More About Racist Histories and the AHA

Founded in 1884 as a professional membership organization, the AHA was incorporated by Congress in 1889 for the promotion of historical studies. The discipline’s professionalization occurred during a decade that was rife with exclusionary practices preceding the enactment of Jim Crow laws and that saw further assault on Indigenous people’s rights through the passage of the Dawes Act. The AHA’s origins are intertwined with this historical context.

By undertaking this project, the AHA seeks to understand and document the complexity of its role in the evolution and persistence of American racism in order for the organization, and for historians, to use our knowledge and professional resources to chart pathways to a more just and equitable future.

Recommended Reading

Sarah Weicksel and James Grossman, "Racist Histories and the AHA,” Perspectives on History 59, no. 2 (February 2021).

Angela D. Dillard and Katherine L. French, "Exploring Systemic Racism and the AHA: A University of Michigan History Lab Collaboration," Perspectives on History 59, no. 9 (November 2021).

Laura Ansley, “Townhouse Notes: Long Overdue,” Perspectives on History 61, no. 1 (January 2023).

Sarah Weicksel and Mark Philip Bradley, “A Note on the AHA’s Racist Histories Initiative and Book Reviewing,” American Historical Review 127, no. 4 (December 2022): 1907.
Edward Muir, "When Ghosts Come Knocking: Hauntings in History," Perspectives on History 61, no. 3 (February 2023).