The first time the Rev. Lettie Moses Carr saw Jesus depicted as Black, she was in her 20s.
It felt “weird,” Rev. Carr said.
Until that moment, she’d always thought Jesus was white.
At least that’s how he appeared when she was growing up. A copy of Warner E. Sallman’s “Head of Christ” painting hung in her home, depicting a gentle Jesus with blue eyes turned heavenward and dark blond hair cascading over his shoulders in waves.The painting, which has been reproduced a billion times, came to define what the central figure of Christianity looked like for generations of Christians in the United States and beyond.
A 60-year-old chain link fence at a cemetery in Texas has just come down. And while its removal may seem unremarkable, for community members, that fence was a reminder of segregation that once existed in the town.
A metal barrier was the separation between burial areas at Cedars Memorial Gardens in Mineola, Texas, a town about 80 miles east of Dallas. Black people were buried on one side while Whites were buried on another. Each side is owned by a separate cemetery association, not by the city.
Over the past 20 years the issue of the fence had come up off and on, Mercy Rushing, Mineola city manager, told CNN. There was an effort in the past by citizens, with the help of the city, to ask the cemetery associations to consider removing this fence, but it didn't happen until recently -- on July 15.
Follow the journey of civil rights hero, congressman and human rights champion John Lewis. At the Selma March, Lewis came face-to-face with club-wielding troopers and exemplified non-violence.
For the Rev. C.T. Vivian, a jail cell was about as familiar as a police officer's fist. For his work during the height of the civil rights movement, the minister and activist was arrested more times than he cared to count and suffered several brutal beatings at the hands of officers throughout the South.
All the while, he held fast to one principle: "In no way would we allow nonviolence to be destroyed by violence," he recalled in an oral history recorded in 2011.
At the height of the civil rights protests during the 1960s, a question emerged among members of the white press who were attempting to understand Black anger and unrest: What does the Negro want?
In fact, the question had been answered 100 years before, at the end of the Civil War, when Union General William T. Sherman and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton traveled to Savannah, Georgia, and asked Rev. Garrison Frazier, a native of Granville County, what he and other freedmen would need to sustain themselves.
“Land,” Frazier replied. “The way we can best take care of ourselves is to have land and turn and till it by our own labor. …We want to be placed on land until we are able to buy it and make it our own.”
Irene Amos Morgan Kirkaldy was a civil rights activist who won her 1946 U.S. Supreme Court case in Irene Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia, which declared interstate transport racial segregation to be unconstitutional, nearly a decade before the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
The Antelope Valley's decades of entrenched racism have helped fuel the outcry over the death of 24-year-old Robert Fuller, a Black man found hanging from a tree in Palmdale, Calif., earlier this month.
Many locals are skeptical that Fuller's death was a suicide — the initial explanation that the L.A. County Sheriff's Department issued and then retracted days later.
Some call it a lynching. Thousands have poured into Palmdale's streets, at times shutting down traffic. They're demanding an independent investigation by California's attorney general.
HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - A group of former Henrico County students has created a social media page aimed at sharing anonymous stories of racism and inequality within the school system.
An Instagram account called “Black At HCPS” was created two days ago and now more than 50 personal stories have been posted, drawing more than 1,000 followers.
Our public entities should no longer play a role in distorting history by honoring a secessionist government that waged war against the United States to preserve white supremacy and the enslavement of millions of people.
It’s past time for the South – and the rest of the nation – to bury the myth of the Lost Cause once and for all.
Juneteenth recognizes the day in 1865 when Union Gen. Gordon Granger read the Emancipation Proclamation in Galveston, Texas, signaling to slaves living in the farthest reaching U.S. state at the time that they were freed.
Though the proclamation was signed two years earlier, many slaves had not been formally informed of the news because networks of communication were slow-moving at the time, Neal said.
Even people with the best intentions are influenced by these hidden attitudes, behaving in ways that can create disparities in hiring practices, student evaluations, law enforcement, criminal proceedings — pretty much anywhere people are making decisions that affect others. Such disparities can result from bias against certain groups, or favoritism toward other ones. Today, implicit bias is widely understood to be a cause of unintended discrimination that leads to racial, ethnic, socioeconomic and other inequalities.
