Tag: Race

A Day at the Smithsonian: Black History Takes Its Place on the National Mall

Like many historians, I was thrilled that the newest Smithsonian museum would be focusing on African American History and Culture. The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) opened in late September, and I reserved tickets two months early to visit with family and friends — this was lucky forethought, since free tickets… Read more →

Strange Pain, Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Womb: A Teacher’s Reflection on Bodies in History

In fall 2015, I taught a first-year writing class called “Womb Trouble.” I don’t know if it was a very good class. I was a first-time adjunct not quite out of grad school, tasked with teaching writing to freshmen barely five years younger than me, and I latched onto the text I knew best: the… Read more →

Revisiting Loving v. Virginia (1967): A Review of Loving (2016)

In June 1958, Mildred Jeter and Richard Perry Loving married in the District of Columbia. The couple then returned to their home in Caroline County, Virginia. In the parlance of the time, Mildred was “colored.” Richard was white. Six weeks later, the local sheriff and his deputies burst into the Lovings’ bedroom in the middle… Read more →

Rosie the Riveter for President: Margaret Wright, the People’s Party, and Black Feminism

  “I’ve been discriminated against because I am a woman, because I am black, because I am poor, because I am fat, because I am left-handed.” On an August afternoon in 1976, about 100 people from 14 states gathered at an alternative high school in the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco to hear Margaret Wright… Read more →

Speak Up or Shut Up: The Legend of Barbara Jordan

Nearing the blessed close of what has been an absurd Presidential election cycle, one thing is clear: Barbara Jordan would not be here for any of this. Unfortunately, we could surely use her. The “voice of God” before Morgan Freeman was a flicker on a screen,1 Barbara Jordan was one of the most well-known and… Read more →

White Woman in Blackface as a Black Man in a White Coat? Scary.

Here’s a frank, perhaps surprising, and definitely disheartening admission: nothing you read here should be new to you. It’s been said a million times before. During Halloween weekend a white person at the University of Oregon appeared at an off-campus party in blackface. This distasteful and offensive act was distinctive only in its details —… Read more →

Climate Change, Crack, and the Dream of “Population Engineering”

Want to do your part to fight climate change? Don’t reproduce. If you’re American, each kid you don’t have will save the world from 9,441 metric tons of carbon emissions.1 This is the argument of a recent paper (soon-to-be book) gaining steam around the internet: “Population Engineering and the Fight Against Climate Change.” I first… Read more →

She Had Guts: Shirley Chisholm

The most important thing to know about the late Representative Shirley Chisholm (D-NY) is not that she was a Black woman who made a serious bid to become the Democratic party nominee for President in 1972. The most important thing to know about Shirley Chisholm is that she was a Black woman who made a… Read more →

The Complicated Legacy of Carol Moseley Braun

Thus far in the Run Like A Girl series, we’ve met pathbreaking women who — with the notable exception of Lenora Fulani — have long since passed on. Today, we turn to recent history, to a former presidential candidate who is very much alive, if no longer politically active: Carol Moseley Braun. Carol Moseley Braun made… Read more →

Fears of a White Mother for her Biracial Son

My son could be Philandro Castile, the Minnesota cafeteria manager who was shot by police in July 2016 as he simply reached for his license during a traffic stop. I am a white woman in the South, raising a black son. I have grown used to the stares of surprise and barely-hidden shock. This is… Read more →