TRENDING - Truth Telling

The Lost Graves of Louisiana's Enslaved People

6/27/21 - New York Times

Historical maps. The descendants of enslaved people. And multibillion dollar petrochemical companies. These elements converge in a story about the hidden burial grounds of Louisiana’s enslaved people, and how continued industrial development is putting the historic sites at risk.

In this video, we reveal what is hiding in plain sight: the possible burial grounds of enslaved people who were forced to work these plantations 200 years ago. Their locations have remained a mystery, until now.

Catholic Order Pledges $100 Million to Atone for Slave Labor and Sales

4/01/21 - The New York Times - Rachel L. Swarns

In one of the largest efforts by an institution to atone for slavery, a prominent order of Catholic priests has vowed to raise $100 million to benefit the descendants of the enslaved people it once owned and to promote racial reconciliation initiatives across the United States.

The move by the leaders of the Jesuit conference of priests represents the largest effort by the Roman Catholic Church to make amends for the buying, selling and enslavement of Black people, church officials and historians said.


NFL Class Counsel Poised To Remove Race-norming From Concussion Settlement Program

3/23/21 - ABC News - Pete Madden

As the NFL and the class counsel representing former players in the league’s landmark concussion settlement program prepare for a court-ordered mediation to address concerns about race-norming, both sides appear to agree that race should no longer be a factor in determining eligibility for compensation for head injuries. The controversial practice has sparked a firestorm of criticism against the league for what critics says is a two-tiered system – one for Black players and one for white players – to calculate payouts to some former players who claim to be suffering from the lingering effects of head trauma sustained during their careers


For Black Virginians, Fight Against White Supremacy Continues

3/02/21 - NPR - Brandon Shillingford

In 1869, the Buckingham County courthouse - and the records within it - burned to the ground. One historian says it was another blow to African Americans in the commonwealth, part of over 200 years of theft and exploitation committed by the white aristocracy, which continue today.

The cause of the fire has been debated for decades, but Dr. Lakshmi Fjord, a visiting scholar at the University of Virginia and former Buckingham County resident, believes it's quite clear what happened that night.


As A Young Black Girl, I Loved My Grandfather. Then I Found Out He'd Been A KKK Member.

2/19/21 - HuffPost - Lisa Marie Simmons·Guest Writer

“Say it again!” I yelled, staring Billy T. down. Though there was a hot, prickly itching behind my eyes, they stayed dry. He chanted in a taunting schoolyard singsong.

“N**ger, N**ger, N****ggger.”

I was 11 years old in Boulder, Colorado, the only Black kid in the schoolyard. All the kids gathered around to watch me cry. Again.


How textbooks taught white supremacy

2/19/21 - The Havard Gazette - Liz Mineo

A historian steps back to the 1700s and shares what's changed and what needs to change


Mississippi Governor Signs Law For Flag Without Rebel Emblem


Mississippi hoisted a new state flag without the Confederate battle emblem on Monday, just over six months after legislators retired the last state banner in the U.S. that included the divisive rebel symbol.

The new flag has a magnolia and the phrase, “In God We Trust.” Voters approved the design in November, and Gov. Tate Reeves on Monday signed a law to make it an official state symbol.


White Rioters At The Capitol Got Police Respect, Black Protestors Got Rubber Bullets

1/08/21 - MSNBC - Trymaine Lee

For all the ugliness and violence of the Capitol riot this week, the most telling aspect is what we didn't see happen to those white extremists who threw up the middle finger to our democracy.

They battered through doors and stormed the Capitol. They attacked police officers and desecrated the halls of Congress. They ransacked offices and planted homemade explosive devices near the Capitol grounds. A few insurrectionists even waved the traitor's flag — the battle flag of the Confederacy, an emblem of white supremacy — in triumph. And they did it all without being shot or beaten on sight.


How a University of Richmond researcher uncovered the campus's forgotten connection to slavery

12/13/20 - Richmond Times-Dispatch - Eric Kolenich

On the campus of the University of Richmond, there is a grassy triangle of land southeast of Westhampton Lake. Dotted with oak and pine trees, the green space extends up a hill from Richmond Way and is trimmed by two university buildings.

Some 180 years ago, the space served as a cemetery for the enslaved people who lived and worked on a plantation that used to exist there. University leaders knew about the cemetery when they bought the land in 1910. They knew it in the 1940s and again in the 1950s when the graves were discovered during construction projects.


