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African American history



  • Conversation: Why is AP Taking Activism Out of African American Studies?

    Historians Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and Robin D.G. Kelley discuss the roots of African American Studies in civil rights activism, which makes the decision to de-emphasize contemporary movements like Black Lives Matter inexplicable and diminishes the power of the course to help students make sense of the society.


  • The Heroes of Ripley, Ohio

    by David Goodrich

    David Goodrich bicycled 3,000 miles along the routes of the Underground Railroad, encountering the places of history from a new perspective. This excerpt follows him through the Ohio-Kentucky borderland and across the river that marked free territory. 



  • Florida's AP Fight Latest Battle in a Very Old Education War

    by Bethany Bell

    The state's rejection of the proposed curriculum as "indoctrination" stands on the foundation laid by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to establish the Lost Cause myth as the center of history education in the South for generations. 



  • On Florida's Erasure of Black History

    by Lynn Pasquerella and Mary Dana Hinton

    The Florida AP decision raises a host of troubling questions about what the state hopes to accomplish, with ominous implications for political enfranchisement, democratic deliberation, and civic connection. 



  • Refuse a Return to "Normalcy" after Police Killings

    by Austin McCoy

    Refusing to accept avoidable death as part of American life—from COVID or police violence—is the foundation of change. Americans need to organize a national day of mourning in the form of a work stoppage. 



  • Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham on the AP Af-Am Studies Controversy

    by Olivia B. Waxman

    The Harvard historian, one of the principal evaluators of the AP curriculum, says that the most prominent public statements about the pilot course reflect misunderstanding or deception about what its contents really are. 



  • Organization of American Historians Statement on AP African American Studies

    "The OAH further rejects the characterization of these scholars and their scholarship as examples of “woke indoctrination,” and instead recognize them as central to the interdisciplinary research and teaching of African American history and culture, as well as American history more broadly."



  • A Reading List of Authors Removed from the AP African American Studies Course

    The College Board has made revisions to its pilot African American Studies course that appear to follow the criticisms made by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Here's a collection of essays by many of the scholars representing diverse Black intellectual traditions whose ideas will not be part of the course going forward. 



  • Ron DeSantis Battles the College Board—and History

    by Jelani Cobb

    "It’s scarcely surprising that a discipline built on an interest in exploring Black humanity would find itself in the crosshairs. That such a thing would happen in Florida is even less so."



  • Some Escaped Slavery Without Escaping the South

    by Viola Franziska Müller

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



  • Family Histories where Black Power Met Police Power

    by Dan Berger

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



  • Kidada Williams on The Reconstruction that Wasn't

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



  • Three Novels Rooted in Forgotten Black Histories

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



  • Anastasia Curwood on New Shirley Chisholm Bio

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