A new documentary, Black Patriots: Heroes of the Revolution, introduces us to heroes of the American Revolution who aren't typically found in history books. They are a writer, a double agent, a martyr and a soldier — and they are all black.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the executive producer. He is a Hall of Fame basketball player, writer, activist, and in 2016 the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
VCU, UR and other academic institutions probe their roles in perpetuating slavery and racial discrimination
The stolen bodies of men, women and children were cut apart for medical study, discarded in a 19th-century well and forgotten for more than 100 years. In late 2019, a ceremony marked the return of their remains to the medical campus at Virginia Commonwealth University after being stored at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History for 25 years.
Slavery reparations may be the single most divisive idea in American politics. Advocates have spent decades calling on the U.S. government to assess how such a policy could be implemented and to enact a law that might offer financial restitution to the descendants of enslaved people. But minds are made up — according to a recent Associated Press poll, 74 percent of African Americans now favor reparation payments, while 85 percent of whites oppose them — and Congress seems unlikely to take up the matter. A 30-year-old bill that would study the issue, H.R. 40, has never reached a vote. Hearings this past June brought Ta-Nehisi Coates, Danny Glover and other leading proponents to Capitol Hill, and every Democratic presidential candidate except Mike Bloomberg has backed at least studying the idea. The public remains unmoved.
Gwen Ifill didn't want it to be a big deal.
The legendary journalist knew she'd served as a trailblazer for women and especially a beacon of what is professionally possible for women of color. But in an interview with The New York Times, she said she was eager for the days when it would not seem "like any breakthrough at all" for a black woman to be anchoring a national news program.
And yet, more than three years after her death, Ifill is still making breakthroughs. This time, on a stamp.
When Vanessa Nakate addressed a tweet to the Associated Press asking why she had been cropped out of a photo, it was out of curiosity. She didn’t think her question would ignite a firestorm of criticism and spark an international conversation on erasure and diversity within the environmental movement.
“When I saw the photo, I only saw part of my jacket. I was not on the list of participants. None of my comments from the press conference were included,” she said. “It was like I wasn’t even there.”
Between 1949 and 1954, Jacob Lawrence made countless trips from his home in Brooklyn to the 135th Street Branch of the New York Public Library, where he scoured history books, letters, military reports and other documents for hidden stories that had shaped American history. By this point in time, Lawrence was “the most celebrated African American painter in America,” having risen to fame in the 1940s with multiple acclaimed series depicting black historical figures, the Great Migration and everyday life in Harlem. In May 1954, just as the Supreme Court ruled to desegregate public schools, the artist finally finished his research. He was ready to paint.
Long before Navajo code talkers in World War II and the advent of secured phone lines and encrypted emails, some say, American slaves used quilts hung from windowsills and clotheslines as a signal to others to help them escape to the North for freedom.
These quilts contained symbols sewn into them. For instance, the North Star signaled for a slave to go north, a sailboat represented safe passage and bear claws told slaves to follow the bear trails into the mountains.
PHOENIX – This week in Arizona, a descendant of slaves came face-to-face with a descendant of the family who enslaved her ancestors.
The takeaway? Before improvements can be made in race relations, we must understand the historically different experiences of white and black Americans.
"Not understanding ... what it means to live as an African American in this country was me. ... That's the experience for a lot of white people," said Pam Tucker, the descendant of a white Virginia slave owner.
On Thursday, Pam took the stage with Wanda Tucker, a descendant of a black slave family, at Rio Salado College in the Phoenix area.
Rather than give a classic speech as part of a lecture series she was asked to speak at in 2016, Genevieve Siegel-Hawley decided to share a personal reflection.
She wrote a letter to her daughter, Posey, about school desegregation, its history and its impacts today, an issue Siegel-Hawley got interested in as a Richmond student and teacher.
In cities around the country, if you want to understand the history of a neighborhood, you might want to do the same thing you'd do to measure human health: Check its temperature.
That's what a group of researchers did, and they found that neighborhoods with higher temperatures were often the same ones subjected to discriminatory, race-based housing practices nearly a century ago.
On a Sunday morning in May 1969, as clergy processed into the sanctuary of New York’s august Riverside Church, civil rights activist James Forman vaulted into the pulpit to demand $500 million in reparations for the mistreatment of African-Americans from white churches and synagogues.
A group of Richmond high school students are trying to make a difference for the children who will follow them.
Asia Goode is one of the students who on Wednesday evening called for state lawmakers to help improve school learning conditions.
"We're pushing for equitable funding for schools," Goode said.
Americans are likely to think of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day as a time to celebrate the fresh start that a new year represents, but there is also a troubling side to the holiday’s history. In the years before the Civil War, the first day of the new year was often a heartbreaking one for enslaved people in the United States.
The season of holiday cheer and giving can be especially difficult for people going through loss, illness or other challenges that come with being human.
Atlanta-based poet, author and playwright Jon Goode is a close observer of how people make their way through the world. You may have seen him on HBO's Def Comedy Jam or CNN's Black in America. He's also host of the StorySLAM events at The Moth in Atlanta.
