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6 myths about the history of Black people in America | Vox

Six historians weigh in on the biggest misconceptions about black history, including the Tuskegee experiment and enslaved people’s finances. To study American history is often an exercise in learning partial truths and patriotic fables. Textbooks and curricula throughout the country continue to center the white experience, with Black people often quarantined to a short section about slavery and quotes by Martin Luther King Jr. Many walk away from their high school history class — and through the world — with a severe lack of understanding of the history and perspective of Black people in America. Last summer, the New York […]

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Don’t pit slavery descendants against black immigrants. Racism doesn’t know the difference. | USA Today

An anti-African, anti-black-immigrant stance is shortsighted. As we celebrate Black History Month, we should not divide the black community. Should African American/black identity be defined by descendants of slavery, or by African ancestry? This increasingly bitter debate in the black community is undermining the spirit of Black History Month. At the center of the conflict is the social movement referred to as ADOS, or the American Descendants of Slavery. Co-founded in 2016, ADOS is a political and social movement whose purpose is to advocate for reparations — compensating those who have been wronged — on behalf of black Americans. The […]

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There Have Been 10 Black Senators Since Emancipation | The New York Times

Elected 150 years ago, Hiram Revels was the first. A few days ago, 300 people gathered in the Old State Capitol in Jackson, Miss., to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the election of Hiram Revels as the nation’s first African-American member of Congress. As nearly everyone knows, in the nation’s more than two centuries of existence Barack Obama is our only black president. Less familiar is the fact that of the nearly 2,000 men and women who have served in the Senate only 10 have been black. Of these, Revels and Blanche K. Bruce were elected from Mississippi during Reconstruction. […]

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Ten “Must Watch” Black History Documentaries | PBS

Documentaries can open windows to our past. Through the lens of talented filmmakers, we can re-live iconic moments in history like the 1963 March on Washington or climb aboard a Greyhound bus to join the Freedom Riders on their journey through the Jim Crow South. Documentaries offer rich insight into our society and culture, connect us to some of our proudest and most shameful moments in American history, and remind us of how far we’ve come. What follows is a list of powerful documentaries exploring Black history and culture in America. The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross This Emmy […]

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The Rosewood Massacre: How a lie destroyed a black town | The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

From the bruises on her body, it was clear Fannie Taylor had been beaten. The story she told to explain them away destroyed an all-black town in Florida and got several of its residents murdered. On New Year’s Day 1923, Taylor, then the 22-year-old wife of a mill worker, said a black man had assaulted her. She didn’t say rape, only that she’d been assaulted, but the word “assault” was interpreted as a sexual violation by the whites in her town of Sumner, Fla. Sumner was just a few miles from Rosewood, an all-black town of about 120 that had […]

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Escape Route | Lapham’s Quarterly

How cars changed the lives of black Americans. Between the 1920s and the 1960s, automobile ownership changed African American life. You could not be asked to move to the back of the bus—or, worse, to get off and reenter through the back door—if you drove your own car. The horsepower of an automobile also gave African American drivers the ability to escape. Cars enabled motorists to move rapidly without being stopped or harassed by white citizens anxious to take the law into their own hands. There are instances of African Americans being dragged from their cars and beaten by angry […]

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Henry Louis Gates Jr. on what really happened at Obama’s ‘beer summit.’ | The New York Times Magazine

Henry Louis Gates Jr. is one of a handful of academics who have crossed over into something approaching true celebrity. Which is apparently what happens when you’ve written and edited dozens of books of popular history; had a guiding hand in 18 major documentaries on black history, the most recent of which was “Who Killed Malcom X?”; and spent six seasons uncovering the genealogical mysteries of famous people as host of PBS’s “Finding Your Roots.” Gates’s desire to reach beyond the ivory tower — in addition to writing landmark works of literary criticism like “The Signifying Monkey,” he’s the director […]

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Nearly 100 Years After Tulsa Massacre, City Plans to Search Cemetery for Victims | The New York Times

In one of the worst instances of racist violence in American history, a group of white people slaughtered black residents of Tulsa. For decades, city leaders rarely acknowledged it in public. Archaeologists plan to excavate part of a cemetery in Tulsa, Okla., to see if it holds the remains of black residents slaughtered by white mobs during a massacre in 1921. The mayor said Wednesday it was an “unprecedented” step to address one of the worst instances of racist violence in American history, an episode that for decades was rarely acknowledged in public by city leaders. The archaeologists plan to […]

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Who Really Killed Malcolm X? | The New York Times

Fifty-five years later, the case may be reopened. For more than half a century, scholars have maintained that prosecutors convicted the wrong men in the assassination of Malcolm X. Now, 55 years after that bloody afternoon in February 1965, the Manhattan district attorney’s office is reviewing whether to reinvestigate the murder. Some new evidence comes from a six-part documentary called “Who Killed Malcolm X?,” streaming on Netflix Feb. 7, which posits that two of the men convicted could not have been at the scene that day. Instead it points the finger at four members of a Nation of Islam mosque […]

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LGBTQ Rights Icon Bayard Rustin Granted Posthumous Pardon In California | HuffPost

Rustin, who co-organized the March on Washington in 1963, was jailed for having gay sex nearly 70 years ago. SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s governor announced Wednesday that he is posthumously pardoning a gay civil rights leader while creating a new pardon process for others convicted under outdated laws punishing homosexual activity. Bayard Rustin was a confidant of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a key organizer of the March on Washington in 1963. He also helped plan other nonviolent protests and boycotts to end racial discrimination. Gov. Gavin Newsom pardoned Rustin for his arrest in 1953 when he was […]

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