Terracotta memorial portrait (nsodie) of an Akan ruler from present-day southern Ghana

The “Deviant” African Genders That Colonialism Condemned

European travellers and anthropologists found that their gendered worldview didn’t easily map onto the societies they encountered.
Adolph Reed Jr.

Adolph Reed Jr.: The Perils of Race Reductionism

The political scientist Adolph Reed Jr. on the Black Lives Matter movement, the “rich peoples’ wealth gap,” and his Marxism.
Richard Wright sits in an armchair with his hand to his chin, 1950s.

The Haiku of Richard Wright

As he lay bedridden with dysentery, the author wrote an astonishing number of haiku. What inspired him?
Matt Robinson (as Gordon) and Loretta Long (as Susan) lean on a brick wall and speak with Roosevelt Franklin, 1970

Who Was Sesame Street’s First Black Muppet?

Since the beginning, the children's show has tried to represent the diversity of the nation. But Roosevelt Franklin was controversial.
A woman picking vegetables

How the Black Labor Movement Envisioned Liberty

To Reconstruction-era Black republicans, the key to preserving the country’s character was stopping the rise of a wage economy.
Statue of Benkos Biohó in San Basilio de Palenque, Colombia

Black Conquistadors and Black Maroons

Some formerly enslaved Blacks and freedmen accompanied the Spanish invaders; others formed their own communities.
Four books published by Kitchen Table Press

How Kitchen Table Press Changed Publishing

Founded by and for women of color, the press issued such revolutionary works as This Bridge Called My Back.
Illustration from the cover of Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower

How Octavia E. Butler Became a Legend

The early inspiration and experiences that shaped the visionary science fiction storyteller.
Mary Fields c. 1895

How Mary Fields Became “Stagecoach Mary”

Born enslaved, she made her way to Montana and eventually became the first Black woman to deliver mail on a "star route."
Photograph: Eartha Kitt

Source: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

When Eartha Kitt Condemned Poverty and War at the White House

It was supposed to be a genteel luncheon with the first lady dedicated to discussing crime policy. The chanteuse had other ideas.