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.

Carter G. Woodson, The 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 Tubman on the $20 Bill?

Harriet Tubman's known and lesser known accomplishments.
A sleeping car porter employed by the Pullman Company at Union Station in Chicago, Illinois.

The Historic Achievement of the Pullman Porter’s Union

The achievements of the Pullman Porter's Union were a significant civil rights victory for both U.S. labor and the civil liberties of African-Americans. 
It is the bean, that we mean, so white and lean.

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

What was it like to be one of the 186,017 African Americans who served in the Union Army during the Civil War?

Remembering Billie Holiday

The 100th anniversary of Billie Holiday's birth.
Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King.

By Herman Hiller / New York World-Telegram & Sun, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

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

Ronald Reagan invoked Dr. King's legacy to fit with his larger political and rhetorical aims. 

The Fuss About Josephine Baker

 A new one-woman Broadway show puts Josephine Baker back in the public consciousness.
(Left) "Jamesbaldwin" by Carl Van Vechten - This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3a42800. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jamesbaldwin.jpg#/media/File:Jamesbaldwin.jpg

(Right) "Ta Nehisi Coates" by Montesbradley - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ta_Nehisi_Coates.jpg#/media/File:Ta_Nehisi_Coates.jpg

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

Toni Morrison has compared writer Ta-Nehisi Coates to James Baldwin; find out why here.
Dr. Ossian Sweet
Courtesy of the Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library
http://digitalcollections.detroitpubliclibrary.org/islandora/object/islandora%3A143138

Dr. Ossian Sweet’s Black Life Mattered

It has been 90 years since Ossian Sweet tried to move into his new home; since police stood by and did nothing as a mob threw rocks.
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.  
Talladega College

The Historical Need for Black Colleges

Historically black colleges and universities have also been on the forefront of fighting for desegregation.
Jeanette Epps

More Hidden Figures of NASA History

Katherine G. Johnson, Charles F. Bolden, Jeanette Epps, and roles of African Americans in NASA.
Shirley Chisholm and Rosa Parks

The Significance of Shirley Chisholm’s Presidential Campaign

Shirley Chisholm: the first black female U.S. Representative, first black major-party candidate for President, and the first Democratic Party woman to run.

Loving v. Virginia and the Origins of Loving Day

Loving Day celebrates the SCOTUS decision in Loving v. Virginia in 1967 which struck down the laws of the 16 states still forbidding interracial marriage. 

The Story of Juneteenth

This year marks the 151st celebration of the holiday known as Juneteenth and few places will celebrate with ...
"March," John Lewis' Civil Rights Comic Book

Remembering the Civil Rights Movement…With Comics

Comic-Cons and civil rights rarely intersect, but if one person could make that happen it’s Congressman John Lewis. ...
Little Rock Nine

Little Rock, Then and Now

Segregation and inequality are still major issues in Little Rock today
African American Civil War soldiers

Early Photographs of African American Soldiers at The National Museum of African American History and Culture

The Prickitt album in the NMAAC is a rare coincidence of names and photographs of Colored Troops fighting for the Union in the Civil War. 
Portrait of Frederick Douglass

Some Facts About Frederick Douglass

President Trump praised abolitionist Frederick Douglass in his first remarks on Black History Month.

The Lasting Fallout of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study

A new paper provides evidence that the Tuskegee Syphilis Study reduced the life expectancy of African-American men—though the Tuskegee Syphilis Study ...
Women's March

How Women’s Studies Erased Black Women

The founders of Women’s Studies were overwhelmingly white, and focused on the experiences of white, heterosexual women.
Dear White People

Humor and Race in Dear White People and White Chicks

Black producers and entertainers use the concept of physically appropriating another race to discuss racism in "Dear White People" and "White Chicks."
Howard square dance

The Slave Roots of Square Dancing

Square Dancing's lily-white reputation hides something unexpected: A deep African-American history that's rooted in a legacy of slavery. 
World War II Veterans

The Inequality Hidden Within the Race-Neutral G.I. Bill

While the G.I. Bill itself was progressive, much of the country still functioned under both covert and blatant segregation.
black power salute olympics

The Uneasy History of Integrated Sports in America

The integration of collegiate and professional sports parallels the civil rights movement, but in important ways it was a whole different track.
Ralph Ellison

Ralph Ellison on Race

Ralph Ellison believed fiercely in the American project and in the centrality of black people to it.
Memphis bridge

The People’s Grocery Lynching, Memphis, Tennessee

On March 2, 1892, in Memphis, Tennessee, a racially charged mob grew out of a fight between a black and a white youth near People’s Grocery.
Frederick Douglass and Martin Delany

Frederick Douglass’s Feud Over Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Journalist, physician, and committed black nationalist Martin Delany took Frederick Douglass to task over, among other things, Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin."

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

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