All last month we were celebrating Black History Month. Below we recap the Black history resources that we highlighted. This year’s theme for Black History Month was Black Resistance. According to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, “[a]s societal and political forces escalate to limit access to and exercise of the ballot, eliminate the teaching of Black history, and work to push us back into the 1890s, we can only rely on our capacity to resist” and “[t]his is a call to everyone, inside and outside the academy, to study the history of Black Americans’ responses to establish safe spaces, where Black life can be sustained, fortified, and respected.”
A Proclamation on National Black History Month, 2023
Public Law 99-244 (designating February 1986 as “National Black (Afro-American) History Month”)
Law Library Display
Our 2023 Black History Month celebration featured a Law Library display exploring some of the College of Law’s notable African American alumni as well as a few of history’s most impactful African American Lawyers and Legislators. The display also featured books from our collection that highlighted the struggles that African Americans experience in relation to the legal system. This display was curated by Library Associate Rhonda Wiseman.
Selected Resources about Black History and the Legal Profession
ABA, Celebrating Black Legal Trailblazers (PDF)
This year, the ABA is celebrating Black Legal Trailblazers, from the 1800s to the present. The individuals have not only been powerful examples of leadership in the legal profession, but have brought about historic change and progress to make the legal field more inclusive today, and more representative of our population as a whole.
ABA 21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge
The Challenge invites participants to complete a syllabus of 21 short assignments (typically taking 15-30 minutes), over 21 consecutive days, that include readings, videos or podcasts. It has been intentionally crafted to focus on the Black American experience. The assignments seek to expose participants to perspectives on elements of Black history, identity and culture, and to the Black community’s experience of racism in America. Even this focus on Black Americans cannot possibly highlight all of the diversity of experiences and opinions within the Black community itself, much less substitute for learnings about any other community of color. This syllabus is but an introduction.
ABA Black Lawyers in America (Webinar series)
Session One: The Foundation
Over the course of their distinguished careers, former ABA presidents Dennis Archer, Paulette Brown and Robert Grey, Jr. have advocated for the change so many now seek and have helped create a foundation of racial equity upon which the profession can now build. This discussion will identify the issues and set the table for a solution-driven dialogue.
Session Two: The Focus
As our society increasingly becomes aware of the historic inequities that continue to impact people of color generally and Black Americans in particular, the legal profession is likewise coming to terms with this reality. Black lawyers are grossly underrepresented and underappreciated in the legal profession and are still more likely to be affected by bias – both conscious and unconscious – throughout their careers. Our panel will discuss the existing strategies and approaches that firms and corporations can use to make the profession more diverse and inclusive. We will also examine and explore other solutions that have yet to be implemented broadly. Listeners will come away with guidance and action items.
Session Three: The Future
The next generation of Black legal leaders will discuss the future of the profession. What are their expectations? What do they want to contribute? How will they transform the profession? What challenges do they face and where will they seek their support? How will they harness the energy of social change movements to effectuate change in the boardrooms?
Session Four: Black Leaders in the Government – Challenges, Opportunities and Solutions
This series concludes with an open descussion with Black political leaders in local and federal government, for a firsthand account of the extraordinary responsibilities they must bear in serving their constituents while acting as voices of change in this emotionally and racially charged environment.
ABA Black Lawyers in America Toolkit
The Black Lawyers in America Toolkit was created as a follow up to the original Black Lawyers in America Webinar Series, co-sponsored by the American Bar Association and hosted by Duane Morris. The toolkit includes facilitation guidelines, discussion questions, and continuing resources to engage in the work of uplifting Black lawyers’ experiences in the workplace and ending practices of implicit bias and anti-Black racism in the legal profession and educational pipeline. It also provides resources and tips for Black lawyers.
National Bar Association, Know Your Rights
The National Bar Association is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of predominantly African-American lawyers, judges, law professors, and law students.Because Black lawyers were excluded from membership in the American Bar Association and most local majority bar associations across the country, 12 black lawyers met in Des Moines, Iowa, on August 1, 1925, to spearhead the establishment of a national network of black lawyers committed to the pursuit of equal justice under law. They founded the National Bar Association. The NBA members have prepared informational videos so that citizens have a better understanding of their rights. Their goal is for our family, friends, and neighbors to avoid unnecessary pitfalls and missteps, victimization due to misinformation, and to positively and effectively exercise their constitutional rights to improve their lives and our communities. Please share the videos in your communities including schools, churches, community centers, and other comparable groups.
