans

    It's difficult to quantify the financial cost to Black Americans of racism and segregation. But the destruction of property and denial of trade by white mobs in Elaine, Arkansas in 1919 was quantified by Ida B. Wells-Barnett; her findings can put the scope of a reparations program into some perspective.



  • Cleveland and Chicago: Cities of Segregation

    "Berlin had a wall, but they took to it with hammers and pickaxes and tore it down. Cleveland and Chicago have walls too, but not the kind you can tear down with a pickaxe. They’ve been erected in places that are harder to reach than a river or a street: bitter, entrenched hearts and minds, both black and white, going back for generations, on either side of town."



  • The Deep Roots of Disdain for Black Political Leaders

    by Carole Emberton

    From Thomas Jefferson's writings, through the proslavery argument of the middle of the 19th century, the overthrow of Reconstruction, and the Jim Crow era, American politics has been influenced by the racist idea that Black people were incapable of exercising leadership in a democracy.



  • Stanley Crouch, Towering Jazz Critic, Dead at 74

    Crouch's criticism pulled no punches, and tackled big questions about the relationship between race and art in American music. He became an influential and controversial figure in the popular history of jazz as a consultant to Ken Burns's documentary.



  • Black Lives Matter But Slavery Isn’t Our Only Narrative

    by Aretha Phiri and Michelle M. Wright

    "Black folks are astonishingly diverse in their cultures, histories, languages, religions, so no single definition of Blackness is going to fit everyone. When we fail to consider this, we effectively leave many Black people out of the conversation."



  • Why ‘Glory’ Still Resonates More Than Three Decades Later

    by Kevin M. Levin

    The film based on the story of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry is streaming on Netflix. Kevin Levin suggests that despite the narrative license taken, the film puts the story of Black freedom fighters and the question of emancipation at the center of the story of the Civil War. 



  • The Debt We Still Owe

    Economist Sandy Darity summarizes the case for reparations through the persistent Black-White wealth gap. 



  • Who Owns the Evidence of Slavery’s Violence?

    by Thomas A. Foster

    A lawsuit demands that Harvard University give custody of famous images of enslaved men and women--taken without consent by a biologist seeking to demonstrate white supremacy-- to the subjects' descendents. A Howard University historian agrees, putting the images in context of other intimate violations endured by enslaved persons. 



  • American Democracy Is in the Mail

    by Daniel Carpenter

    The Postal Service has been a circuit of information vital to democracy, a non-exclusionary employer, and a service connecting all communities in the nation. It's also been a tool of conquest and voracious capitalism. For good and ill, the history of the USPS is the history of America.