Arvarh E. Strickland, 1930-2013: An Historian’s Life

In the article that follows, Richard S. Kirkendall, the Scott and Dorothy Bullitt Professor Emeritus of American History at the University of Washington, Seattle, pays tribute to fellow historian Arvarh E. Strickland.  Kirkendall was chairman of the History Department of the University of Missouri-Columbia in … Read MoreArvarh E. Strickland, 1930-2013: An Historian’s Life

Working the Quincy Mill: African American Lumber Mill Workers in Northern California, 1926-1955

Economic opportunity motivated millions of early 20th Century African Americans to leave the segregated South.  Most of the people of the Great Migration found better jobs and better pay in northern factories in World War I and western defense industries in World War II.  However, … Read MoreWorking the Quincy Mill: African American Lumber Mill Workers in Northern California, 1926-1955

A Brief History of the San Diego NAACP, 1917-2007

In 1917, realizing the hunger for social justice among the one thousand African American residents of San Diego, W. E. B. DuBois traveled from Los Angeles to San Diego as part of his western states tour on behalf of the National Association for the Advancement … Read MoreA Brief History of the San Diego NAACP, 1917-2007

The 1928 Bunion Derby: America’s Brush with Integrated Sports

In the following account sports historian Charles Kastner describes the Bunion Derby, the 1928 cross country footrace that captured the nation’s attention in the spring of 1928 and the remarkable group of black runners who participated in that event. For a detailed discussion of the … Read MoreThe 1928 Bunion Derby: America’s Brush with Integrated Sports

In Praise of Mayme Clayton: Images of the African American West

Dr. Mayme Clayton was born in Arkansas and transplanted to California, where she served as law librarian at University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), beginning in 1957. In 1969 she helped put together the university’s African American Studies Center Library. But her most astounding … Read MoreIn Praise of Mayme Clayton: Images of the African American West

Remembering Sara Dunlap Jackson (1919-1991)

In 1944 Sara Dunlap Jackson became one of the first African American professionals hired by the National Archives in Washington, D.C. where she specialized in western, military, social and African American topics.  She continued at the Archives until her retirement in 1990.  In the following … Read MoreRemembering Sara Dunlap Jackson (1919-1991)

“The Yellow Rose of Texas”: The Ironic Origins of a Popular Song

While many Americans are familiar with the song, “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” few know the story of Emily West, the African American woman who was the inspiration for its creation.  In the excerpt below from a longer article that first appeared in 1996, University … Read More“The Yellow Rose of Texas”: The Ironic Origins of a Popular Song

W.E.B. Du Bois and the Making of the Encyclopedia Africana, 1909-1963

In their introduction to Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience, co-editors Henry Louis Gates and Kwame Anthony Appiah describe W.E.B. Du Bois’s half century campaign to publish an encyclopedia that would encompass the African diaspora.  That introduction appears below. Between 1909 … Read MoreW.E.B. Du Bois and the Making of the Encyclopedia Africana, 1909-1963

From Opera, Minstrelsy and Ragtime to Social Justice: An Overview of African American Performers at Carnegie Hall, 1892-1943

“It is probable that this hall will intertwine itself with the history of our country,” said Andrew Carnegie in 1890, when he laid the cornerstone of the building that would become Carnegie Hall.  In keeping with Carnegie’s firm belief in egalitarianism and meritocracy, the hall … Read MoreFrom Opera, Minstrelsy and Ragtime to Social Justice: An Overview of African American Performers at Carnegie Hall, 1892-1943

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute: A Brief History

In the account that follows, Lawrence J. Pijeaux, Jr., the President and CEO of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute describes the museum’s origins in the powerful and poignant story of the struggle for racial justice in Alabama’s largest city in the 1960s. In the late … Read MoreThe Birmingham Civil Rights Institute: A Brief History