african american history

  Young black men are 21 times more likely to be killed by police than their white counterparts. The unemployment rate for African Americans has been double that of whites for more than half a century. And yet Americans cling desperately to the myth that we are living in a post-racial society, that the election of the first black president spelled doom for racist policies and racist beliefs. In fact, racist thought is alive and well in America; it has simply become more sophisticated and more insidious.

Award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues in Stamped from the Beginning, if we have any hope of grappling with this stark reality, we must first understand how racist ideas were developed, disseminated, and enshrined in American society.

  Pauli Murray has been called one of the most important figures in 20th century African American civil rights history. This remarkable woman was the granddaughter of a mulatto slave who among other achievements was a founding member of CORE, graduated at the top of her class at Howard University School of Law, was named Madame Moiselle Magazine women of the year in 1947, wrote states laws on race and color which Thurgood Marshall called "the bible of civil rights lawyers," was appointed to JFK’s commission on the status of women and co-founded national organization for women in 1966. Murray is now the subject of Patricia Bell-Scott’s biography The Firebrand and First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt and the Struggle for Social Justice. Patricia Bell-Scott is professor emerita of women studies in human development and family science at the University of Georgia. 

  In The Black Calhouns, Gail Lumet Buckley—daughter of actress Lena Horne—delves deep into her family history, detailing the experiences of an extraordinary African-American family from Civil War to Civil Rights.

Beginning with her great-great grandfather Moses Calhoun, a house slave who used the rare advantage of his education to become a successful businessman in post-war Atlanta, Buckley follows her family’s two branches: one that stayed in the South, and the other that settled in Brooklyn. 

  Ally Sheedy, a highly accomplished actress perhaps best known for her roles in The Breakfast Club, War Games and Short Circuit, is directing an amazing one-woman performance based on the 2015 award winning memoir, Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lowery.

The performance will take place at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 13th at M.C. Smith Intermediate School in Hudson, NY. It will feature the Hudson High School Choir, who will open the event by performing songs from the Civil Rights era.

The story recounts the experiences of a young Lowery growing up in Selma, Alabama during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Lowery was jailed nine times before her 15th birthday as a result of her participation in marches for voting rights. The show stars actress Damaras Obi. Damaras and Ally Sheedy join us in studio this morning and Lynda Blackmon Lowery joins us via phone from NYC.

    

  Stokely Carmichael, the charismatic and controversial black activist, stepped onto the pages of history when he called for “Black Power” during a speech one Mississippi night in 1966.

A firebrand who straddled both the American civil rights and Black Power movements, Carmichael would stand for the rest of his life at the center of the storm he had unleashed that night.

In Stokely, preeminent civil rights scholar Peniel E. Joseph presents a groundbreaking biography of Carmichael, using his life as a prism through which to view the transformative African American freedom struggles of the twentieth century.

  Even as a child, Martin Luther King, Jr. was shocked by the terrible and unfair way African-American people were treated. When he grew up, he decided to do something about it—peacefully, with powerful words.

His story is told in the latest book in Brad Meltzer's New York Times Bestselling "Ordinary People Change the World" series, I am Martin Luther King Jr.

Enrico Spada

  An imagined version of true events, Red Velvet is the story of Ira Aldridge, the first African-American actor to play Othello on the English stage in 1833. In the story lines are blurred between race, friendship, betrayal and art.

The powerful play is currently running at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA and stars OBIE Award-winning actor John Douglas Thompson as Ira Aldridge. 

Red Velvet was written by Lolita Chakrabarti and directed at Shakespeare & Company by Daniela Varon.

It’s time for our weekly check-in with the humanities. In our Ideas Matter segment we learn about the work being done by the humanities councils in our seven state region.

Today we check in with MASS Humanities and learn about commemorating the 150th Anniversary of Juneteenth and the end of slavery in the United States.

Amilcar Shabazz is a Professor in the WEB DuBos Department of Afro-American Studies and Faculty Advisor for Diversity & Excellence in the Office of Chancellor at UMASS Amherst.

Juneteenth 2015

Jun 18, 2015
Facebook

The annual holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the U.S. is being observed throughout the Northeast.

  The Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region's 14th Annual Public History Conference is taking place this weekend - April 17-19.

This year's conference is entitled "Breaking Free: Civil War, Emancipation, and Beyond" and will feature among its events, a Saturday Morning Keynote - "Underground Railroad to the Fight Against Neoliberal Racism: The Long Struggle for Black Liberation" presented by Henry Louis Taylor, PhD, a Professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at University at Buffalo and the Founding Director of the Center for Urban Studies.

Dr. Henry Louis Taylor, Jr.'s research focuses on a historical and contemporary analysis of distressed urban neighborhoods, social isolation and race and class issues among people of color, especially African Americans and Latinos.

Pages