Even the most successful authors—like Phillis Wheatley and W. E. B. Du Bois—fail to publish all they’d like. What can that reveal about literature?
The Dawn of Scientific Racism
In the 1740s, Bordeaux developed some of the first modern theories of racial difference, even as the city profited from the slave trade.
An Uncommon, Unconquerable Mind: Our Friend, Julius S. Scott III (1955–2021)
“Are there ways in which Black North Americans connected to places and things that were outside of the world we thought they were in?”
Cuba & the US: Necessary Mirrors
Exponentially more enslaved Africans were forced to the lands that now make up Latin America rather than the United States. Where is their story?
How to Live Among What Is Dead
“Octavia Butler teaches us,” explains Black playwright Ericka Dickerson-Despenza, “…that we have two options in Apocalypse: adapt or die.”
Public Thinker: Chawne Kimber on Constructing Quilts and Speaking History
"You cannot talk about race without talking about cotton. The materials that I use are desperately important as a layer of meaning in the work that I make."
Necessary Housework: Dismantling the Master’s House
White supremacy tells us we do not belong, but we do have a place in history.
Freedom for Whom?
What right does a society have to extoll freedom as its highest virtue if that same society is dependent on the unfreedom of others?
What Folklore Erases: Under Columbus, Georgia
The current owner of the Lion House is happy to let rumors about his property’s basement passageway simmer.
Hilton Head Island—Haunted by Its Own History
Historical traces of racism and exclusion remain on the island. It’s just that new residents can’t—or won’t—read them.
Imperialism: A Syllabus
Opposition to imperialism unites the struggles of our times. To recognize empire is to take a necessary step towards a more just world.
Remembering Is Resistance
Confronting painful pasts gives society an opportunity to change. This is why those invested in the amnesiac status quo fight against memory.
The Poetics of Abolition
For poet Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, as for the Black Romantics, history is the repetition of anti-Black violence that has yet to be abolished.
As American as Child Separation
The United States tears families apart—during slavery, in the wars against indigenous people and the war on drugs, and, today, at the border.
The Arch of Injustice
St. Louis seems to define America’s past—but does it offer insight for the future?
Atlantic Slavery: An Eternal War
Both violent surveillance and disease risk were integral to Atlantic slavery. That same war against Black people continues today.
Democracy’s Long Game: An Interview with Paul Starr
“You have to think … about how you’re going to make the changes stick.”
Lessons from Haiti on Living and Dying
If he had to write The Black Jacobins again, C. L. R. James “would only give Toussaint [Louverture] a walk-on part.”
Hazel Carby’s Imperial Intimacies explores the couple, and intimacy, as foundational historical categories in postcolonial and decolonial studies. At the heart of her narrative lie Carl, a Jamaican ...
Identity, Islands, and Hazel V. Carby
What histories do we inherit? In the current crisis of Brexit—which points to larger global shifts toward nationalism and xenophobia—there is no more urgent a ...