Is This Mary Bowser?: The Use and Misuse of Photographs to Reconstruct History

Lois Leveen occupies an unusual role as both historian and novelist.  Leveen is the author of The Secrets of Mary Bowser, which is based on the true story of a black woman who became a Union spy in the Confederate White House during the Civil … Read MoreIs This Mary Bowser?: The Use and Misuse of Photographs to Reconstruct History

Eddie “the Sheik” Gardner: An Ultramarathoning Legend and Unsung Hero in the Struggle for Racial Equality in America.

Eddie Gardner Crossing the Mississippi River at St. Louis, 1929 “Image Courtesty of Charles Kastner” In the following account, sports historian Charles Kastner describes the remarkable athletic career of Eddie “the Sheik” Gardner of Seattle, Washington. Gardner was arguably the greatest ultramarathoner in Pacific Northwest … Read MoreEddie “the Sheik” Gardner: An Ultramarathoning Legend and Unsung Hero in the Struggle for Racial Equality in America.

Dr. Cornelius Golightly (1917-1976): The Life of an Academic and Public Intellectual

  Cornelius Golightly at a Detroit School Board Meeting, Courtesy of the Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University In the following article Michigan State University professor John McClendon explores the remarkable life of  little known early 20th century black intellectual Cornelius Golightly. Philosopher, teacher, … Read MoreDr. Cornelius Golightly (1917-1976): The Life of an Academic and Public Intellectual

Eleven Years in the U.S. Navy: The Strange Saga of Robert Shorter

In the account below historian Lorraine McConaghy uses the story of black sailor Robert Shorter to indicate that while the Civil War freed nearly four million slaves, it also set in motion the status decline of antebellum African American seamen. The eleven years Robert Shorter … Read MoreEleven Years in the U.S. Navy: The Strange Saga of Robert Shorter

Pacific Bound: California’s 1852 Fugitive Slave Law

Capturing Fugitive Slaves in California, ca. 1856 Image Ownership: Public Domain In 1852, California legislators passed a harsh fugitive slave law that condemned dozens of African American migrants to deportation and lifelong slavery. Historian Stacey L. Smith examines the legal travails of three accused fugitive … Read MorePacific Bound: California’s 1852 Fugitive Slave Law

The Harlem Renaissance in the American West

In the following article historians Bruce Glasrud and Cary Wintz discuss their new book, The Harlem Renaissance in the American West which argues that the literary and artistic outpouring by African Americans during the third decade of the 20th Century was a national phenomenon which … Read MoreThe Harlem Renaissance in the American West

Juanita Jewel Shanks Craft (1902-1985) and the Long Civil Rights Movement in Texas

Portrait by Judith Sedwick from the Women of Courage Series, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College, 1984. Courtesy of the Craft Foundation, Dallas Texas A small but growing number of black women are slowly being recognized for their contributions to the “long” civil rights movement, the nearly … Read MoreJuanita Jewel Shanks Craft (1902-1985) and the Long Civil Rights Movement in Texas

Slavery and Freedom on the Minnesota Territory Frontier: The Strange Saga of Joseph Godfrey

Image of Fur Trading Post Near Shakopee, Minnesota, the Last Fur Trading Post Where Josephy Godfrey was held in Slavery (Image Courtesy of Walt Bachman) New York historian Walt Bachman introduces Northern Slave, Black Dakota, his new biography of Joseph Godfrey, an African American who … Read MoreSlavery and Freedom on the Minnesota Territory Frontier: The Strange Saga of Joseph Godfrey

Slavery in Oregon: The Reuben Shipley Saga

Few Americans realize that the institution of slavery reached the Pacific Northwest in the two decades before the Civil War.  A small number of the white settlers who followed the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri to Oregon City brought bondservants.  Oregon historian R. Gregory Nokes, … Read MoreSlavery in Oregon: The Reuben Shipley Saga

Dating Harriet Jacobs: Why Birthdates Matter to Historians

Image Ownership: Public Domain In the article that follows British Columbian historian and documentary editor, Mary Maillard, explores the controversy surrounding the precise birthdate of slave narrative author, Harriet Jacobs, and reminds us why precision matters. Earlier this year (2013), numerous celebrations marked the two … Read MoreDating Harriet Jacobs: Why Birthdates Matter to Historians