Learn about the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 and consider the racist themes that were on display.
Ruth Simmons was born into an East Texas family of sharecroppers in the 1940s. In her 2005 commencement speech at the University of Vermont, excerpted here, she describes experiences that helped her escape the poverty and discrimination of her youth to become the president of Brown University.
James Lusk, a white man from Alabama, abandoned the Republican Party in 1874. He gave this explanation to a former political associate, noting that "no white man can live in the South in the future and act with any other than the Democratic party unless he is willing and prepared to live a life of social isolation and remain in political oblivion...the die is cast."
J. L. Edmonds, an African American schoolteacher, gave this account of the murder and intimidation before the 1875 election in Clay County, Mississippi.
In Virginia in the 1620s, slavery and indentured servitude existed, but there were both white and black servants and slaves. No one was a slave for life; rather, many immigrants to North America agreed to work for a planter for a specific period of time in exchange for their passage to the New World and food and shelter once they arrived. In 1622, a black indentured servant named Anthony Johnson appeared in the historical record. Charles Johnson and Patricia Smith tell his story.
Hamburg, South Carolina, was an all-black town on the border with Georgia, an area that was a stronghold for the Democratic Party. Hearing news of white militias forming in surrounding towns, the intendant (or mayor) of Hamburg, John Gardner, formed an all-black militia of 84 men and, with the following letter, asked the governor to arm them as part of the state’s National Guard.