The African American ‘Hidden Figures’ Who Desegregated the South’s Public Libraries

In Jackson, Blacks Endured Beatings and Dog Attacks to Gain Entrance, While in Birmingham They Used Sit-Ins to State Their Case

Historians of the civil rights era, between 1954 and 1968, have crafted an impressive body of literature focusing on the resolve of young black community activists who bravely resisted racial discrimination at lunch counters, on buses, and in countless other public venues throughout the Jim Crow South. But one particular site of their valor has remained largely hidden in the historical record: public libraries. Ubiquitous civic agencies that for nearly a century had justified local taxpayer support as valued educational institutions because they were “free to all,” libraries remained segregated …

The Black Freedom Colonies of Appalachia Where Former Slaves ‘Could Speak Their Minds’

Though Their Stories Are Still Overlooked, African Americans in Mountain Communities Like Liberia, South Carolina Are Emerging From History

Beneath the brush on the sloping hillside facing the Blue Ridge Mountains in upper Pickens County, South Carolina, lay a hand-carved soapstone tombstone bearing a simple inscription: Chanie Kimp/Died/Aug. 6, …

Why the Enigmatic ‘Turks’ of South Carolina Still Struggle to Belong in America

For Generations, a Mysterious Ethnic Group Was Shunned, but New Research Sheds Light on Its Revolutionary War Origins

Sumter County is located in South Carolina’s midlands, about an hour and a half from the Atlantic coastline in one direction and from the Blue Ridge Mountains in the other. …

The 1992 Horror Film That Made a Monster Out of a Chicago Housing Project

In Candyman, the Notorious Cabrini-Green Complex Is Haunted by Urban Myths and Racial Paranoia

In the 1992 horror film Candyman, Helen, a white graduate student researching urban legends, is looking into the myth of a hook-handed apparition who is said to appear when his …

How the South Made Hubert Humphrey Care About Race

The Minnesota Liberal's Louisiana School Years Turned His 'Abstract Commitment' to Civil Rights Into 'Flesh and Blood'

It is one of the great ironies of 20th-century American history: Hubert Humphrey, the foremost proponent of civil rights among American politicians, had little contact with African Americans until age …

The Alabama Recording Studios Where Music Was Never Segregated

How the Muscle Shoals Sound Made a Rich Brew Out of Rock, Country, and R&B

Rod Stewart wasn’t pleased.

It was 1975, and the British rocker had traveled to Sheffield, Alabama, with a specific mission in mind: He wanted to record at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio …