African-American History

Arizona State Historian Wins Fellowship to Study African Americans' Views on World War II

Arizona State Historian Wins Fellowship to Study African Americans’ Views on World War II

Matthew Delmont, a professor of history and director of the School of Historical, Philosophical & Religious Studies at Arizona State University, has received a Guggenheim Fellowship that will allow him to conduct research on how African American viewed World War II at the time the war was being waged.

College of William and Mary Honoring the First Black Students Who Lived on Campus

College of William and Mary Honoring the First Black Students Who Lived on Campus

The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, is commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the first Black residential students on campus by creating a mural that will be permanently displayed at the university’s Swen Library.

University of Virginia Historian Documents How Black-Owned Land Was Stolen

University of Virginia Historian Documents How Black-Owned Land Was Stolen

Dr. Andrew W. Kahrl is conducting research on how tax liens and tax sales became a tool used by predatory land speculators to acquire Black-owned land. Dr. Kahrl discovered that local officials assessed Black property owners at highly inflated rates in an effort to tax them off the land.

Educating Educators on the Civil Rights History of South Carolina

Educating Educators on the Civil Rights History of South Carolina

The University of South Carolina’s Center for Civil Rights History and Research held the inaugural South Carolina Civil Rights Teacher Initiative this summer.

Honors for the First Black Woman to Receive a Bachelor's Degree at Vanderbilt University

Honors for the First Black Woman to Receive a Bachelor’s Degree at Vanderbilt University

In 1967 Dorothy J. Phillips became the first African American women to earn an undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. The university has established a fellowship program and an endowed chair in her honor.

In Memoriam: Frederick Isadore Scott, 1927-2017

In Memoriam: Frederick Isadore Scott, 1927-2017

In 1950, Frederick Scott became the first African American to be awarded an undergraduate degree at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Tuskegee University Honors Its First Chaplain, John W. Whittaker, 1860-1936

Tuskegee University Honors Its First Chaplain, John W. Whittaker, 1860-1936

This past Sunday, Tuskegee University held a chapel service to honor John W. Whittaker, the educational institution’s first chaplain. The service was part of the Whittaker family reunion that took place on campus.

University of Mississippi Plans to Be More Upfront With Its Past

University of Mississippi Plans to Be More Upfront With Its Past

The University of Mississippi is commissioning a group of plaques that will explain in historical context why some buildings and structures were named after people who had ties to White supremacy.

Ohio University Chillicothe Honors Joseph Carter Corbin

Ohio University Chillicothe Honors Joseph Carter Corbin

A native of Chillicothe, Ohio, and a two-time graduate of Ohio University, Joseph Carter Corbin moved to Arkansas in 1872. Three years later he founded the Branch Normal College, which today is the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

Missouri Makes Amends to Journalist Denied University Admission in 1939

Missouri Makes Amends to Journalist Denied University Admission in 1939

In 1939, Lucile Bluford, who was a graduate of the University of Kansas and an accomplished journalist, applied to and was accepted at the Missouri School of Journalism. When she arrived on campus she was not permitted to enroll due to the color of her skin.

University of Arkansas' New Historical Digital Archive Tells the Story of an Early HBCU

University of Arkansas’ New Historical Digital Archive Tells the Story of an Early HBCU

The University of Arkansas has debuted a new online archive of materials relating to Southland College in Phillips County, Arkansas. The school was the first institution of higher learning for African Americans in the United States founded west of the Mississippi River.

University of Virginia Unveils the Design for Its Memorial to Enslaved Laborers

University of Virginia Unveils the Design for Its Memorial to Enslaved Laborers

The University of Virginia has discovered the names – sometimes only the first names – of nearly 1,000 slaves who worked on campus. The university believes that as many as 5,000 slaves may have labored on university grounds in the 1817-to-1865 period.

Hampton University Scholar Mounts Effort to Digitize Local Historical Documents

Hampton University Scholar Mounts Effort to Digitize Local Historical Documents

Maureen Elgersman Lee, an associate professor at Hampton University in Virginia, is leading a project that encourages African Americans to bring historical letters, documents, and other correspondence to the library where they are scanned and preserved in digital form.

Black World War II-Era Navy Band Honored at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Black World War II-Era Navy Band Honored at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

The 44 African American men were the first African Americans other than cooks or porters to serve in modern era of the U.S. Navy. They were also the first African Americans to work at the university in occupations that did not involve cooking, cleaning, or laundry work.

University of Georgia to Conduct Further Research on African American Remains Found on Campus

University of Georgia to Conduct Further Research on African American Remains Found on Campus

In November 2015, construction workers building an expansion on Baldwin Hall on the campus of the University of Georgia discovered the remains of approximately 105 individuals. The vast majority of the persons buried at the site were determined to have had mothers who were of African heritage.

Georgia Southern University Honors Its First African American Students

Georgia Southern University Honors Its First African American Students

In January 1965, John Bradley became the first African American student at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro. Six other Black students entered the university in the fall of 1965. Catherine Davis, a sophomore transfer student, was the first African American student to be awarded a degree.

Manuscript of Slave Autobiography to Be Published in Digital Form

Manuscript of Slave Autobiography to Be Published in Digital Form

Fields Cook was born into slavery on a Virginia plantation in 1817. His “A Scetch of My Own Life by Fields Cook” is one of the few, if only, surviving manuscripts written before the Civil War by a slave still in bondage.

Documenting the African American Experience at Northwestern University

Documenting the African American Experience at Northwestern University

Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, will soon have a permanent exhibition space documenting the lives of Black students, faculty, and alumni at the university. Charla Wilson will join the staff at Northwestern University Libraries as the inaugural Archivist for the Black Experience.

