Maurice Kemp, San Antonio, TX. I did not choose my race. No one did. I was born into a world with preconceived notions about my race and others. We all were. I entered a world with plenty of recorded and unrecorded history. We all did. I cannot account for any of the history that predates […]
Cleo Brown, SC. I and others in our late 50s and up are members of the last generation of children to grow up under the “Jim Crow” legal system that required EVERY white person to discriminate against EVERY black person, whether or not they were racist. This extreme inequality left a residue that caused […]
David Q. Booker Chula Vista, CA This is a fantastic project. For some time I have been trying to come with my 6 words but I’ve struggled. Not sure what happened but as I was listening to a segment on Morning Edition, regarding the March on Washington commemoration, it just came to me. I was […]
Heathyr, Klamath Falls, OR. If we really want to confront racism and eradicate it, we need to be taught an accurate history of this country’s racist practices. Racism wasn’t just the genocide of the Natives, slavery, or Jim Crow. It was redlining and eugenics and the discoveries of pseudo-science.
Jennifer Shawgo, Sausalito, CA.
Courtney Elizabeth Columbus, OH I get really bothered when white people say “but I didn’t own slaves!” or “my ancestors weren’t here during America’s beginnings.” Be that as it may, I like to remind them that they were there during Jim Crow segregation, the violence that raged then, when Emmitt Till was murdered, when four […]
Jesse Dukes, Charlottesville, VA. This question was on my mind recently, when I wrote an article for Virginia Quarterly Review about Confederate reenactors at the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg. I don’t actually have any Confederate ancestors I’m aware of, but most of the reenactors do. All of the reenactors I talked to considered slavery to […]
Jeff Howard Washington DC It took me 50 years and working in depth on civil rights movement history to suddenly realize that an incident in my early childhood revolved entirely around race. My family’s Black nanny, born and raised in Culpeper VA was so intent on seeing West Side Story when it hit the local […]
Amandilo Cuzan Chicago, IL Knowledge is power. Beyond the emotion we all benefit from studying the real history of race in America and the world. Too often we shy away from the realities of the European slave economy, Reconstruction, Eugenics, Jim Crow, and the current Prison-Industrial-Complex. Blind is blind no matter how you look at […]
David C. Ruffin Washington, DC I participated in the March on Washington in 1963. I was 18 and home on leave from the Air Force. My most enduring memory of the March was a conversation I had with an older man on the train ride from Pittsburgh to Washington the night before. He told me […]
Ray G New York City, NY Brooklyn The Black Liberation struggle did not go far enough — did not uproot oppression, disassemble power structures, create a new state power of the people — did not make revolution. We are seeing how all the successes of these past struggles have been reduced and reversed, and the […]
Janice Lowe New York City, NY My mother, Dr. Willa Lowe was one of the first black English teachers in several high schools in New Jersey, Washington, DC and Ohio. She was part of that first wave of school integration in which talented African American teachers were hired before African American students were admitted. She […]
Joseph Jackson, III Gulfport, MS I asked my grandmother that question after she hit my butt so hard I saw little blue stars. It was 1957, N.O. La. at the grand opening of what was then billed as the world’s largest supermarket. My crime? Being 6 years old and drinking from the whites only water […]
Greg Camp Fayetteville, AR I did not live in the era of legal slavery or Jim Crow. I did not support those laws. And don’t waste my time with talk about privilege. Claiming that white males have privilege simply by virtue of being white males denies the diversity in outcomes that we experience.
David Morath Wrightsville, PA On August 14, 1973 three black children from Atlanta, GA drowned in Waveland, Mississippi. Eyewitnesses reported that the children had been harassed by white boaters, The coroner’s jury closed the case without investigation the following day. Because of Jim Crow mortuary policies, locating a funeral director who would deal with African-Americans […]
Delphine Fenderson Birmingham, AL So much was taken from my people during slavery. We are the only Americans that worked and built this country and got nothing in return. It continued with Jim Crow, share cropping, low minimum wages, stereotypes, having to fight for basic human rights. In order to maintain this status quo this […]
Audrey Johnson Minneapolis, MN Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation
Rameen Gasery Photographer