Alice Childress, Paul Robeson and Lorraine Hansberry

In the McCarthy Era, to Be Black Was to Be Red

The Marxist sympathies of Black radical leaders like Paul Robeson, Alice Childress, and Lorraine Hansberry made them targets for the FBI.

10 Ekphrastic Poems

Broadly defined, an ekphrastic poem describes another work of art. Here are some by Ocean Vuong, Aziza Barnes, Robert Hayden, Frank O’Hara, Danez Smith, and more.
Release, by Marco Cianfanelli and Jeremy Rose.

Nelson Mandela’s Lasting Image

Since his death in 2013, Nelson Mandela has achieved icon status. Why is his image so ubiquitous, reproduced everywhere from tourist kitsch to high art?
Bestselling author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at HCLS Miller Branch.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: I Became Black in America

Adichie speaks on the meaning of blackness, sexism in Nigeria, and whether the current feminist movement leaves out black women.
Black Poets

10 Poems by African-American Poets

Poems by African-American poets, including Gwendolyn Brooks, Kwame Dawes, Rita Dove, Langston Hughes, Tyehimba Jess, Kevin Young, and more.
Martin Luther King Jr and LBJ

Martin Luther King Jr. in His Own Words

The writings of Martin Luther King, not so well known as his speeches and acts of civil disobedience, are a rich source for those researching his life.
Janet Jackson in concert

The Lasting Power of Janet Jackson’s “Got ‘Til It’s Gone”

Twenty years ago, Janet Jackson released her single "Got ‘Til it’s Gone." Today, we celebrate the layered artistry that led to the video's timeless appeal.
James Baldwin

Why James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time Still Matters

For James Baldwin (1924-1987), the fundamental premises of American society needed revisiting. How we might view #BlackLivesMatter through his lens.
Harpers Ferry illustration

John Brown: Feared Fanatic or Freedom Fighter?

Murderous terrorist fanatic or freedom fighter? No figure in American history raises that question more than John Brown.
V.S. Naipaul

V.S. Naipaul’s Defense of Civilization

As a public figure, V.S. Naipaul is often outrageous, but his 30+ books speak eloquently in defense of civilization.