University of Maryland Eastern Shore Scholar to Direct World War I Tribute Band

University of Maryland Eastern Shore Scholar to Direct World War I Tribute Band

Dr. Isrea Butler will direct the ensemble which is a recreation of the 369th Regimental Band that was made up of 65 African American and Puerto Rican soldiers that performed in the United States and in Europe during the World War I period a century ago.

Bucknell University Honors its First African American Graduate

Bucknell University Honors its First African American Graduate

Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, recently unveiled a bust of Edward McKnight Brawley, who in 1875 became the first African American to graduate from the university. He went on to serve as president of what is now Selma University in Alabama. Brawley also was president of Morris College in Alabama.

Tufts University Debuts Exhibit From the Gerald Gill Papers Collection

Tufts University Debuts Exhibit From the Gerald Gill Papers Collection

Gerald Gill taught history at Tufts University for 27 years before his death 10 years ago at the age of 59. Professor Gill was the author of “Another Light on the Hill,” which documented the history of African Americans at Tufts.

New Community Engagement Awards Honor Early Black Student at Yale

New Community Engagement Awards Honor Early Black Student at Yale

Yale University has announced the first cohort of 20 high school juniors who are the winners of the Bassett Award for Community Engagement. Bassett took classes at Yale in the 1850s and later was the first African American to be named a U.S. diplomat.

University of Cincinnati Researchers Produce a Racial Diversity Map of the Entire Nation

University of Cincinnati Researchers Produce a Racial Diversity Map of the Entire Nation

The map shows how the racial makeup of neighborhoods changed between 1990 and 2010. Users can zoom in to focus on a particular state, city, or even neighborhood. The maps are so detailed that information can be found for any 30-square-meter area in the country.

The 19th-Century Black Woman Who Now Has a Building Named After Her at Georgetown

The 19th-Century Black Woman Who Now Has a Building Named After Her at Georgetown

Recently, Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., held a ceremony to name a campus building to honor Anne Marie Becraft, who in 1820 founded a school for Black girls in Washington. At the time she founded the school, Becraft was 15 years old.

First Black Woman Student at the University of Georgia Creates 'Giving Voice to the Voiceless' Fund

First Black Woman Student at the University of Georgia Creates ‘Giving Voice to the Voiceless’ Fund

Charlayne Hunter-Gault and her husband Ron Gault have created the Giving Voice to the Voiceless endowment at the University of Georgia. The endowment will provide grants to university students to promote social justice and global understanding.

University of Virginia Names a Campus Building in Honor of a Slave

University of Virginia Names a Campus Building in Honor of a Slave

Peyton Skipwith, a former slave who quarried stone for some of the early structures on the Charlottesville campus, was owned by John Hartwell Cocke, one of the first members of the university’s board of visitors.

University of Michigan Seeks to Identify All of Its Early Black Students

University of Michigan Seeks to Identify All of Its Early Black Students

Early records of the university did not include information on a student’s race. By using yearbooks, class photos, and student newspapers, researchers have identified more than 1,700 Black students who attended the university from 1853 to 1970.

Rutgers University Scholars Resurrect an Old Literary Magazine for Today's Generation

Rutgers University Scholars Resurrect an Old Literary Magazine for Today’s Generation

From 1966 to 1983, the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore published the literary magazine Chicory. The publication, financed by the federal Office of Economic Opportunity, contained poetry, prose, and artwork composed by members of Baltimore’s low-income, African American communities.

Southern University to Award Degrees to Black Students Slain on Campus in 1972

Southern University to Award Degrees to Black Students Slain on Campus in 1972

In 1972, police were called to campus of Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to remove Black student protestors from the president’s office. During the ensuing melee, two students were shot dead from shotgun blasts. No one was ever charged with the murders.

Georgetown University Continues to Make Amends to Descendants of Its Slaves

Georgetown University Continues to Make Amends to Descendants of Its Slaves

On April 18, several descendants of the slaves that were sold by the university in 1838 will come to Washington, D.C., for the ceremony to rename buildings that have honored university officials who participated in the slave trade.

New Documentary Film on the Importance of African American Speech

New Documentary Film on the Importance of African American Speech

North Carolina State University recently premiered a new documentary film that examines the history of African American speech, its cultural importance, and how African American speech has shaped modern American English.

Brown University Exhibit Features the African American Roots of Popular Music

Brown University Exhibit Features the African American Roots of Popular Music

The exhibit, “Bamboula! Black Music Before the Blues,” includes nineteenth- and early twentieth-century books, sheet music, concert posters, songbooks, and other artifacts. It will be shown at the university’s John Hay Library through May 5.

University of Cincinnati Acquires Archives of Civil Rights Leaders

University of Cincinnati Acquires Archives of Civil Rights Leaders

Marian Spencer served as vice mayor of Cincinnati and was a major force in the effort to desegregate the city’s public schools. Her late husband Donald was one of the first African American realtors in the city. Both Spencers graduated from the University of Cincinnati.

Hamilton College's Oral Histories of Jazz Greats Made Available Online

Hamilton College’s Oral Histories of Jazz Greats Made Available Online

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first jazz recording, Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, has established a YouTube channel where it will share oral history interviews from its extensive Jazz Archive.

University of Alabama History Class Documents Lynchings That Occurred Near Campus

University of Alabama History Class Documents Lynchings That Occurred Near Campus

The class “Southern Memory: Lynchings in the South,” examined the history and legal environment that led to more than 4,000 lynchings of African Americans. Then each student was assigned to research and document the particular case of one lynching victim.

A Major Celebration of the Life and Work of Gwendolyn Brooks

A Major Celebration of the Life and Work of Gwendolyn Brooks

Brooks, who died in 2000, was the former poet laureate of the state of Illinois and in 1950 was the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize. The University of Chicago is holding a major celebration of her life and works on the 100th anniversary of her birth.