Legacies links for September 11, 2023: roadside markers, histories of Black displacement, and more

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an oil painting of a Black community mourning a dead community member

John Atrobus, A Plantation Burial (1860). Portrays the Gullah-Geechee people who lived (and still live) along the Atlantic coast in Georgia and the Carolinas. image source: The Historic New Orleans Collection

a road sign marking the "Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor"

A roadside marker for the Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor along U.S. 17 in Mt. Pleasant, SC. image source: Highway 17


  • Louis Hansen, “The Long History of Universities Displacing Black People,” Chronicle of Higher Education (September 11, 2023): LINK (may require a free account to access). “In the second half of the 20th century, the establishment and expansion of public universities across Virginia uprooted hundreds of Black families, hindering them from accumulating wealth in the most American way—homeownership.”
  • Taryn Luna, “New poll finds California voters resoundingly oppose cash reparations for slavery,” The Los Angeles Times (September 10, 2023): LINK. “California voters oppose the idea of the state offering cash payments to the descendants of enslaved African Americans by a 2-to-1 margin, according to the results of a new poll that foreshadows the political difficulty ahead next year when state lawmakers begin to consider reparations for slavery.”
  • Rachel Hatzipanagas and Emmanuel Felton, “Black history is ‘being attacked.’ These parents found alternatives,” The Washington Post (September 9, 2023): LINK (may require a free account to access). “Across the country, the teaching of Black history has been put under a microscope. … But Black parents who object to the changes say they worry their children aren’t learning enough about their history, an important part of building their self-esteem. Some have begun signing up their children for extra classes, buying supplementary textbooks or giving at-home lessons.”
  • Antetor O. Hinton, “Why Juneteenth Matters for Science,” Nature (September 8, 2023): LINK. According to a distinguished roster of Black scientists—one of whom penned this column for the nation’s most distinguished scientific journal—Juneteenth is not just a holiday but an opportunity to “reduc[e] burdens on researchers from our community and eradicat[e] barriers to equitable science.”
  • John Garrison Marks, “Why Historical Markers Matter,” Smithsonian Magazine (September 7, 2023): LINK. Not exclusively about slavery- or race-related memorials, but an excellent introduction to the complex landscape of historic markers across America. The author is director of research at the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH).
  • Russ Bynum, “Slave descendants on Georgia island fighting to keep protections that helped them keep their land,” AP News (September 7, 2023): LINK. The vibrant and unique culture of the Gullah-Geechee people has survived for over 230 years, but now their community is facing challenges from local government encroachment and the threat of development. Despite these obstacles, Gullah-Geechee residents are fighting passionately to keep their cultural heritage intact.
  • Safiya Sinclair, “Toward Black Wonder: How Nicole Sealey Makes Erasure a New Way of Seeing,” Literary Hub (September 6, 2023): LINK. In her new book The Ferguson Report: An Erasure, poet Nicole Sealey “takes a document that began with death, and re-imagines a space that is ultimately about life and its possibilities. … Here is what erasure becomes in the capable hands of one our very best poets, a poet descended from the formerly enslaved, from so many erased from history.”