African-American History

Auburn University Honors Two of Its African American Trailblazers

Auburn University Honors Two of Its African American Trailblazers

Auburn University in Alabama admitted its first Black student in 1964 under a court order. Recently the university recognized its first Black graduate and the first African American to sit on its board of trustees by naming residence halls in their honor.

New Book to Detail the Work of the Colored Conventions Project

New Book to Detail the Work of the Colored Conventions Project

The Colored Conventions Project (CCP) is a scholarly and community research project focused on digitally preserving Black political activism from the 1830s to 1890s. The project operates two websites and its directors are releasing a new book on the initiative.

Rutgers University Acquires the Personal Library of Literary Scholar Cheryl Wall

Rutgers University Acquires the Personal Library of Literary Scholar Cheryl Wall

The Paul Robeson Cultural Center at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, announced that it has acquired the personal library of Cheryl Wall. The collection includes more than 2,000 volumes. Dr. Wall, who died last spring was the Board of Governors Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English at Rutgers.

University of California's Vast Archive of FBI Files on Black Civil Rights Leaders

University of California’s Vast Archive of FBI Files on Black Civil Rights Leaders

In 1967, the FBI quietly unleashed a covert surveillance operation targeting “subversive” civil rights groups and Black leaders. The objective, according to an FBI memo was to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” the radical fight for Black rights — and Black power.

Colleges and Universities to Seek a Path Toward Reparations

Colleges and Universities to Seek a Path Toward Reparations

The Center for Social Solutions at the University of Michigan is leading a group of college and university scholars in an effort to examine possible avenues to provide reparations for African Americans and Indigenous people.

Carnegie Mellon University Students Develop a Video Game Based on August Wilson's Plays

Carnegie Mellon University Students Develop a Video Game Based on August Wilson’s Plays

In the  game – Explore August Wilson’s Hill District – players use a smartphone or tablet to work their way through the mission of filling a photo album with historical images from the 1910 and the 1960s to show how the buildings and infrastructure change over time.

University of Mississippi Continues to Study the History of Enslaved People on Campus

University of Mississippi Continues to Study the History of Enslaved People on Campus

The University of Mississippi Slavery Research Group was established in 2013. So far, the group has been able to name and identify only 11 enslaved people who labored on the campus.

Vermont Town Honors a Native Son and America's First African American College President

Vermont Town Honors a Native Son and America’s First African American College President

In 1856, Martin Henry Freeman was appointed president of the all-Black Allegheny Institute and Mission Church in Pittsburgh, which later became Avery College. Freeman moved to Liberia in 1863 and taught at and later served as president of Liberia College.

University of Maryland to Name New Residence Hall for Two Black Student Pioneers

University of Maryland to Name New Residence Hall for Two Black Student Pioneers

Whittle-Johnson Hall will honor Hiram Whittle, the first African American male to be admitted to the university in 1951, and Elaine Johnson Coates, the first African American woman to graduate with an undergraduate degree in 1959.

In Utah "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"

In Utah “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”

The board of trustees at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah, voted unanimously to ask the Utah Board of Higher Education to change the name of the educational institution.

New Evidence Discovered That Shows Johns Hopkins Owned Slaves

New Evidence Discovered That Shows Johns Hopkins Owned Slaves

Johns Hopkins, the founder of the university in Baltimore that bears his name, has been thought of as a staunch abolitionist. But new evidence has come to light that one enslaved person was listed in his household in 1840 and four enslaved people were listed in 1850.

Student Project Details the History of Housing Segregation in Miami

Student Project Details the History of Housing Segregation in Miami

Using a platform that combines maps with narrative text, images, and multimedia content, the students wrote the history of Miami’s segregation, slum clearance, public housing, and gentrification and detailed the tactics used to remove Black residents from their homes and neighborhoods.

