Legacies links for February 6, 2023: Where every month is a Black History Month

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All incoming students at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, are expected to participate in the Black Austin Tour, a walking tour that focuses on the significant contributions of African Americans in Austin. source: St. Edward’s University

This week’s curated links:

  • Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and Robin D.G. Kelley, “The Meaning of African American Studies,” The New Yorker (February 3, 2023): LINK. In this conversation, two prominent scholars in the field discuss the history and significance of African American Studies—and why it is now under attack in Florida and elsewhere.
  • Ilyon Woo, “The Remarkable True Story of the Couple Who Posed as Master and Slave to Escape Bondage,” Time (February 3, 2023): LINK. The author of Master Slave Husband Wife talks with Peggy Trotter Diamond Preacely, a descendant of the remarkable escapees, about her years of activism and the legacy of her family.
  • Howard Manley, “A Black history primer on African Americans’ fight for equality—5 essential reads,” The Conversation (February 1, 2023): LINK. A round-up of recent contributions to The Conversation by academic scholars. (This week they also ran a wonderful essay on civil rights activist Bayard Rustin by Lawrence University historian Jerald Podair.)
  • Brooke A. Lewis, “Reckoning with History,” St. Edward’s University (January 2023): LINK. An innovative walking tour at CIC member St. Edward’s University introduces first-year students to the racial history of Austin, Texas.
  • Rashaad Jordan, “Delivering Uneasy Lessons to Tourists About Slavery,” Skift (February 3, 2023): LINK. The curator for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (NURFC) in Cincinnati, Ohio, maintains that “telling the truth about U.S. history can be a form of healing.” NURFC houses a slave pen exhibit and African American media (like newspapers, political cartoons, and photographs) within its collections.
  • Shannon Dawson, “Airbnb slave cabins: why was this even a thing?,” NewsOne (January 30, 2023): LINK. “Renting out a slave cabin for a leisurely stay undermines the painful history that many African American slaves endured through centuries of bondage.”
  • Wyatt Gordon, “Could plans to redevelop Richmond’s Coliseum include reparations?,” Greater Greater Washington (February 1, 2023): LINK. “Although the former capital of the Confederacy has gotten better at talking about its dark history of slavery and segregation in recent years, few folks speak of the racist seizure of homes, businesses, land, and livelihoods in the name of ‘urban renewal’ roughly a half century ago.”
  • Patrick Villanova, “Where Black Americans fare best economically—2023 edition,” SmartAsset (February 2, 2023): LINK. “Nearly a quarter of the way through the 21st century, Black Americans continue to face significant financial inequality. … [But SmartAsset used U.S. Census data] to determine the areas where Black Americans fare best economically.” About half of the top 30 cities on the list are in former Confederate states.

Plus, some reflections on places we don’t immediately associate with slavery:

  • Janay Reese, “Slavery in Appalachia: The untold stories of Black Appalachian history,” WDBJ Television [Roanoke, VA] (February 1, 2023): LINK. “The topic of slavery in Appalachia is a subject that is hard to discuss, and not well known.”
  • Charlita Shelton, “A reflection on Spokane’s African American history,” Gonzaga University (February 1, 2023): LINK. An administrator at CIC member Gonzaga University considers the growth of Spokane, Washington’s Black community from three people in 1880 (including at least one ex-slave).
  • Lexi Krupp and Myra Flynn, “How did Vermont profit from slavery?,” Vermont Public (September 22, 2022): LINK. This episode of the “Brave Little State” podcast “explores how the legacy of slavery is still reverberating in Vermont today.”