African American Studies

Donald Trump and the Discourse of Lynching

Ashraf H. A. Rushdy— Many politicians before Donald Trump have abused decorum, shown bad taste, and wholly misunderstood history when they used the metaphor of lynching to describe whatever political travail they faced. What makes his use of lynching as a metaphor truly original is the fact that it is

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Race, Land, and Migration after the Civil War

Kendra Taira Field— When Thomas Jefferson Brown finally decided to make his home in Indian Territory in 1870, he had been there many times before. For months he had been going in on day trips from Arkansas, his grandson mused more than a century later, learning the Muskogean languages and

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White Supremacy and Privilege: Legacies of Slavery

Richard D. Brown— Everyone reading this enjoys privilege. Some possess athletic or intellectual gifts that set them apart; and those possessing sight, speech, hearing, and physical mobility are privileged. Those possessing the capacity to love and to be loved are privileged. Because these are not “man-made” social or cultural privileges,

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Racial Passing in America

Adele Logan Alexander— Over the years, the practice of “passing” for white has variously been considered wicked, cowardly, deceptive, essential, all or none of the above by much of the African American community. Certainly, it was and is controversial. In years, decades, and centuries past, a number of light-skinned African

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Understanding Literacy

Beth Barton Schweiger— The power of literacy’s hold on the modern imagination cannot easily be measured. One way to begin to comprehend it is to pose a question: who is against it? From local school boards to Capitol Hill to the United Nations General Assembly, the consensus that literacy empowers

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Why We Read

Azar Nafisi— Reading is like Alice running after that white rabbit, because she is curious; she wants to know more about a talking rabbit. She is prepared to take the risk and jump down that hole without knowing what she will find at the bottom of the well. This is

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African Americans and Africa

Nemata Amelia Ibitayo Blyden— My father, born in Sierra Leone, used to tell us stories about being a student at Lincoln University in the 1940s. A historically black college, Lincoln was founded in 1854 to provide an education in arts and sciences for young men of African descent. Accomplished African

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No Wakanda for Us

Ruma Chopra— Maroons were tiny communities of escaped slaves who held an in-between status in many New World slave societies, somewhere between freedom and captivity. They avoided the brutality of slavery but confronted the abuses that came from being black in a white society. During the 1790s, a community of

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Adapting Atticus

Anders Walker— Now that the lawsuit between Harper Lee’s estate and Broadway producer Scott Rudin is settled, the question remains whether the stage version of Atticus Finch is going to remain faithful to the beloved lawyer in To Kill a Mockingbird.  According to Lee’s estate, Finch was a “model of

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Abolitionists are American Democracy’s Unsung Heroes

Manisha Sinha— Most Americans greeted Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew’s decision to put Harriet Tubman, the abolitionist heroine of the Underground Railroad, on the front of the twenty-dollar bill and relegate the Indian hunting President Andrew Jackson to its back with approval. The ironies abound. Fugitive slaves like Tubman most feared

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