African-American History

Yale Divinity School Commissions Painting of First African-American to Take Classes

Yale Divinity School Commissions Painting of First African-American to Take Classes

In the 1830s, Pennington, an escapee from slavery in Maryland and an aspiring minister, audited classes at the Yale Divinity School even though he was not allowed to officially enroll. He was permitted to sit in the back of the classroom and listen. He was not allowed to speak during classes or borrow books from the library.

Temple University Adds Tupac Shakur Memorabilia to its Blockson Afro-American Collection

Temple University Adds Tupac Shakur Memorabilia to its Blockson Afro-American Collection

Tupac Shakur was a prominent voice of 1990s hip-hop and remains one of the most influential artists of his generation, having sold more than 42 million copies of his albums and singles. Temple University in Philadelphia has acquired a dozen documents handwritten by Shakur and two pieces of jewelry.

Duke University's New Slavery to Freedom Lab

Duke University’s New Slavery to Freedom Lab

According to its website, the new lab will “examine the life and afterlives of slavery and emancipation, linking Duke University to the Global South.”

Florida State University Launches a New Civil Rights Institute

Florida State University Launches a New Civil Rights Institute

The mission of the new institute is to honor and study the United States civil rights movement and to promote civil rights and social change. It will host speakers and events, curate museum exhibits, develop an interactive website and publications, and support education and research.

Princeton University's Tera Hunter Wins Book Awards From the American Historical Association

Princeton University’s Tera Hunter Wins Book Awards From the American Historical Association

Tera W. Hunter, the Edwards Professor of History and professor of African American studies at Princeton University in New Jersey, has been awarded the Joan Kelly Memorial Prize in women’s history and/or feminist theory as well as the Littleton-Griswold Prize in U.S. law and society from the American Historical Association.

Texas A&M University Project Will Document Freedom Colonies Throughout Texas

Texas A&M University Project Will Document Freedom Colonies Throughout Texas

Freedom colonies were self-sufficient, all-Black settlements that former slaves established after they were freed. The Texas Freedom Colonies Project, established by a scholar at Texas A&M University, aims to help African-American Texans reclaim their unrecognized and unrecorded heritage.

Vanderbilt Unveils Portraits of Ten Individuals Who Have Supported Blacks on Campus

Vanderbilt Unveils Portraits of Ten Individuals Who Have Supported Blacks on Campus

The Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center at Vanderbilt University has unveiled 10 new portraits of individuals of all races from Vanderbilt’s present and past who have made the university a more inclusive space for Black students, faculty, and staff.

Universities Team Up With The HistoryMakers

Universities Team Up With The HistoryMakers

The University of Virginia and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh will collaborate with The HistoryMakers, to enhance the nation’s largest archive of videotaped oral histories of African-American leaders.

Johns Hopkins University to Name a New Building After Henrietta Lacks

Johns Hopkins University to Name a New Building After Henrietta Lacks

A new interdisciplinary building on Johns Hopkins University’s East Baltimore campus will be named in honor of Henrietta Lacks, who was the source of the HeLa cell line that has been critical to numerous significant advances in modern medicine.

The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles Acquires the Papers of Artist Betye Saar

The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles Acquires the Papers of Artist Betye Saar

The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles has allocated $5 million to establish the African American Art History Initiative.

Tulane University Exhibit Showcases Photographs of Plantation Slave Housing

Tulane University Exhibit Showcases Photographs of Plantation Slave Housing

In 1978, photographer Phillip Marin Denman began documenting the more than 100 buildings on the grounds of the Laurel Valley Plantation in Thibodaux, Louisiana. He returned in 2005 and again in 2017 to record the condition of the plantation and the remaining structures.

University Professor's Research Results in Honors for Murdered World War I Veteran

University Professor’s Research Results in Honors for Murdered World War I Veteran

While investigating the 1919 Elaine Massacre, University of Arkansas Little Rock history professor Brian Mitchell discovered that Leroy Johnston, a Black World War I veteran and victim of the massacre, had his medical records altered, denying him military honors that he deserved.

