Join us for a virtual tour of Montclair Art Museum, right from your home, followed by an art-making studio workshop led by our talented teaching artists over the Zoom platform.
This program is geared towards children ages 5-12 with their adult companions, but all ages are welcome. Families will need to have a computer, tablet or phone with internet and access to Zoom, and will receive an email confirmation with the event link after registration. Participants will also need to provide their own materials, which will be listed on our website in advance.
Location: Rye Arts Center, 51 Milton Road, Rye
Scattered across the state, there are places named “Negro Bend,” “Negro Hollow” and “Negrohead Bluff,” among others. The 1991 bill sought to ban the word from all Texas geographic features, listing 19 examples.
The places were to be renamed after African Americans who made significant contributions to the state.
But the federal board in charge said no.
It turns out that states do not have the authority to officially rename their geographic features. That authority lies with the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, which is part of the Department of Interior.
The state submitted proposals for each of the places it identified. But the proposals were rejected because they did not have a historical connection to the geography they would name, USBGN researcher Jennifer Runyon said.
And there was no evidence of county support or input, she said, which the board takes seriously when renaming features.
White doctors, including those in remote rural locations, routinely sent reports of experiments on slave subjects to medical journals and trafficked black bodies to medical colleges. Medical museums openly solicited black body parts and medical societies relied on black bodies. Students too wrote graduating theses based on the medical manipulation of black “subjects” and “specimens”.
Under slavery, there was also an extensive network of specialist “negro hospitals”.
Most Americans know that George Washington owned enslaved people at his Mount Vernon home. But fewer probably know that it was his wife, Martha, who dramatically increased the enslaved population there. When they wed in 1759, George may have owned around 18 people. Martha, one of the richest women in Virginia, owned 84.
The high number of people Martha Washington owned is unusual, but the fact that she owned them is not. Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers, a history professor at the University of California-Berkeley, is compiling data on just how many white women owned slaves in the U.S.; and in the parts of the 1850 and 1860 census data she’s studied so far, white women make up about 40 percents of all slave owners.
Christmas afforded enslaved people an annual window of opportunity to challenge the subjugation that shaped their daily lives. Resistance came in many ways—from their assertion of power to give gifts to expressions of religious and cultural independence to using the relative looseness of holiday celebrations and time off to plot escapes.
THIS UNSETTLING INSTITUTION WAS THE site of many gruesome practices such as lobotomies, pneumoencephalography, and insulin shock therapy. The Hospital for the Negro Insane of Maryland changed its name to Crownsville State Hospital in 1912, just two years after it was built. It stands on 566 acres of old tobacco farmland that the state bought for $19,000, part of a plan to reform the treatment of mental patients in the area.
The hospital was chronically crowded and understaffed―by 1949 there were 1,800 patients in a space intended for 1,100, with fewer than 10 doctors on campus.
Before the introduction of home mail delivery, slaves often carried letters to and from the post office. Slave-carried mail is usually identified by a notation—called an endorsement—that also served as a travel pass. These mail messengers could be an important source of news if they overheard discussions during their travels. Slaves sometimes carried letters directly to the recipient, bypassing the postal system entirely. This was often the case when the letter was accompanied by a parcel, since post offices did not handle domestic package mail until 1913.
The dap originated during the late 1960s among black G.I.s stationed in the Pacific during the Vietnam War. At a time when the Black Power movement was burgeoning, racial unrest was prominent in American cities, and draft reforms sent tens of thousands of young African Americans into combat, the dap became an important symbol of unity and survival in a racially turbulent atmosphere. Scholars on the Vietnam War and black Vietnam vets alike note that the dap derived from a pact black soldiers took in order to convey their commitment to looking after one another. Several unfortunate cases of black soldiers reportedly being shot by white soldiers during combat served as the impetus behind this physical act of solidarity.
The riot started on June 15, 1943, with the majority of the violence ending a day later. White employees at the Pennsylvania Shipyard located in Beaumont confronted Black workers after learning that a local white woman accused a Black man of raping her. The woman who made the accusation was later unable to identify her attacker from the number of Black inmates held at the city jail.
15,000 African Americans, 10 percent of the city’s general population, were forced to live in a segregated section of the city called the “Westside.” The area, once J.T. McWilliams’ original Las Vegas Townsite, lay behind a “cement curtain” barrier across the railroad tracks from Fremont Street. In the late 1950s, the conditions in the town hadn’t changed much since McWilliams’ time, and the ten square block area stood in stark contrast to the glamorous resorts of the Strip. The Westside had neither running water, nor working sewage lines, nor paved streets. For all that, it was its own town with its own churches and schools, a middle-class community where people took care of each other and lived well because of the wages paid on the Strip.
