African-American History

How the mistress of the plantation became a slave

“WE’RE USED to living around ‘em. You Northerners aren’t. You don’t know anything about ‘em.” This is or was the allpurpose utterance of white Southerners about blacks. Read more >>

THE BLACK SLAVE DRIVER

Wise planters of the ante-bellum South never relaxed their search for talent among their slaves. The ambitious, intelligent, and proficient were winnowed out and recruited for positions of trust and responsibility. Read more >>

Minstrel Men and Minstrel Myths

It is on our supermarket shelves, in our advertising, and in our literature. But most of all, it is in our entertainment. Read more >>

New Light on a Much-Loved Myth

The election of a peanut-growing President has evoked much journalistic analysis of his rural Southern roots. Read more >>

An Interview with Marian Anderson

Behind-the-scenes records reveal how the Supreme Court reached its fateful desegregation decisions

On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court of the United States destroyed the legal basis for racial segregation in public schools. As it almost had to be in a case that stirred elemental passions, the decision was unanimous. Read more >>

A TALE OF RECONSTRUCTION
Of the turbulent career of Pinckney B. S. Pinchback, adventurer, operator, and first black governor of Louisiana. He reminds one powerfully, says the author, of the late Adam Clay ton Powell, Jr.

His name seems pure invention —Pinckney B. S. Pinchback. It sounds so much like pinchbeck , dictionary-defined as “counterfeit or spurious,” that one suspects a joke by political enemies. Read more >>

The black laborers on John Williams’ plantation never seemed to leave or complain. It took some digging to find out why

When one weary woman refused to be harassed out of her seat in the bus, the whole shaky edifice of Jim Crow began to totter

A neatly dressed, middle-aged black woman was riding home on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus on the evening of Thursday, December 1, 1955. Read more >>

For some men the only solution to the dilemma of blacks and whites together was for the blacks to go back where they came from

One morning Cadet Johnson Whittaker was found battered and bleeding, trussed to his barracks bed. Who had done it, and why?

West Point, April 7, 1880. At reveille—6 A.M. —it was discovered that Cadet Johnson Chesnut Whittaker was not in formation. This caused a slight stir of interest, for Whittaker was an unusual cadet. Read more >>
With the current wave of interest in black history, authentic Negro heroes have been eagerly sought in the American past. Read more >>

A Negro cavalry regiment was John J. Pershing’s “home” in the service. From it came his nickname, and he never lost his affection for—or failed to champion—the valorous colored troopers he led.

At Fort Wagner the Negro soldier was asked to prove the worth of the “powerful black hand”