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African American, Current Events in Historical Context, Slavery

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On Monday, September 18, the AHA, American Anthropological Association, and American Sociology Association will all join together in sharing resources on understanding, discussing, and teaching about race. We will share our materials to the hashtag #UnderstandingRace. We encourage historians to also share any materials they have on the topic to this hashtag. The AAA has also set up a teaching materials exchange. Submit topical and relevant syllabi, activities, and lesson plans to the AAA teaching materials exchange by checking the box for “Race” on the submission upload form.

The purpose of this joint endeavor is to promote how our various disciplines can contribute to the conversation sparked by the recent events in Charlottesville and national discourse on Confederate monuments.


Resources from the AHA

AHA Statement on Confederate Monuments

The tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, have re-ignited debate about the place of Confederate monuments in public spaces, as well as related conversations about the role of Confederate, neo-Nazi, and white supremacist imagery in American political culture.The AHA has released the following statement about the role of history and historians in these public conversations. Rather than seeking to provide definitive answers to the questions posed by individual monuments, the AHA emphasizes the imperative of understanding historical context in any consideration of removing or recontextualizing monuments, or renaming public spaces.

Historians on the Confederate Monument Debate

In the wake of the Charlottesville tragedy, historians across the country provided important historical context and insight to the public. The AHA compiled statements that our members, fellow historical societies, AHA council members, and staff have made in op-eds, interviews, and other media conversations about the importance of historical thinking and knowledge within the current debate.

The Future of the African American Past Video Resources

On May 19–21, 2016, the American Historical Association (AHA) and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) co-hosted The Future of the African American Past, a landmark conference that brought together over 60 scholars to celebrate the opening of the NMAAHC and consider the future of the study of African American history. This video library features excerpts from the opening roundtable and eight conference sessions that can be used in K–12, community college, and undergraduate classrooms to guide understanding of major themes in this evolving field. NMAAHC founding director Lonnie Bunch and AHA executive director Jim Grossman provide introductory remarks for each video.

The Decision to Secede and Establish the Confederacy: A Selection of Primary Sources

The American Historical Association encourages continued public debate about monuments to Confederate leaders and about the public spaces and buildings named after those individuals, as well as the role of Confederate flags in public culture. Historians’ recent experiences in media interviews have suggested that too few participants in these conversations have read the essential primary sources that clearly articulate the reasons for secession and the establishment of a new nation. This page links to a limited set of documents with a singular focus: why did state governments decide to secede and form a new nation?

Teaching with #DigHist series

Since August 2016, Teaching w/ #DigHist has offered a range of teaching tools to instructors interested in using digital history projects in the classroom. The series includes posts and sample assignments for using several digital projects on African American history: the Transatlantic Slave Trade Database, the Colored Conventions Project, and the SNCC Digital Gateway.

Resources from the American Anthropological Association

AAA Statement on Race

Human variation exists on a spectrum that can’t be easily divided into races; we are more alike than we are different. “Race” is not a scientific, biological fact, but as expert Yolanda Moses says, “this doesn’t mean race isn’t real. Politically and culturally, race is a very real fact.” Read the full American Anthropological Association statement on race.

Race, Racism, and Protesting Anthropology

Race, Racism, and Protesting Anthropology is an open-access collection of articles that examine work by scholars applying anthropology to contemporary protests. This issue of Open Anthropology includes articles that address Ferguson, the contributions made by anthropologists of color, and the nature of white supremacy in the US.

Articles in Anthropology News

Anthropology News has recently published a number of articles that address the intricate issues at play when discussing issues of race and racism in the United States. The “Populism Rising” series introduced articles like “When White Nationalism Became Popular,” and Luzilda Carrillo Arciniega writes about the “Zero-Sum Game of White Supremacy” for a recent series on diversity in the workplace.

Lesson Plan for Teaching Race

A lesson plan (PDF- with key points and resources for incorporating a discussion about race into your classroom is now available.

Tackling the Elephant in the Room: A Guide to Teaching Race after Charlottesville

“Tackling the Elephant in the Room: A Guide to Teaching Race After Charlottesville” is available on the Anthropology News website.

Was That Racist? Video Recording of an Executive Session from the 2016 AAA Annual Meeting

The Black Lives Matter movement put the issue of contemporary forms of institutional racism and exclusion into the political spotlight. But, how do we know if a police shooting, health disparity, educational achievement gap, or award nomination is the product of racism or simply a unique event? What evidence do we need in order to decide if an action, belief, word, or image is racist? The organizers of “Was that racist?” will discuss their own struggles trying to locate the relevance of race and racism in their ethnographic research.