African American Studies

A Lilac Sprig Dangling from a Horn

Kasia Boddy— In the last eighteen months of his short life, Richard Wright became obsessed with haiku. Since Wright was a self-declared “protest writer,” readers have struggled to reconcile these (4,000 or so) delicate experiments in verse with the hard-hitting naturalism of works such as Black Boy (1945) and Native

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Challenging Stereotypes about Black Women

Melissa V. Harris-Perry— Eliza Gallie was a free black woman living in Petersburg, Virginia, before the Civil War. She was divorced, owned property, and had financial resources that made her unusual among free blacks in the Confederate South. In 1853 Gallie was arrested and charged with stealing cabbages from a

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Two Dresses

David Margolick— Early in the morning of September 4, 1957, two girls in Little Rock, Arkansas, each fifteen years old, dressed for school. On a block of black families nestled in the west side of town, in the small brick house she shared with her parents and five brothers and

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The Heart of the Abolition Movement

Manisha Sinha— Abolition was a radical, interracial movement, one which addressed the entrenched problems of exploitation and disfranchisement in a liberal democracy and anticipated debates over race, labor, and empire. Caricatured as unthinking, single-minded fanatics who caused a “needless war,” abolitionists are often compared unfavorably to political moderates and compromise-minded

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Racial Health Disparities in America

Michelle A. Gourdine— In 2012, Trayvon Martin, a seventeen-year-old boy dressed in a hoodie, carrying a bag of Skittles and iced tea while walking through a neighborhood where he “didn’t belong,” was approached and eventually shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a resident on “neighborhood watch.” Like so many African

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A Black Christian Experience

Willie James Jennings— Mary, my mother, taught me to respect the dirt. Like many black women from the South, she knew the earth like she knew her own soul. I came along late. I was the last of her eleven children, born not of the South but of the North,

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The History of Racism in Ferguson

Mustafa Dikeç— The Department of Justice (DoJ) report following the investigation of Ferguson police department and municipal court was categorical: ‘Ferguson’s law enforcement practices are shaped by the City’s focus on revenue rather than by public safety needs.’ This emphasis on revenue generation led to unconstitutional policing and irregular practices

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Books on the History of Race Relations

We have all heard the news, read the stories, watched the footage—America has reached a crossroads on racial injustice. The path forward may be challenging, but as a contributor to the global understanding of human affairs, we hope our books will help inform the public consciousness and promote tolerance for

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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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