The unveiling of Richmond’s new progressive face at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts was never going to come off without a hitch, even if that cover had cooperated in parting company with its monument.
You don’t sweep away 400 years of grimy history with the tug of a string. In Virginia, the birthplace of Massive Resistance, the past concedes nothing to the present or future without putting up a fight.
Nearly a century after the last Confederate statue was erected on Monument Avenue, a crowd massed Tuesday beneath gray skies and drizzle at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts for New York-based artist Kehinde Wiley's response: a muscular, triumphant African American astride a horse, looking defiantly toward the sky.
Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (OH-11) joined Reps. Cedric Richmond (LA-02), Barbara Lee (CA-13), and Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) in introducing the Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act to ban hair discrimination. The CROWN Act clarifies that discrimination based on natural and protective hairstyles associated with people of African descent, including hair that is tightly coiled or tightly curled, locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, and Afros, is a prohibited form of racial or national origin discrimination. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
Fans of African-American history will be offered an all-day feast of information about Shockoe Bottom on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Library of Virginia, 800 E. Broad St.
From 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 22 historians, researchers, authors, museum officials and other experts will be offering their views at “Truth and Conciliation in the 400th Year: A Shockoe Bottom Public History Symposium,” it has been announced.
Be one of the first in Richmond to see Kehinde Wiley’s Rumors of War at its unveiling at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
A trail of white petals lined East Marshall Street on Monday as drums and bells welcomed home the remains of 53 people, mainly of African descent, whose first resting place had been a 19th-century well on what is now the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University.
I interviewed dozens of black mothers about how they help their kids navigate schools where they might be perceived as threats or made to feel unwelcome.
On November 16, 1871, a group of unknown singers — all but two of them former slaves and many of them still in their teens -- arrived at Oberlin College in Ohio to perform before a national convention of influential ministers. After a few standard ballads, the chorus began to sing spirituals -- "Steal Away" and other songs" associated with slavery and the dark past, sacred to our parents," as soprano Ella Sheppard recalled. It was one of the first public performances of the secret music African Americans had sung in fields and behind closed doors.
Author and Maryland native Ta-Nehisi Coates visited Richmond last week to discuss emancipation and to promote his New York Times best-seller, “The Water Dancer.”
The book is set in Virginia, but his work isn’t the only connection to the Old Dominion. Mr. Coates recently found out that one of his ancestors was enslaved outside of Petersburg.
Among elite U.S. universities, Harvard, Yale, Brown, and Georgetown have all admitted in recent years that at one time they benefited financially from the slave trade. But two Protestant seminaries have now gone a step further, saying that in recognition of their own connections to racism they have a Christian duty to pay reparations.
The King family stepped carefully up the concrete steps, through the narrow doorway and into a two-story log cabin with a painful past. Inside, they examined every inch. The low ceiling. The peeling chestnut walls. Then, the second floor, a tiny space under a pitched cedar-shake roof, where sunlight slips through small windows onto uneven oak floorboards.
The highly-anticipated movie ‘Harriet’ — filmed in Central Virginia — hits theaters next week. The feature film depicts abolitionist Harriet Tubman’s journey of freeing hundreds of slaves through the Underground Railroad and becoming an American freedom fighter.
Bryan Stephens, president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber, said diversity, equity and inclusion in business is more than just a program, it is an imperative.
“If you are in business today and you want to be successful, you have to have a diverse and inclusive workforce,” Stephens said at the Chamber’s Diversity and Inclusion Forum on Oct. 22 at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott..
Alabama steamship owner Timothy Meaher financed the last slave vessel that brought African captives to the United States, and he came out of the Civil War a wealthy man.
His descendants, with land worth millions, are still part of Mobile society's upper crust.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture has announced the expansion of its Early Childhood Education Initiative (ECEI) with a $1.5 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
The sculpture, of an African-American man in streetwear and mounted on a horse, was unveiled Friday and will eventually move to Richmond, Va., home to a number of Confederate memorials.
White students in my race and ethnicity class often learn the most, but few sign up to take it. All colleges should require a course like this to graduate.
The Scott family, from Mound Bayou, Mississippi, can trace their land ownership back to 1938, when the family’s agriculturally gifted patriarch began amassing more than 1,000 acres. By the late ‘80s, the Scotts had all but lost their land entirely. What happened in those intervening years is a complex story of systematic discrimination that’s emblematic of the experience of many black families in America.
From the colonial era to today, the bitter legacy of bondage and racial oppression has sparked demands for compensation, with some successes and many broken promises.
He’s been one of academia’s leading authorities on American racial inequity for years, in high demand by Democratic presidential candidates who hope he’ll endorse their proposals to close the “racial wealth gap” — a term that his research helped popularize.
But as William “Sandy” Darity shuffles through papers in his second-floor office at Duke University, the gray-haired economist explained that he was hard at work on his own proposal, one that could be the most sweeping of his career — a concrete plan for paying monetary reparations to the descendants of slaves.