ON NOVEMBER 2, 1920—ELECTION DAY, 100 years ago—Moses Norman of Ocoee, Florida, joined more than 25 million Americans in going to the polls to cast his vote. Unlike most of those other voters, however, Norman was Black, and exercising his rights meant putting his safety at serious risk. Just days earlier, the Ku Klux Klan had ridden through nearby Orlando, trying to send a message to Black people who planned on voting. So it came as no surprise when Norman was turned away on Election Day, Fifteenth Amendment be damned. No one knows, in detail, precisely what happened next. But for all the differences in accounts, the following is clear: This simple act of self-assertion led to the murders of at least four Black people, and the story was largely kept under wraps for decades.
Carl Cotton (1918 – 1971) was the Field Museum’s first African American taxidermist – perhaps Chicago’s first professional one – and his work can still be seen on display today. But for many years, we knew little about the extent of his contributions to the museum and the field of taxidermy as a whole. Today, thanks to hours of research from Museum staff and through collaborations with Carl’s family, we have a better picture of this creative and talented person and a deeper appreciation for his work.
IN THE MID 19TH CENTURY, slaves throughout the American South pulled at ropes and chains nonstop during summer mealtimes, to make plantation dining rooms bearable in beastly humid heat. The slaves would swing wooden panels or fringed fabric rectangles that were mounted on the dining room ceilings. The arduous labor created breezes and flicked insects away from the food and the guests’ flesh. The fans were called punkahs—the same name was applied to their counterparts in India, which servants waved above British colonists.
For American slaveholders, assigning people (usually boys and men dressed in brown and red livery) to work the punkah cords during parties was a way to flaunt wealth.
- Illinois: Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ, Chicago
- Louisiana: River Road African American Museum, Donaldsonville
- Mississippi: Sun-n-Sand Motor Hotel, Jackson
- New York: The Colored Musicians Club Museum, Buffalo
- New York: Jupiter Hammon Project, Long Island
- Pennsylvania: Historic Eden Cemetery, Collingdale
- Pennsylvania: National Negro Opera Hose, Pittsburg
- Virginia: Loudon Freedom Center, Lansome
Currently, the state has 2,300 miles of such trails, which are often converted from former rail beds or canal paths. Data collected for the plan identified another 225 miles of planned trails in the works, with more than 850 additional miles identified as suitable locations for future trails.
Open for public review, the plan calls for development and expansion of such trails into under served and moderate- to low-income communities, as well as filling in gaps so trails are better connected together.
The famous “whipped slave” photograph pictures the runaway slave Gordon exposing his severely whipped back to the camera of two itinerant photographers, William D. McPherson and his partner, Mr. Oliver. Gordon had received a severe whipping for undisclosed reasons in the fall of 1862.
On September 11, 1851, a small farming community in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, fought what many consider the first battle of the Civil War. These neighbors united against slavery in the Christiana Resistance, a conflict that ended with the arrests of 141 abolitionists, both Black and white, and led to the largest treason trial in the history of the United States. The resistance was led by William and Eliza Parker, a married couple who had successfully freed themselves from slavery and dedicated their lives to building a community that could offer that same freedom to others.
Jacob Wynkoop “never was a slave” as his forebears had been. He was born in the rural community of New Paltz, New York, in 1829, two years after slavery was legally abolished in the state. Jacob had an exceptional and varied life for any man of his time, black or white. Among the first African Americans to buy land in the community, he also served in the Union Army during the Civil War, organized politically on behalf of black citizens in town, and built a series of homes that today still define a neighborhood in the village of New Paltz.
ike many African Americans living in the Jim Crow South, Fannie Lou Hamer was not aware she had voting rights. “I had never heard, until 1962, that black people could register and vote,” she once explained. The granddaughter of enslaved black people, Hamer was born in Montgomery County, Mississippi, in 1917. As the youngest of 20 children in a family of sharecroppers, she was forced to leave school during the sixth grade to help on the plantation. In 1925, when Hamer was only 8, she witnessed the lynching of a local sharecropper named Joe Pullam who had dared to speak up for himself when local whites refused to pay him for his work. “I remember that until this day, and I won’t forget it,” she admitted in a 1965 interview. By that point, Hamer had become a nationally recognized civil rights activist, boldly advocating for the right to political participation that black Americans had long been denied.
Black biologist Charles Henry Turner was doing groundbreaking research into animal cognition at the turn of the 20th century, yet his ideas never gained traction on account of racism and his seemingly radical viewpoint. Many concepts proposed by Turner are now accepted science, and a group of researchers to say it’s long past time to give credit where it’s due—and to avoid the mistakes of the past.