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African Americans

Rescued from the trash: Photos of African-American troops in WWII Europe

June 9, 2014 • Deirdre Black

I just stumbled upon this story published by the UK Mail Online in January 2012: Rescued from the trash: Photo album of fascinating WWII portraits of African-American troops in Europe | Mail Online.

The photos are precious since they serve as documentary evidence of the war, but perhaps more importantly because they provide coverage of the military service and experiences of African-Americans during the war, coverage which was sorely lacking in the segregated U.S. Armed Forces of the day.

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Suspicion Nation Preview | Lisa Bloom

February 27, 2014 • Deirdre Black

Initially, I considered making additional posts for Black History Month about the African American experience during the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the wars of the 20th century, and the periods leading up to and following the Civil Rights Era.  But then came the launch of Lisa Bloom’s new book  Suspicion Nation, and I realized that there was no issue more current that also so clearly links us to the past.

I hope visitors will at the very least view her preview of the book to learn how miserably American society (that’s all of us) continues to fail its people.

Related to the issue of race and racism in American scoiety is another interesting book that was just published by Ian Haney López entitled Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class.

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Colonial experiences of African Americans

February 21, 2014 • Deirdre Black

Studying the experiences of African Americans through the centuries can be an illuminating activity.  The colonial era is often the least explored period of African American history. Provided below are just a few of the resources available online.

  • The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, a nonprofit organization devoted to the improvement of history education, hosts resources on the free and forced African immigration to Colonial America.
  • The Colonial Williamsburg site offers some interesting online exhibits about Colonial African Americans.
  • Some may be surprised to learn that free Black settlements existed in the colonial era. Examples include Fort Mose and The Hill. The settlement at Fort Mose (pronounced Moh-Say) is hidden away in the marshes of St. Augustine, Florida and said to have been founded in 1738.  Just last year, another settlement was discovered at “The Hill” in Easton, Maryland and believed to have been founded prior to 1790; an archaeological dig is currently underway.

To explore the colonial era of African American history further as well as other historical periods, visit the African American Registry,  a non-profit education organization that maintains “the most comprehensive on-line storehouse in the world of African American heritage.” With so many resources covering so many time periods, everyone can find topics of personal interest and inspiration. 

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Genealogy Research Guide

February 16, 2014 • Deirdre Black

If you are interested in researching the lives of African American people through historical documents, the Genealogy Research Guide compiled by Deirdre Black provides some useful resources.

Be sure to check out  the finding aids listed for researching African Heritage as well as the Entertainment section for special programming that is available online.

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Civil Rights Data Collection

February 10, 2014 • Deirdre Black

Explore the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection which has lots of information on key education and civil rights issues in our nation’s public schools, including student enrollment and educational programs and services, disaggregated by race/ethnicity, sex, limited English proficiency and disability.

Data is currently available for 2000, 2004, 2006, and 2009-10 surveys. Data from the 2011-12 survey will be available in early 2014.

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