African-American History

Washington and Lee University Trustees Vote Not to Change the Name of the Educational Institution

Washington and Lee University Trustees Vote Not to Change the Name of the Educational Institution

In July 2020, the faculty at Washington and Lee University supported changing the name of the university by a vote of 188 to 51. Now the university’s board of trustees has voted 22 to 6 to retain the name.

An Unwanted Surprise for the Wingate University Community

An Unwanted Surprise for the Wingate University Community

In 2018, Wingate University asked three employees to look into whether any buildings, monuments, or statues around campus were named after anyone with egregious pasts. Nothing was uncovered. But researchers at Wake Forest University recently discovered that Washington Manly Wingate enslaved African Americans.

Website Will Track Racial Residential Segregation in Little Rock, Arkansas, Since 1957

Website Will Track Racial Residential Segregation in Little Rock, Arkansas, Since 1957

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock Center for Arkansas History and Culture is creating a map-based website that tracks how urban renewal changed the city of Little Rock in the decades following the Central High School desegregation crisis in 1957.

College of William and Mary Renames Buildings That Honored Confederates or Segregationists

College of William and Mary Renames Buildings That Honored Confederates or Segregationists

The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, has renamed three buildings and a department that currently honor supporters of the Confederacy or Jim Crow segregation. Two other buildings were renamed a year ago.

Texas Christian University Examines its Ties to Slavery, the Confederacy, and Racial Segregation

Texas Christian University Examines its Ties to Slavery, the Confederacy, and Racial Segregation

The research revealed that the father of the university’s founders owned slaves. The founders did not own slaves, but their upbringing did expose them to slavery and racism. The university’s founders were Confederate soldiers.

University of South Florida Debuts New Online Archive on African American History in Florida

University of South Florida Debuts New Online Archive on African American History in Florida

The curated collection pulls from decades-old acquisitions and includes unaltered photographs, newspaper archives, and personal narratives. The goal is to continue to build the portal into a larger collection that will help students, educators, researchers, and the general public learn about Black experiences in Florida.

University of Pennsylvania Has Announced Plans for Its 1,300 Piece Morton Collection of Crania

University of Pennsylvania Has Announced Plans for Its 1,300 Piece Morton Collection of Crania

The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology has announced its action plan regarding the repatriation or reburial of ancestors, including the remains of enslaved individuals and Black Philadelphians. Today, the Morton Collection consists of over 1,300 crania that range in date from ancient Egyptian times to the 19th century.

Western Carolina University Produces a Digital Archive of a Black Oral History Project

Western Carolina University Produces a Digital Archive of a Black Oral History Project

The special collections unit of the library at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina, has digitized a collection of oral history interviews conducted between 1986 and 1989 with Black residents from Western North Carolina, all of whom were older than 69 at the time. 

Library of Congress Changes Subject Heading of the Tulsa Race Riot to the Tulsa Race Massacre

Library of Congress Changes Subject Heading of the Tulsa Race Riot to the Tulsa Race Massacre

The impetus for the Library of Congress Subject Heading Change Proposal Task Force was the members’ shared belief that naming matters: the words used to describe people and events affect perceptions and, in turn, those perceptions have concrete implications for social justice.

Baylor University Issues a Report on Its Founders' Ties to Slavery and the Confederacy

Baylor University Issues a Report on Its Founders’ Ties to Slavery and the Confederacy

First and foremost, the report stated that the institution will continue to be known as Baylor University and the statue of namesake Judge R.E.B. Baylor will maintain in its current location on Founders Mall, despite the fact that he enslaved people.

Scholars Assemble a Massive New Database on Enslaved People

Scholars Assemble a Massive New Database on Enslaved People

Scholars affiliated with the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University, the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland, the MATRIX Center for Digital Humanities & Social Sciences at Michigan State University, and other institutions have established a new open-source database called Enslaved: Peoples of the Historical Slave Trade.