Association of American Medical Colleges Changes Name of Its Most Prestigious Award

Association of American Medical Colleges Changes Name of Its Most Prestigious Award

In his 1910 report, Abraham Flexner wrote that Black students should be trained as “sanitarians” rather than surgeons and their primary role should be to protect White people from disease. “A well-taught negro sanitarian will be immensely useful; an essentially untrained negro wearing an M.D. degree is dangerous.”

Oklahoma State University Bestows Additional Honors on Its First Black Student

Oklahoma State University Bestows Additional Honors on Its First Black Student

In 1949, Nancy Randolph Davis became the first African-American student to enroll at what was then Oklahoma A&M College. Initially, she was required to sit in the hallway outside a classroom because of the color of her skin.

University of Pittsburgh Acquires the Extensive Archives of Playwright August Wilson

University of Pittsburgh Acquires the Extensive Archives of Playwright August Wilson

The collection — more than 450 boxes of materials — document a wide array of August Wilson’s career and interests from the 1960s to 2010s. The noted playwright was born in Pittsburgh in 1945 and called the city home until 1978.

University of Virginia  Takes Steps to Make its Campus a More Welcoming Place

University of Virginia Takes Steps to Make its Campus a More Welcoming Place

Jim Ryan, president of the University of Virginia, stated that these “actions that will make this place more clearly and obviously welcoming to all, and where all have an opportunity to thrive.”

HBCU Finally Removes the Names of a Ku Klux Klan Leader From a Residence Hall on Campus

HBCU Finally Removes the Names of a Ku Klux Klan Leader From a Residence Hall on Campus

Since 1929, Bibb Graves Hall on the campus of historically Black Alabama State University has honored a former governor and the Grand Cyclops of the Montgomery Klavern of the Ku Klux Klan.

University of Pennsylvania's New Initiative to Preserve Black Heritage Sites

University of Pennsylvania’s New Initiative to Preserve Black Heritage Sites

The University of Pennsylvania’s Stuart Weitzman School of Design is launching a new initiative to advance the understanding and sustainable conservation of heritage sites relating to African American struggles for equality, from before the passage of the 14th Amendment to the present day.

American University Project to Examine Slavery in the Nation's Capital

American University Project to Examine Slavery in the Nation’s Capital

Mia Owens is the inaugural fellow for a new, two-year Public History Graduate Fellowship in the History of Slavery and Its Legacies in Washington, D.C. The fellowship is a partnership between The White House Historical Association and Antiracist Research & Policy Center at American University.

College of William and Mary Students Participate in Archaeological Dig for Historic Black Church

College of William and Mary Students Participate in Archaeological Dig for Historic Black Church

Ground-penetrating radar indicates that remains of an early structure used by members of First Baptist Church — originally founded in secret by free and enslaved Blacks at the start of America’s Revolution — may lie buried in Colonial Williamsburg.

The University of the South Reckons With Its Past Ties to Slavery and Jim Crow

The University of the South Reckons With Its Past Ties to Slavery and Jim Crow

The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, enrolls nearly 1,700 undergraduate students and less than 100 graduate students, according to date supplied to the U.S. Department of Education. African Americans make up 4 percent of the undergraduate student body.

Loras College Removes a Statue of Its Slave-Owning Founder

Loras College Removes a Statue of Its Slave-Owning Founder

Recently the college learned from a researcher who studied the bishop’s financial ledgers that Mathias Loras, the first Catholic bishop of Dubuque, Iowa, purchased an enslaved woman named Marie Louise in Mobile, Alabama. Loras enslaved the woman from 1836 to 1852.

University of Maryland Names Women's Studies Department After Harriet Tubman

University of Maryland Names Women’s Studies Department After Harriet Tubman

This is the first time that an academic department at the University of Maryland will be named after someone honorifically. The women’s studies department is the only one in the country that offers a Black women’s studies minor.

Emory University Acquires the Personal Papers of Kathleen Cleaver

Emory University Acquires the Personal Papers of Kathleen Cleaver

Kathleen Cleaver served as the communications secretary of the Black Panther Party. Later in her career, she served on the faculty at the Emory University School of Law.

