As winter turned into spring, a rumor that all freed slaves had been promised "40 acres and a mule" spread through the South. In the years to come, the phrase came to represent first a promise of a better society for blacks in the South and then a fading memory of what might have been.
Wars have often unleashed forces the warring parties hadn't expected and couldn't control. The U.S. Civil War was no exception. Southerners launched the war to preserve slavery, and President Abraham Lincoln responded to save the Union.
Why are there so many African Americans in prison? It is my belief that such racial disparity is not mainly due to overt discriminatory practices by the courts or the police. But that hardly exhausts the moral discussion.
These days, Sherrod has returned to the work she was doing before all the publicity. She still lives with her husband, Charles, in Albany, Georgia, where they raised their children and where she still spends her days working with poor and minority farmers.
Harriet Tubman always remembered to ask for direction and then listen for the answer. The way was always made clear. What stands between me and that kind of guidance? Remembering to ask.
The triumphs of African-Americans (including women) and those of American women continue to be oddly connected by, among other things, sequential calendar celebrations.
Harlem's LGBT community has continued to play a vital role in the music, art, theater and literature scenes, and though responsible for producing some of the greatest artists and thinkers over the past century, it has remained a mystery to many.
Voter discrimination on the basis of race is a persistent reality in many areas protected by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Real voters are at risk of losing their fundamental right to vote; unfortunately, this is a reality for jurisdictions not covered by Section 5 as well.
Choices mean freedom. Freedom from all that may be worse than being "buried in my grave."
As we celebrate Black History Month, let's remember the history of black people and how most of our ancestors came to this country, and let that history inform the way we talk about a need for immigration reform.
It is my hope that the next generation of athletes will not support a culture of ignorance and discrimination and that gay athletes will feel comfortable being open about their sexuality.
From South Africa to Eritrea to Pakistan, my work has introduced me again and again to fearless mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters who defy the status quo and insist on freedoms inherent in them.
We all have to work hard to remember June Jordan's legacy, because like too many others, her legacy can fall within the cracks of identity politics.
Mom's doctor recommended fish oil pills, bringing her blood pressure numbers down 100 points. Its refreshing to hear even my grandma being more conscious of what she eats. This is the same young lady who scoffed at me when I got to Thanksgiving dinner talking about being a vegetarian!
Do you know the distinct red sandstone of the Smithsonian Castle, with its distinct rusty redstone façade and Romanesque towers, was quarried locally? The Seneca quarry is a largely unknown local history gem.
Motown, and in particular The Supremes, were symbols of breaking racial barriers. The appearances of The Supremes on mainstream variety shows weren't just critical for what it said about the humanity of African Americans, it also said a great deal about the position of black women in society.