African American Studies

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,

Continue reading…

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

Continue reading…

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

Continue reading…

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

Continue reading…

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

Continue reading…

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

Continue reading…

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

Continue reading…

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

Continue reading…

The Children of the Amistad

Benjamin N. Lawrance— March 9 marks the 174th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision U.S. v Amistad, one of the most celebrated U.S. “freedom suits.” Since the case’s conclusion in 1841, the charismatic leadership of Cinqué (Sengbe Pieh) and the rhetorical prowess of former President John Quincy Adams and others

Continue reading…

Pop Quiz: Black History Month Edition

With the end of February marking the end of Black History Month, it’s time for a little pop quiz. Carla L. Peterson, author of Black Gotham, has put together a quiz on black history in New York. Let’see what we’ve all learned this month! [bs_collapse id=”collapse_968c-3e48″][bs_citem title=”1. Describe New York’s antebellum

Continue reading…

  • 1 2 8