Selected Museum & Media Resources to Learn More About Black History
PBS, What to Watch this Black History Month
Celebrate Black History Month this year with a closer look at the lives of various Black Americans who have made indelible marks on history with their artistry, professional achievements, and community activism. We’ve compiled a list of films premiering this month, as well as programs available to stream in February.
Library of Congress, African American History Online: A Resource Guide
A large number of primary source collection materials related to African American history are digitized and available online via the Library of Congress’s website, including manuscripts, newspaper articles, images, and rare books. In addition, the Library also provides digital content on African American history through their exhibition program, “Today in History” essays, and online research guides.
Library of Congress: The African-American Mosaic: A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture
The exhibit covers four areas –Colonization, Abolition, Migrations, and the WPA– of the many covered by the Mosaic. These topics were selected not only because they illustrate well the depth, breadth, and richness of the Library’s black history collections, but also because of the significant and interesting interplay among them. For example, the “back-to-Africa” movement represented by the American Colonization Society is vigorously opposed by abolitionists, and the movement of blacks to the North is documented by the writers and artists who participated in federal projects of the 1930s.
National Museum of African American History & Culture: Making a Way Out of No Way
How do you make a way out of no way? For generations, African Americans worked collectively to survive and thrive in the midst of racial oppression. Through education, religious institutions, businesses, the press, and organizations, Black men and women created ways to serve and strengthen their communities. They established networks of mutual support, cultivated leadership, and improved social and economic opportunities. They also developed a tradition of activism that paved the way for broader social change.
Ohio History Connection, African American Experience in Ohio
This African American Experience in Ohio collection documents specific moments in the history of African Americans in Ohio in their own words, in particular focusing on their experiences from 1850 to 1920. It includes manuscript collections, photographs and pamphlets from the Ohio History Connection Archives & Libraries and its National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center division in Wilberforce. This collection only scratches the surface of the African American experience in Ohio and serves as a place to begin inquiry into this diverse and complex history.
Selected Databases to Learn More About Black History
HeinOnline’s Civil Rights & Social Justice
A person’s civil rights ensure protection from discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin or ethnicity, religion, age, and disability. While often confused, civil liberties, on the other hand, are basic freedoms outlined in the Bill of Rights and Constitution. Examples of civil liberties include the right to free speech, to privacy, to remain silent during police interrogation, and the right to have a fair trial. The lifeblood of civil rights protection in the United States is the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (“No state shall make or enforce any law which shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”). Click through the pages in this database to learn how far our nation has come in fulfilling its promise of “all men are created equal” and how much further it still can go.
HeinOnline’s Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law
This HeinOnline collection brings together a multitude of essential legal materials on slavery in the United States and the English-speaking world. It includes every statute passed by every colony and state on slavery, every federal statute dealing with slavery, and all reported state and federal cases on slavery.
Oxford African American Studies Center
A comprehensive collection of scholarship focused on the lives and events which have shaped African American and African history and culture, coupled with precise search and browse capabilities. Features over 7,500 articles from Oxford’s reference works, approximately 100 primary sources with specially written commentaries, over 1,000 images, over 100 maps, over 200 charts and tables¸ timelines to guide researchers through the history of African Americans and over 6¸000 biographies. The core content includes: Africana, which presents an account of the African and African American experience in five volumes; the Encyclopedia of African American history; Black women in America 2nd ed; and the African American national biography.
ProQuest’s Black Freedom Struggle in the United States: Challenges and Triumphs in the Pursuit of Equality
ProQuest’s Black Freedom Struggle in the United States features 2,000 expertly selected primary source documents – historical newspaper articles, pamphlets, diaries, correspondence and more – from pivotal eras in African American history. Documents are focused on six different phases of Black Freedom: 1. Slavery and the Abolitionist Movement (1790-1860) — 2. The Civil War and the Reconstruction Era (1861-1877) — 3. Jim Crow Era from 1878 to the Great Depression (1878-1932) — 4. The New Deal and World War II (1933-1945) — 5. The Civil Rights and Black Power Movements (1946-1975) — 6. The Contemporary Era (1976-2000). The documents presented here represent a selection of primary sources available in several ProQuest databases.
