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Black History

James Forten

This Black Activist Was One of the Richest Men in Early America

By Editors' Choice

A Black sailmaker was helping to lead the anti-slavery movement long before it was popular in America. By Sean Braswell, OZY — In the spring of 1842, several thousand Philadelphians poured into the streets for one of the largest funerals in the city’s history. It was a remarkable sight: An interracial procession that included everyone from poor Black laborers to wealthy White merchants to sea captains and shippers. On that…

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Kanye West

Wake Up, Mr. West!

By Commentaries/Opinions

How Kanye’s ignorant comments fortify the most pernicious lies of white supremacy. By Clint Smith — This past week, in an interview with TMZ, Kanye West claimed that slavery was a choice. “When you hear about slavery for 400 years … 400 years? That sounds like a choice,” he said. Much has already been written about West’s recent exploits on and off Twitter. In the past week, he has publicly embraced…

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I’m Not Black, I’m Kanye — Article by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Image by Glenn Harvey

I’m Not Black, I’m Kanye

By Commentaries/Opinions

Kanye West wants freedom—white freedom. By Ta-Nehisi Coates — I could only have seen it there, on the waxed hardwood floor of my elementary-school auditorium, because I was young then, barely 7 years old, and cable had not yet come to the city, and if it had, my father would not have believed in it. Yes, it had to have happened like this, like folk wisdom, because when I think of that…

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Diane Nash, right, represented the Southern Christian Leadership Conference at the White House in 1963.

The Selfless Servant Leadership of the African-American Women of the Civil-Rights Movement

By Editors' Choice

These women didn’t stand on ceremony; they accepted the risks of activism and fought for worlds where others might have freedoms that they themselves would never enjoy. By Janet Dewart Bell — During the civil-rights movement, African Americans led the fight to free this country from the vestiges of slavery and Jim Crow. Though they all too often were—and remain—invisible to the public, African-American women played significant roles at all…

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How much has really improved for black people in the U.S. since 1968

Black Americans mostly left behind by progress since Dr. King’s death

By Commentaries/Opinions

How much has really improved for black people in the U.S. since 1968? By Sharon Austin — On Apr. 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, while assisting striking sanitation workers. That was almost 50 years ago. Back then, the wholesale racial integration required by the 1964 Civil Rights Act was just beginning to chip away at discrimination in education, jobs and public facilities. Black voters had only obtained legal protections two years earlier, and the 1968 Fair Housing Act was about to become law. African-Americans were only beginning to move into neighborhoods, colleges and careers once reserved for whites only.

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It’s happened ever since I began teaching as a graduate student in 1991. Most semesters in which I have taught a course related to U.S. history, the complaint appears at least once on my students’ course evaluations: “too much time on race.”

Black history is U.S. history — but some of my students don’t want to hear it

By Commentaries/Opinions

History class should be the last place where we stop talking about race. By Donald Earl Collins — It’s happened ever since I began teaching as a graduate student in 1991. Most semesters in which I have taught a course related to U.S. history, the complaint appears at least once on my students’ course evaluations: “too much time on race.”Whether at the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon, Duquesne, George Washington…

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