The Experience That Taught Me Blackface & Klan Hoods Are Forms of Racial Terror

By Tanisha Ford

“For the past year or so, I’ve been tinkering with a short essay on my earliest encounters with the Ku Klux Klan and the ways in which Klan violence is intimately linked to my childhood and my earliest understandings of myself as black x girl. You see, I grew up just a 2-hour car ride from southern Indiana Klan country.

I didn’t have any plans to publish this essay. . . . it was more of a writing exercise, #wannaBauthor and all.

But the photograph of Virginia governor Ralph Northam dressed in blackface (he’s now claiming it’s not him) alongside a person wearing a Klan hood + robe pierced my spirit. The image symbolizes a long history of racial terror in the United States. So much so that I cannot ever see impersonating the Klan or dressing in blackface as  simply youthful self-expression. It’s racist. full stop.”

3 Ways to Improve Education about Slavery in the U.S.

3 Ways to Improve Education about Slavery in the U.S.

When it comes to teaching students about slavery in the United States, teachers often stumble through the topic. In the worst cases, they use poorly conceived lessons that end up inflaming students, parents and communities about a subject that is already difficult to deal with because of the inhumanity involved.

For instance, in 2018 a Bronx middle school teacher “shocked and traumatized” her social studies class when she had black students lie on the floor, then “stepped on their backs to show them what slavery felt like.”

In 2012 in Georgia, a third-grade teacher resigned after an investigation found the teacher and three others had assigned math homework with word problems about slavery, such as, “If Frederick got two beatings each day, how many beatings did he get in one week?”

Slavery, the Enslaved, and the Presidency

Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson and the Ways We Tall About Our Past

By Annette Gordon Reed

“Sally Hemings has been described as “an enigma,” the enslaved woman who first came to public notice at the turn of the 19th century when James Callender, an enemy of the newly elected President Thomas Jefferson, wrote with racist virulence of “SALLY,” who lived at Monticello and had borne children by Jefferson. Hemings came back into the news earlier this year, after the Thomas Jefferson Foundation announced plans to restore a space where Hemings likely resided, for a time, at Monticello. A number of news reports as well as comments on social media discussing the plans drew the ire of many readers because they referred to Hemings as Jefferson’s “mistress” and used the word “relationship” to describe the connection between the pair, as if those words inevitably denote positive things. They do not, of course — especially when the word “mistress” is modified by the crucial word ‘enslaved.'”

“George Washington, Slave Catcher”

By Erica Armstrong Dunbar

“Washington almost made it through his two terms in office without a major incident involving his slave ownership. On a spring evening in May of 1796, though, Ona Judge, the Washingtons’ 22-year-old slave woman, slipped away from the president’s house in Philadelphia. At 15, she had joined the Washingtons on their tour of Northern living. She was among a small cohort of nine slaves who lived with the president and his family in Philadelphia. Judge was Martha Washington’s first attendant; she took care of Mrs. Washington’s personal needs.”

A Database of Fugitive Slave Ads

“A Database of Fugitive Slave Ads Reveal Thousands of Untold Resistance Stories”

“Readers of the May 24, 1796 Pennsylvania Gazette found an advertisement offering ten dollars to any person who would apprehend Oney Judge, an enslaved woman who had fled from President George Washington’s Virginia plantation, Mount Vernon. The notice described her in detail as a “light mulatto girl, much freckled, with very black eyes and bushy black hair,” as well as her skills at mending clothes, and that she “may attempt to escape by water … it is probable she will attempt to pass as a free woman, and has, it is said, wherewithal to pay her passage.” She did indeed board a ship called the Nancy and made it to New Hampshire, where she later married a free black sailor, although she was herself never freed by the Washingtons and remained a fugitive.”


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Hello world!

Welcome to History of Black America!

History of Black Americais an introduction to African American history, covering periods from the Transatlantic Slave Trade to the present. The objective of the course is to assess watershed periods, such as Slavery in Colonial and Antebellum America, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the Great Migration and World War I; the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, and Civil Rights and the Black Power movements.