African-American History

Williams College Receives the Archives of Alumnus Sterling Brown

Williams College Receives the Archives of Alumnus Sterling Brown

Sterling Brown was one of America’s most influential poets and scholars. Brown was a member of the graduating class of 1922 at Williams College. He taught in the English department at Howard University for more than 40 years.

The Higher Education of Delaware's First Black Supreme Court Justice

The Higher Education of Delaware’s First Black Supreme Court Justice

African Americans make up 21 percent of the population in the state of Delaware. Yet until now, the state has never had an African Americans on its highest court. Tamika Montgomery-Reeves recently began her tenure as a justice on the the Delaware Supreme Court.

Law Students Ask That the Image of Robert E. Lee Not Appear on Their Diplomas

Law Students Ask That the Image of Robert E. Lee Not Appear on Their Diplomas

Students, alumni, and faculty members of the Washington and Lee University School of Law have started a petition asking the university’s administration to give graduating students the option of not having the images of George Washington and Robert E. Lee on their diplomas.

University of Cincinnati Addresses the History of Its Slave-Owning Founder

University of Cincinnati Addresses the History of Its Slave-Owning Founder

When Charles McMicken died in 1858, he left money and property “to found an institution where White boys and girls might be taught.” He also left provisions to free his slaves and send them to Liberia. The university’s president is now recommending that McMickon’s name no longer be associated with the university’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Tulane University Honors Its First African American Students

Tulane University Honors Its First African American Students

In 1966 and 1967, Deidre Dumas Labat and Reynold T. Décou became the first African American undergraduates to earn degrees from Newcomb College and Tulane University, respectively. The university recently renamed a residence complex in their honor.

Dickinson College in Pennsylvania Examines Its Historical Ties to Slavery

Dickinson College in Pennsylvania Examines Its Historical Ties to Slavery

The final report of the Dickinson & Slavery Initiative recommends “a deliberative process” for improving the commemoration of the college’s ties to slavery and anti-slavery, including consideration for renaming some buildings on campus that have been honoring former slaveholders.

Stanford University Presented an Interactive Art Exhibit on African American History

Stanford University Presented an Interactive Art Exhibit on African American History

The main attraction involved a walk-through of 23 exhibits depicting various scenes throughout history. The exhibit used lights, sounds, smells and trained theater actors to bring these scenes to life.

University of Memphis Creates Two Funds to Honor Frances and Benjamin Hooks

University of Memphis Creates Two Funds to Honor Frances and Benjamin Hooks

The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis has created two endowed funds which will enable the Institute to further the work of social change championed by Benjamin L. Hooks and his wife Frances Dancy Hooks, two stalwarts of the civil rights struggle.

University of North Carolina Gives Silent Sam to the Sons of Confederate Veterans

University of North Carolina Gives Silent Sam to the Sons of Confederate Veterans

The statue of a Confederate soldier, that had stood at the gates of the university for more than a century, was torn down by protestors in August 2018. Now the university is donating the statue and $2.5 million to care and preserve the monument to the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The University of Minnesota's Historical Ties to Slavery

The University of Minnesota’s Historical Ties to Slavery

In 1856, the university was struggling financially and received a loan of nearly $15,000 from William Aiken Jr., who at one time owned more than 700 slaves in South Carolina. This money helped build one of the first campus buildings, Old Main.

Harvard University Launches a New Intitiative to Examine its Historical Ties to Slavery

Harvard University Launches a New Intitiative to Examine its Historical Ties to Slavery

Tomiko Brown-Nagin, dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, and a professor of history, will chair the new initiative which will be called Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery.

Georgetown University Decides Not to Impose Student Fee to Address Slavery Reparations

Georgetown University Decides Not to Impose Student Fee to Address Slavery Reparations

This past spring, Georgetown University students voted overwhelmingly to pay an annual $27.50 fee that would go into a fund to support the descendants of slaves once owned by the university. But now the university has decided not to impose a student fee and will raise an equivalent amount from donations.