Consortium of Prestigious Academic Institutions to Collaborate on SlaveVoyages.org

Consortium of Prestigious Academic Institutions to Collaborate on SlaveVoyages.org

Emory University in Atlanta will now bring in a group of partners to help it maintain and enhance its SlaveVoyages.org project. The website documents nearly 50,000 transatlantic passages of slave ships between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Auburn University Honors Two of Its African American Trailblazers

Auburn University Honors Two of Its African American Trailblazers

Auburn University in Alabama admitted its first Black student in 1964 under a court order. Recently the university recognized its first Black graduate and the first African American to sit on its board of trustees by naming residence halls in their honor.

New Book to Detail the Work of the Colored Conventions Project

New Book to Detail the Work of the Colored Conventions Project

The Colored Conventions Project (CCP) is a scholarly and community research project focused on digitally preserving Black political activism from the 1830s to 1890s. The project operates two websites and its directors are releasing a new book on the initiative.

Rutgers University Acquires the Personal Library of Literary Scholar Cheryl Wall

Rutgers University Acquires the Personal Library of Literary Scholar Cheryl Wall

The Paul Robeson Cultural Center at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, announced that it has acquired the personal library of Cheryl Wall. The collection includes more than 2,000 volumes. Dr. Wall, who died last spring was the Board of Governors Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English at Rutgers.

University of California's Vast Archive of FBI Files on Black Civil Rights Leaders

University of California’s Vast Archive of FBI Files on Black Civil Rights Leaders

In 1967, the FBI quietly unleashed a covert surveillance operation targeting “subversive” civil rights groups and Black leaders. The objective, according to an FBI memo was to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” the radical fight for Black rights — and Black power.

Colleges and Universities to Seek a Path Toward Reparations

Colleges and Universities to Seek a Path Toward Reparations

The Center for Social Solutions at the University of Michigan is leading a group of college and university scholars in an effort to examine possible avenues to provide reparations for African Americans and Indigenous people.

Carnegie Mellon University Students Develop a Video Game Based on August Wilson's Plays

Carnegie Mellon University Students Develop a Video Game Based on August Wilson’s Plays

In the  game – Explore August Wilson’s Hill District – players use a smartphone or tablet to work their way through the mission of filling a photo album with historical images from the 1910 and the 1960s to show how the buildings and infrastructure change over time.

University of Mississippi Continues to Study the History of Enslaved People on Campus

University of Mississippi Continues to Study the History of Enslaved People on Campus

The University of Mississippi Slavery Research Group was established in 2013. So far, the group has been able to name and identify only 11 enslaved people who labored on the campus.

Vermont Town Honors a Native Son and America's First African American College President

Vermont Town Honors a Native Son and America’s First African American College President

In 1856, Martin Henry Freeman was appointed president of the all-Black Allegheny Institute and Mission Church in Pittsburgh, which later became Avery College. Freeman moved to Liberia in 1863 and taught at and later served as president of Liberia College.

University of Maryland to Name New Residence Hall for Two Black Student Pioneers

University of Maryland to Name New Residence Hall for Two Black Student Pioneers

Whittle-Johnson Hall will honor Hiram Whittle, the first African American male to be admitted to the university in 1951, and Elaine Johnson Coates, the first African American woman to graduate with an undergraduate degree in 1959.

In Utah "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"

In Utah “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”

The board of trustees at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah, voted unanimously to ask the Utah Board of Higher Education to change the name of the educational institution.

New Evidence Discovered That Shows Johns Hopkins Owned Slaves

New Evidence Discovered That Shows Johns Hopkins Owned Slaves

Johns Hopkins, the founder of the university in Baltimore that bears his name, has been thought of as a staunch abolitionist. But new evidence has come to light that one enslaved person was listed in his household in 1840 and four enslaved people were listed in 1850.

Student Project Details the History of Housing Segregation in Miami

Student Project Details the History of Housing Segregation in Miami

Using a platform that combines maps with narrative text, images, and multimedia content, the students wrote the history of Miami’s segregation, slum clearance, public housing, and gentrification and detailed the tactics used to remove Black residents from their homes and neighborhoods.

