If Not for the Public Outcry: The Tuskegee Syphilis Project/ Study

Today’s blog was written by Timmia King, undergraduate student at Howard University and spring intern in the Textual Processing Division at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland

The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment  was conducted from the years 1932 to 1972, in Macon County, Alabama. It’s namesake is derived from the facts that the experiment was conducted in an area overwhelmingly populated with African Americans close to the Tuskegee Institute that in an earlier survey funded by the Rosenwald Fund were found to have a high prevalence of syphilis and it was also conducted with the cooperation of Tuskegee Institute. This study is often referred to as one of the dark periods in modern medical history. But why is that, did this experiment involve sanctioned torture, was it as bad as to the multiple instances where African American females were sterilized or does it mirror instances in which countless other experiments that were done to the bodies of African Americans in the name of Eugenics. Well quantifying suffering is not my job, but instead here is a summary of the study. Continue reading

Posted in New Deal Era | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Roll Over Beethoven”: Tribute to Chuck Berry

“I grew up thinking art was pictures until I got into music and found I was an artist and didn’t paint.” ~ Chuck Berry

On March 18, 2017, Rock ‘n’ Roll legend Chuck Berry passed in his home in St. Charles County, Missouri. He was known for his guitar riffs, showmanship on stage and his renowned “duck walk.” His songs defined American music and brought into the mainstream the genre of rock and roll with such hits as “Maybellene” (1955), “Johnny B. Goode” (1958), “Run Rudolph Run” (1958) and “No Particular Place to Go” (1964). Berry received the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1984 and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. He was also listed as Time magazine’s top 10 best electric guitar players and Rolling Stones magazine’s “greatest of all time.”

Paul Simon and Chuck Berry at “Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence” (2/26/12)

Charles Edward Anderson Berry was born on October 18, 1926 in St. Louis, Missouri. He was raised in a middle-class family where he developed an interest in music at an early age. Berry was influenced by Blues artists, and developed his guitar skills by studying Blues artists, such as T-Bone Walker. In 1955, Berry met Blues great Muddy Waters and signed with Chess Records. During the 1950s, Berry toured across the country and made several appearances on nationally syndicated television shows. Berry’s music influenced many up and coming artists in America and Great Britain, including the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence

At the National Archives at Kansas City, there is a case file for US v. Charles Edward Anderson Berry (NAID 7403547) from the series Criminal Case Files, 1864-1986 (National Archives Identifier 582694). In January 1962, Berry was sentenced to three years in prison for violation of the Mann Act. The document below is the first page of the transcript of proceedings and testimony of the trial.

U.S. v. Charles Edward Anderson Berry (NAID 7403547)

Posted in Tribute/News | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Two Views: Marcus Garvey the Leader and the Threat

Today’s blog was written by Timmia King, undergraduate student at Howard University and spring intern in the Textual Processing Division at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland

Coming into this project, I did not think I would find many records relating to Marcus Garvey. One thing I failed to realize, is that today, although we remember him as a great race leader who inspired feelings of self-pride and a want for self-determination of the African people, by the United States government he was thought of as a threat. He was called a “Negro Agitator” in the long tradition of “Negro Agitators” that came before him and after him such as Ida B. Wells and Martin Luther King, Jr. His organization, the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), was labeled an unAmerican organization that incited racial violence. Sections of the United States government watched everyone and everything connected to him.

