Black History Episodes

19TH Century 20TH Century Black History

The Townsend Family Legacy

July 25, 2022

When Alabama plantation owner Samuel Townsend died in 1856, he willed his vast fortune to his children and his nieces. What seems like an ordinary bequest was anything but, since Townsend’s children and nieces were his ensla…

19TH Century Black History

The Abolition Movement of the 1830s

April 11, 2022

From the founding of the United States, there were people who opposed slavery, but many who grappled with the concept, including slave owner Thomas Jefferson, envisioned a plan of gradual emancipation for the country. In 181…

Guest: J. D. Dickey
19TH Century 20TH Century Black History Native American History

Freedpeople in Indian Territory

Feb. 28, 2022

When the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muskogee (or Creek), and Seminole Nations – known as “The Five Civilized Tribes” by white settlers – were forcibly moved from their lands in the Southeastern United States to Indian Ter…

19TH Century 20TH Century Biographical History Black History LGBTQIA+ History Women's History

Alice Dunbar-Nelson

Feb. 21, 2022

Poet, essayist, and activist Alice Dunbar-Nelson is perhaps best known as the widow of poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, but she is a remarkable figure in her own right. Born in New Orleans in 1875 to a mother who had only recently…

Guest: Tara T. Green
20TH Century Black History Military History Women's History World War II

The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion

Feb. 14, 2022

On February 14, 1945, after crossing the Atlantic Ocean and surviving a run-in with a Nazi U-Boat, the women of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion disembarked the Île-de-France in Glasgow, Scotland. The task await…

Guest: Kaia Alderson
19TH Century Biographical History Black History Women's History

Julia Chinn

Feb. 7, 2022

Julia Chinn was born into slavery in Kentucky at the tail end of the 18th Century. Despite laws against interracial marriage, Richard Mentor Johnson, the ninth Vice President of the United States, called Julia Chinn his wife…

19TH Century Biographical History Black History Women's History

Mary Ann Shadd Cary

Jan. 17, 2022

Mary Ann Shadd Cary, born in Delaware in 1823, was a teacher, a writer, an abolitionist, a suffragist, and a lawyer, and is considered to be the first Black woman to publish and edit a newspaper in North America, The Provinc…

17TH Century Black History Women's History

Women-Led Slave Revolts

Dec. 27, 2021

Enslaved Africans in what is now New York State and in the Middle Passage resisted their enslavement, despite the risk of doing so. In the previously accepted history of these slave revolts, the assumption was that men led t…

Guest: Rebecca Hall
20TH Century Art History Biographical History Black History Post-WW2 History Women's History

Loïs Mailou Jones

Dec. 6, 2021

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1905, artist Loïs Mailou Jones’s career spanned much of the 20th Century as both a painter and a teacher of generations of Black artists at Howard University. Jones faced racial discriminati…

18TH Century 19TH Century Black History

Freedom Suits in Maryland & DC, 1790-1864

Sept. 27, 2021

Slavery was legal in Maryland until November 1, 1864, when a new state constitution prohibited the practice of slavery. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation the year before had declared slaves in the Confederate states to be …

20TH Century Biographical History Black History Food & Drink History Post-WW2 History Women's History

Chef Lena Richard

Sept. 20, 2021

Over a decade before Julia Child’s The French Chef appeared on TV, a Black woman chef hosted her own, very popular cooking show on WDSU-TV in New Orleans. At a time when families were just beginning to own televisions, Chef …

20TH Century Black History History Of Science & Medicine LGBTQIA+ History Post-WW2 History

African American AIDS Activism

Sept. 13, 2021

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC), in 2018, 13% of the US population was Black and African American, but 42% of new HIV diagnoses in the US were from Black and African American people. Thi…

Guest: Dan Royles
20TH Century Black History Civil Rights Movement Post-WW2 History

Black Teachers & The Civil Rights Movement in South Carolina

July 12, 2021

On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court decided unanimously in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas that that racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional. Although the process was slow and conten…

19TH Century 20TH Century Biographical History Black History Civil War Women's History

Susie King Taylor

June 21, 2021

Susie King Taylor was born into slavery in Georgia in 1848. With the help of family members, she was educated and escaped, joining the Union army at the age of 14, to serve ostensibly as a laundress, but in reality as a nurs…

Guest: Ben Railton
20TH Century Black History Civil Rights Movement Post-WW2 History Riots

The Jackson State Shootings in May 1970

June 14, 2021

Just after midnight on May 15, 1970, officers opened fire on a group of unarmed students milling in front of a dorm on the campus of Jackson State College in Jackson, Mississippi, killing two and wounding twelve. Although th…