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History Archives - Institute of the Black World 21st Century

Christiansborg Castle, Osu, Ghana

Ghana’s Danish Osu castle and its role in the slave trade

By | Reparations

What a Danish slave trade castle in Accra revealed about Ghana’s history and my family. By Rachel Ama Asaa Engmann, Hampshire College — As a Ghanaian archaeologist, I have been conducting research at Christiansborg Castle in Accra, Ghana. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the castle is a former seventeenth century trading post, colonial Danish and British seat of government, and Office of the President of the Republic of Ghana. Today,…

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When Mandela's Predecessor Toured the Us to Expose Segregation Back Home

When Mandela’s Predecessor Toured the Us to Expose Segregation Back Home

By | Editors' Choice

Solomon Plaatje, an early ANC leader, came to America in 1921 to expose the growing number of race laws back home. By Matthew Blackman, OZY — A short, well-dressed 44-year-old man of the southern African Barolong tribe stood at the American border near Niagara Falls holding Canadian passport No. 79551. It stated the bearer was a British national and a resident of Toronto. In fact, he was Solomon Plaatje, the…

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Empire Windrush migrants arrive at Tilbury in 1948.

‘There were Africans in Britain before the English came here’

By | Commentaries/Opinions, Reparations

How Staying Power shook British history. When it was published in 1984 Staying Power vividly captured the struggle for black British identity. Nearly 35 years on it still has lessons to teach. By Gary Younge, The Guardian — “The very serious function of racism is distraction,” Toni Morrison argued in a lecture in Portland, Oregon, in 1975: It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and…

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Scotland and UK Flag

It’s time for Scotland to make reparations for slavery

By | Commentaries/Opinions, Reparations

Scotland should take responsibility for the major and highly lucrative role it played in the transatlantic slave trade. By Elliot Ross, Al Jazeera — The late Jamaican-British intellectual Stuart Hall liked to describe the entanglement of the United Kingdom with the peoples of Africa and the Caribbean with the provocation: “I am the sugar at the bottom of the English cup of tea. I am the sweet tooth, the sugar plantations that rotted…

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J.C.H. Grabill/Library of Congress The caption says: Famous Battery “E” of 1st Artillery. These brave men and the Hotchkiss gun that Big Foot’s Indians thought were toys, together with the fighting 7th what’s left of Gen. Custer’s boys, sent 200 Indians to that Heaven which the ghost dancer enjoys. This checked the Indian noise and Gen. Miles with staff returned to Illinois.

What White Supremacists Know

By | Commentaries/Opinions, Editors' Choice

The violent theft of land and capital is at the core of the U.S. experiment: the U.S. military got its start in the wars against Native Americans. By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Boston Review — The United States has been at war every day since its founding, often covertly and often in several parts of the world at once. As ghastly as that sentence is, it still does not capture the full…

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‘Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor’ by William Halsall (1882). Pilgrim Hall Museum

Why the Pilgrims were actually able to survive

By | Commentaries/Opinions

By Peter C. Mancall, The Conversation — Sometime in the autumn of 1621, a group of English Pilgrims who had crossed the Atlantic Ocean and created a colony called New Plymouth celebrated their first harvest. They hosted a group of about 90 Wampanoags, their Algonquian-speaking neighbors. Together, migrants and Natives feasted for three days on corn, venison and fowl. In their bountiful yield, the Pilgrims likely saw a divine hand…

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President Donald Trump will travel to Mississippi to stump for a candidate who spoke favorably of lynching and voter disenfranchisement.

Trump’s Racism Doesn’t Have To Be A Political Strategy. Sometimes It’s Just Racism.

By | Commentaries/Opinions

By Ja’han Jones, Huff Post — In 1955, after the nation’s most infamous lynching ― of her son, Emmett ― Mamie Till-Mobley sent a telegram to President Dwight Eisenhower. In it, she pleaded with Eisenhower to “see that justice [was] meted out to all persons involved” in her son’s murder, which took place in Money, Mississippi. She received nothing in response — not correspondence from the White House and not…

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A new statue (2015) of Frederick Douglass stands in Hornbake Plaza.

Frederick Douglass and Irish Home Rule

By | Reparations

Image: A new statue (2015) of Frederick Douglass stands in Hornbake Plaza. Note: While most of us generally think about the profound activism and wisdom of Frederick Douglass being acknowledged primarily in the United States, his work and reputation was, in fact, international, as noted below regarding his visits to Ireland. In addition, another aspect of the movement for justice and the abolition of slavery was the British/Irish international support…

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SNCC protesters march in Montgomery, 1965

Documenting and Digitizing Democracy: The SNCC Digital Gateway

By | Editors' Choice

By Ashley Farmer, Black Perspectives — “Learn from the Past, Organize the Future, Make Democracy Work.” This is the mission statement that greets visitors at the SNCC Digital Gateway—a wide-ranging, collaborative website that documents and animates the history of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Founded in April 1960 under the guidance of veteran activist Ella Baker, SNCC became a leading civil rights organization due to countless young organizers who engaged in voter…

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RiseUp Detroit (Teaser) – The Revolutionary evolution of Black Detroit during the 60’s

By | News & Current Affairs, Video/Audio

RiseUp Detroit chronicles the Revolutionary evolution of Black Detroit during the 60’s. Featuring activists JoAnn Watson, Frank Joyce, Helen Moore, Rev. Dan Aldridge, Elliot Hall, Esq., Charles E. Ferrell and others. Produced by Junius Williams, for the Center for Education and Juvenile Justice. In partnership with Wayne State University, Rutgers University (Newark), Washington University (St. Louis). Research by Peter Blackmer. Video and Editing by 248 Pencils.

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