Vann R. Newkirk II

The Fisk Jubilee Singers.

How the Negro Spiritual Changed American Popular Music—And America Itself

In 1871, the Fisk University singers embarked on a tour that introduced white Americans to a Black sound that would reshape the nation.
Civil rights era photo of young people protesting for voting rights in between black and white photos of black people lined up to vote

American Democracy Is Only 55 Years Old—And Hanging by a Thread

Black civil-rights activists—and especially Black women—delivered on the promise of the Founding. Their victories are in peril.

The Great Land Robbery

The shameful story of how 1 million black families have been ripped from their farms.

Balancing the Ledger on Juneteenth

The reparations debate highlights what Juneteenth is about: freedom and demanding accountability for past and present wrongs.

Aretha Franklin’s Revolution

The soul singer was an architect of the civil-rights movement as much as a witness to it.

How a Pivotal Voting Rights Act Case Broke America

In the five years since the landmark decision, the Supreme Court has set the stage for a new era of white hegemony.

The End of Civil Rights

The attorney general is pushing an agenda that could erase many of the legal gains of modern America's defining movement.

White Supremacy Is the Achilles Heel of American Democracy

Even in a high-tech era, fears about minority political agency are the most reliable way to destabilize the U.S. political system.

King's Death Gave Birth to Hip-Hop

The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. led directly to hip-hop, an era that is often contrasted with his legacy.

The Whitewashing of King's Assassination

The death of Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t a galvanizing event, but the premature end of a movement that had only just begun.

Five Decades of White Backlash

President Trump is the embodiment of over 50 years of resistance to the policies Martin Luther King Jr. fought to enact.
Recy Taylor

Recy Taylor's Truth

How one black woman's campaign for justice after a rape by six white men shaped the struggle for equality—and the #MeToo movement.

How Letting Felons Vote Is Changing Virginia

Governor McAuliffe has embarked on a campaign to grant clemency more often, and to restore the civil rights of convicted felons.

Growing Up in the Shadow of the Confederacy

Memorials to the Lost Cause have always meant something sinister for the descendants of enslaved people.

What the "Crack Baby" Panic Reveals About The Opioid Epidemic

Journalism in two different eras of drug waves illustrates how strongly race factors into empathy and policy.

The Fight for Health Care Has Always Been About Civil Rights

In dismantling Obamacare and slashing Medicaid, Republicans would strike a blow against signature victories for racial equality in America.

The Necessity of Juneteenth

The most famous Emancipation holiday is more necessary now than it has ever been.