Framingham State University to Honor its First Black Graduate: Mary Miles Bibb

Framingham State University to Honor its First Black Graduate: Mary Miles Bibb

After graduating in 1843, Bibb went on to become one of the first African American woman teachers on the continent. She opened several schools for Black children during a 23-year teaching career in Canada. The university will rename a residence hall in her honor.

Princeton Theological Seminary Approves Measures to Address Its Ties to Slavery

Princeton Theological Seminary Approves Measures to Address Its Ties to Slavery

Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey benefited from the slave economy, both through investments in Southern banks in the mid-19th century and from donors who profited from slavery. It is now taking several steps to repent for its past history.

University of North Florida Students Restore Photographic History of Lincolnville

University of North Florida Students Restore Photographic History of Lincolnville

The Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center in St. Augustine, Florida, is showcasing a new exhibit of the photographs of Richard Twine, showing life in the city’s African-American neighborhood of Lincolnville about a century ago.

New Book Examines the History of African Americans at the College of William & Mary

New Book Examines the History of African Americans at the College of William & Mary

The book explores the gradual advancement of Black people at the university along with information about the first undergraduate African-American students in residence, who arrived in 1967. Author Jacquelyn McLendon also tracks the history of African Americans among the faculty and administration.

Wake Forest University in North Carolina Is Examining Its Ties to Slavery

Wake Forest University in North Carolina Is Examining Its Ties to Slavery

Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has undertaken a major initiative to examine its ties to slavery. It recently established a website – The Slavery, Race and Memory Project – where it will present the results of research into the university’s past ties to slavery.

Cornell University Commemorates the 1969 Willard Straight Hall Takeover by Black Students

Cornell University Commemorates the 1969 Willard Straight Hall Takeover by Black Students

A half century ago, a group of Black students occupied Willard Straight Hall on the campus of Cornell University. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the protest, Cornell will place a permanent plaque on the building.

The University of Wyoming Issues a Formal Apology to the Black 14

The University of Wyoming Issues a Formal Apology to the Black 14

In October 1969, 14 Black students at the University of Wyoming were thrown off the university’s football team. Now 50 years later, the University of Wyoming has issued a formal apology to the 14 players. Only 11 are still alive.

University of Oklahoma Acquires the Papers of Activist and Educator George Henderson

University of Oklahoma Acquires the Papers of Activist and Educator George Henderson

The papers span over 40 years of Henderson’s career in higher education. The donation represents the largest gift by an African-American scholar, educator, and activist to the university’s archives.

University of Virginia Considering Name Changes for Several Buildings on Campus

University of Virginia Considering Name Changes for Several Buildings on Campus

Protestors have called on the University of Virginia to change the name of the Alderman Library. It is named after Edward Alderman, president of the university from 1905 to 1931. Alderman was a proponent of eugenics and White supremacy.

Virginia Theological Seminary Establishes a Slavery Reparations Endowment Fund

Virginia Theological Seminary Establishes a Slavery Reparations Endowment Fund

Income from the endowment fund for reparations will be put to use in a variety of ways, from encouraging more African American clergy in the Episcopal Church to directly serving the needs of any descendants of the enslaved Africans who worked at the seminary.

College of Charleston Preparing Documentary Film Series on Its Ties to Slavery

College of Charleston Preparing Documentary Film Series on Its Ties to Slavery

Now, like many of its peer institutions that had ties to the institution of slavery, the College of Charleston in South Carolina has begun to more fully examine its history. A documentary film with the title If These Walls Could Talk, is in production and is scheduled for release in the spring.

University of Chicago Creates an Interactive Map Detailing the 1919 Chicago Race Riots

University of Chicago Creates an Interactive Map Detailing the 1919 Chicago Race Riots

The new map highlights how Chicago’s Black residents were at risk of being victimized across much wider swaths of city than previously known.

