History Archives - Institute of the Black World 21st Century

Old Slave Mart on Chalmers Street in downtown Charleston.

Charleston, once known as the US’s slave trade capital, to host national reparations forum

By NAARC Posts, News & Current Affairs, Reparations

A free forum on reparations for slavery at the Gaillard Center on Nov. 2 will be hosted by the National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina. Charleston’s wealth was built and sustained for centuries on an economy that relied on slavery. Pictured here is the Old Slave Mart on Chalmers Street in downtown Charleston. By Caitlin…

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American Slave Auction

An Early Case For Reparations

By Reparations

Two new books tell the stories of people kidnapped and sold into slavery. One of them sued successfully. By Eric Herschthal, The New Republic — When we think about slavery, we tend to imagine freedom as its natural opposite. But this makes it difficult to comprehend the actual conditions under which un-enslaved African Americans actually lived before and even long after the Civil War. For the 12 percent of African…

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A slave auction in the South is depicted in a sketch circa 1861 by Theodore R. Davis.

It was the nation’s largest auction of enslaved people.

By Reparations

Now, a search for descendants of the ‘weeping time.’ Historians Henry Louis Gates Jr. and James Swanson are writing a new account of the notorious 1859 auction of 429 slaves and searching for descendants. By Michael E. Ruane, The Washington Post — It poured rain at the Georgia racetrack that Wednesday and Thursday, and the wind blew water into the covered grandstand where the merchandise was gathered for auction. Many…

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The Freedman. Artist: John Quincy Adams Ward. 1863

The Sexual Assault and Exploitation of Enslaved Men in America

By Reparations

By Thomas A. Foster, History News Network — Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from Rethinking Rufus: Sexual Violations of Enslaved Men by Thomas A. Foster. Reprinted with permission from The University of Georgia Press. The promise of freedom may also have been used to entice enslaved men into sexual contact with white women. In eighteenth-century Pennsylvania, one court record of punishment meted out to a white woman and an enslaved man for…

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The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History

400 years later, America still has so much to learn about its racial history

By Editors' Choice

By Lonnie Bunch, The Washington Post — In his influential treatise on race, “The Fire Next Time,” James Baldwin wrote, “To accept one’s past — one’s history — is not the same thing as drowning in it; it is learning how to use it. An invented past can never be used; it cracks and crumbles under the pressures of life like clay in a season of drought.” Baldwin’s words…

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Mural of the slave ship Clotilda along Africatown Blvd

America’s last slave ship could offer a case for reparations

By News & Current Affairs, Reparations

By Jay Reeves, Associated Press — MOBILE, Ala. — Alabama steamship owner Timothy Meaher financed the last slave vessel that brought African captives to the United States, and he came out of the Civil War a wealthy man. His descendants, with land worth millions, are still part of Mobile society’s upper crust. The people whom Meaher enslaved, however, emerged from the war with freedom but little else. Census forms that…

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Aesthetically, the antebellum plantations of the Old South are undeniably beautiful. But they’re built on human degradation.

Stop Getting Married On Plantations

By Editors' Choice, Reparations

Aesthetically, the antebellum plantations of the Old South are undeniably beautiful. But they’re built on human degradation. By Patricia J. Williams, The Nation — It was not a kind thought that flitted across my mind while I was waiting in the airport in Montreal. The weather was bad, my flight was late, and I was having lunch on the “American side” of the terminal, listening to a big, jovial man…

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The statue depicts Roosevelt on horseback, with a Native American man and an African man

How Do We Address a Statue of President Roosevelt That Affirms Racist Hierarchies?

By Commentaries/Opinions

By Nick Mirzoeff, Hyperallergic — Almost two years after the 2017 fascist rally at Charlottesville around a mediocre statue of Robert E. Lee, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) opened its exhibition Addressing the Statue for an unspecified run. The statue in question is James Earle Fraser’s massive “Theodore Roosevelt Equestrian Memorial,” situated outside the Museum’s main entrance, depicting Roosevelt flanked by his gun carriers, a stereotyped Plains Indian and a generic African. It…

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Dr. Lonnie Bunch III and Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.

Dr. Lonnie Bunch’s African American Museum Dream Fulfilled

By News & Current Affairs

Smithsonian Secretary Goes One-on-One with NNPA President about New Book By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA — Dr. Lonnie Bunch III, the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, sat down for an exclusive interview with National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The two discussed Bunch’s timely new book, “A Fool’s Errand: Creating the…

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Underground Railroad

The Native Americans Who Assisted the Underground Railroad

By Editors' Choice, Reparations

By Roy E. Finkenbine — In an interview conducted in 2002, the late Helen Hornbeck Tanner, an influential historian of the Native American experience in the Midwest best known for her magisterial Atlas of Great Lakes Indian History (1987), reflected on the considerable record of “coexistence and cooperation” between African Americans and Indians in the region. According to Tanner, “[an] important example of African and Indian cooperation was the Indian-operated Underground Railroad….

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