Student in a Black Studies class in a west side Chicago classroom, 1973

African American Studies: Foundations and Key Concepts

This non-exhaustive list of readings in African American Studies highlights the vibrant history of the discipline and introduces the field.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking at Duke University on November 13, 1964

Colleges’ Reluctant Embrace of MLK Day

The push for a national Martin Luther King holiday prompted a fierce political tug-of-war, on campus and off.
Nation of Islam prison reform

What the Prisoners’ Rights Movement Owes to the Black Muslims of the 1960s

Black Muslims have been an influential force in the prisoners' rights movement and criminal justice reform as early as the World War II era.
Halie Selassie

Why a Coup in Ethiopia Created a Faith Crisis in Jamaica

Rastafarians emerged from anti-colonial, anti-racism movements of the 60s, they also looked back toward their African ancestry.
Obama state of the union 2011

Barack Obama and the Nommo Tradition of Afrocentric Orality

Through both dialect and nommo, President Barack Obama was able to inspire black and white audiences, altering his word choice and patterns accordingly.
Smoke billowing over Tulsa, Oklahoma during 1921 race riots

The Devastation of Black Wall Street

Tulsa, Oklahoma. 1921. A wave of racial violence destroys an affluent African-American community, seen as a threat to white-dominated American capitalism.
Bill Cosby

What Does Bill Cosby’s Problematic Legacy Mean for Black Colleges?

The Cosbys gave Spelman College, one of America's 107 HBCUs, over $20 million dollars. What does his legacy mean for the future of black colleges?
Alhambra

The Long History of African Immigrants in Spain

Despite what current nationalist trends might suggest, there is a long history of African influence in Spain.
narcotic stimulants

America’s Workforce Runs on Uppers

Uppers like Benzedrine and cocaine provided a willing workforce for our capitalist economy. Now, Americans are turning to ADHD medications.
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.