Association of American Medical Colleges Changes Name of Its Most Prestigious Award

Association of American Medical Colleges Changes Name of Its Most Prestigious Award

In his 1910 report, Abraham Flexner wrote that Black students should be trained as “sanitarians” rather than surgeons and their primary role should be to protect White people from disease. “A well-taught negro sanitarian will be immensely useful; an essentially untrained negro wearing an M.D. degree is dangerous.”

Oklahoma State University Bestows Additional Honors on Its First Black Student

Oklahoma State University Bestows Additional Honors on Its First Black Student

In 1949, Nancy Randolph Davis became the first African-American student to enroll at what was then Oklahoma A&M College. Initially, she was required to sit in the hallway outside a classroom because of the color of her skin.

University of Pittsburgh Acquires the Extensive Archives of Playwright August Wilson

University of Pittsburgh Acquires the Extensive Archives of Playwright August Wilson

The collection — more than 450 boxes of materials — document a wide array of August Wilson’s career and interests from the 1960s to 2010s. The noted playwright was born in Pittsburgh in 1945 and called the city home until 1978.

University of Virginia  Takes Steps to Make its Campus a More Welcoming Place

University of Virginia Takes Steps to Make its Campus a More Welcoming Place

Jim Ryan, president of the University of Virginia, stated that these “actions that will make this place more clearly and obviously welcoming to all, and where all have an opportunity to thrive.”

HBCU Finally Removes the Names of a Ku Klux Klan Leader From a Residence Hall on Campus

HBCU Finally Removes the Names of a Ku Klux Klan Leader From a Residence Hall on Campus

Since 1929, Bibb Graves Hall on the campus of historically Black Alabama State University has honored a former governor and the Grand Cyclops of the Montgomery Klavern of the Ku Klux Klan.

University of Pennsylvania's New Initiative to Preserve Black Heritage Sites

University of Pennsylvania’s New Initiative to Preserve Black Heritage Sites

The University of Pennsylvania’s Stuart Weitzman School of Design is launching a new initiative to advance the understanding and sustainable conservation of heritage sites relating to African American struggles for equality, from before the passage of the 14th Amendment to the present day.

American University Project to Examine Slavery in the Nation's Capital

American University Project to Examine Slavery in the Nation’s Capital

Mia Owens is the inaugural fellow for a new, two-year Public History Graduate Fellowship in the History of Slavery and Its Legacies in Washington, D.C. The fellowship is a partnership between The White House Historical Association and Antiracist Research & Policy Center at American University.

College of William and Mary Students Participate in Archaeological Dig for Historic Black Church

College of William and Mary Students Participate in Archaeological Dig for Historic Black Church

Ground-penetrating radar indicates that remains of an early structure used by members of First Baptist Church — originally founded in secret by free and enslaved Blacks at the start of America’s Revolution — may lie buried in Colonial Williamsburg.

The University of the South Reckons With Its Past Ties to Slavery and Jim Crow

The University of the South Reckons With Its Past Ties to Slavery and Jim Crow

The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, enrolls nearly 1,700 undergraduate students and less than 100 graduate students, according to date supplied to the U.S. Department of Education. African Americans make up 4 percent of the undergraduate student body.

Loras College Removes a Statue of Its Slave-Owning Founder

Loras College Removes a Statue of Its Slave-Owning Founder

Recently the college learned from a researcher who studied the bishop’s financial ledgers that Mathias Loras, the first Catholic bishop of Dubuque, Iowa, purchased an enslaved woman named Marie Louise in Mobile, Alabama. Loras enslaved the woman from 1836 to 1852.

University of Maryland Names Women's Studies Department After Harriet Tubman

University of Maryland Names Women’s Studies Department After Harriet Tubman

This is the first time that an academic department at the University of Maryland will be named after someone honorifically. The women’s studies department is the only one in the country that offers a Black women’s studies minor.

Emory University Acquires the Personal Papers of Kathleen Cleaver

Emory University Acquires the Personal Papers of Kathleen Cleaver

Kathleen Cleaver served as the communications secretary of the Black Panther Party. Later in her career, she served on the faculty at the Emory University School of Law.