Human remains found at suspected 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre mass grave site

11/16/20 - NBC NEws - Doha Madani

Archaeologists have found human remains during an excavation of what researchers suspect to be a mass grave site from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre at a city cemetery.

The remains were found in an unmarked “grave shaft” more than 3 feet below the ground’s surface, according to Kary Stackelbeck, the state archaeologist for Oklahoma. The body was in a wooden coffin held together by nails, without a headstone, but a temporary marker was discovered nearby.


Marcus Samuelsson: Erasing Black Culinary History Ignores 'The Soul Of American Food'

11/16/20 - NPR - Dave Davies

Samuelsson currently hosts the PBS series No Passport Required. His new book, The Rise, is a celebration of Black excellence in the culinary world — and the many Black cooks who have influenced American food, often without credit.

"When I think about American food and the Black experience, it's almost like we were written out of the food history," he says. "Just like American history in general, it's very complex, and it's not written with people of color and Black people in mind."



11/16/20 - - Kyle Korver

I still remember my reaction when I first heard what happened to Thabo. It was 2015, late in the season. Thabo and I were teammates on the Hawks, and we’d flown into New York late after a game in Atlanta. When I woke up the next morning, our team group text was going nuts. Details were still hazy, but guys were saying, Thabo hurt his leg? During an arrest ? Wait — he spent the night in jail?! Everyone was pretty upset and confused.

Well, almost everyone. My response was….. different. I’m embarrassed to admit it.

Which is why I want to share it today.


A Virginia state senator found headstones on his property. It brought to light a historic injustice in D.C.

10/26/20 - Washington Post - Gregory S. Schneider

Richard and Lisa Stuart were walking beside the Potomac River when they noticed an odd rock in the riprap on the water's edge.

“I think that’s a headstone,” Richard Stuart remembers saying to his wife that day four years ago.

Once they started looking, they saw another. And another. With horror, Stuart discovered that a two-mile stretch of erosion control along the riverfront farm he had just purchased was full of grave markers.


What Coronavirus Job Losses Reveal About Racism in America

10/11/20 - ProPublica - Lena V. Groeger

The economic and health crisis brought on by the pandemic has struck Black Americans especially hard: from their prevalence among workers in essential high-risk fields, to their disproportionate share of deaths, to extensive job losses. But the racial disparities didn’t begin with the virus. National unemployment numbers that now seem unprecedented for workers as a whole have been a daily reality for many Black communities for decades.


Limited African American Progress After the Civil War

10/11/20 - IBW21

You Are Here: Home » Reparations » How the Black Codes Limited African American Progress After the Civil War How the Black Codes Limited African American Progress After the Civil War The black codes effectively continued enslavement for African Americans by restricting their rights and exploiting their labor.


Racial unrest, sports protests continue the ‘outcry for racial and social justice’

10/07/20 - VCU News

"Issues brought to the forefront by protests and racial unrest this year have created a rebirth of the civil rights movement, according to a panel of Richmond journalists and African American leaders. [including our own Coming To The Table - RVA's co-CEO Danita Rountree Green!]

The death of George Floyd brought race and racial issues to the forefront, Kym Grinnage, vice president and general manager at NBC 12, said Tuesday during an online forum hosted by the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture in the College of Humanities and Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University and the VCU chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists.

“Before the George Floyd murder, you would not hear the subject of racism talked about publically in media as well as in offices around the country and the kitchen table with different people of different races,” Grinnage said. “That was something that was pretty much taboo.”....


Their Family Bought Land One Generation After Slavery. Licurtis Reels, left, and Melvin Davis. The Reels Brothers Spent Eight Years in Jail for Refusing to Leave It.

9/29/20 - ProPublica and The New Yorker - Lizzie Presser

“There is this idea that most blacks were lynched because they did something untoward to a young woman. That’s not true. Most black men were lynched between 1890 and 1920 because whites wanted their land.”


A Neighborhood’s Race Affects Home Values More Now Than in 1980

9/23/20 - City Lab - Brentin Mock

U.S. fair housing laws passed in the 1960s and ‘70s were supposed to help bring racial parity to a housing market that since its beginning confined Black homebuyers to the cheapest forms of housing in the most undesirable neighborhoods. But since those laws were passed, the disparity in the appraised values between homes in majority-white and predominantly non-white neighborhoods has widened dramatically, according to a new study.


