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History Archives - Institute of the Black World 21st Century

A South Sudanese boy belonging to a cultural dance group uses moistened ground chalk to mark traditional tribe paintings on his face

World’s languages traced back to single African mother tongue: scientists

By News & Current Affairs

Scientists say they have traced the world’s 6,000 modern languages — from English to Mandarin — back to a single “mother tongue,” an ancestral language spoken in Africa 50,000 to 70,000 years ago. New research, published in the journal Science, suggests this single ancient language resulted in human civilization — a Diaspora — as well as advances in art and hunting tool technology, and laid the groundwork for all the…

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The Legacy Museum shows visitors elements of America’s long history of racial injustice – slavery, lynching, segregation, police killings of Black teens and the societal addiction to putting Black people behind bars.

‘Truth-telling has to happen’: the museum of America’s racist history

By Reparations

The Legacy Museum, opening in October, lands at a time when racial violence is again on the rise and critical race theory is being used to prevent America’s racist past being taught in schools. By Ed Pilkington, The Guardian — A 30ft wave crashes over your head as you enter the museum, dragging you instantly down into the roiling waters. The waves keep coming at you in gunmetal grey surges,…

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Cuban trumpet solo by Riccardo Maria Mantero Reuse

Cuba’s census, skin color and social analysis

By Commentaries/Opinions

By Esteban Morales Domínguez — Although it still causes many prejudices, misunderstandings and challenges, there is no choice but to pay attention to skin color. Above all, in its consideration within the media and national statistics. Cuban society is a multiracial society, or rather, multicolored, mestizo. And that reality has to be registered statistically. Not by handling the Census as a simply numerical matter, but as a cultural demographic one….

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The Harlem Hellfighters

The Harlem Hellfighters were war heroes. Then they came home to racism.

By News & Current Affairs

The Harlem Hellfighters were the most celebrated Black regiment in World War I but were largely forgotten after returning to the United States, where they faced racism and discrimination. (via National Archives).  An exceptional unit of Black soldiers who fought in World War I will receive the Congressional Gold Medal. By Precious Fondren, NYT — For most of her life Debra Willett had a vague idea about who her grandfather…

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Museum of Preso Novos Cemetery

Cemetery for enslaved Africans in Brazil discovered, turned into museum

By Reparations

By Alexa Imani Spencer, Black Enterprise — A cemetery of enslaved Africans in Brazil has been discovered and turned into a museum after nearly 200 years. The cemetery site was discovered in the 1990s during a renovation of an abandoned house in Rio de Janeiro. According to Travel Noire, the homeowner, Merced Guimarães dos Anjos, said she and her husband decided to open the space to visitors once they found…

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African Americans were used as slave labour in California and other western US territories during the 1850s. (

The little-known story of how slavery infiltrated California and the American west

By Reparations

By Kevin Waite, The Conversation — The history of American slavery generally conjures a set of familiar images: sprawling plantations white with cotton, gangs of enslaved African Americans stooped low over the fields, bullwhips cracking in the summer heat. It’s a strictly southern story – or so we’re told. But that narrative misses a huge swath of the North American map and a crucial chapter in US history. American slavery…

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A receipt for the purchase of an 18-year-old enslaved woman named Jane for $4,300. The document was captured from a Confederate ship during the Civil War.

My ancestor was in the slave trade. As California considers reparations, what do I owe?

By Reparations

By Lois Requist, Desert Sun — The receipt for the sale of a 9-year-old girl. That, and Derek Chauvin’s knee on George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes, got my attention. Until these two events, I wasn’t sure what reparations had to do with me, a white woman who has always lived in the American West and who has abhorred the idea of slavery for as long as I’ve known about it….

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Marcus Garvey

50 Marcus Garvey Quotes

By Black World History

Editor’s Note: Historically, the Institute of the Black World 21st Century has celebrated August as “Marcus Garvey Month” and also as “Universal African Flag Day”, a time to honor the life and legacy of the great Pan-African leader. Over the years, Garvey’s Red/Black/Green flag has become the standard bearer for the global black liberation movement. IBW is honored to share with our readers 50 quotes from the speeches and writings…

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A new historical marker that focuses on former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, who formed the White House Historical Association in 1961, is displayed at the northern end of Lafayette Park on Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Washington.

DC park display honors enslaved people who built White House

By News & Current Affairs

The White House Historical Association unveiled three new historical markers at the northern end of Lafayette Park-—less than a block from the White House. By Ashraf Khalil, Associated Press —  What started as a few public comments from former first lady Michelle Obama has resulted in a new permanent public display in Lafayette Park that details the role of enslaved people in building the White House. The White House Historical…

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“Battle of Ravine-à-Couleuvres,” by Karl Girardet and Jean-Jacques Outhwaite

We owe Haiti a debt we can’t repay

By Commentaries/Opinions

Haitians carried out the first and only successful slave revolt in modern history, then repelled Napoleon’s forces, making way for the Louisiana Purchase. By Annette Gordon-Reed, NYT — When assassins killed President Jovenel Moïse of Haiti on July 7, pushing the country to the brink of chaos, it may have struck many Americans as the latest in a string of political upheavals and destabilizing disasters in an unfortunate country with…

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Commentary, Articles and Essays by Dr. Maulana Karenga

The History and Future of Haiti

By Dr. Maulana Karenga

Revolution, Repression, Resistance and Eventual Victory By Dr. Maulana Karenga — The history and culture of Haiti is marked by extraordinary expressions of revolutionary struggle and victory, suffering and repression, but always righteous and relentless resistance of the people and their radical refusal to be defeated. The Haitian nation was born in revolutionary struggle, achieving what no enslaved people had done before or after. It defeated its enslavers and other…

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A South Carolinan wears the "Stars and Stripes" after the Confederate "Stars and Bars" were lowered from the flagpole

Loving your country means teaching its history honestly

By Commentaries/Opinions

What is the point of American history? David French on how teaching the positive and the negative is key to understanding this country. By David French, TIME — Why do you love the United States of America? There is no better time to ask that question than on Independence Day. The answer to that question can and should tell us a great deal about whether our love of country is…

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