African-American History

Southern University Ends 50-Year Campus Ban of Students Who Mounted a Protest in 1972

Southern University Ends 50-Year Campus Ban of Students Who Mounted a Protest in 1972

On November 16, 1972, student protesters were confronted with tear gas canisters that they threw back at police. During an ensuing melee, two students were shot and killed. Four student leaders were arrested, expelled from the university, and banned from campus. The ban has now been lifted.

Georgetown Creates New Fund to Benefit Descendants of People Enslaved by the University

Georgetown Creates New Fund to Benefit Descendants of People Enslaved by the University

The Reconciliation Fund has begun accepting applications for projects that aim to benefit communities of the descendants of people enslaved and sold by the university, many of whom live in and around Maringouin, Louisiana, where their ancestors were sold and forcibly moved to in 1838. The university plans to allocate $400,000 annually to the effort.

Western Kentucky University Honors Its First Black Student

Western Kentucky University Honors Its First Black Student

Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green has renamed a campus building to honor its first Black graduate. A residence hall on campus now bears the name of Margaret Munday, who was the first Black student to enroll at the university in 1956 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in music and elementary education in 1960.

Iowa State University Planning a Year-Long Celebration Honoring Jack Trice

Iowa State University Planning a Year-Long Celebration Honoring Jack Trice

Jack Trice was the first African American to play intercollegiate sports at Iowa State University. A student of animal husbandry, Trice suffered severe injuries in his second collegiate football game against the University of Minnesota and died two days later on October 8, 1923. He was 21 years old.

University of South Carolina Partners With the National Park Service on Civil Rights History

University of South Carolina Partners With the National Park Service on Civil Rights History

Under a five-year agreement with the park service, the center will expand its existing work in civil rights education and scholarly research, including support for exhibits and programming at South Carolina sites in the African American Civil Rights Network.

University of Richmond Changes Name of Its Law School Due to Benefactor's Ties to Slavery

University of Richmond Changes Name of Its Law School Due to Benefactor’s Ties to Slavery

The T.C. Williams School of Law will now be known as the University of Richmond School of Law. Williams was a student and later a trustee of the then-named Richmond College. He personally enslaved three individuals and his business enslaved dozens more.

Getty Images Launches a New Black History Archive for Educators and Scholars

Getty Images Launches a New Black History Archive for Educators and Scholars

The collection aims to grant free non-commercial access to rarely seen historical and cultural images of the African/Black Diaspora in the United States and the United Kingdom from the nineteenth century to the present day to educators, academics, researchers, and content creators.

University of Michigan Compiles a Vast Database of Its Early Black Students

University of Michigan Compiles a Vast Database of Its Early Black Students

A new public database of African American students created by the University of Michigan documents students who attended the university between 1817 and as recently as 1970. The database contains information on nearly 6,000 African American students.

University of Cincinnati Removes Name of Founding Benefactor From Campus

University of Cincinnati Removes Name of Founding Benefactor From Campus

Charles McMicken left a bequest of real estate to the City of Cincinnati that led to the founding in 1870 of the University of Cincinnati. McMicken traded in enslaved persons and fathered two children with enslaved women.

Eastern Illinois University Renames a Residence Hall to Honor Two African Americans

Eastern Illinois University Renames a Residence Hall to Honor Two African Americans

Zella Powell is believed to be the university’s first Black graduate, earning a degree from Eastern State Normal School in 1910. Ona Norton was the matriarch of a Black family in Charleston, Illinois, who housed Black student athletes in the 1950s who were not permitted to live on campus.

Prairie View A&M University Seeks to Rediscover Its Lost History

Prairie View A&M University Seeks to Rediscover Its Lost History

Prairie View A&M University is located on land that once was a plantation that housed 400 enslaved individuals. Many of the historically Black university’s historical records were lost in a 1947 fire. Now a new committee has been formed to piece together the university’s past.

University of Michigan to Examine Its History Relating to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

University of Michigan to Examine Its History Relating to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The University of Michigan is set to begin a multifaceted, years-long project to study, document, and better understand the university’s history with respect to diversity, equity, and inclusion — with the history of race and racism as its first major focus.

How Education May Play a Role in Reparations for Black Californians

How Education May Play a Role in Reparations for Black Californians

“Without accountability, there is no justice. For too long, our nation has ignored the harms that have been — and continue to be — inflicted on African Americans in California and across the country,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta.

The First Black Woman to Graduate From Arizona State University

The First Black Woman to Graduate From Arizona State University

For many years, it was believed that Love Hatton Jordan was the first African American woman to graduate from Arizona State University in 1928. Now an earlier Black woman graduate has been discovered. Stella McHenry graduated in 1925 and became a school teacher. She died three years later.

Baylor University Takes Steps to Confront Its Past Ties to Slavery

Baylor University Takes Steps to Confront Its Past Ties to Slavery

The board of regents of Baylor University in Waco, Texas, has decided to remove a statue of former president and slave owner Rufus Burleson from the quadrangle that has borne his name. Burleson was also a colonel in the Confederate Army.

College of William and Mary Dedicates a Memorial to the Enslaved Who Worked on Campus

College of William and Mary Dedicates a Memorial to the Enslaved Who Worked on Campus

The memorial resembles a fireplace hearth and is meant to symbolize both a place of community and the center of domestic enslavement. A vessel to hold fire that will burn on special occasions will be installed at the center of the Hearth at a later date.

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.