World War I Draft Registration Card for Marcus Garvey (NAID 641770)

World War I Draft Registration Card for Marcus Garvey (NAID 641770)

The Records of the Department of State (RG 59) contain quite a few records of his and his wife’s activity within the United States and throughout the US sphere of influence. Government workers followed his activity and sometimes went as far to request other countries not to allow him into their country. The predecessor of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (The predecessor of the FBI was a section of the Department of Justice called the Bureau of Investigation (BOI). Within the BOI there was a General Intelligence Division called the “anti-racial division” which was headed by J. Edgar Hoover.) also followed his activities closely in an effort to shut down his organization. There are five different court cases that the United States waged against Marcus Garvey. United States of America v. Marcus Garvey, Elie Garcia, Orlando M. Thompson and George Tobias (NAID 7388866) would prove to be the one that effectively weakened his organization’s power within the United States. As a result of the court case, he was convicted, jailed and then eventually deported.  After his deportation in 1927, the organization rapidly lost membership and influence. Continue reading

Posted in Diaspora, World War I Era | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Frederick Douglass – Statesman, Abolitionist, Champion of the People

Today’s post was written by Tiffany Walker, Archivist in the Textual Processing Division at the National Archives at College Park

Frederick Douglass was a social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in the Northern states and gained a following via his enrapturing speeches and antislavery writings. In his time, he was seen as a living example of the potential of formerly enslaved African Americans, who ran counter to slaveholders’ arguments that slaves lacked the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens.

Series: Artworks and Mockups for Cartoons Promoting the War Effort and Original Sketches by Charles Alston, ca. 1942 - ca. 1945 (NAID 535673)

Series: Artworks and Mockups for Cartoons Promoting the War Effort and Original Sketches by Charles Alston, ca. 1942 – ca. 1945 (NAID 535673)

Continue reading

Posted in Emancipation & Reconstruction, Slavery and the Slave Trade | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black History Month 2017: Blogs Related to Military

Happy Black History Month! This year the Rediscovering Black History blog at the National Archives would like to highlight select posts from the past. This public blog was created to inform researchers, scholars, students, and anyone interested in records related to African-American history at the National Archives and Presidential Libraries on the vast amount of textual, electronic, photographs, and special media available for use. For the past four years, NARA employees, student interns, and independent researchers have written informative and insightful blogs on the black experience through the use of our holdings. The highlighted blog posts for the month of February will center around popular themes. Today’s theme is military.

"Master Charles Michael Lee, A Patriot" August, 1941. Local ID: 111-SC-121857

“Master Charles Michael Lee, A Patriot” August, 1941. Local ID: 111-SC-121857

African Americans have contributed to every war fought by the United States from the Revolutionary War to today’s current conflicts. The records used on this topic are mostly military records from all branches, which includes textual, motion pictures, and photographs to highlight the actions of African Americans primarily during the Civil War and World War II. Selected blogs focus on the heroic actions of black soldiers, discrimination in the military, and little unknown stories about the involvement of African Americans enlisted in the US military.

 

Posted in American Civil War, Military, World War II Era | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black History Month 2017: Blogs Related to Black Power

Happy Black History Month! This year the Rediscovering Black History blog at the National Archives would like to highlight select posts from the past. This public blog was created to inform researchers, scholars, students, and anyone interested in records related to African-American history at the National Archives and Presidential Libraries on the vast amount of textual, electronic, photographs, and special media available for use. For the past four years, NARA employees, student interns, and independent researchers have written informative and insightful blogs on the black experience through the use of our holdings. The highlighted blog posts for the month of February will center around popular themes. Today’s theme is Black Power.

157-3430-1a13-002

In 2016, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Black Power movement in America. The blogs posted about Black Power were some of our most popular. They related to such topics as the Black Panthers, individuals who made strides within Black Power, and attempts towards black economic independence. The black power blogs were also written in part to promote NARA Say it Loud! Employee Affinity Group’s panel presentation “Revolutionary Movements Then and Now: Black Power and Black Lives Matter,” which was held in October 2016 at the National Archives in Washington, D. C.

Posted in Black Power | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black History Month 2017: Blogs Related to the Post-Reconstruction Era

Happy Black History Month! This year the Rediscovering Black History blog at the National Archives would like to highlight select posts from the past. This public blog was created to inform researchers, scholars, students, and anyone interested in records related to African-American history at the National Archives and Presidential Libraries on the vast amount of textual, electronic, photographs, and special media available for use. For the past four years, NARA employees, student interns, and independent researchers have written informative and insightful blogs on the black experience through the use of our holdings. The highlighted blog posts for the month of February will center around popular themes. Today’s theme is the Post-Reconstruction Era.

