Black History

Edmonia Lewis

The American sculptor was a celebrated artist in her day, but she receded from the spotlight; her final years remained a mystery for quite some time. Her marble works are striking examples of the neoclassical style popular at the end of the 19th century.

Belinda Sutton's Post-enslavement Petitions

After she became a free woman, Belinda Sutton successfully petitioned for compensation for her years of enslaved labor. This was one of many legal efforts of enslaved and formerly enslaved people to advocate for themselves in Massachusetts courts.

The Attica Prison Uprising (Part 2)

The riot at Attica Correctional Facility in September 1971, demanding better living conditions and basic human rights, remains a significant moment in the history of the U.S. prison system. But many of the problems that catalyzed it persist.

Life at Attica, 1971 (Part 1)

Attica Correctional Facility originally opened in rural, upstate New York in 1931. In 1971, conditions at the prison were at a point where they were humiliating, dehumanizing and counterproductive to rehabilitation.

Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation with John B. King

Secretary of Education Dr. John B. King Jr. discusses the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which gave rebelling states 100 days to return to the Union or have their enslaved population freed during the U.S. Civil War.

U.S. Contraband Camps

When three escaped slaves showed up at a Union position during the U.S. Civil War, the decision of how to handle the situation fell to Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler. His actions led to a situation for which the government was simply not prepared.

Mary Ann Shadd Cary

She was a black Canadian-American who became the first woman in North America to publish and edit a newspaper. She advocated against slavery, for better lives for free black people, and for women's rights.

Bayard Rustin and the Civil Rights Movement (Part 2)

Because of his previous ties to the Communist Party, his race, and his sexual orientation, the McCarthy era was extremely dangerous for Rustin. This was one of many reasons why his activism focused on other countries in the 1950s.

Bayard Rustin, 'Angelic Troublemaker' (Part 1)

Bayard Rustin was an openly gay black man born in 1912. He spent his life working tirelessly for equal rights, peace, democracy, and economic equality, including being one of the primary planners of the 1963 March on Washington.

Harriet Tubman, Union Spy (Part 2)

There was a whole lot more to Harriet Tubman's life and work than her time as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. During the United States Civil War, she worked as a Union spy, eventually earning the nickname "General."