Maryland Episcopal diocese commits $1 million toward reparations for slavery, racial injustice


The Maryland diocese of the Episcopal Church has become the latest religious institution to commit to making reparations for slavery and systemic racism, voting over the weekend to create a $1 million seed fund for programs that would benefit the African American community in Baltimore and beyond.


Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Champion Of Gender Equality, Dies At 87


Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the demure firebrand who in her 80s became a legal, cultural and feminist icon, died Friday. The Supreme Court announced her death, saying the cause was complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas.

The court, in a statement, said Ginsburg died at her home in Washington, D.C., surrounded by family. She was 87.


Spotlight on LaToya Gray Sparks the winner of ESRI’s 2020 Educational Map Contest

9/17/20 - Richmond Free Press -

LaToya Gray Sparks’ digital story map of how Richmond’s first master plan impacted Black residents contains a wealth of information.

And it has been recognized by the Environmental Systems Research Institute with a first place award in the institute’s 2020 Educational Map Contest.

“I thought that I was going to pass out on my floor!” says Ms. Sparks, describing her reaction to the news of her win. “I had to pinch myself to ensure that I was not dreaming. I could not believe it!”

The map is part of an interactive project, “Planned Destruction: A brief history on land ownership, valuation and development in the City of Richmond and the maps used to destroy black communities.”


Louisville Agrees To $12 Million Settlement With Breonna Taylor's Family


The city of Louisville, Ky., announced a $12 million settlement Tuesday in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Breonna Taylor.

The settlement also includes a series of police reforms to be adopted by the Louisville Metro Police Department, including establishing a housing incentive program to encourage officers to live in low-income neighborhoods within the city.

Other changes to police tactics include creating a clearer command structure when executing warrants at multiple locations.


Summer of Change

9/03/20 - Style Weekly - SCOTT ELMQUIST

“I had just come off a week of furlough and was eager to begin documenting the protests again. That evening, there was a Juneteenth celebration happening at the Robert E. Lee Monument in Richmond, Virginia. The grounds of Lee Circle were busy. Most people were gathered on the south side of the monument listening to speakers. I left the crowd, circled the monument and saw the young boys playing pickup. Just then the sun peeked through the clouds and provided great evening light. The hoop was aligned perfectly with the heavily graffitied monument. I knew when I made this image I was witnessing a sea change in Richmond’s history, as a young boy wearing an ‘I Am My Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams’ shirt soared high on one of the most hallowed grounds of Confederate legacy. Only a few years earlier, I had photographed hundreds of people in the exact same spot with Confederate flags, at a Sons of Confederate Veterans Heritage Rally, so I never thought I would see this moment.”


The Great White Heist

8/29/20 - Yes Magazine - MICHAEL HARRIOT

The Black parents were disproportionately paying for white students’ beautiful new schools and the comfort in which they engaged in learning. And this phenomenon wasn’t unique to Summerton. Even though South Carolina was 40% Black in 1948, statewide, Black schools were worth $12.9 million while white schools were worth $68.4 million. If those white students succeeded in their resource-filled schools, they could go on to one of more than a dozen public institutions of higher learning in South Carolina.


America Shouldn’t Need Black Athletes to Force Its Hand


But for the crowd that wants to know what players were hoping to accomplish, or what their demands are, or what solutions they’re offering up, the truth is, none of that is the players’ responsibility. Whether what happened Wednesday was a strike or an opportunity to mentally refocus, Black people have been bringing attention to the issues in this country long before anyone took a knee or sat out a playoff game. The burden shouldn’t be on Black people, or Black athletes, specifically, to continue to risk their social standing over issues others are being willfully ignorant about.


Clint Smith: To Protest And To Reckon With Racism In America

8/21/20 - NPR - Clint Smith

The killing of George Floyd by a police officer sparked massive protests nationwide. Writer, teacher, and scholar Clint Smith reflects on that moment through conversation, letters, and poetry. A version of this segment was originally heard in the June episode, Clint Smith.


It's More Than Racism: Isabel Wilkerson Explains America's 'Caste' System

8/11/20 - NPR - Terry Gross

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson says racism is an insufficient term for the systemic oppression of Black people in America. Instead, she prefers to refer to America as having a "caste" system.

