African-American History

North Carolina A&T Acquires the The Justice Henry E. and Shirley T. Frye Archival Collection

North Carolina A&T Acquires the The Justice Henry E. and Shirley T. Frye Archival Collection

Shirley Frye was a longtime administrator at North Carolina A&T State University and nearby Bennett College. Henry Frye was a district attorney, legislator, judge, and chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court.

Emory University to Rename a Campus Center and Professorships

Emory University to Rename a Campus Center and Professorships

Emory University in Atlanta has decided to rename campus spaces and professorships honoring Robert Yerkes, a psychologist who vigorously supported eugenics, and L.Q.C. Lamar, who was a staunch defender of slavery.

Meredith College in North Carolina Removes Name of Former Trustee From Campus Building

Meredith College in North Carolina Removes Name of Former Trustee From Campus Building

The board of trustees of Meredith College in Raleigh recently announced that Joyner Hall, named for an individual who advocated for white supremacy and unequal funding for schools based on race, will be renamed. “The racist ideas James Yadkin Joyner, who served as a trustee for 55 years, stood for throughout his lifetime, are antithetical to Meredith College’s mission, vision, and values,” the board said.

New Scholarship Honors the First Black Woman Graduate of Yale Divinity School

New Scholarship Honors the First Black Woman Graduate of Yale Divinity School

A new scholarship at Yale Divinity School honors Rena Karefa-Smart, the first Black woman to graduate from the school. Dr. Karefa-Smart was also the first Black woman to earn a theology doctorate from Harvard Divinity School and the first female professor to earn tenure at the Howard University School of Divinity.

Vanderbilt University Acquires the Papers of Jazz Musician Yusef Lateef

Vanderbilt University Acquires the Papers of Jazz Musician Yusef Lateef

Vanderbilt’s Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries are now home to a rich collection of research materials from the life and career of Yusef A. Lateef, a Grammy-winning musician who played a pioneering role in bringing Middle Eastern and Asian sounds to American jazz.

New Cornell University Fellowship Honors The First Black Student to Earn a Ph.D. in Botany

New Cornell University Fellowship Honors The First Black Student to Earn a Ph.D. in Botany

The Thomas Wyatt Turner Fellowship will support up to 10 graduate students from 1890 institutions, which are historically Black colleges and universities that are land-grant universities. They will spend the 2022-23 academic year on the Cornell University campus.

The University of Tennessee Acquires the Personal Archives of Artist Beauford Delaney

The University of Tennessee Acquires the Personal Archives of Artist Beauford Delaney

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Libraries has acquired the complete personal archive of internationally renowned modernist painter Beauford Delaney (1901–1979). Delaney was a member of the Harlem Renaissance and one of the leading modernist painters of his time.

The First Building on the Campus of the University of South Carolina Named for an African American

The First Building on the Campus of the University of South Carolina Named for an African American

During the Reconstruction period, Celia Dial Saxon was one of the first African American students to attend South Carolina College, later the University of South Carolina. She taught school in Columbia, South Carolina for 57 years.

One of the Earliest Schools for Black Americans to Become Part of Colonial Williamsburg

One of the Earliest Schools for Black Americans to Become Part of Colonial Williamsburg

Last fall, the College of William and Mary and Colonial Williamsburg announced that they had verified that a building on the college’s campus, which was built in 1760, was the home of the Bray School where both enslaved and free Black children were educated in the eighteenth century. The college sold the building to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

The University of Alabama Renames Hall Honoring a KKK Member, and Then Renames It Again

The University of Alabama Renames Hall Honoring a KKK Member, and Then Renames It Again

Graves Hall, honoring former Governor Bibb Graves, a Grand Cyclops of the KKK, was renamed Lucy-Graves Hall to also honor Autherine Lucy the first Black student at the university. After an outcry that Lucy’s name should not be joined with the name of a KKK leader, the university renamed the building Autherne Lucy Hall.

Researchers Find That El Niño Impacted the Volume of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Researchers Find That El Niño Impacted the Volume of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

El Niño, an oceanic phenomenon that affects worldwide weather patterns, significantly affected the number of enslaved Africans transported from West Africa to the Americas between the mid-1600s and mid-1800s, according to an interesting new study from the University of California, Davis.

Yale Divinity Schools Examines Its Ties to Slavery and Begins to Make Amends

Yale Divinity Schools Examines Its Ties to Slavery and Begins to Make Amends

Yale Divinity School recently acknowledged its historical complicity in slavery and racism. It is allocating $20 million to fund 10 social justice scholarships each year for incoming students who are dedicated to social justice work.

Yale University Acquires a Collection of Gordon Parks' Photographs

Yale University Acquires a Collection of Gordon Parks’ Photographs

Gordon Parks was a true renaissance man. In addition to a long career as a photographer, he was a composer, musician, author, and filmmaker.

Baylor University Opens Its New Black Gospel Archive & Listening Center

Baylor University Opens Its New Black Gospel Archive & Listening Center

The centerpiece of the Black Gospel Archive & Listening Center is a sound isolation pod, which features high-end audio equipment and a full keyboard for researchers who want to play along with sheet music or recordings from the collection.

