Black History Month: Editors’ Picks

JSTOR Daily Celebrates Black History Month
A sleeping car porter employed by the Pullman Company at Union Station in Chicago, Illinois.

February marks Black History Month, a month-long observance in the United States and Canada that recognizes the significant contributions of African-Americans to American history, as well as the historical legacies of the African diaspora. We hope you’ll find the following stories, published over the past year, a valuable resource for classroom or leisure reading.


Carter G. Woodson, Father of Black History Month

The origins of Black History Month date back to 1926, when a historian named Carter G. Woodson spearheaded “Negro History Week.”




Harriet_TubmanHarriet Tubman on the $20 Bill?

One hundred and two years after her death, Harriet Tubman has won a vote to replace Andrew Jackson on the twenty-dollar bill. Born into slavery in 1820, Harriet Tubman went on to lead a very accomplished and heroic life.



The Historical Achievement of Pullman Porter’s Union

The achievements of the Pullman Porter’s Union represent a significant civil rights victory for both U.S. labor and the civil liberties of African-Americans.




What Was It Like To Be an African-American Soldier During the Civil War?

186,017 African-American men served during the Civil War. Dora L. Costa and Matthew E. Kahn give us a revelatory look into the experience.




BillieRemembering Billie Holiday

Originally published on the 100th anniversary of Billie Holiday’s birth, this story looked back at the legacy and career of the artist known affectionately as “Lady Day.”




 Ronald Reagan and the Rewriting of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy

Ronald Reagan invoked Dr. King’s legacy to suit his larger political and rhetorical aims, stripping the social critic of his radical and often controversial beliefs.




JOSEPHINE-BAKERThe Fuss About Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker, known as the “Bronze Goddess,” was a singular presence on stage. Her work in vaudeville, dance, and burlesque captivated audiences during the 1920s.




 Between the World and Me: Ta-Nehisi Coates and the Legacy of James Baldwin

Nobel-Prize winning author Toni Morrison compared Ta-Nehisi Coates to the great James Baldwin. A look into the impact of Baldwin’s iconic collection of essays, The Fire Next Time.




Dr. Ossian Sweet Courtesy of the Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library Ossian Sweet’s Life Mattered

Ninety years ago, a mob gathered and threw rocks at Dr. Ossian Sweet as he tried to move into his new home. The police refused to intervene.




Grandchildren of slaves.How an Ex-Slave Successfully Won a Case for Reparations in 1783

In one of the earliest examples of reparations, an ex-slave named Bertha petitioned the government and was granted an annuity.




Photograph of Septima Clark, ca. 1960, Avery Photo Collection, 10-9, Courtesy of the Avery Research Center.How Septima Poinsette Clark Spoke Up for Civil Rights

The daughter of a slave, Septima Clark graduated from college, became a teacher, and became a fierce advocate for social and cultural change.




We’ll be adding more stories related to Black History Month throughout February.

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