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African American history



  • Some Escaped Slavery Without Escaping the South

    by Viola Franziska Müller

    The majority of people escaping slavery before Emancipation never crossed the Mason-Dixon line, finding a measure of freedom in southern cities. 



  • Family Histories where Black Power Met Police Power

    by Dan Berger

    Fighting back against mass incarceration today means learning from the stories of Black Power activists who fought against the expansion of police power and surveillance since the 1960s. 



  • Kidada Williams on The Reconstruction that Wasn't

    In the new "I Saw Death Coming," Williams describes a "shadow Confederacy" that refused to cede freedom or dignity to African Americans who often lived far from the reach of a federal government that was unreliably committed to their protection. 



  • Three Novels Rooted in Forgotten Black Histories

    Novels by Kai Thomas, Jamila Minnicks, and Nyani Nkrumah tell stories of Black life at the Canadian end of the Underground Railroad, an all-Black town in 1950s Alabama, and in post-Civil Rights Mississippi. 



  • Anastasia Curwood on New Shirley Chisholm Bio

    By framing Chisholm as a person with a life history, Curwood elevates knowledge of the New York congresswoman from a "first major party candidate" to a political theorist and visionary. 



  • Two Black GI's Deaths Show the Racism in the WWII Military

    Allen Leftridge and Frank Glenn were shot and killed by military police for asking a French Red Cross worker for donuts. The aftermath showed the administrative and bureaucratic racism of the military supported and protected individual prejudice in the ranks.


  • Teach the History Behind "Emancipation" with the Primary Sources

    by Alan J. Singer

    Antoine Fuqua and Will Smith's "Emancipation" has rediscovered the life of an enslaved man variously called Peter or Gordon, who had been made famous through an 1863 photograph. Here's how history teachers can use the primary records of his life to accompany the film. 



  • I Grew Up in a Black Liberationist Commune

    From 1973 to the early 2000s, the Pan African Orthodox Christian Church operated a communal home in a Detroit apartment building, dedicated to the collective project of replacing received notions of Black inferiority with a sense of possibility. 



  • 100 Years Later, Rosewood Descendants Tell Family Stories of Survival

    “The violence that destroyed a Black community, destroyed families, it prevented families from passing on their legacy and property to their kids and their grandkids,” said Maxine Jones, a historian at Florida State University who was the lead researcher on the Rosewood reparations case.



  • The Black Widows' Struggle for Civil War Pensions

    by Hilary Green

    Black women's struggles to claim pensions earned by their late husbands' service in the Union Army reflected the incomplete realization of freedom after emancipation and the intrusive controls the pension system and growing administrative state placed on Black families. 



  • How History Forgot the Rosewood Killings

    "In January 1923, Rosewood was wiped off the map by a week of mob violence, then erased from history by people who didn’t want to talk about what had happened to the town’s primarily Black residents."



  • Exiting/In

    by Francesca T. Royster

    A family and community history in Black Nashville puts the rise of "Music Row" in the context of urban renewal projects that destroyed African American communities and institutions, and the unacknowledged Black presence in country music. 



  • Albion Tourgée's Forgotten Proposal for Power to the People

    by Brook Thomas

    The Black Republican activist hoped to draft a Reconstruction constitution for North Carolina that vested power in the people, which might have prevented the potential mischief that could be unleashed by Supreme Court cases that threaten to empower state legislatures to thwart democracy.