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African American history


  • Can the Left Take Back Identity Politics?

    by Umut Özkırımlı

    Recovering the liberatory potential of identity politics means going back to the term's source—the Combahee River Collective—and recognizing its radical roots and embrace of coalition-building and politics.



  • Determined to Remember: Harriet Jacobs and Slavery's Descendants

    by Koritha Mitchell

    Public history sites have the potential to spark intellectual engagement because when they make embodied connections between people and the sites they visit—even when those connections evoke the cruelty of the past. 



  • Scholars Stage Teach-in on Racism in DeSantis's Back Yard

    Yohuru Williams and the Institute for Common Power, directed by Terry Anne Scott, convened a 24-hour teach-in in St. Petersburg to draw attention to the connections between inclusive history lessons and functioning democracy. 



  • I'm Headed to Florida to Teach-In Against DeSantis's Education Policies

    by Kellie Carter Jackson

    This May 17 saw a 24-hour teach-in by historians in St. Petersburg, Florida, to protest the restrictions on curriculum, books and ideas pushed by Governor Ron DeSantis and his allies. As a historian of abolition, the author stresses that denying people the pen may influence them to pick up the sword. 



  • What Does Clarence Thomas Think Clarence Thomas is Doing?

    A panel of scholars and journalists examine a paradox: how Clarence Thomas went from embracing the tenets of Black Nationalism to an administrative and judicial career that most characterize as hostile to the rights of Black Americans. 



  • Black San Franciscans Have Been Leaving—Could Reparations Bring them Back?

    A city commission has issued non-binding advisory recommendations for extensive cash reparations to Black residents and their families who were pushed out of now-valuable property through urban renewal. It's not likely that the local government will implement any of them, so activists are trying to help make housing more affordable.



  • Could Alex Haley's False Quotation of MLK Have Changed History?

    by Peniel E. Joseph

    By exaggerating the conflict between Martin and Malcolm, Haley helped feed a narrative of the two men's approaches to politics as irreconcilable instead of as facets of a more complex struggle for freedom. It has probably helped to push radical demands for justice to the margins. 


  • Brandon Johnson Built a Coalition to Win in Chicago. Can He Keep it to Govern?

    by Gordon K. Mantler

    When Brandon Johnson takes office on Monday as Chicago's mayor, he will experience the same challenge that his political predecessor Harold Washington did in 1983: turning a winning electoral coalition into a durable governing coalition. It won't be easy, but progressive change in the city depends on it. 



  • Alex Haley Fabricated Quotes Portraying MLK as Implacable Critic of Malcolm X, Biographer Finds

    by Gillian Brockell

    Jonathan Eig tracked down a secretary's transcript of writer Alex Haley's interview with Martin Luther King and found that Haley seriously misrepresented King's response to Malcolm's militant approach to the Black freedom struggle, contributing to longstanding misunderstanding of King's views and relationship to other political factions.