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 stories below, and the scholarship they include in full, a valuable resource for classroom or leisure reading.
The origins of Black History Month date back to 1926, when a historian named Carter G. Woodson spearheaded “Negro History Week.”
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 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.
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.
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 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 Baker, known as the “Bronze Goddess,” was a singular presence on stage. Her work in vaudeville, dance, and burlesque captivated audiences during the 1920s.
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.
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.
In one of the earliest examples of reparations, an ex-slave named Bertha petitioned the government and was granted an annuity.
The daughter of a slave, Septima Clark graduated from college, became a teacher, and became a fierce advocate for social and cultural change.
Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have been on the forefront of fighting for desegregation.
Astronaut Jeanette Epps is positioned to continue pushing what is possible for black men and women both at the forefront and behind the scenes at NASA.
Shirley Chisholm made history as the first black female U.S. Representative. Then she did it again as the first major-party black candidate for President in 1972.
Was there ever a legal decision more appropriately named? On June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court decided in Loving v. Virginia that state anti-miscegenation laws were violations of both equal protection and due process.
Galveston, Texas was the first community to celebrate the holiday now known as “Juneteenth.”
Comic-Cons and civil rights rarely intersect, but if one person could make that happen it’s Congressman John Lewis.
Segregation and inequality are still major issues in Little Rock, AR today.
The new National Museum of African American History and Culture features some little-seen Civil War photography.
Douglass “has done an amazing job, and is being recognized more and more, I noticed,” according to President Trump.
Decades after the Tuskegee Syphilis Study health statistics continue to illustrate the lack of trust black Americans have for healthcare professionals.
“In the early years of Women’s Studies programs,” writes one scholar, “African American women and their experiences were rendered invisible.”
Challenging racial stereotypes is often done through satirization of those very stereotypes.
Today, few people know about the pivotal role black people once played in helping develop American dance traditions.
While the bill itself was progressive, much of the country still functioned under both covert and blatant segregation.
Before World War II, those few blacks on otherwise all-white teams in the north led a “dual existence,” as figures simultaneously loved and hated.
Ellison believed fiercely in the American project and in the centrality of black people to it.
A lynching in Memphis targeted black business owners. It also prompted Ida B. Wells to start writing about racial violence in the South.
Douglass feuded with Martin Delany, another prominent black intellectual, over, among other things, cultural appropriation.
We’ll be adding more stories related to Black History Month throughout February.