Telegram from John Beggett, Secretary of the Ministerial Alliance to President Warren G. Harding, 01/08/1923

Telegram from John Beggett, Secretary of the Ministerial Alliance to President Warren G. Harding, 01/08/1923

The Post-Reconstruction Era refers to the period between the Compromise of 1877 and the early twentieth century, when African Americans faced widespread disenfranchisement, legal discrimination, anti-black violence, and lynching. Historian Rayford Logan coined this era as the Nadir, which he described as the lowest point of racial relations in US history. Selected blogs in this topic relate to lynching, protest, and the image of African Americans.

Posted in Post-Reconstruction | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black History Month 2017: Blogs Related to the Civil Rights Movement

Happy Black History Month! This year the Rediscovering Black History blog at the National Archives would like to highlight select posts from the past. This public blog was created to inform researchers, scholars, students, and anyone interested in records related to African-American history at the National Archives and Presidential Libraries on the vast amount of textual, electronic, photographs, and special media available for use. For the past four years, NARA employees, student interns, and independent researchers have written informative and insightful blogs on the black experience through the use of our holdings. The highlighted blog posts for the month of February will center around popular themes. Today’s theme is the Civil Rights Movement.

Young women at the march, 08/28/1963 (National Archives Identifier 542022)

Young women at the march, 08/28/1963 (National Archives Identifier 542022)

Blogs about the Civil Rights Movement highlight the struggles, challenges, and successes of African Americans in achieving fair treatment and equal rights. The records used on this topic were mostly created by investigative agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to monitor violations of the Civil Rights Act. The selected blogs relate to voting rights, protest, marches, and the murder of people fighting for justice.

Posted in Civil Rights, Civil Rights Protest & Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black History Month 2017: Blogs Related to the Panama Canal

Happy Black History Month! This year the Rediscovering Black History blog at the National Archives would like to highlight select posts from the past. This public blog was created to inform researchers, scholars, students, and anyone interested in records related to African-American history at the National Archives and Presidential Libraries on the vast amount of textual, electronic, photographs, and special media available for use. For the past four years, NARA employees, student interns, and independent researchers have written informative and insightful blogs on the black experience through the use of our holdings. The highlighted blog posts for the month of February will center around popular themes. Today’s theme is the Panama Canal.

West Indian Wedding Party (NAID 535444)

RG 185 West Indian Wedding Party (NAID 535444)

Blogs about the Panama Canal have been some of our most popular. These records are primarily used for genealogy and labor history, since they contain a great deal of personal information on West Indian workers. The type of information found includes birth, death, and marriage records, pay scale, and employment type. The records on the Panama Canal have also received additional attention due the 100th anniversary of the completion of the canal in 1914.

Posted in Diaspora | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black History Month 2017: Blogs Related to Black Education

Happy Black History Month! This year the Rediscovering Black History blog at the National Archives would like to highlight select posts from the past. This public blog was created to inform researchers, scholars, students, and anyone interested in records related to African-American history at the National Archives and Presidential Libraries on the vast amount of textual, electronic, photographs, and special media available for use. For the past four years, NARA employees, student interns, and independent researchers have written informative and insightful blogs on the black experience through the use of our holdings. The highlighted blog posts for the month of February will center around popular themes. Today’s theme is black education.

Howard University, Graduating Student (NAID 26174879)

Howard University, Graduating Student (NAID 26174879)

The blogs relating to black education in the United States are of special interest to researchers and scholars across the country, as they can relate to concerns surrounding education today. The records in the National Archives on this topic contain information on federal funding, studies on vocational training, legislation regarding equal access, and other issues of the government’s involvement with public education. Our blogs on black education covered several issues, including the desegregation of public schools, innovators in black education, and life on black college campuses.

 

Posted in Civil Rights | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment