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Boston Archives - Institute of the Black World 21st Century

Anti-smallpox shots in now DR Congo 1962

The African slave who taught America how to vaccinate itself from smallpox

By Reparations

By Carey Baraka, Quartz Africa — In April 1721, a smallpox outbreak swept through Boston. This was the latest in a string of six epidemics that had, since, 1630, laid waste to the city. Cotton Mather, a local slave owner and preacher, claimed to be in possession of a way of preventing contraction of the disease. Mather, who had first come to public prominence as one of the thinkers behind…

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‘Unfortunately for us, there is no William Monroe Trotter in 2020. Nor is there a Boston Guardian demanding that the black press “hold a mirror up to nature”.’

The radical black newspaper that declared ‘none are free unless all are free’

By Editors' Choice

In 1901, William Trotter founded an other Guardian – the Boston Guardian – to ‘hold a mirror up to nature’. We could use something similar today, writes Kerri Greenidge. By Kerri Greenidge — In 1901, William Monroe Trotter founded the Guardian newspaper in Boston. At that time, the more famous Guardian – the one you’re now reading – was published in Manchester, and Trotter had never traveled further than Chillicothe, Ohio.…

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Former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walk across the South Lawn.

15 American landmarks that were built by slaves

By Editors' Choice, Reparations

By James Pasley, Business Insider — In 2016, former first lady Michelle Obama declared as a sign of how far the nation has come: “I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves.” She was talking about the White House. And as the first African American first lady speaking to the Democratic National Convention, she struck a chord. Some fact checkers and political pundits may have raced…

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Get Out: Toward an Honest Commitment to Racial Justice

By Commentaries/Opinions, Gentrification

By David J. Harris, Houston Institute Executive Director — Several weeks ago the Boston Globe published an opinion piece by editorial and staff writer David Scharfenberg in which he called for an “honest” commitment to racial integration. He dismissed the “gauzy 1963 version” of integration, insisted that “harping too much” on its virtues “can feel paternalistic,” and lamented the “disastrous busing experiment of the 1970s” which proved that “forced integration…simply doesn’t work.” Even so,…

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Ayanna Pressley

Is This the Next Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?

By News & Current Affairs

Ayanna Pressley says the Democratic Party needs new blood. She’ll have to take down a popular incumbent to make her case. By Joanna Weiss, Politico Magazine — A few weeks before Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won her New York congressional primary, Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley spoke to a roomful of young Democrats at the Bell-in-Hand, a Boston tavern that dates back to 1795. She was explaining why she should unseat a…

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