University of Southern Mississippi Acquires Papers of its First African American Faculty Member

University of Southern Mississippi Acquires Papers of its First African American Faculty Member

In 1970, John Calvin Berry became the first African American faculty member at the university when he was named an instructor of student teaching. He retired from the university in 1985 as an associate professor of educational leadership and research.

New UCLA Online Video Archive Devoted to Former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley

New UCLA Online Video Archive Devoted to Former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley

The archive contains footage from the library of KTLA-TV in Los Angeles. It includes unedited news segments, never-before-seen footage, and news stories not seen publicly since originally broadcast.

Rice University Forms Task Force to Examine Its History Regarding Race

Rice University Forms Task Force to Examine Its History Regarding Race

William Marsh Rice was an oil and cotton tycoon, who when he died was said to be the richest man in Texas. He left the bulk of his estate to establish the Rice Institute for Literature. His will stipulated that only White students were allowed to enroll. The “Whites-only” policy remained in effect until 1965.

Virginia Tech Students Launch "African American Fourth of July" Website

Virginia Tech Students Launch “African American Fourth of July” Website

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg has recently launched a new website that summarizes the findings and analysis of a group of students who researched the historical archives of a group of newspapers to examine African Americans’ sentiments towards Independence Day over the years.

University of Colorado Historian Maps the Oyo Kingdom of West Africa in the Early 19th Century

University of Colorado Historian Maps the Oyo Kingdom of West Africa in the Early 19th Century

At its peak, the Yoruba kingdom of Oyo was one of the largest and most influential West African states. It was established in roughly the 13th century, and is best known for its cavalries that would patrol the forested savannas and capture people to be sold to slave traders.

Baylor University Is Now Collecting and Preserving Sermons From Black Civil Rights Era Preachers

Baylor University Is Now Collecting and Preserving Sermons From Black Civil Rights Era Preachers

The Black Gospel Music Restoration Project at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, was established to identify, acquire, preserve, record, and catalogue gospel music. Now the project is branching out to find and preserve recorded sermons of Black preachers.

University of Southern Mississippi Team Finds the Wreckage of the Last Slave Ship

University of Southern Mississippi Team Finds the Wreckage of the Last Slave Ship

In 1860, the ship Clotilda is believed to be the last vessel to import slaves into the United States, more than 50 years after the international slave trade had been abolished.

Universities  Partner to Produce the Official Oral History of Barack Obama's Presidency

Universities Partner to Produce the Official Oral History of Barack Obama’s Presidency

The Obama Foundation has selected the Columbia Center for Oral History Research to produce the official oral history of Barack Obama’s presidency. The University of Hawai’i and the University of Chicago will also serve as contributing partners for the project.

Furman University in South Carolina Takes Measures to Atone for its Ties to Slavery

Furman University in South Carolina Takes Measures to Atone for its Ties to Slavery

The university will change the name of James C. Furman Hall. The building is named after the university’s first president who was a slave owner and a strong opponent of abolition. The board of trustees also agreed to erect a statue on campus honoring the university’s first Black undergraduate student.

University of North Carolina at Asheville Displays Works From its Isaiah Rice Photo Collection

University of North Carolina at Asheville Displays Works From its Isaiah Rice Photo Collection

A local deliveryman and beverage distributor, Isiah Rice also was an amateur photographer who used small cameras to take pictures of everyday life in Asheville’s African American community during the post-World War II era.

Emory University Launches Exhibit on Portraits of African American Nannies With White Children

Emory University Launches Exhibit on Portraits of African American Nannies With White Children

Many of the nannies depicted in these images are anonymous. The backs of the photos often bear the child’s name, but not the caregivers. Most of the information about the relationship between these nannies and their charges comes from the White family’s perspective.

New Online Database of Court Records of Cases of Enslaved People Seeking Their Freedom

New Online Database of Court Records of Cases of Enslaved People Seeking Their Freedom

The Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln recently debuted an online database of more than 500 court cases in which enslaved persons had sued to gain their freedom.