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African-American History

This category contains 22 posts

The Chocolate Dandies: Blake and Sissle’s other Musical

On April 28 of this year, Baltimore born ragtime and jazz pianist and composer Eubie Blake and his partner Noble Sissles’ most famous work, Shuffle Along, will open on Broadway, nearly 100 years after its initial run. In 1921, Shuffle Along transformed Broadway and left a far reaching cultural and social legacy. But the pair also produced [...]

“White Enough to Pass”: Uncovering the story of John Wesley Gibson

“John Wesley Gibson represented himself to be not only the slave, but also the son of William Y. Day, of Taylor’s Mount, Maryland…” This is the opening statement of a slave narrative that tells the story of a man who chose freedom in a place and time that allowed slavery — Maryland in the 1850s. [...]

Thomas Poppleton’s Surveyor’s Map that Made Baltimore, 1822

Between 1776 and 1820 Baltimore grew like kudzu on a riverbank.  Geographically three settlements, the original town, Old town and Fell’s Point were legally merged into one and the official boundaries of the resulting BaltimoreCity (incorporated in 1797) were expanded to encompass 14.71 square miles by legislative fiat in 1817.  In that period the resident [...]

Lost No More: Recovering Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s “Forest Leaves”

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s first book of poems had been considered lost to history for well over one hundred years. U-Mass graduate student Johanna Ortner shares the tale of recovering this incredibly valuable text–reblogged from Common-Place.org My home is where eternal snow Round threat’ning craters sleep, Where streamlets murmur soft and low And playful cascades leap. [...]

A sneak preview of “Paul Henderson: Photographing Morgan (1947–1955)”

Underbelly presents this sneak preview ahead of the opening of the Maryland Historical Society’s popular traveling exhibition of the work of photojournalist Paul Henderson. Paul Henderson: Photographing Morgan (1947–1955) runs February 4 through March 27, 2016 at Morgan University’s James E. Lewis Museum of Art and is free and open to the public. It’s thanks to Paul [...]

Life as a Fellow in the MdHS Library: Studying the Christiana Resistance

This is the first in a series of posts by Maryland Historical Society fellows which highlight their experiences researching the MdHS library and their varied and exciting historical research. The Lord Baltimore Fellowship promotes scholarship in Maryland history and culture through research in the MdHS library collections. To read more about this opportunity and how to [...]

Generations a Slave: Unlawful Bondage and Charles Carroll of Carrollton

This week’s post is a re-blog of a New York City Historical Society post that originally appeared January 15, 2014.  All images are from the collection of the New York Historical Society. You can read the original post here. Challenges to the legality of bondage, shown in acclaimed director Steve McQueen’s film 12 Years a Slave—which [...]

Halcyon Days: Lauraville in the 1930s

Recent Saturday morning trips with my mother to Lauraville once again prompted interest in our family’s deep roots in the neighborhood and the lure of the area today. Library staff receives frequent calls and research requests on the subject and claim it is one of the city’s most popular communities. We grew up listening to [...]

“Are We Satisfied?”: The Baltimore Plan for School Desegregation

(This is the second part of a two part series – The first part of the story was posted on May 15, 2014 and can be read here.) Baltimoreans, perhaps more than the residents of any other major American city, were poised to meet the challenge of school desegregation. The city’s public school system had already grappled [...]

Capturing the Movement: Before and After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in Photographs

Fifty years ago this week the Civil Rights Act of 1964 voided all discriminatory laws (de jure segregation) in the public arena. It went a step further than each of its predecessors of 1866, 1871, 1875, 1957 and 1960 by outlawing racial segregation in schools, the workplace, and other public spaces. Considered the most important act in its lineage, [...]

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