New Book Provides Insight Into the Influence of an 18th-Century Slave Ship Woodcut Engraving

New Book Provides Insight Into the Influence of an 18th-Century Slave Ship Woodcut Engraving

The original wood engraving of a slave ship was created in 1788 by British abolitionists who intended to influence the legislators who regulated the slave trade. It was the first image to expose ordinary people to the barbarism of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Bowdoin College Scholar Explores the Issue of Slavery in Relation to the State of Maine

Bowdoin College Scholar Explores the Issue of Slavery in Relation to the State of Maine

Brian Purnell, an associate professor of history and Africana studies at Bowdoin College in Maine, believes that even though Maine’s statehood nearly 200 years ago kept the balance between slave-states and free-states, it strengthened slavery elsewhere.

Washington and Lee University President Rejects Plans to Convert Lee Chapel Into a Museum

Washington and Lee University President Rejects Plans to Convert Lee Chapel Into a Museum

An advisory panel of faculty, staff, alumni, and students suggested that Lee Chapel should be converted into a museum and key campus events should no longer be held there. Robert E. Lee and his family are buried underneath the chapel.

The College of William & Mary Soliciting Ideas for a Memorial to the Slaves That Worked on Campus

The College of William & Mary Soliciting Ideas for a Memorial to the Slaves That Worked on Campus

The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, has launched a competition to solicit conceptual ideas for a Memorial to African-Americans Enslaved early in the educational institution’s history.

SUNY New Paltz Looking to Change Names of Buildings That Honor Slave Owners

SUNY New Paltz Looking to Change Names of Buildings That Honor Slave Owners

The president of the State University of New York at New Paltz is recommending that the university change the names of six buildings which are currently named after the first settling families of New Paltz, all of whom owned slaves.

A Mural With Stereotypical Images of Blacks Is Once Again on View at the University of Kentucky

A Mural With Stereotypical Images of Blacks Is Once Again on View at the University of Kentucky

But the university has balanced the images from its past with new artwork showing the silhouettes and portraits of three African Americans important to the state’s history.

Virginia Commonwealth University Educates Social Work Students on Richmond's Racial History

Virginia Commonwealth University Educates Social Work Students on Richmond’s Racial History

This event aimed to teach the university’s social work students and others in the social work field about Richmond’s history with racial discrimination and its effects which still linger today.

Northeastern University Team Digs Into Jim Crow-Era Cold Case Murders

Northeastern University Team Digs Into Jim Crow-Era Cold Case Murders

All six victims were murdered by White men who were later not prosecuted for their crimes. Three of the Black men were killed by police officers.

The Noisy Controversy Over Silent Sam

The Noisy Controversy Over Silent Sam

Last week the Silent Sam statue honoring soldiers who fought for the Confederacy on the campus of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s was torn down by protestors during a rally. But it appears that the controversy is far from over.

A Handwritten Letter by Rosa Parks Has Been Donated to Alabama State University

A Handwritten Letter by Rosa Parks Has Been Donated to Alabama State University

In January 1957, the home of Rev. Bob Graetz and his wife Jeannie, a White couple who were both very active in the civil rights movement in the city, was bombed. Rosa Parks, who lived across the street wrote a letter describing that incident. The letter has now been donated to Alabama State University.

Bryn Mawr College Takes Action to Confront the Racism of a Former President

Bryn Mawr College Takes Action to Confront the Racism of a Former President

M. Carey Thomas served as the second president of Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania from 1884 to 1922. During this period she refused to admit Black students and refused to hire Jewish faculty.

Tuskegee University Receives the Photographic Archives of Prentice H. Polk

Tuskegee University Receives the Photographic Archives of Prentice H. Polk

Prentice H. Polk was one of the most influential photographers of his time. Much of Polk’s work was centered around Tuskegee Institute, and celebrated family life, national and local elite individuals, and specific events occurring on campus.

