News

How One State History Textbook Erases the Stories of Black and Hispanic Texans

By Emily McCullar | October 22, 2020

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Illustration by Molly Snee

The version of Texas history I learned in school was woefully incomplete. And according to two historians, this 2016 textbook is too.
No one grows up in Texas without internalizing the myth of our state’s exceptionalism in some way. I say “myth,” but that doesn’t mean that Texas is not, in fact, exceptional. I grew up here, and I’ll never not believe with my whole heart that Texas—even with all its contradictions and hypocrisy—is the best, coolest, toughest, most interesting state in all the USA. But as I got older, it became obvious that the legends upon which this initial belief was built—stories about the Old Three Hundred, the Texas Revolution, and the Republic of Texas that I learned in the state history courses we were required to take in fourth and seventh grade—were watered-down and Anglo-cized. Sometimes they were simply untrue. Read More...

‘For the Future Benefit of My Whole Race': How Black Women Fought for the Vote Before and After 19th Amendment

By Cathy Rainone and Noreen O'Donnell | August 17, 2020

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As the U.S. marks the centennial of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote, it is a chance to publicly recognize the work of Ida B. Wells and thousands of other African American women who fought fiercely for its passage but did not gain the same benefit as white women after its ratification on Aug. 18, 1920. Read more...

6 essential memorials that tell America’s story

by Amy Thomas | August 11, 2020

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Monuments are under scrutiny throughout the United States. Dozens of contentious statues—including those depicting Christopher Columbus, founding fathers such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, and Confederate soldiers—have been removed by local governments or torn down by protesters since George Floyd’s death in May sparked a national reckoning on race. Read more...

Historian Daina Ramey Berry on Injustice: People Are ‘Fed Up'

by Sarah Glover | July 23, 2020

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This is the eleventh part of a series where civil rights leaders, cultural influencers, advocates and critical thinkers explain race relations, societal change, community protest and the political awakening happening in the United States following the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other Black Americans. The group, including NAACP President Derrick Johnson and #OscarsSoWhite Creator April Reign, pose their thoughts on race relations during the summer of 2020 and how America may move forward less divided. Read more...

Deep Catalogue on Race Fuels Boom at Beacon Press

by Alex Green

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As its name suggests, Beacon Press has had many moments to shine a light into darkness during its 166-year history, from publishing Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning to the Pentagon Papers, which set in motion the downfall of President Richard Nixon. Now, in the wake of the largest civil rights protests since the 1960s, Beacon's works on race and racism in America have been a popular source of information. Read more...

‘The Humanity of Blackness' Missing From History Classes: How to Transform Black History Education in Schools

by Cathy Rainone | June 29, 2020

The history of African Americans begins on the African continent where diverse empires thrived for thousands of years and traded gold, ivory and salt with people from other civilizations. But in the majority of classrooms K-12 across the U.S., students learn about the African American heritage starting with the enslavement in the U.S. colonies, a system that erased the identity of the enslaved and treated them as property. Read more...

'The worshipping of whiteness': why racist symbols persist in America

By Alexandra Villarreal | June 30, 2020

Aunt Jemima will change its name and image in an effort by the brand to distance itself from racial stereotypes. Photograph: Photograph: Cj Gunther/EPA

Tributes to a checkered past exist all over the US, even as Confederate statues are removed and brands reconsider racial stereotypes.

In life, the seventh US president, Andrew Jackson, and his family accrued their wealth at the expense of hundreds of enslaved people. Now, even in death, Jackson still wields the power to haunt Black Americans whenever they pull a $20 bill from their wallets.

“Racism isn’t always abrupt. It isn’t always in your face. Sometimes, it’s very insidious,” said Franklin Eugene Forbes II, an architect and urban planner. “Why am I, a Black person, using a bill where a man who believed I was inferior to somebody else as a way to buy things, the same way people that look like me were bought by him?” Read More...