Wilkerson describes caste an artificial hierarchy that helps determine standing and respect, assumptions of beauty and competence, and even who gets benefit of the doubt and access to resources.


Slavery and salvation: Modern churches reckon with history in the trade

8/02/20 - Daily Press - Denise M. Watson

Parishioners at Old Donation Episcopal Church in Virginia Beach were shocked — and dismayed — when their congregation’s records showed that their 383-year-old church once owned slaves.


White Christian America Needs a Moral Awakening

7/28/20 - The Atlantic - Robert P. Jones

The Christian denomination in which I grew up was founded on the proposition that slavery could flourish alongside the gospel of Jesus Christ. Its founders believed that this arrangement was not just possible, but divinely mandated. Yet many white Christians, like myself, came of age in churches and communities where we seldom heard anything substantive or serious about the white-supremacist roots of our faith.


How Jesus became white – and why it’s time to cancel that

7/24/20 - Richmond Free Press - Emily McFarlan Miller

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 Texas town just removed a fence separating historically segregated cemeteries

7/21/20 - CNN - Alisha Ebrahimji

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.


John Lewis - Get in the Way

7/19/20 - PBS -

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.


C.T. Vivian, Civil Rights Leader And Champion Of Nonviolent Action, Dies At 95

7/19/20 - NPR - Colin Dwyer

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.


The Call for Reparations Is Ringing Out Again. Can Durham Get It Done?

7/15/20 - INDY Week

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.”


'The Stakes Are Far Higher Than They've Ever Been': Trump's Niece Pens Tell-All

7/07/20 - NPR - Colin Dwyer

After a good deal of legal wrangling, an incendiary book by President Trump's niece is beginning to come to light. A slew of excerpts surfaced publicly Tuesday, ahead of the expected release of Mary Trump's book next week.

"Honest work was never demanded of him, and no matter how badly he failed, he was rewarded in ways that are almost unfathomable. He continues to be protected from his own disasters in the White House," Mary Trump writes in Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man.


D. L. Hughley: 'Everybody Knows' Independence Day Didn't Free Us All

7/04/20 - NPR - Scott Simon

July 4th is U.S. Independence Day. But D.L. Hughley, the comedian and author, suggests in his new book that all U.S. holidays "be put on a probationary period to ascertain their relevance and value to All Americans, acknowledging that days off are nice and that mattress sales must occur ..."

His book, co-written with Doug Moe of the Upright Citizens Brigade, is Surrender, White People! Our Unconditional Terms for Peace.



7/01/20 - Black Past - EUELL A. NIELSEN

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.


As Palmdale Grapples With A Hanging Death, Locals Recall The Area's Racist History


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.


Reclamation Square RVA

6/22/20 - Race Capitol (Podcast)

On June 22, 2020, Black youth organizers announced it was time to #ReclaimRVA by renaming the space known as Richmond City Hall as Reclamation Square. Youth and allies held the space for over 7 hours until the Richmond Police Department and Virginia State Police approached the sit-in where a movie was about to begin in riot gear. The police then started tear gassing and shooting rubber bullets directly at the protestors.


‘It was really eye opening': Former students create ‘BlackAtHCPS’ detailing stories of racism, inequality

6/20/20 - NBC12 - Karina Bolster

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.


Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy

6/19/20 - Southern Poverty Law Center

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.


What is Juneteenth? 4 things you should know

6/19/20 - PBS - Courtney Vinopal

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.


Making people aware of their implicit biases doesn’t usually change minds. But here’s what does work

6/19/20 - PBS - Betsy Mason

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.


What happened 99 years ago in the Tulsa Race Massacre

6/19/20 - PBS - Gretchen Frazee

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.


Why celebrating Juneteenth is more important now than ever

6/19/20 - VOX - P.R. Lockhart

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.


The Primal Fear of White America

6/17/20 - Scot Loyd

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 Atlantic Daily: ‘It’s a Bad Week to Be a Racist Statue’

6/11/20 - The Atlantic - CAROLINE MIMBS NYCE

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.


Richmond’s Confederate Monuments Were Used to Sell a Segregated Neighborhood

6/11/20 - The Atlantic - Kevin M. Levin

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.”


How Did We Get Here?163 years of The Atlantic’s writing on race and racism in America

6/10/20 - The Atlantic - Gillian B. White

America recently passed the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first captive Africans brought to what would become the United States. September 2019 was chosen as an imperfect but significant date to mark the start of American slavery and the systems of inequality perpetuated by the nation’s original sin.