ProQuest Black Studies Center
The Black Studies Center consists of scholarly journals, commissioned overview essays by top scholars in Black Studies, historic indexes, and The Chicago Defender newspaper from 1910-1975. At the heart of Black Studies Center is Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience, consisting of essays that provide an introduction to major topics in Black Studies. Explore interdisciplinary topics through in-depth essays; read the seminal research and timelines that accompany each topic; and search for images and film clips to provide another dimension to your research.
Selected Books to Learn More About Black History
Beyond Civil Disobedience: Social Nullification and Black Citizenship (e-Book)
This text explores social contract theory and state governance through the lens of the African American experience. It asserts “social nullification” as a legitimate and constitutional response to the USA’s crisis of legitimacy. It includes include perspectives from social and political philosophy, philosophy of law, legal theory, sociology, critical race theory, and Africana Studies.
Critical Race Theory: The Cutting Edge (e-Book)
With this third edition of Critical Race Theory, editors Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic have created a reader for the twenty-first century—one that shakes up the legal academy, questions comfortable liberal premises, and leads the search for new ways of thinking about our nation’s most intractable, and insoluble, problem—race. The contributions, from a stellar roster of established and emerging scholars, address new topics, such as intersectionality and black men on the “down low.” Essays also confront much-discussed issues of discrimination, workplace dynamics, affirmative action, and sexual politics. Also new to this volume are updated section introductions, author notes, questions for discussion, and reading lists for each unit. The volume also covers the spread of the movement to other disciplines such as education.
Embodied Injustice: Race, Disability, and Health (e-Book)
Black people and people with disabilities in the United States are distinctively disadvantaged in their encounters with the health care system. These groups also share harsh histories of medical experimentation, eugenic sterilizations, and health care discrimination. Yet the similarities in inequities experienced by Black people and disabled people and the harms endured by people who are both Black and disabled have been largely unexplored. To fill this gap, Embodied Injustice uses an interdisciplinary approach, weaving health research with social science, critical approaches, and personal stories to portray the devastating effects of health injustice in America. Author Mary Crossley takes stock of the sometimes-vexed relationship between racial justice and disability rights advocates and interrogates how higher disability prevalence among Black Americans reflects unjust social structures. By suggesting reforms to advance health equity for disabled people, Black people, and disabled Black people, this book lays a crucial foundation for intersectional, cross-movement advocacy to advance health justice in America.
Post-Racial Constitutionalism and the Roberts Court: Rhetorical Neutrality and the Perpetuation of Inequality (e-Book)
Post-Racial Constitutionalism and the Roberts Court: Rhetorical Neutrality and the Perpetuation of Inequality provides the first comprehensive Critical Race Theory critique of the United States Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts. Since being named to the Court in 2005, Chief Justice Roberts has maintained a position of neutrality in his opinions on race. By dissecting neutrality and how it functions as a unifying feature in all the Court’s race jurisprudence, this book illustrates the consequences of this ostensible impartiality. By examining the Court’s racial jurisprudence dating back to the Reconstruction, the book shows how the Court has actively rationalized systemic oppression through neutral rhetoric and the elevation of process-based decisional values, which are rooted in democratic myths of inclusivity and openness.
Race on the Brain: What Implicit Bias Gets Wrong about the Struggle for Racial Justice (e-Book)
In Race on the Brain, Jonathan Kahn argues that implicit bias has grown into a master narrative of race relations—one with profound, if unintended, negative consequences for law, science, and society. He emphasizes its limitations, arguing that while useful as a tool to understand particular types of behavior, it is only one among several tools available to policy makers. An uncritical embrace of implicit bias, to the exclusion of power relations and structural racism, undermines wider civic responsibility for addressing the problem by turning it over to experts. Technological interventions, including many tests for implicit bias, are premised on a color-blind ideal and run the risk of erasing history, denying present reality, and obscuring accountability. Kahn recognizes the significance of implicit social cognition but cautions against seeing it as a panacea for addressing America’s longstanding racial problems. A bracing corrective to what has become a common-sense understanding of the power of prejudice, Race on the Brain challenges us all to engage more thoughtfully and more democratically in the difficult task of promoting racial justice.