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.
JSTOR Daily celebrates Black History Month

Celebrating Black History Month

JSTOR Daily editors pick their favorite stories for Black History Month.
African American life insurance

How Insurance Companies Used Bad Science to Discriminate

In 1881, Prudential announced that insurance policies held by black adults would be worth one-third less than the same plans held by whites.
Oberlin College's Memorial Arch

A Progressive College’s Complicated Relationship with Race

Oberlin College was founded by religious idealists committed to abolitionism and integration. Then public attitudes began to shift.
African American graveyard

Grave Robbing, Black Cemeteries, and the American Medical School

In the 19th century, students at American medical schools stole the corpses of recently-buried African Americans to be used for dissection.
Dorothy B Porter

What Dorothy Porter’s Life Meant for Black Studies

Dorothy Porter, a Black woman pioneer in library and information science, created an archive that structured a new field.
Elizabeth Jennings Graham

The Woman Who Refused to Leave a Whites-Only Streetcar

In 1854, Elizabeth Jennings rode the streetcar of her choice, in an early civil rights protest that led to desegregating public transportation in NYC.
Alex Haley Roots

How Alex Haley Popularized Ancestral Searching

Today it's easy to have DNA tested. But before that technology was available, Alex Haley's Roots inspired generations to trace their families' histories.
Marcus Garvey

Black Radicalism’s Complex Relationship with Japanese Empire

Black intellectuals in the U.S.—from W. E. B. Du Bois to Marcus Garvey—had strong and divergent opinions on Japanese Empire.
Bishop Michael Curry

Recognizing African Americans in the Anglican Church

At the royal wedding, bishop Michael Curry delivered a rousing address, calling attention to the African American experience in the Anglican Church.