Civil Rights march for jobs and freedom.

The Hidden Story of Black History and Black Lives Before the Civil Rights Movement

On upending the accepted narrative of the movement.
Henry Louis Gates Jr., Great Zimbabwe, circa 1996; photograph by Graham Smith.

Finding My Roots

The storytellers who taught me over the course of my career all knew how to bring Black history vividly to life.
Drawing of George Washington Williams

George Washington Williams’ "History of the Negro Race in America" (1882–83)

A work of millennial scope by a self-taught African-American historian.
Freedpeople sit at Foller’s House in Cumberland Landing, Va., 1862.

If “Woke” Dies, Our Nation’s Truths Die with It

Ron DeSantis wants to retrofit history to conform to conservative ideology.
Participants in a YWCA camp for girls in Highland Beach, Maryland, in 1930.

When Private Beaches Served as a Refuge for the Chesapeake Bay's Black Elite

During the Jim Crow era, working-class Washingtonians' recreation options were far more limited—and dangerous.
Juneteenth parade in Galveston in 2021.

The Story We’ve Been Told About Juneteenth Is Wrong

The real history of Juneteenth is much messier—and more inspiring.
Photos of Black children playing in a field near trees, in checkerboard pattern with pieces of the photos missing.

Zora Neale Hurston’s Hometown in Florida Is in Peril

Historic Black towns should not have to sell off pieces of the past to underwrite the present.
Fisk University Class of 1888.

*The South*: The Past, Historicity, and Black American History (Part II)

Exploring recent debates about the uses–and utility–of Black history in both the academic and public spheres.
Rap group Public Enemy: (Clockwise from bottom left) Flavor Flav, Professor Griff, Terminator X, S1W, and Chuck D

How Rap Taught (Some of) the Hip Hop Generation Black History

For members of the Hip Hop generation who came of age during the Black Power era, “reality rap” was an entry into the political power of Black history.
Damaged photo of two soldiers standing in front of the U.S. flag, their faces obscured.

Who’s Afraid of Black History?

Lurking behind the concerns of Ron DeSantis over a proposed African American studies course is a complex series of debates about slavery and race in classrooms.
A crowd gathers in the Florida Capitol with “Stop the Black Attack” signs.

Conservatives Want To Control What Kids Learn, But It May Backfire

Conservatives want to make students patriotic. Instead, they exacerbate historical illiteracy.
Graph drawn by W.E.B. Du Bois displaying the income and expenditure of Black American families in Atlanta.

How W.E.B. Du Bois Disrupted America’s Dominance at the World’s Fair

With bar graphs and pie charts, the sociologist and his Atlanta students demonstrated Black excellence in the face of widespread discrimination.
Man in suit with tape over his mouth.

In Florida, Teaching African American History Is Against the Law

The latest battlefield in the GOP’s “anti-woke” crusade.
Black and white photos of (from left to right) Langston Hughes, Thurgood Marshall, and Toni Morrison

African-American History Finally Gets Its Own AP Class

'Nothing is more dramatic than having the College Board launch an AP course in a field,' says Henry Louis Gates Jr., who helped develop the curriculum.
Booker T. Washington addressing a laughing crowd of African American men in Lakeland, Tennessee, during his campaign promoting African American education. Ca. 1900.

Market Solutions to Ancient Sins

Freedom and prosperity are the most effective cure for the scars of slavery and racism.
Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King, and Harry Belafonte near the podium at Montgomery March in 1965.

The “Radical” King and a Usable Past

On Martin Luther King's use of radical ideas to create an understanding of the history of America.
Henry Louis Gates Jr.

How Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Helped Remake the Literary Canon

The scholar has changed the way Black authors get read and the way Black history gets told.
'In America: Remember' public art installation near the Washington Monument

The Black History Lost to COVID-19

Black history lives in memories and minds. COVID-19 has endangered those traditions.
A picture of Shelton Johnson.

Bringing Black History to Life in the Great Outdoors

Black park rangers are working to ensure that many important, and difficult, stories aren’t lost.
Leon Litwack

Leon Litwack, 91, Dies; Changed How Scholars Portray Black History

One of Berkeley’s most popular professors, he brought passion and nuance to his award-winning study of the marginalized and the oppressed.