The American Psychological Association Apologizes for Its Past History of Racism

The American Psychological Association Apologizes for Its Past History of Racism

The apology began by stating that “the American Psychological Association failed in its role leading the discipline of psychology, was complicit in contributing to systemic inequities, and hurt many through racism, racial discrimination, and denigration of people of color.”

Yale University to Build a Memorial to Recognize Enslaved People Who Worked on Campus

Yale University to Build a Memorial to Recognize Enslaved People Who Worked on Campus

Research by the Yale and Slavery Working Group found that enslaved people worked on the construction of Connecticut Hall on campus and that many leading figures associated with the early eras of the university held enslaved people.

University of Rochester Creating a Digital History of a Fort in Ghana Used by Slave Traders

University of Rochester Creating a Digital History of a Fort in Ghana Used by Slave Traders

A new digital history project at the University of Rochester in New York will create a website with meticulously detailed virtual tours of a 1632 English fort on the coast of Ghana that was among the earliest to send enslaved Africans to the American colonies.

A New Oral History of Black Alumni at Four Educational Institutions in the Carolinas

A New Oral History of Black Alumni at Four Educational Institutions in the Carolinas

The “Counting It All Joy!” initiative aims to better understand and to make more visible the narratives of Black people who have attended Davidson College, Duke University, Furman University, and Johnson C. Smith University between 1990 and 2020.

Bowdoin College in Maine Has Established Four Endowed Chairs to Honor Black Alumni

Bowdoin College in Maine Has Established Four Endowed Chairs to Honor Black Alumni

Bowdoin College, the highly rated liberal arts college in Brunswick, Maine, has announced the creation of four new endowed faculty professorships that honor distinguished Black graduates of the college. The four new chairs will honor Matthew D. Branche, Iris W. Davis. Rasuli Lewis, and Frederic Morrow.

An Oral History Project of Black Students at Pennsylvania State University a Half-Century Ago

An Oral History Project of Black Students at Pennsylvania State University a Half-Century Ago

Among the oral history subjects, there were mixed feelings about Penn State. Some have returned to campus with fond memories, while others do not have positive memories and refuse to come back to campus.

Western Kentucky University Honors its First Black Student

Western Kentucky University Honors its First Black Student

The board of regents at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, has approved the renaming of Northeast Hall to Munday Hall. The change honors Margaret Munday, the first African American student to enroll at the institution. Munday Hall will be the first building on campus named after an African American.

Johnson County in Iowa Isn't Changing Its Name, Just Who It Is Honoring

Johnson County in Iowa Isn’t Changing Its Name, Just Who It Is Honoring

Johnson County in Iowa was originally named for Richard Mentor Johnson, a slaveowner who served as vice president under President Martin Van Buren. Henceforth, Johnson County will honor Lulu Merle Johnson, who was the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Iowa and taught at several historically Black colleges and universities.

Emory University Apologizes for Failing to Consider a Black Medical School Applicant in 1959

Emory University Apologizes for Failing to Consider a Black Medical School Applicant in 1959

In 1959, Marion Gerald Hood applied to the medical school at Emory University in Atlanta. After less than a week, Hood was informed that his application had been rejected. A letter from an admissions official stated “I am sorry I must write you that we are not authorized to consider for admission a member of the Negro race.”

Board Votes to Change Name of  Dixie State University to Utah Tech University

Board Votes to Change Name of Dixie State University to Utah Tech University

Dixie State University was founded in an area settled by Mormons from the South. It used to have a Rebel as a mascot and in 2012 a statue of Confederate soldiers was removed from campus. Today, African Americans make up 2 percent of the 11,000-member undergraduate student body.

Washington University in St. Louis Acquires the Papers of Author Charles Johnson

Washington University in St. Louis Acquires the Papers of Author Charles Johnson

University Libraries at Washington University in St. Louis has acquired the papers of Charles Johnson, the acclaimed author, cartoonist, and essayist who won the 1990 National Book Award for his novel Middle Passage.

Three Virginia Community Colleges to Change Their Names

Three Virginia Community Colleges to Change Their Names

Three Virginia Community Colleges have a green light to change their names and two other colleges are being directed to consider doing likewise after the State Board for Community Colleges voted unanimously to amend its community college naming policy.

Arkansas State University Honors Its First Black Faculty Member

Arkansas State University Honors Its First Black Faculty Member

The University of Arkansas System board of trustees has voted to rename the building housing the military science program as the Lieutenant Colonel Frederick C. Turner Jr. Military Science Building.

Vanderbilt University Acquires Large Collection of Dizzy Gillespie Memorabilia

Vanderbilt University Acquires Large Collection of Dizzy Gillespie Memorabilia

Vanderbilt’s partnership with the National Museum of African American Music has taken a giant step forward with the university’s inaugural acquisition — a rich collection of portraits, personal scrapbooks, signed albums, and more from the life and career of Dizzy Gillespie, a seminal figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz.

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.