African-American history

Grant Blankenship / GPB News

On a late July day, a crowd of people were trying to find the right spot on a two-lane road outside the town of Monroe to watch a crime.  

 

With the same megaphone he’s carried all day, civil rights activist and former Georgia legislator Tyrone Brooks got people where they need to be.  

 

“If you all make your way up the hill you can see the first scene,” Brooks announced. 

 


Credit: George Fadil Muhammad

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, commemorates the official end of slavery in the U.S. in 1865, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the end of the American Civil War to the last group of enslaved people in the country.

The day itself is June 19, but celebrations kick off across Georgia this weekend, from big festivals to more intimate evening conversations.


Mary Frances Early UGA Black African-American Graduate
University of Georgia / Twitter

Mary Frances Early is a trailblazer. While Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Hamilton Holmes were the first African-Americans admitted to University of Georgia as undergrads in 1961, Early was the first to graduate. She earned a master's degree in music education.

Last week, UGA announced an initiative to name its College of Education after Early. Last year, when UGA was celebrating 100 years of education groundbreaking women, On Second Thought spoke with Early about her experiences as the first African-American student to graduate from the Georgia college. We hear that conversation.

Michael W. Twitty/@KosherSoul / Twitter

Culinary historian Michael Twitty traces his ancestry through food in "The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African-American Culinary History in the Old South." The memoir won the 2018 James Beard Foundation's Award for Book of the Year. In it, Twitty explores the complex question of who owns Southern food.

 

GPB's Tony Harris spoke with Twitty about why he wanted to wrestle with that question and his passion for food justice.

 

Vicki Scharfberg / Telfair Museums

Telfair Museums' Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters plans to reveal the newly-refurbished slave quarters at the Regency-era mansion to the public on Saturday, Nov. 17.

Shannon Browning-Mullis, curator of history and decorative arts for Telfair Museums, said this unveiling is a chance to finally tell the full story of the people, both free and enslaved, who lived on the property.

We spoke with her about how the museum uncovered the stories of enslaved people like Emma, the Owen's nanny, and Diane, the Owen's cook. She explained how learning about their history helps to examine the roots of inequality in American society.


Cindy Hill

Savannah’s Telfair Museums is showcasing the lives of urban enslaved people in a new exhibit opening Nov. 16.

Shannon Browning-Mullis is curator of history and decorative arts for the Telfair Museums, which operates the house. She takes us on an audio tour.


Courtesy Kentucky National Guard

World War I, which ended with an armistice agreement 100 years ago, transformed life in the United States. The "war to end all wars" also introduced a new chapter in African-Americans' fight for equal rights. About one million African-Americans registered for the draft and nearly 370,000 African-Americans enlisted in the U.S. military during World War I. Along with the activist W.E.B. Du Bois, many of those who served hoped that a war fought in the name of democracy would, at its end, make American society truly democratic as well.

David Davis, a professor of English at Mercer University, spoke with us about the atmosphere African-Americans met overseas in the war and the environment to which they returned after the armistice. 


Library of Congress

African-American history goes far beyond Black History Month in February. Today we talked about the presentation of history and how it’s changing and confronting new layers of truth. Recently, several museums and African-American exhibits have been built around the country.