Columbia University to Remove the Name of a Slave Owner From a Campus Building

Columbia University to Remove the Name of a Slave Owner From a Campus Building

Samuel Bard was a significant physician in the 18th century, a pioneer in obstetrics and treating diphtheria, who served as George Washington’s doctor. Dr. Bard also owned at least three slaves.

Roper Center at Cornell University Debuts Historical Archives on Polling of Blacks

Roper Center at Cornell University Debuts Historical Archives on Polling of Blacks

The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, has launched “Say Their Names, Hear Their Voices,” a publicly available collection of more than 80 years of public opinion surveys of Black Americans and U.S. attitudes about Black America.

University of North Carolina at Greensboro Creates Black Lives Matter Archive

University of North Carolina at Greensboro Creates Black Lives Matter Archive

Collecting for the project is ongoing, and the archive is particularly interested in photographs, video, protest signs, clothing, flyers, posters, and creative works. The material can be historic, originating with the founding of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013, as well as current.

The Amazing Woman Who Was the First Black Graduate of New Mexico State University

The Amazing Woman Who Was the First Black Graduate of New Mexico State University

Clara Belle Drisdale Williams’ professors did not allow her inside the lecture room because she was African American. She took notes while standing in the hallway. When she graduated in 1937 at the age of 51, she was not permitted to participate in the graduation ceremony.

California State University, Dominguez Hills Acquires Massive Archive of Black History

California State University, Dominguez Hills Acquires Massive Archive of Black History

The collection from the Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum contains more than 2 million rare books, films, documents, photographs artifacts, and works of art related to the history and culture of African-Americans in the United States, with a significant focus on Southern California and the American West.

Harvard University Launches the Black Teacher Archives

Harvard University Launches the Black Teacher Archives

The first phase of the project will archive and digitize the state journals of “Colored Teachers Associations,” which operated for more than 100 years, from 1861 through 1970.

The Archives of Architect Paul Revere Williams Find a New Home

The Archives of Architect Paul Revere Williams Find a New Home

The archives, which include approximately 35,000 plans, 10,000 original drawings, photographs, and other materials, were jointly acquired by the University of Southern California School of Architecture and the Getty Research Institute.

Roanoke College in Virginia Creates the Center for Studying Structures of Race

Roanoke College in Virginia Creates the Center for Studying Structures of Race

Roanoke College was founded in 1842. While Roanoke College did not own slaves, the College’s earliest buildings — the Administration Building and Miller Hall — were constructed using the labor of enslaved people. Black students were not admitted until 1964.

Princeton Removes Names of Woodrow Wilson From Its School of Public and International Affairs

Princeton Removes Names of Woodrow Wilson From Its School of Public and International Affairs

As president of Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson refused to consider the admission of Black students. Wilson who went on to become the 28th president of the United States, racially segregated the federal government workforce and appointed White supremacists to his cabinet.

University of Kentucky to Remove a Large Mural With Demeaning Racial Images

University of Kentucky to Remove a Large Mural With Demeaning Racial Images

Amidst the nationwide protests in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, Eli Capilouto, president of the University of Kentucky said that the university would remove a Depression-era mural that contains demeaning images of African Americans.

Three Universities in Charlotte Team Up to Promote Racial Justice

Three Universities in Charlotte Team Up to Promote Racial Justice

The University of North Carolina at  Charlotte, historically Black Johnson C. Smith University, and Queens University of Charlotte have formed the Charlotte Racial Justice Consortium to support racial healing and transformation in the community.

Texas A&M University's Africana Archive

Texas A&M University’s Africana Archive

Rebecca Hankins, a Texas A&M professor and archivist at Cushing Library, has been building the collection since she joined the university in 2003. She has focused her research and acquisitions involving organizations such as the Black Panthers and Students for a Democratic Society.