Tag: Civil Rights

Queering History: Back to School Edition

In his second inaugural address in 2013, President Barack Obama stated that As a high school history and government teacher, I love to show my students either the text or video of this speech. Besides containing a nice example of alliteration as an effective rhetorical device, the passage makes direct reference to documents, places, and… Read more →

“Save Changes”: Telling Stories of Disability Protest

At first, it was a simple case of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” as I worked with WikiEducation Foundation to teach a methods course in which students created disability history content. But the more I learned, the more it became clear that we were engaging in multiple forms of protest, especially once I… Read more →

Learning to Live Together: Murray Atkins Walls’s Fight for a Fairer Louisville

In the age of Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, and #SayHerName, it may seem pedantic or even a bit naïve to say that nothing happens in a vacuum and that movements are never, even when histories claim otherwise, singularly focused. Still, the demand that participants in protest actions be pure and purely motivated — to… Read more →

Emotion and Fantasy: Marcus Garvey and a Blueprint for Modern Protest Movements

Here’s a trivia question: what was the largest African American organization in history? Hint: It wasn’t the NAACP, not SNCC or CORE or the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, not even the Nation of Islam with its 1995 Million Man March. Instead, it was the Universal Negro Improvement Association, a curious and short-lived movement that was… Read more →

More Than Sponges: Children’s Letters to Presidents and “Go Back to Africa”

  Standing Rock. #BlackLivesMatter. Periods for Pence. Women’s March on Washington. Political demonstrations have dominated the headlines this year. With the startling outcome of this year’s presidential election, many scholars and activists believe that political protests will define the next four years under the Trump administration. The act of protest has a long and complicated history,… Read more →

“Serving the People”: A Review of The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

As singer Beyoncé and her team of black beret and leather-sporting background dancers reminded viewers during the Super Bowl halftime show, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party. In October 1966, Party co-founders Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton began working on building an armed self-defense organization to… Read more →

Jessie Mitchell’s Mother

Unless we’re toiling away in an English PhD program, most of us don’t pause in our daily lives to read poetry– to read anything closely, really. We might scrutinize a job offer or rental contract, or devour a Facebook feed. Seldom, however, do we allow ourselves to pause over a verse, to wade into a… Read more →

Love Won: The Irish Referendum

Last May, the Republic of Ireland legalized same-sex marriage, just 22 years after the decriminalization of homosexuality in 1993. This was put to a referendum in Ireland due to the change to the Irish Constitution’s definition of Marriage. While there are obvious and real issues with allowing a public vote on human rights, the Yes… Read more →

Why Stonewall Needs Compton’s

One night in August 1966, a group of trans* women and queer youth rioted against years of stigmatization and routine police harassment. It started at a popular all-night hangout, Gene Compton’s Cafeteria, a chain restaurant in the Tenderloin and one of the few places trans* women could relax. In 1966 dressing as the “wrong gender”… Read more →

Obergefell v. Hodges, Marriage Equality, and the Making of Global Queer History

One morning in late June, the U.S. Supreme Court will issue its history-making decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the collection of lawsuits challenging state bans on same-sex marriage in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee. While predicting the outcome of Supreme Court cases is an inexact science at best, most signs suggest that a majority of… Read more →