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Article

Aaron Myers

During the 1960s and 1970s, influenced by the Civil Rights and Black Power movements in the United States and nationalist movements in Africa, Afro-Brazilians experienced a surge in black pride. This heightened black consciousness was also prompted by denouncements of racism and praises to “Mother Africa” heard in Jamaican Reggae, increasingly popular in Brazil during the 1970s. As a result, black Brazilians, especially those in cities such as Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Salvador, reaffirmed their connection with Africa and became more vocal about problems facing their community, particularly racial discrimination. This process was accelerated by the abertura (opening)—the gradual return to democratic rule that began in 1979 and loosened restrictions on free speech. In Salvador, this newfound black pride reinvigorated the old and waning afoxés and gave birth to a new type of black Carnival organization, the bloco Afro.

Afoxés emerged in the late ...

Article

Robert Fay

Alston was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. As a teenager, he served as the art editor for his high school's annual magazine. Alston earned both his undergraduate and M.A. degrees from Columbia University in New York City. He gained popular recognition for his cover illustrations for the periodicals The New Yorker and Collier's. In the 1930s Alston taught at the Harlem Art Workshop, where he was a proponent of muralism as a black art form, and from 1935 to 1936 Alston directed the Harlem Hospital murals for the Federal Arts Project. In 1950 he became the first African American teacher at the Art Students League in New York. His best-known works are the paintings Family and Walking, which are noted for their figurative content, sculptural form, and brilliant color, and which portray the experiences of African American families in the 1950s and 1960s.

Article

Sally Falk Moore

What was known about Africa before there were serious academic studies was sparse and variable in credibility. Anthropology, as a formal academic subject, was a late-nineteenth-century Anglo-Euro-American academic invention. It began as the comparative study of little-known non-Western societies, but very soon broadened into the study of all human societies. After some tentative starts, by the 1920s Africa had become a major area of serious research. Colonial administration made access easy, and the objective of achieving a greater understanding of the peoples of Africa attracted scholars, missionaries, and officials alike.

Inevitably, the first project was to identify who the peoples of Africa were, where they were situated geographically, and what their way of life might be. The task of information gathering was daunting. Hundreds of Languages and dialects were spoken by as many groups of people each of which identified itself as having a distinct history and culture There ...

Article

Anja Schüler

Throughout its history the black community in the United States has been faced with the daunting task of improving the economic and social status of its members in a society pervaded by racism. Black Americans, like other groups in American society, were determined to solve this problem by taking matters into their own hands. In developing self-help programs they both used already existing agencies, such as schools and churches, and also established new ones, such as mutual aid societies and business leagues. From Reconstruction to the 1930s, black churches, fraternal orders, and mutual aid societies were a chief resource that ensured the social, economic, and academic endurance of many black families.

Throughout the nineteenth century churches had been an important venue for the social and cultural life of African Americans Pressured by an increasingly progressive membership many churches started to spawn agencies of self help around the turn of the ...

Article

Kate Tuttle

Although residential segregation is often considered one of the more harmful effects of racism in the United States, some African Americans in the nineteenth century chose to form their own racially separate communities. Unlike the ghettos and rural enclaves where many blacks were forced to live at the time, black towns were established to promote economic independence, self-government, and social equality for African Americans. More than eighty such towns were settled in the fifty years following the Civil War.

A few, such as New Philadelphia, Illinois, were formed even before the Civil War, but it was not until after Emancipation in the United States that the population of free blacks was large enough to supply settlers for the new towns. The first great wave of black migration began as Reconstruction ended in 1877 When federal troops withdrew from the South many blacks feared that the civil and political ...

Article

Kathleen Thompson

Black women have been the cultural, social, and economic support of black towns in America for centuries. There were Senegalese enclaves in Louisiana in the 1700s. In the late eighteenth century, Star Hill, Delaware, was created by free blacks on land they acquired from the Quaker community in Camden. Brooklyn, Illinois, was founded by free blacks and fugitive slaves in 1820. As early as 1830, Frank McWhorter, or “Free Frank,” had founded the town of New Philadelphia, Illinois. Sandy Ground, New York, was created by black oyster fishermen fleeing the restrictions on free blacks in Maryland.