Oregon State University Changes Building Names That Honored Proponents of Slavery

Oregon State University Changes Building Names That Honored Proponents of Slavery

Last fall, Edward Ray, president of Oregon State University, announced that the university would change the names of three buildings on campus because the people for whom the buildings had been named had expressed support for the institution of slavery. The university recently announced the name changes.

Princeton University Brings HBCU Students to Campus to Garner Interest in Archival Research

Princeton University Brings HBCU Students to Campus to Garner Interest in Archival Research

Last month, Princeton University in New Jersey held its inaugural Archives Research and Collaborative (ARCH) program on campus. Fourteen students from five historically Black colleges and universities spent five days on the Princeton campus with the goal of interesting them in careers in archives research.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro Aim to Preserve Slave Records

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro Aim to Preserve Slave Records

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro has undertaken a research project entitled “People Not Property.” The goal of the project is to digitize slave deeds in 26 counties across North Carolina. These deeds contain information about the slaves’ names, age, family, and skills.

University of Virginia to Launch a Crowdsourced Transcription Effort of Julian Bond's Papers

University of Virginia to Launch a Crowdsourced Transcription Effort of Julian Bond’s Papers

On August 15, individuals who join the transcription effort will be asked to go to five locations in Charlottesville where they will transcribe some of Bond’s speeches. People interested in participating in the transcription effort will also be able to contribute to the project online.

Rice University's New Archive on Texas' Convict Leasing System

Rice University’s New Archive on Texas’ Convict Leasing System

The system routinely leased out prisoners to local plantations and other private landowners, where they were worked under horrendous conditions. Large numbers of these leased prisoners were African Americans.

Newark Campus of Rutgers University Honors Frederick Douglass

Newark Campus of Rutgers University Honors Frederick Douglass

On April 17, 1849, Frederick Douglass delivered an address at the First African Presbyterian Church in Newark, New Jersey. The church, which no longer exists, was located on the current site of the university’s athletic fields. The fields now have been named to honor Frederick Douglass.

Florida State University to Remove Name of Segregationist Judge From Its Law School

Florida State University to Remove Name of Segregationist Judge From Its Law School

President John Thrasher will recommend to the legislature that the name of the B.K. Roberts College of Law be changed. Roberts was a founder of the law school and was a member of the Florida Supreme Court. He wrote several pro-segregation opinions during the 1950s.

College of William and Mary to Erect Marker at Site of Early School for African Americans

College of William and Mary to Erect Marker at Site of Early School for African Americans

In 1760, the Associates of Dr. Bray, a London-based charity opened a school for enslaved and free Black children on the campus of the College of William and Mary in Wiliamsburg, Virginia. The college will place a historical marker at the site where the school is believed to have been located.

Project Aims to Expand Research on Obscure African American Novels

Project Aims to Expand Research on Obscure African American Novels

The Black Book Interactive Project at the University of Kansas is building the first searchable digital collection of previously unavailable and understudied African-American novels. Maryemma Graham, University Distinguished Professor of English, is overseeing the project.

University of Missouri Names Building After a Black Woman It Had Rejected for Admission in 1939

University of Missouri Names Building After a Black Woman It Had Rejected for Admission in 1939

In 1939, Lucile Bluford, who had worked as a journalist for several newspapers, applied for admission to the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She was accepted for admission but later was turned away when university officials saw the color of her skin.

University of Utah Debuts New Online Archive on the History of Blacks in the Mormon Church

University of Utah Debuts New Online Archive on the History of Blacks in the Mormon Church

The digital history database – Century of Black Mormons – documents Black participation in the Church of Latter-day Saints between 1830 and 1930.

University of Pennsylvania Research Uncovers Its Early Ties to Slavery

University of Pennsylvania Research Uncovers Its Early Ties to Slavery

Research has shown that no fewer than 75 of the university’s early trustees owned at least one enslaved person. The labor of enslaved people was used to support and care for Penn faculty and students.