In 1921, the “proud, rich, black” community in Tulsa suffered a brutal massacre — up to 300 black Tulsans were murdered by white residents, and a thriving neighborhood of that Oklahoma city burned to the ground.
As the Civil War came to a close in 1865, a number of people remained enslaved, especially in remote areas. Word of slavery’s end traveled slowly, and for those who were largely isolated from Union armies, life continued as if freedom did not exist.
This was especially the case in Texas, where thousands of slaves were not made aware of freedom until June 19, 1865, when Union Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and issued an order officially freeing them. Their celebration would serve as the basis of June 19 — or Juneteenth — a holiday celebrating emancipation in the US.
When I was in Junior High School, I had a history teacher tell me during a class lecture on the Civil War era, that black slaves were “cared for and treated as family.” I raised my hand and protested, “but they were still slaves, right?” I was then asked to go sit in the hall for being obnoxious.
These kinds of arguments, that dismiss or excuse the original sins of America is a tired expression of white supremacy and privilege. It is the height of absurdity to insist that people who were considered chattel were “treated well.” And amazingly when confronted with the realities of history, too many White folks want to try and find a “silver lining” in the horrors of our heritage.
The global anti-racism movement is forcing a reckoning with symbols of white supremacy. In the U.S., that means reopening an all-too-familiar conversation about Confederate monuments.
Real-estate developers used the statues on Monument Avenue to draw white buyers to a neighborhood where houses could not be sold “to any person of African descent.”
A quiet Friday night on the couch between a now-former Naval Academy Alumni Association Board of Trustees member and his wife went awry when a private conversation was broadcast to hundreds.
While Scott Bethmann, 63, and his wife, Nancy, were watching the news, they started discussing the Black Lives Matter movement, making racist comments and using slurs in a video that was accidentally streamed on Facebook Live.
Piece by piece, authorities overnight began pulling down a five-story-tall monument to Confederate troops that has stood for more than a century in Birmingham, Ala.
By the time the workers paused Tuesday morning, little was left of a spire that had become a lightning rod for controversy in recent years and a focal point for local protesters outraged by George Floyd's death last week in Minneapolis.
As protests over George Floyd's death continue nationwide, several doctors' groups -- the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association and American College of Physicians -- are emphasizing that racism is a public health issue and they're calling for police brutality to stop.
The mood in the Museum District was curiously carefree on the sun-kissed afternoon following a night of arson and destruction.
Bubbles blew from a machine on the balcony of an apartment on Arthur Ashe Boulevard, across from the scorched United Daughters of the Confederacy building, where the message “BUILT ON OUR BACKS” was scrawled on the exterior.
Fifty years ago, Richmond annexed 23 square miles of Chesterfield County and 47,000 mostly white residents.
While officials publicly said the annexation was about economic development, some of them admitted secretly that it was about maintaining white control over the majority-black city. Much of what we know about this event comes from a book published in 1982 called “The Politics of Annexation.” Long out of print, the book was just re-released in a free digital format by U of R and VCU.
A contentious federal civil rights trial is slated to begin Monday that will determine whether hundreds of thousands of people with felony convictions will be able to vote this fall in the swing state of Florida.
On one side of the case is Florida, along with a slew of other states supporting it from the sidelines.
On the other, hundreds of thousands of people who have completed their sentences but currently can't vote because of one thing they lack: money.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill emancipating enslaved people in Washington, the end of a long struggle. But to ease slaveowners’ pain, the District of Columbia Emancipation Act paid those loyal to the Union up to $300 for every enslaved person freed.
That’s right, slaveowners got reparations. Enslaved African-Americans got nothing for their generations of stolen bodies, snatched children and expropriated labor other than their mere release from legal bondage.
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?”
A list of Institutionalized white privileges that baked wealth inequity into America.
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
A 1963 protest placard in the Smithsonian collections could almost be mistaken for any of the Black Lives Matter marches of today.
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.