Our History

Our History Archives

‘I Had a Right to Be at Central’: Remembering Little Rock’s integration battle

September 24, 2020

It was late September 1957, and students at Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas had been in class for three weeks. Everyone, that is, but 14-year-old Carlotta Walls (pictured right) and eight other teenagers who were to be Central High’s first black students. They had been prevented from entering the school by an angry… [Read More]

Remembering the 57th anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist church bombing

September 10, 2020

Say their names: Addie Mae Collins, 14 Denise McNair, 11 Carole Robertson, 14 Cynthia Wesley, 14 On September 15, 1963, a bomb exploded during Sunday morning services in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL, killing four young girls. With its large African American congregation, the 16th Street Baptist Church served as a meeting… [Read More]

Ron Husband: The Story of Disney’s First Black Animator

February 20, 2020

By William Gooden Who was the first African American Disney animator? Most Disney geeks, like myself, will answer “Floyd Norman” and until a few weeks ago, I would have said the same thing. However, I am wrong (and you probably are, too). While Floyd Norman did work for Disney animation, he was never technically an… [Read More]

50 years after Black Power Fist, John Carlos and Tommie Smith to be inducted into Olympic Hall of Fame

October 10, 2019

Originally, John Carlos and Tommie Smith planned to call for a boycott of the Olympics over the lack of Black coaches at the 1968 Olympics. But with a massacre in Mexico City happening 10 days before the opening of the games, the black-gloved fist was a “cry for freedom and for human rights,” as Smith… [Read More]

A Denver sculptor was the first Black man trained as an astronaut ahead of Apollo 11, but he never made it to space

July 25, 2019

As July lengthens, the flood of ads for TV series, films and events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 moon landing has hit a high mark. Through grainy footage of slow-motion rocket launches and high-definition interviews, they tell a familiar but thrilling tale of America’s nascent steps off the planet…. [Read More]

The Chicago Defender moves to a digital-only publishing model

July 18, 2019

The Chicago Defender, a 114-year-old, weekly newspaper devoted to news and information about African Americans in the Chicago area, announced publication of its final print edition on Wednesday, July 10, 2019. “This is not a sad day, it’s an exciting times,” Hiram E. Jackson, chief executive officer of Real Times Media said as reported by… [Read More]

Father Augustus Tolton, the first Black American Roman Catholic priest, is expected to become the first Black American saint

June 20, 2019

Father Augustus Tolton, the Roman Catholic Church’s first Black priest, who is slated to become the church’s first Black saint, was forced to attend seminary in Rome because no American school would admit him because of his race, despite his intellect, special abilities (he spoke several languages) and his devotion to the church. Tolton, a… [Read More]

Martin Luther King, Jr.: 51 years later, his battles live on

April 4, 2019

By Rachel L. Swarns Martin Luther King Jr. remains frozen in time for many Americans. Seared into our consciousness is the man who battled Southern segregation. We see him standing before hundreds of thousands of followers in the nation’s capital in 1963, proclaiming his dream for racial harmony. We see him marching, arms locked with… [Read More]

Honor Women’s History Month by supporting Black women at work

March 28, 2019

If you want to celebrate Women’s History Month and Black Women’s History Month in April, support the black and brown women in your workplace. But you might want to skip the tribute lunches or “lean-in” style pep talks. This is the premise of a new article published in HBR from Zuhairah Washington, a senior vice… [Read More]

Women’s History Month: Women of color whose names you should know

March 21, 2019

Part Two of Two: These leaders — Black, Latina, Asian, Arab, Native American — in varied fields, broke both gender and racial barriers as they made history. Here is a by-no-means-comprehensive primer recognizing 36 women of color, past and present: LaDonna Harris LaDonna Harris is a Native American activist and member of the Comanche tribe…. [Read More]