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Kanye West Archives - Institute of the Black World 21st Century

George Wallace blocking a federal agent from entering the University of Alabama to enroll Black students, 1963.

Is Freedom White?

By Editors' Choice

In a political season of dog whistles, we must be attentive to how talk of American freedom has long been connected to the presumed right of whites to dominate everyone else. By Jefferson Cowie, Boston Review — “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!” Alabama governor George Wallace’s most famous sentence fired through the frigid air on the coldest day anyone in the state could remember. His 1963 inaugural address—written by a…

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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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An 1863 photograph that became known as “The Scourged Back”’ shows the whipping scars on Gordon, a former slave in Louisiana who escaped to Union lines.

The Historian Behind Slavery Apologists Like Kanye West

By Reparations

An 1863 photograph that became known as “The Scourged Back”’ shows the whipping scars on Gordon, a former slave in Louisiana who escaped to Union lines. Credit: McPherson & Oliver, collection of the Illinois State Historical Library By Blain Roberts and Ethan J. Kytle — A video of the rapper Kanye West discussing slavery is a sad reminder of America’s historical amnesia about the brutal realities of that institution. “When…

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