How Jamestown Abandoned a Utopian Vision and Embraced Slavery

In 1619, Wealthy Investors Overthrew the Charter That Guaranteed Land for Everyone

In the summer of 1619, some of England’s first American colonists were carving up land seized from the Powhatan empire along the James River in Virginia. While the first settlers had arrived back in 1607, they had only recently discovered that they could turn a profit growing tobacco. Tobacco production had increased 20-fold over the past two years, and agricultural land was suddenly at a premium.

Yet the surveyors, instead of laying out private estates for upwardly mobile colonists, were mostly tracing the bounds of thousands of acres of common land. …

The Escaped Slave Who Discovered America

Esteban, a Captive of Spanish Explorers, Led an Eight-Year, 3,500-Mile Trek Across the Southwest and Mexico

“The first white man our people saw was a black man,” wrote historian and Pueblo native Joe Sando in Pueblo Nations.

Sando was referring to Esteban, an African who became the …

How African American Spirituals Moved From Cotton Fields to Concert Halls

After the Civil War, Touring Groups of Black College Singers Popularized Slavery-Era Songs, Giving Rise to a New Musical Genre

“Swing low, sweet chariot….” These words are familiar to many Americans, who might sing them in worship, in Sunday school, around campfires, in school, and in community choruses. But …

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 Has America Been So Reluctant to ‘Own’ the South?

A Preeminent Historian Explores How a Region Central to U.S. Identity Gets Written Out of the National Narrative

James C. Cobb is Emeritus B. Phinizy Spalding distinguished professor in the history of the American South at the University of Georgia. He has published 13 books and many articles …

The South Carolina Monument That Symbolizes Clashing Memories of Slavery

In Charleston, Blacks and Whites Have Viewed the Bronze Likeness of Racist Ideologue John C. Calhoun From Radically Different Angles

In the center of Charleston, South Carolina, in a verdant green space that plays host to farmers markets, festivals, and sunbathing undergraduates, stands a monument of John C. Calhoun, the …