As I look out my office window in Salem, Massachusetts at the massive piles of snow left by blizzard after unrelenting blizzard during the worst winter in memory, I could not help but consider the thoughts a local would have thought in 1692: “what have we done to incur God’s wrath?” For New England Puritans living before the age of science, everything was a sign of God’s pleasure or displeasure including extremes of weather.
March is Women’s History Month and as the United States gears up for the 2016 election, I propose we salute a pathbreaking woman candidate for president. No, not Hillary Rodham Clinton, but Shirley Chisholm, who became the first woman and the first African American to seek the nomination of the Democratic Party for president. And yet far too often Shirley Chisholm is seen as just a footnote or a curiosity, rather than as a serious political contender who demonstrated that a candidate who was black or female or both belonged in the national spotlight.
Speaker of the House John Boehner is learning the enduring truth of Lyndon Johnson’s famous distinction between a cactus and a caucus. In a caucus, said LBJ, all the pricks are on the inside. Presumably Speaker Boehner seldom thinks about his Republican predecessors as leaders of the House.
In February, the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in Montgomery Alabama released a report, Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror. In researching for the report, EJI examined the practice of lynching in twelve southern states between Reconstruction and 1950. The report’s conclusions and recommendations provide important lessons about the past, present, and future of society.
Dred Scott, an African-American slave, appealed to the Supreme Court for his freedom based on having been brought by his owners to live in a free territory. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, writing for the majority, wrote that persons of African descent could not be, nor were ever intended to be, citizens under the US Constitution, and thus the plaintiff Scott was without legal standing to file a suit.
Lucy Stone, a nineteenth-century abolitionist and suffragist, became by the 1850s one of the most famous women in America. She was a brilliant orator, played a leading role in organizing and participating in national women’s rights conventions, served as president of the American Equal Rights Association […]
Civil Rights icon Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was also a theologian and pastor, who used biblical texts and imagery extensively in his speeches and sermons. Here is a selection of five biblical quotations and allusions that you may not have noticed in his work (in chronological order).
Given the scope and the length of time I’ve been working on the African American National Biography (over 13 years and counting), selecting just a few biographies that were somehow “representative” of the overall project would have been an impossible task. Instead, working with The Root’s managing editor, Lyne Pitts, I chose four entries that showcased some of the diversity of the collection, but focused on hidden or barely remembered figures in black history.
Migrant farmworkers plant and pick most of the fruits and vegetables that you eat. Seasonal crop farmers, who employ workers only a few weeks of the year, rely on workers who migrate from one job to another. However, farmers’ ability to rely on migrants to fill their seasonal labor needs is in danger. From 1989 through 1998, roughly half of all seasonal crop farmworkers migrated — traveled at least 75 miles for a US job. Since then, the share of workers who migrate has dropped by more than in half, hitting 18% in 2012.
What do opera singer Leontyne Price, activist Victoria Gray Adams, civil rights organizer Bayard Rustin, and Harvard sociologist William Julius Wilson have in common? They all attended or graduated from Wilberforce University. Located outside of Dayton, Ohio, Wilberforce was the first institution of higher education to be owned and operated by African Americans.
If it were not for his impeachment on 24 February 1868, and the subsequent trial in the Senate that led to his acquittal, Andrew Johnson would probably reside among the faded nineteenth century presidents that only historical specialists now remember. Succeeding to the White House after the murder of Abraham Lincoln in April 1865, Johnson proved to be a presidential failure […]
Last week marked two important events in the unfinished story of southern racial violence. On February 10, the Alabama-based Equal Justice Initiative released Lynching in America, an unflinching report that documents 3,959 black victims of mob violence in twelve southern states between 1877 and 1950.
Millions of Americans are eagerly anticipating this year’s Academy Awards ceremony. For over a century, motion pictures have been a dominant cultural and leisure medium. There are, however, two aspects worth highlighting: the sheer novelty of motion pictures and the medium’s initial democratic nature. Twenty-first century Americans have difficulty imagining the wonder and awe motion pictures inspired in the early 1900s.
Last month on Capitol Hill, a tedious slur on Henry Kissinger (“war criminal”) provoked an irate reaction (“low-life scum”). The clash between Senator McCain and the protesters of Code Pink garnered media coverage and YouTube clicks. The Senate’s hearings on national strategy not so much. This is unfortunate.
Fresh Off the Boat, the newest addition to ABC’s primetime lineup, has garnered more than its share of attention in the lead-up to its recent debut: based on restaurateur Eddie Huang’s critically-acclaimed memoir, it’s the first sitcom in 20 years since Margaret Cho’s All-American Girl to feature an Asian-American family at its epicenter, assuming a place among the network’s recent crop of 21st-century family comedies, including Modern Family, Blackish, and Cristela.
As the city buzzes around us in preparation for the 2015 NBA All-Star Weekend, hosted jointly by the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets, we caught up with a few of our office’s basketball fans to reflect on their all-time favorite NBA All-Stars — and their entries in the Oxford African American Studies Center. Without further ado, Oxford University Press New York’s 5 Guys and a Girl weigh in