Links to the Library
African American Heritage Events
“We hold these truths to be self-evident,” wrote Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence. Rather memorably, the first truth he listed was “that all men are created equal.”
Many have said that it took the Civil War for Americans to make good on this truth, but not even the bloody destruction of an estimated 750,000 Americans could make a reality of what had once seemed, to a contemplative mind, self-evident. And the following decades showed that the suppression of freedom on racial grounds could take many forms besides slavery. So, for black Americans, the struggle for freedom and equality in law and in fact continued.
Today, more historians are looking at the full sweep of this history, stretching from the Founding era to the late twentieth century, and seeing many connections between abolition and desegregation, between Reconstruction and the Great Migration, between the Civil War and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Taken together, they form a pattern not of occasional outbursts but a dialectic of related events, a tapestry of progress and regress, not a series of reform movements but one long movement culminating in “the movement.”
The National Endowment for the Humanities and the state humanities councils have funded many projects documenting, cataloging, discussing, digitizing, and teaching aspects of this important history.
After the losses of the Civil War, it is a particularly brutal lesson to absorb that emancipation did not set black Americans free. They were free from slavery, but they were not free of a thousand other impingements, legal and de facto, hobbling their course in life and their “pursuit of happiness.” The trials of Reconstruction were followed by the trials of Jim Crow. Lynchings and race riots were as much a part of African-American history as separate train compartments. And a century after emancipation, African Americans would still be fighting for the right to attend publicly funded universities, to marry whom they wanted, to travel on the same buses as white people, and to eat at the same lunch counters.
Skinner, David. "From Freedom to Equality." Humanities. August 2013: 30-31. Print
Created Equal Excerpt Reel
Read These Books
Here are some recent books written about African Americans.
Racial classifications should not be abandoned / Emil Guillermo
The multiracial classification is necessary / Eve Brown
The multiracial classification can be detrimental / Frank H. Wu
The Following web sites will give you lots of links to information about African Americans.