In 1825Elijah Roberts and his wife Kessiah led a group of free African Americans, many of whom were part Cherokee, from North Carolina to Hamilton County, Indiana, to start a settlement. Many of the settlers were members of the Roberts family, which had been free since 1734 ...

Article

Brixton  

Cecily Jones

South London suburb that has been home since the 1940s to thousands of African Caribbean immigrants whose presence has contributed to the making of an energetic and multicultural melting pot in the United Kingdom Like one of its main roads Electric Avenue so named because it was the first ...

Article

David Killingray

Children born out of wedlock to white mothers and black fathers, mostly American GIs during and immediately after the Second World War. From 1942 onwards a total of 130,000 black GIs, part of a racially segregated US Army, were stationed in various parts of Britain, the largest presence of black men in the country's history. The US forces introduced their ‘Jim Crow’ policies into Britain, and for diplomatic reasons the British government permitted this. The British authorities also often ignored these practices when the Americans extended them off their military bases. Black GIs socializing with white women resulted in increased racial tension. Between 1943 and 1947 some 700 1 000 brown babies were born to white British women most of whom were unmarried although some had husbands serving in the forces Marriage to a black man and settlement in the United States was not an option Many mothers ...

Article

Stephen Bourne

Black Londoner whose life as a working‐class seamstress was documented in Aunt Esther's Story (1991), published by Hammersmith and Fulham's Ethnic Communities Oral History Project, and co‐authored with Stephen Bourne. Aunt Esther's Story provides a first‐hand account of Bruce's life as a black Briton in the pre‐Empire Windrush years. Her father, Joseph (1880–1941), arrived in London from British Guiana (now Guyana) in the early 1900s and settled in a tight‐knit working‐class community in Fulham. He worked as a builder's labourer. When Bruce was a young child, Joseph instilled in his daughter a sense of pride in being black. After leaving school, she worked as a seamstress, and in the 1930s she made dresses for the popular African‐American stage star Elisabeth Welch. She also befriended another black citizen of Fulham: the Jamaican nationalist Marcus Garvey She told Bourne he was a nice chap ...

Article

Peter Hudson

Begun in 1967 as part of Canada's centennial celebrations, Caribana has become the largest festival in the country, annually attracting more than one million visitors to Toronto. Held early in August, it is but one of the many versions of the tradition of Carnival, which dates back to the eighteenth-century celebrations held before Lent by the French plantocracy in Trinidad. After emancipation, blacks, once barred from Carnival celebrations, began to use Carnival as a time to celebrate their freedom. Since then the tradition of Carnival has spread globally to almost every city where West Indians live, including Toronto.

Besides ancillary performances and parties the main attraction of Caribana is the Mas or masquerade a parade in which revelers build floats and don costumes against the backdrop of steel band and calypso music In its early incarnations Caribana tried to be a pan Caribbean panblack event that reflected the changing ...

Article

Alice Ross and Mark H. Zanger

The Caribbean influence on American food has been continual for hundreds of years, initially in coastal areas of similar climate, from Texas to the Carolinas. The early Spanish involvement in the Caribbean brought Caribbean foods to Europe and Africa, from whence they quickly returned to North America. Spanish gold shipments attracted other Europeans to the area and brought about the colonization of eastern North America. Cheap Caribbean sugar, coffee, cocoa, and spices have influenced the palates and tables of all Americans. The peoples of the Caribbean islands have developed multicultural cuisines that have been affecting American cooking at all levels since colonial times.

Influence of the Caribbean on contemporary American food may predate Columbus, because there is some possibility that Caribbean Indians reached Florida and introduced tropical tubers, or chilies. The chain of influence began in 1492 as the varieties of maize beans chilies squash peanuts and cassava collected ...

