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Category Archives: African American history

10 Reasons the History of Lynching Matters in Maine

  On Monday, the Bangor Daily News published this piece on the home page of their website: http://bangordailynews.com/2015/02/23/the-point/10-reasons-the-history-of-lynching-matters-in-maine/

Writer, Students to Present Conversation About Lynching

The upcoming presentation on February 5 is on the Bangor Daily News’ app and website. The Arkansas Humanities Council used Facebook to tout the far reaching impact of their grant, which funded our 2013 presentation at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.

The 1927 Project

Presentation Planned on Incident of Racial Violence

BANGOR, Maine – Police violence and lynching have been topics of recent news around the country, and may be found throughout U.S. history. On Thursday, February 5, five Orono High School students will join writer and historian Stephanie Harp for “The 1927 Project,” a presentation about an early 20th-century lynching in Little Rock, Arkansas. In […]

History Roars Back: The Lions of Little Rock

When my daughter asked me to buy Kristin Levine’s The Lions of Little Rock (Puffin Books, 2013), she knew I’d say yes. What Levine has done is imagine what happened the year after the Little Rock Nine fought their way through 1957-58, and Ernest Green became the first African American to graduate from Central High […]

A Novel Takes Flight: The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd

When I was in graduate school studying U.S. history with a concentration in race relations and racial violence in the South, I remember making note of the names Sarah and Angelina Grimké, the antebellum abolitionist sisters from Charleston, South Carolina. Their story intrigued me: sisters of privilege who had turned against the system of enslavement […]

Fannie Lou Hamer

Firebrand civil and human rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer never minced words nor softened her stances for the comfort of her audience. From segregationist Mississippi Senator James O. Eastland to presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, she challenged leaders to live up to this country’s founding ideals and rebuked them when she smelled […]

Introducing the LR 1927 Project

If you’ve read John Carter: Scapegoat for Anger and Inheriting Home: The Skeletons in Pa’s Closet, then you know about the 1927 Little Rock lynching and my connection to it. Or perhaps you’ve read about it on America’s Black Holocaust Museum. In October, I presented my one aspect of my history research at Without Sanctuary: […]

“Chair hangings imply hanging-in-effigy of president”

  The following appeared in the Bangor Daily News, 10/20/12. It also is highlighted on America’s Black Holocaust Museum. In recent weeks, homeowners in  Virginia, Texas, Colorado and Washington state have hung empty chairs from trees. This comes in the wake of actor Clint Eastwood’s empty chair speech at the Republican National Convention. Never mind […]

John Carter

When I began to educate myself about race relations in the South, I didn’t intend to focus on lynchings. Many members of my family had graduated from Little Rock’s Central High School, site of the 1957 desegregation crisis. So I began with that. Then I learned that I had a personal connection to the lynching […]

“Without Sanctuary”

Just this morning, I’m happy to have received word that my proposal has been accepted to present at the “Without Sanctuary” conference about lynching in Charlotte, North Carolina, in October. Presented by the Center for the Study of the New South, the conference will bring together scholars, creative artists, and those interested in the causes […]

It’s Not Even Past

Writer William Faulkner knew what he was talking about when he said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Yesterday, the pronouncement by Boston Globe writer Jeff Jacoby that Rev. Fred Luter’s election to head the Southern Baptist Convention “proves” that racism is gone is a perfect example. As any non-white resident in […]

Converting the Baptists

If nothing else, Southern Baptists believe in conversion. The potential for individual change – to new ways thinking and new beliefs – is the bedrock of evangelicalism. These Baptists have just elected their first African American president, Rev. Fred Luter of New Orleans, and observers have to wonder to what extent the denomination has been […]

Inheriting Home

We inherit our first identities from our families, long before we’re old enough to create other identities for ourselves. But can we shed what we’ve inherited, or do we have to embrace it? Identity*Memory*Testimony was the theme of a conference in Portland, March 30-31, co-sponsored by the Maine Women Writers Collection, the Maine Women’s Studies […]

Little Rock, Arkansas, 1957

In September 1957, nine African American teenagers enrolled in Little Rock’s Central High School to integrate the city’s schools in the wake of the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision. The “Little Rock Nine,” as they came to be called, were prevented from entering Central — first by a mob, then by the Arkansas […]

Strange Fruit

Every day I receive email alerts when the word “lynching” is used somewhere on the web. Since starting this alert in last August, I’ve been astounded at the number of times and places it shows up. I expected notices to be few, mostly concerned with early 20th-century U.S. history and on the websites of university […]

Black History Month

Years ago, a friend and professional colleague in Virginia asked me why white people only pay attention to African American history during Black History Month.  We shouldn’t.  We should pay attention to it all year because black history is inextricably interwoven with white history, U.S. history, North American history, and world history. It’s the history […]