Naval Academy alumni board member resigns after accidentally broadcasting racial slurs

6/07/20 - USA TODAY - Emily Bloch of Florida Times-Union

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.


Confederate Monument Being Removed After Birmingham Mayor Vows To 'Finish The Job'

6/02/20 - NPR - Colin Dwyer

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.


Racism is a public health issue and 'police brutality must stop,' medical groups say

6/01/20 - CNN - Jacqueline Howard

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.


Police tear gas protesters at Lee monument


At approximately 7:37 p.m. on Monday police used tear gas to disperse protesters around the Lee statue on Monument Avenue in Richmond.


Williams: America is battling two lethal adversaries, COVID-19 and racism. One is deadlier.

5/31/20 - Richmond Times Dispatch - MICHAEL PAUL WILLIAMS

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.


Richmond’s Controversial Chesterfield Annexation, 50 Years Later

5/20/20 - VPM NPR - Roberto Roldan

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.


Voting Rights For Hundreds Of Thousands Of Felons At Stake In Florida Trial

4/27/20 - NPR - Daniel Rivero

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.


'Black Patriots' Were Heroes Of The Revolution — But Not The History Books

2/16/20 - NPR VPM - Leila Fadel

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.


Interrogating the Past

2/09/20 - Richmond Magazine - Rodrigo Arriaza

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 seem impossible. In many places, they’re already happening

1/31/20 - The Washington Post - Thai Jones

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.


Journalist Gwen Ifill Honored With Black Heritage Forever Stamp

1/29/20 - NPR - Vanessa Romo

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.


'Like I wasn't there': climate activist Vanessa Nakate on being erased from a movement

1/29/20 - The Guardian - Kenya Evelyn

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.”


How Jacob Lawrence Painted a Radical History of the American Struggle

1/28/20 - SMITHSONIANMAG.COM - Brigit Katz

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.


Longview presentation shows how quilts served as 'Morse code' for slaves seeking freedom

1/25/20 - Longview News Journal - Ken Hedler khedler

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.

Pam Tucker's ancestors enslaved Wanda Tucker's. Together they confront effects of slavery.


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.


Q&A: Genevieve Siegel-Hawley on new book, school integration and Richmond Public Schools rezoning

1/17/20 - The Richmond Times Dispatch - JUSTIN MATTINGLY

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.


Racist Housing Practices From The 1930s Linked To Hotter Neighborhoods Today

1/14/20 - NPR - Meg Anderson

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.


50 years after 'Black Manifesto,' religious groups again take up reparations

1/10/20 - Richmond Free Press - Matthew J. Cressler and Adelle M. Banks

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.


The Slaves Dread New Year's Day the Worst': The Grim History of January 1

12/27/19 - Time - OLIVIA B. WAXMAN

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.


Atlanta Playwright, Author Offers Hope Through Poetry

12/23/19 - GPB Radio News (NPR) - LA'RAVEN TAYLOR

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.


Williams: 400 years of history doesn't sweep away with 'Rumors of War' unveiling in Richmond, but it's a start

12/11/19 - The Richmond Times Dispatch by MICHAEL PAUL WILLIAMS

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.


'There's something changing in these winds': Kehinde Wiley's 'Rumors of War' unveiled in Richmond

12/10/19 - Richmond Times-Dispatch BY COLLEEN CURRAN

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.


Reps. Fudge, Richmond, Lee, and Pressley Introduce Legislation Banning Afro-Textured Hair Discrimination


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.


Shockoe Bottom's slave history to be subject of symposium

11/27/19 - Richmond Free Press

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.


Public Unveiling of Sculpture by Kehinde Wiley and Celebration Reception


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.


Remains of African Americans found in Marshall Street well return to Richmond 25 years later

11/25/19 - The Richmond Times Dispatch by Melhor Leonor

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.


What’s Lost When Black Children Are Socialized Into a White World

11/21/19 - The Atlantic by DANI MCCLAIN

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.


Jubilee Singers: Sacrifice and Glory

11/19/19 - PBS

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 Ta-Nehisi Coates deconstructs power: 'The South won the war of aesthetics'

10/31/19 - Richmond Free Press - by Christopher Brown/Capital News Service

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.