Article

Joan Marie Johnson

Cedar Hill was the home of Frederick Douglass and his family from 1878 until his death in 1895; it was later purchased, preserved, and opened to the public by two African American associations. Douglass wrote many of his post-Reconstruction speeches and articles in his study at Cedar Hill, most notably, his third autobiography, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass. He lived there with his first wife, Anna Murray Douglass; one of their children, Rosetta Douglass Sprague; various grandchildren; his second wife, Helen Pitts Douglass; and her mother.

The home is located in the Uniontown section of Washington, D.C., and was named Cedar Hill by Douglass after the large cedar trees on the property. Before Douglass, a land developer named John Van Hook had owned the home but lost it in 1867 to the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company when his business failed. In 1877 ...

Article

Wilma King

A variable social construction, the concept of childhood barely existed in early America. In fact, this special period of growth and development experienced before accepting adult responsibilities was not an entrenched American institution until the twentieth century. The time at which this protected segment of the lifecycle ends is debatable. Some scholars and public officials have used twelve as the cutoff while others set it at age sixteen or eighteen. Still others claim childhood lasts until twenty-one years of age.

Age limits aside, other factors, including color, class, status, and the embracing shield of loved ones, are significant in determining if girls enjoy a protected period in their formative years. There are also concerns about their psychological well-being and freedom from emotional devastation, which may mature girls beyond their chronological years.

Article

Caryn E. Neumann

 Childhood is the time when identity is formed. In the modern sense, childhood has not always existed. The invention of childhood entailed the creation of a protracted period in which the child would ideally be protected from the difficulties and responsibilities of daily life—including the need to work. In this respect, slave and working-class children did not have much of a childhood since they were obliged to work and did not have years to devote to play and study. By the 1890s, the end of slavery and the growth of an African American middle class created the opportunity for African American children to engage in the activities that define childhood in modern America.

The history of how African Americans experienced childhood in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries cannot be separated from the legacy of slavery While the children were not slaves they had parents and grandparents with life views ...

Article

Marian Wright Edelman

The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to “Leave No Child Behind.” It seeks to ensure that every child is given a “Healthy Start,” a “Head Start,” a “Fair Start,” a “Safe Start,” and a “Moral Start” in life as well as a successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. CDF provides a strong, effective voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby, or speak for themselves, but it pays particular attention to the needs of poor and minority children and those with disabilities. CDF educates the nation about the needs of children and encourages preventive investments before they get sick, into trouble, drop out of school, or suffer family breakdown.

Article

Class  

Melissa N. Stein

While class has been a driving force in American history it has been particularly central to the story of both racism and African American life Throughout its history America developed a racialized class system by which African Americans were often shut out of venues of political and economic power regardless of individual circumstances Race and class have been virtually inseparable in America from its inception Furthermore as the black middle and upper classes grew following Emancipation so too did tensions among African Americans across class lines Thus the story of class for African Americans is one of blacks as a racialized class and one of class divisions among blacks Undeniably there have been instances in American history when blacks and whites have come together to protest shared economic exploitation and African Americans of different classes have fought side by side against institutional or structural racism However these fleeting moments of ...

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Jane E. Dabel

From the period of slavery onward, African American women have labored outside of the home in many roles, and most prominently as domestic servants. Because employment has been the key to their survival, and though racism and sexism have limited their employment opportunities, black women have always attempted to make the best of their employment situation. Throughout their wage-earning experiences, black women have always sought to control and shape their lives as laborers.

Article

William C. Hine

Edelman was born in Bennettsville, South Carolina, one of five children of Arthur Jerome Wright and Maggie Leola Bowen Wright. She was named in honor of the singer Marian Anderson. Her father was the pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church, and her mother was the choir director and organist.

After graduation from all-black Marlboro Training High School, she enrolled at Atlanta’s Spelman College, where she intended to major in music. She changed her major to history after coming under the influence of the historian Howard Zinn and of President Benjamin E. Mays of Morehouse College. As an undergraduate she joined thousands of black high school and college students in the burgeoning civil rights movement. She was among several hundred people arrested at sit-ins in Atlanta in March 1960. She graduated from Spelman in 1960 and planned to pursue a scholarly career in Russian and Soviet studies But ...