African American history

  • What "Crackhead" Really Meant in 1980s America

    by Donovan X. Ramsey

    The memories of politicians and police have been allowed to dominate our understanding of the emergence of crack cocaine in the 1980s. A new book seeks to elevate the voices of urban Black Americans and others who experienced it directly and still live with its effects.

  • In Memphis, Tyre Nichols's Killing Echoes 1866 Massacre

    by Isaiah Stafford and Kathy Roberts Forde

    In the aftermath of the Civil War, Memphis was a city in political upheaval in which policing became a method of reasserting white supremacy. 

  • Texas Politicians Want to Erase What Happened Between Juneteenth and Jim Crow

    by Jeffrey L. Littlejohn and Zachary Montz

    Joshua Houston, long enslaved by Sam Houston, recognized that the collective work of securing freedom only began with the announcement of emancipation, and that teaching the state's history honestly was part of the struggle for an egalitarian society against people determined to stand against it. 

  • Juneteenth has Gone National—We Must Preserve its Local Meanings

    by Tiya Miles

    Juneteenth celebrations have long been couched in local Black communities' preserved rituals that express particular ideas about heritage and the meaning of freedom. While a national commemoration of emancipation is welcome, history will be lost if local observances are swamped by a national holiday.

  • Teaching Hard Histories Through Juneteenth

    A celebration of freedom should put the work of the people who fought and struggled to achieve it at the center; thinking of freedom as something achieved instead of something granted. 

  • Review: J.T. Roane Tells Black Philadelphia's History from the Margins

    by Charles W. McKinney

    Roane picks up a challenge offered by W.E.B. DuBois in his pioneering "The Philadelphia Negro" to understand the spaces of alternative and underground social life as important and formative parts of Black urban life in the Great Migration. 

  • Can the Left Take Back Identity Politics?

    by Umut Özkırımlı

    Recovering the liberatory potential of identity politics means going back to the term's source—the Combahee River Collective—and recognizing its radical roots and embrace of coalition-building and politics.

  • Determined to Remember: Harriet Jacobs and Slavery's Descendants

    by Koritha Mitchell

    Public history sites have the potential to spark intellectual engagement because when they make embodied connections between people and the sites they visit—even when those connections evoke the cruelty of the past. 

  • Scholars Stage Teach-in on Racism in DeSantis's Back Yard

    Yohuru Williams and the Institute for Common Power, directed by Terry Anne Scott, convened a 24-hour teach-in in St. Petersburg to draw attention to the connections between inclusive history lessons and functioning democracy.