With Plans To Pay Slavery Reparations, Two Seminaries Prompt A Broader Debate

10/29/19 - NPR - by TOM GJELTEN

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.


Two families - one black, one white - shared a harrowing history. Then they met.

10/24/19 - By Ian Shapira / The Washington Post

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.


How Virginia became filming location for highly-anticipated movie ‘Harriet’

10/23/19 - WRIC 8 News - By Talya Cunningham, Danielle Guichard

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.


Virginia’s newly appointed diversity and inclusion director is tackling issues head on

10/23/19 - Inside Business - By Sandra J. Pennecke

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..


America's last slave ship could offer a case for reparations


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.


National Museum of African American History and Culture Announces Early Childhood Education Initiative To Develop Healthy Racial Identity


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.


All college students should take a mandatory course on black history and white privilege

9/23/19 - USA Today - Emily Walton, Opinion contributor

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 Great Land Robbery

9/20/19 - The Atlantic - By Vann R. Newkirk II

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.


The Long History of American Slavery Reparations

9/20/19 - The Wall Street Journal By Manisha Sinha

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.


Which black Americans should get reparations?

9/18/19 - The Washington Post - By Wesley Lowery

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.


Virginia seminary sets aside $1.7 million to pay reparations to descendants of slaves

9/09/19 - CNN - By Daniel Burke

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.


Plantations are talking more about slavery — and grappling with visitors who talk back

9/08/19 - Richmond Times Dispatch - By Hannah Knowles

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.”


UVA and the History of Race: The Lost Cause Through Judge Duke’s Eyes

9/04/19 - UVAToday - By Elizabeth R. Varon

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.


Teaching America’s Truth

8/28/19 - The Washington Post - By Joe Heim

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


America Wasn’t a Democracy, Until Black Americans Made It One

8/14/19 - The New York Times Magazine - By Nikole Hannah-Jones

Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true.


The Departed and Dismissed of Richmond

8/05/19 - SCLALWAG - By Samantha Willis

The future of an antebellum era Black burial ground in Richmond sparks a fight to preserve the city’s desecrated and nearly erased histories.


Jim Crow’s Last Stand

7/22/19 - The Atlantic / By Emily Buder

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.


Robert E. Lee Descendant: Reparations Are Necessary If People ‘Want To Fix Racism

6/25/19 - HUFFPOST - Kimberly Yam

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.


10 books besides ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ that tackle racial injustice

6/14/19 - Arts - By By Joshua Barajas and Vic Pasquantonio

"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."


Sandy Darity has some thoughts about inequality

5/16/19 - Duke Magazine - By Lucas Hubbard

As politicians adopt ideas he's researched for decades, the economist patiently stays the course.


The Atlanta Nap Ministry preaches the liberating power of rest

4/29/19 - Atlanta BY GRAY CHAPMAN

“We’re pushing back against these systems telling us we should feel guilty for laying down and taking a nap.”


When Slaveowners Got Reparations

4/16/19 - The New York Times - By Tera W. Hunter

Lincoln signed a bill in 1862 that paid up to $300 for every enslaved person freed.


When Slaveowners Got Reparations

4/16/19 - The New York Times - Tera W. Hunter

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.


How Reconstruction Still Shapes American Racism

4/02/19 - Time Magazine - BY HENRY LOUIS GATES JR.

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?”

12 Institutionalized White Privileges That Baked Wealth Inequity into America

2/06/19 - Happily Natural

A list of Institutionalized white privileges that baked wealth inequity into America.


Six Powerful Voices in Racism and Slavery

8/02/18 - Now This


Happy slaves? The peculiar story of three Virginia school textbooks

4/14/18 - Richmond Times Dispatch - By Rex Springston

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


The Race Issue

4/04/18 - National Geographic - Multiple authors

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


The Long, Painful History of Police Brutality in the U.S.

7/27/17 - Smithsonian Magazine - Katie Nodjimbadem

A 1963 protest placard in the Smithsonian collections could almost be mistaken for any of the Black Lives Matter marches of today.


When Portland banned blacks: Oregon’s shameful history as an ‘all-white’ state

6/07/17 - The Washington Post - By DeNeen L. Brown

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.


What This Cruel War Was Over

6/22/15 - The Atlantic - By Ta-Nehisi Coates

The meaning of the Confederate flag is best discerned in the words of those who bore it.

"A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true."
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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