Fifty years after 14 black football players were kicked off the University of Wyoming football team for seeking to wear armbands to protest racism, eight of them returned to the Laramie campus to commemorate the anniversary as the school takes another step toward reconciliation.
A work crew blasted through solid clay, dug two holes and poured concrete to prep the site. The next morning, they returned and installed a plaque DeKalb County officials say tells the real history of the Confederate monument in Decatur Square.
And now, that historical marker is receiving praise from afar for its truth-telling about the “lost cause” movement and the factual history of the Civil War.
An Episcopal seminary in Virginia says it has set aside $1.7 million to pay reparations to the descendants of slaves who worked on its campus, putting the small school at the vanguard of colleges and universities who have been grappling with their roles in slavery and ways of making amends.
CHARLOTTESVILLE — Earlier this summer, a Monticello tour guide was explaining how enslaved people built, planted and tended a terrace of vegetables at Thomas Jefferson’s estate, when a woman interrupted to share her annoyance.
“Why are you talking about that?” she demanded, according to Gary Sandling, vice president of Monticello’s visitor programs and services. “You should be talking about the plants.”
Why did Charlottesville’s white citizens choose to erect a statue to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in 1924 – nearly 60 years after the Civil War? One clue can be found in the personal papers of Judge R.T.W. Duke Jr., held at the University of Virginia’s Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.
For generations, children have been spared the whole, terrible reality about slavery’s place in U.S. history, but some schools are beginning to strip away the deception and evasions
Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true.
The future of an antebellum era Black burial ground in Richmond sparks a fight to preserve the city’s desecrated and nearly erased histories.
The legacy of Jim Crow continues to loom large in the United States. But nowhere is it arguably more evident than in Louisiana. In 1898, a constitutional convention successfully codified a slew of Jim Crow laws in a flagrant effort to disenfranchise black voters and otherwise infringe on their rights. “Our mission was to establish the supremacy of the white race in this State to the extent to which it could be legally and constitutionally done,” wrote Judiciary Committee Chairman Thomas Semmes.
Current U.S. politicians are considering paying reparations to black descendants of American slavery at a level they haven’t since the Reconstruction Era. And a Duke professor is at the helm of the discussion.
If people are saying they want to fix racism or fix this issue in our country, then they need to put their money where their mouth is,” says the Rev. Robert W. Lee IV.
"Seeing stacks of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” set aside for easy grabbing at the local bookstore is a sign that school is out for the summer. The 1960 novel is a perennial reading assignment for many students — when it’s not being banned — and has been a fixture in American consciousness for decades, lauded for its examination of racial injustice."
As politicians adopt ideas he's researched for decades, the economist patiently stays the course.
“We’re pushing back against these systems telling us we should feel guilty for laying down and taking a nap.”
Lincoln signed a bill in 1862 that paid up to $300 for every enslaved person freed.
During an interview with Chris Rock for my PBS series African American Lives 2, we traced the ancestry of several well-known African Americans. When I told Rock that his great-great-grandfather Julius Caesar Tingman had served in the U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War — enrolling on March 7, 1865, a little more than a month after the Confederates evacuated from Charleston, S.C. — he was brought to tears. I explained that seven years later, while still a young man in his mid-20s, this same ancestor was elected to the South Carolina house of representatives as part of that state’s Reconstruction government. Rock was flabbergasted, his pride in his ancestor rivaled only by gratitude that Julius’ story had been revealed at last. “It’s sad that all this stuff was kind of buried and that I went through a whole childhood and most of my adulthood not knowing,” Rock said. “How in the world could I not know this?”
In 1957, Fred Eichelman began teaching seventh-grade history in Roanoke County. He was using a shiny new state-commissioned textbook. It wasn't long before Eichelman and even some students noticed some peculiarities
How we present race matters. I hear from readers that National Geographic provided their first look at the world. Our explorers, scientists, photographers, and writers havetaken people to places they’d never even imagined; it’s a tradition that still drives our coverage and of which we’re rightly proud. And it means we have a duty, in every story, to present accurate and authentic depictions—a duty heightened when we cover fraught issues such as race.
We asked John Edwin Mason to help with this examination. Mason is well positioned for the task: He’s a University of
Virginia professor specializing in the history of photography and the history of Africa, a frequent crossroads of our storytelling. He dived into our archives.
What Mason found in short was that until the 1970s National Geographic all but ignored people of color who lived in the
United States, rarely acknowledging them beyond laborers or domestic workers. Meanwhile it pictured “natives” elsewhere
as exotics, famously and frequently unclothed, happy hunters, noble savages—every type of cliché. - Excerpt found in "A Letter From the Editor" by Susan Goldberg, editor in chief. April 2018, National Geographic magazine. The Race Issue
In 1844, all black people were ordered to get out of Oregon Country, the expansive territory under American rule that stretched from the Pacific coast to the Rocky Mountains.
The meaning of the Confederate flag is best discerned in the words of those who bore it.