Sonia Song-Ha Lee: Black-Puerto Rican Coalitions in the Civil Rights Movement

Puerto Ricans played a pivotal role in the building of the civil rights movement in New York City—one of the less-heralded but still vital sites of movement.

Anne Balay: For Transgender Steelworkers, Invisibility Isn’t an Option

Transgender steelworkers are the most vulnerable people I interviewed. The option of invisibility isn’t available to those who transition at work. And every change that shows, every single solitary detail, becomes a focus of teasing, harassment, violence, and abuse.

Anne Balay: Queer Steelworkers and Labor Unions

I asked him to recall all the people he has worked with—all his union brothers and sisters, down through the years—and count the gay ones. Almost surprised, he said there were none. Of course, he knew as well as I do that there have been many, but that they did not identify themselves as such. My task is then to convince him that their silence was not simply a choice, but rather that it was made in fear, and comes with crippling consequences.

Interview: Blain Roberts on the Intersection of Beauty and Race in the South

The image of the beautiful southern belle/lady was, by definition, racially exclusive, and many black women would have keenly felt its discriminatory power. There were occasions, however, when individuals and institutions attempted to claim the image for black women, to challenge its underlying racial assumptions and reframe its meaning. An interesting example is a photo spread that ran in Ebony magazine in 1971 entitled “Belles of the South” that featured young women from southern historically black colleges. The magazine said very explicitly that it wanted to prove that not all southern beauties were white—that black women were belles of the South, too.

Anne Balay: The Consequences of Marriage Inequality

For my narrators—the forty transgender, lesbian, and gay steelworkers I interviewed—marriage is complicated. Insurance and survival benefits are not just theoretical issues for them.

Anne Balay: As GLBT freedoms expand, who benefits–and who doesn’t

Queer rights becomes the paradigmatic symbol of the west – in Russia, gay liberation had gained some momentum until Putin linked gay rights with Western values, which then led to the systematic, legal oppression of gays in Russia today. The government is literally going into homes of gay people and taking their children away. And these Russian gays can’t hide, because during the period of comparative freedom, they had come out, and now have public personas. There’s no such thing as going back into the closet – once you’re out, that’s that. Their little window of freedom now targets them for state-sponsored abuse as the freedom and progress queers experience in the USA is used to punish queers globally.

Video: Rebecca Sharpless on Cooking in Other Women’s Kitchens

http://vimeo.com/80109784

A video of Rebecca Sharpless’s talk on the history of African American women cooks in white households in the South, given at the 16th annual Southern Foodways Symposium, October 2013. Video produced by the Southern Foodways Alliance.

The Best of Enemies: Durham History from Page to Stage

Durham’s ManBites Dog Theater hosts “The Best of Enemies,” a play based on the book by Osha Gray Davidson about the unlikely friendship between a poor white member of the KKK and a poor black civil rights activist in 1960s North Carolina.

50 Years Ago: Historians on the Legacies of JFK

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWnsJmBsvHU”

Blair L. M. Kelley and Kathryn Cramer Brownell consider the assassination of JFK in the contexts of the civil rights movement, media spectacle, and shifting political structures.

Sarah Caroline Thuesen: The North Carolina NAACP: 80 Years at the Forefront of Struggles for Equality

It is fitting that in this 80th anniversary year of the 1933 rally the North Carolina NAACP is once again in the headlines, this time for its leading role in the recent Moral Monday protests at the state legislature.

Tracy K’Meyer: The Ongoing Struggle for Civil Rights in Schools

The modern civil rights movement fought for racial equality and to create an interracial “beloved community.” People in the movement did not make a distinction between action in the schools, the voting booth, or the streets toward those goals. Education was another arena for fighting racism and securing equal resources and opportunity. Seeing school desegregation as an integral part of the civil rights movement reminds us that an equal education is a basic human right that has been fought for but not yet achieved, and that overcoming racism in the classroom as in the community remains a moral imperative. For many local people, like Suzy Post, in Louisville and Jefferson County, the civil rights movement continues because the struggle to protect desegregation and through it achieve educational equity and better human understanding has not yet been won.

Jonathan Scott Holloway: Whose Dream? Whose History?

Even though the museum recognizes Smith’s protest, if only barely, her protest tells us something valuable about the production of history and the sanctification of certain experiences over others. Here, a single person with a particular set of memories and a determination to remember a figure of such importance as King in a specific way finds herself facing an institution with a public commitment to remembrance that has become her own horror.

Eric S. Yellin: Woodrow Wilson’s Inauguration a Disheartening Anniversary

It was not just careers that came to an end in Woodrow Wilson’s Washington. African Americans also lost a claim to their legitimacy as American citizens and participants in the national state. Marked as corrupt and untrustworthy, black Americans have struggled ever since to clear their names as honest and trust-worthy citizens, a struggle that continues into our own time.

Randal Maurice Jelks: Remembering “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”

King’s letter scribbled on the edges of a newspaper is a democratic critique and draws attention to public aspect of faith traditions. In a democracy, faiths must always be self-critical and publicly criticized.

Gordon K. Mantler: Remembering that Other March on Washington

Only during the Poor People’s Campaign did activists of so many different backgrounds—from veterans of the labor and southern civil rights movements to Chicano, American Indian, antiwar, and welfare rights activists—attempt to construct a physical and spiritual community that addressed poverty and broader issues of social justice for longer than a one-day rally.