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African American History

Emancipation: January 1, 1863

Ken Blackwell | Posted 03.02.2013 | Black Voices
Ken Blackwell

January 1, 2013, the National Archives places the Emancipation Proclamation on rare public display, the text is hardly legible, the victim of age and light. But Abraham Lincoln stands out clearly.

3 Reasons This Black Man Loved Django Unchained

Dr. Boyce Watkins | Posted 02.26.2013 | Entertainment
Dr. Boyce Watkins

No matter how we feel about Django Unchained, we should be sure to remember that the best way to have our stories told is to tell them ourselves.  

A Letter To My Enslaved Ancestors On The 150th Anniversary Of The Emancipation Proclamation

Rev. Wil Gafney, Ph.D. | Posted 02.22.2013 | Black Voices
Rev. Wil Gafney, Ph.D.

I don't know your names or from where you were stolen. I don't know how many of you freed yourselves or died in bondage. Yet I claim you all and I honor you.

The John Hope Franklin Papers: A Historian Becomes History

Naomi Nelson | Posted 12.17.2012 | College
Naomi Nelson

The only way we can know our past is through the records we keep and pass on. No one was more keenly aware of this than groundbreaking American historian John Hope Franklin, whose papers were recently acquired by Duke University and will soon be open to the public.

An Open Letter To Rev. Bernice King

Michael G. Long | Posted 12.11.2012 | Religion
Michael G. Long

Please be assured that the LGBT community and its allies stand ready to work with you in advancing your mother's inclusive legacy. Would you be kind enough to include us at every step along the way as you lay plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington?

PHOTOS: 19th Century Letters Depict African-American's Lives

The Huffington Post | Jessica Cumberbatch Anderson | Posted 08.03.2012 | Black Voices

Life for an African-American southerner was a mixed bag of "troubles" and personal success circa 1841, experiences revealed in a series of 27 handwrit...

The Politics of Power and the Precious Right to Vote

Marian Wright Edelman | Posted 09.12.2012 | Politics
Marian Wright Edelman

This year, let's all be alert. Be active. Use your power as one citizen and vote. Don't let anyone take it away from you. Let's mount an urgent and systematic state-by-state fight against the latest kinds of disenfranchisement.

Robert Johnson and the Myth of the Illiterate Bluesman

Debra Devi | Posted 08.28.2012 | Home
Debra Devi

How often have you heard that old saw about Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil at midnight on a Delta crossroads? It all started because of Johnson's uncanny mastery of the guitar.

Take the Juneteenth Challenge

Lois Leveen | Posted 08.19.2012 | Black Voices
Lois Leveen

The Civil War and the abolition of slavery are neither white history nor black history. Today is Juneteenth. This holiday, which commemorates the end of slavery, tells us as much about what America means as the Fourth of July, Presidents Day, or Memorial Day.

The White Right TAPP Dances Black Truths Out of American History

Leonce Gaiter | Posted 08.07.2012 | Black Voices
Leonce Gaiter

The right's strength is its ability to immerse itself in tribal warmth of sexist, racist, homophobic waters, while simply sprinkling the rest of us with their refreshing mists. And they are refreshing. Admit it.

Possessed: Voodoo's Origins and Influence from the Blues to Britney

Debra Devi | Posted 05.16.2012 | Home
Debra Devi

This was the religion of many slaves brought from West Africa to the Americas and the Caribbean. Vodun was brutally repressed by slave-owners, yet its powerful beats, ethics and aesthetics endured. We owe our concepts of cool, soul and rock and roll to it.

Bessie Smith: Music's Original, Bitchinest Bad Girl

Debra Devi | Posted 04.25.2012 | Arts
Debra Devi

What hugely popular female singer beat a rival unconscious, slept with her musical director, seduced her female backup dancers, frequented live sex shows and mortified New York society by telling a wealthy fan to "get the f*ck away from me"? 1920s blues singer Bessie Smith.

Bringing the 20th Century Civil Rights Movement Into 21st Century Classrooms

Charlayne Hunter-Gault | Posted 06.12.2012 | Education
Charlayne Hunter-Gault

How do we encourage young people at home and abroad, in South Africa and now those young people heavily invested in the as yet unsettled Arab Spring, to "keep on keepin' on," as the footsoldiers of the Civil Rights Movement used to pledge?

Inside The Smithsonian's African American Museum

Posted 04.03.2012 | Home

Copyright Adjaye Associates We have been covering the progress of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture over th...

The Real Story Behind Howlin' Wolf's 'Killing Floor'

Debra Devi | Posted 06.03.2012 | Home
Debra Devi

"Wolf had seven wives. One was named Helen. She shot him with a double barrel shotgun with buckshot. Out the second floor window. This woman, oh man, he wrote that song about her!"

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Children's Book Highlights Black Achievements

Posted 03.28.2012 | Black Voices

George Washington Carver and Madame C. J. Walker are names at the top of virtually every black inventors list, but how about fellow creators such as J...

Dirty Words and Gender Switching in the Blues

Debra Devi | Posted 05.22.2012 | Arts
Debra Devi

Africans may have arrived here with nothing, but they enriched and vitalized American language and culture beyond measure. Africans in the Americas became masters of metaphor and euphemism.

Celebrating Black History Month and the Achievements of African American Women

Donna Brazile | Posted 04.29.2012 | Black Voices
Donna Brazile

The strength, talents and successes of contemporary black women have deeply influenced the Obama Administration and continue to shape American history and improve the lives of all our citizens.

Mochas at The White House

Kuae Kelch Mattox | Posted 04.28.2012 | Black Voices
Kuae Kelch Mattox

It's not often that I'm blown away by an invite, but when 150 leaders from Mocha Moms were invited to the White House for a private event last week, I had to pinch myself a few times just to make sure I wasn't dreaming.

Black History Month Is Real

Tio Hardiman | Posted 04.23.2012 | Chicago
Tio Hardiman

Black History Month provides everybody in the world with a window into the lives of African-American pioneers and pacemakers that had overcome adversity on all levels. That's why Black History Month is real!

Smithsonian Groundbreaking Snubs Obama: Were They Low on Shovels? (Updated)

Dee Evans | Posted 04.23.2012 | Black Voices
Dee Evans

It would be interesting to know what the thought process was behind the decision not to have the first black president participate in the shovel part of the ceremony for the first national museum dedicated to African American history; heck, Obama is African American history!

Rufus Buck's Anti-Black History Month History Lesson

Leonce Gaiter | Posted 04.21.2012 | Black Voices
Leonce Gaiter

The Rufus Buck gang were neither saints, nor victims. But they are part of our history -- the part we foolishly agree to ignore because it does not fit the normative view of who we ought to be.

25 Black Models Who Broke Barriers

The Huffington Post | Dana Oliver | Posted 10.11.2012 | Style

Before Chanel Iman appeared on the covers of American Vogue and Italian Elle, and before Jourdan Dunn became the first black model to walk Prada's run...

The Soundtrack Of Black America: Celebrating The Top 10 Gospel Songs

Wallace Best, Ph.D. | Posted 04.14.2012 | Religion
Wallace Best, Ph.D.

Gospel music is the most authentically black cultural expression and the most glorious music on earth with a sound and a feeling all its own.

Detroit's Charles H. Wright Museum Celebrates Black History Month From Every Angle

The Huffington Post | Kate Abbey-Lambertz | Posted 02.03.2012 | Detroit

During Black History Month, curators at one of the largest institutions dedicated to documenting African-American history and culture could probably s...