NOW – Free At Last?

By the 1980s, Black America came to another roadblock in the long struggle to full equality.

After the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, there were many more black college graduates, professionals, and business people than before. Many of them believed they would soon reach the American Dream.

Working-class blacks, however, faced a very different reality. Factory jobs left the inner cities and the industrial South. This led to high black unemployment. The dreams that had brought many black people North during the Great Migration were quickly dying.

White flight to well-funded suburban schools broke the back of school desegregation ordered by the Supreme Court.

Police brutality led to black unrest and rebellion in several cities. The most well-known occurred in Los Angeles in 1992 after the Rodney King beating.

The War on Drugs began to require harsher sentences for drug offenses. These have been applied most often to African Americans.

The number of blacks in prison has soared over the last thirty years, even when crime rates are at historic lows. Recent “justifiable homicides” of blacks by non-blacks have again raised questions about racial equality before the law. This situation is being called the “New Jim Crow.”

Still, the advances of African Americans in all fields – and the election of our first black president – give some reason to hope.

 

Exhibits

Illustration for YES! Magazine by Jennifer Luxton.

Peering Through White-Rimmed Glasses: A Letter to My Fellow White Americans

A long-time white anti-bias educator and activist finds that her fellow white Americans are increasingly eager to understand America’s racial hierarchy and their part in it. A discussion of the roots and impacts of the White Racial Frame and what white people can do about it.

 
In the 1990s, community members began holding vigils on the site of the lynching. A plan evolved to mount a historical plaque there. At the time, school books in Duluth made no mention of the murders. As a grassroots committee worked on the commemorative plaque idea, a vacant lot across the street became available for development and the idea of a memorial plaza was born. The community raised $150,000 and the Memorial was dedicated in October 2003. Some 3000 people attended the dedication, and Warren Read was a keynote speaker.

“Always In Season” Film on Lynching and Restoration to Screen in Milwaukee

Always in Season is a feature-length documentary film that shows the impact of past and current racial terrorism on our country today through the stories of four communities affected by lynchings. Screening at ABHM’s 2017 Founder’s Day Gathering for Racial Repair and Reconciliation will be followed by a Q & A and small group discussions with representatives from groups around the country who are healing through commemorations of lynchings and other forms of racial terrorism.

 
white-glass-frame

Annotated Bibliography – Whiteness: Framed, De-framed and Counter-Framed

This annotated bibliography includes a thorough listing of works about the concept and experience of being white in America. It contains many nonfiction books, but also autobiographies, novels, stories, articles, and videos.

 
The morning sun paints the Washington Monument red as it skims the top of the National Museum of African American History and Culture - NMAAHC  in Washington, DC.  The new museum opened to the public September 24, 2016.  When viewed from particular angles, the two structures fit together like puzzle pieces.
(Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

After 100 Years Of Challenges, The 1st Nat’l Black History Museum Is Here

Black history has finally taking its rightful place within the Smithsonian Institution with the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s grand opening in September 2016. Discover the 100-year history of the project, take a virtual tour, watch the full dedication ceremony and video interviews.

 
A man believed to be the son of Nearis Green sits at the right hand of Jack Daniel (center, in white hat). This photo, in Daniel’s old office,was taken at his distillery in Tennessee in the late 1800s.

Jack Daniel’s Embraces a Hidden Ingredient: Help From a Slave

On its 150th anniversary, the Jack Daniel’s Distillery, home to one of the world’s best-selling whiskeys, has begun telling a new story. Daniel, the company now says, learned distilling from an enslaved black man, Nearis Green.

 
Chicago Defender page

By Us, For Us: The Crucial Role of the Black Press

This exhibit gives a short history of the black press, some of the important journalist involved, and the vital role it has played in advancing the ideals of American democracy and supporting African American identity and culture.

 
LA prisoners NewOrleansTimesPicayune

War on Drugs – or War on Blacks?

The War on Drugs that began in the 1980s has led to an explosive mass incarceration of African Americans. This exhibit examines how and why.

 
RaceLogoFace

“Race” – The History of a Persistent Myth

For more than 400 years, the economic, social, and political behavior of Americans has been shaped by ideas about “races” and racial differences. Where did these powerful ideas come from – and are they true? How have your ideas about racial differences been affected?

 
A sign in Detroit, Michigan, where a race riot took place in 1943.

Sundown Towns: Racial Segregation Past and Present

A sundown town is a community that for decades kept non-whites from living in it and was thus “all-white” on purpose. Sundown towns are rare in the South but common in the rest of the country. Learn why sundown cities, towns, suburbs, and neighborhoods developed–and how they continue to shape the lives and relationships of black and white Americans today.

 
EJI video explains how racial injustice persists since slavery

Why Racial Injustice Persists Today: A Very Brief Video History

The myth of racial difference that was created to sustain slavery persists today. Slavery did not end in 1865, it evolved. This very brief video reveals how we got from slavery to today’s forms of racial injustice, such as mass incarceration.