Should We Admit We're Getting History Wrong?

Lois Leveen Blog Post

In this post for the H-CivWar Author's Blog, Lois Leveen asks historians to share their thoughts on the inevitability of getting history wrong.

Two years into H-CivWar's Author's Blog, perhaps it's time to address the octopus in the room. Wait, no, not the OCTOPUS! How could I have thought, let alone typed, nevermind hit "publish post" on anything including such an erroneous claim? Surely no one wants to claim the elephant in the room is actually an octopus! That would be wrong. Isn't the point of our work NOT to get it wrong?

Or is the belief that we aren't getting history wrong the most octo

To begin H-CivWar's new author's blog, in which contributors will document our triumphs and tribulations as we work on our current book projects, public humanities scholar Dr. Lois Leveen introduces us to her work documenting the life of the elusive African America Civil War spy most often (erroneously) referred to as Mary Bowser.

How does one begin to describe a project you've been working on for years, and will be for many more? How about this:

My Civil War project is so exciting! 

I have been quoted in the Washington Post!

No, the "reporter" did not actually interview me! He merely pulled a

The Hazards of Concealed Firearms on Campus

Shawn Leigh Alexander Blog Post

The Hazards of Concealed Firearms on Campus:

A Statement by the KU Department of African and African-American Studies

Between 2013 and 2014, at least thirty-three states introduced legislation to allow concealed firearms at their institutions of higher education.  At least eight states currently have some form of concealed-carry law in effect on college and university campuses.  Kansas will join these ranks in the fall of 2017, when postsecondary schools in the Regents system are set to lose their exemption from state legislation permitting concealed firearms in all public places.  Needless to

Everything to Lose

Shawn Leigh Alexander Blog Post

Everything to Lose

Shawn Leigh Alexander, Department of African and African American Studies - University of Kansas

Author of W. E. B. Du Bois: An American Intellectual and Activist and An Army of Lions: The Civil Rights Stuggle before the NAACP 

This past week in the campaign for the American presidency we once again witnessed an attempt by the Republican party nominee to hit the proverbial reset button.  Different from his previous attempts, we saw a concerted effort to “appeal” to the black vote by the Nixonesque “law and order” candidate. For the second time in a week, Mr. Donald Trump spoke

The BMRC is a Chicago-based membership organization of libraries, universities, and other archival institutions.  Its mission is to make broadly accessible its members' holdings of materials that document African American and African diasporic culture, history, and politics, with a specific focus on materials relation to Chicago.  The University of Chicago serves as the current host institution of the BMRC.



Bronzeville / Black Chicagoan Historical Society
636 East 35th Street, Chicago, IL 60616

Collection Strengths: Civil Rights

New Smithsonian Exhibit to Tell Hoosier Farming Story

Chandler Lighty Blog Post

Indiana had more than fifty rural African American settlements prior to the Civil War.  One of those settlements, Lyles Station in Gibson County, will be featured in one of twelve inaugural exhibits at the Smithsonian's National Musuem of African American History and Culture when it opens on September 24, 2016.

The Smithsonian issued a news relase about the exhibit and a recent ceremony to collect soil from the Lyles Station that will be included in the exhibit.

For more info about Indiana's Early Black Settlements see the following resources:

The Slave’s Cause and Abolition’s Presence

Shawn Leigh Alexander Blog Post

The Slave’s Cause and Abolition’s Presence

Julia Bernier, PhD Candidate - W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst


In the wake of Trayvon Martin’s murder, the world has witnessed the tremendous growth of a new movement for Black liberation. The Black Lives Matter movement has advanced crucial ideas about not only the structural violences of white supremacy and systemic racism that attempt to govern Black life, but has also worked to imagine and construct new meanings for, and within, the traditions of liberation, revolution, and abolition. Alicia



Location: Wilberforce, Ohio
Main page:
Digital collection:

As the oldest freestanding African-American seminary in the world, having been mandated in 1891 by its sponsor, the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC), Payne Theological Seminary currently serves as one of the denomination’s primary archival centers.  Located in the heart of the historic Native-American Tawawa territory in Greene County, Ohio, Payne is neighbor to two historic African-American universities — Wilberforce and Central State.  The

Langston’s Lawrence (Hughes Birthday)

Shawn Leigh Alexander Blog Post

Langston’s Lawrence (Hughes Birthday)

Randal Maurice Jelks, American Studies and African & African-American Studies – University of Kansas

Author of Benjamin Mays, Schoolmaster of the Movement: A Biography


Langston’s Lawrence wasn’t idyllic. It was frequently Not Without Laughter as his first novel was titled. The Midwest’s racial segregation made it a heartless Heartland. Kansas wasn’t a “Free State” for all. Nor could good self-respecting colored folks miss the fact that they were tolerated rather than embrace. The narrative of Lawrence became how Quantrill’s raid killed white folks, not them

Contextualizing the N-word Controversy at the University of Kansas          

Clayton Finn, African American Studies Major, California State University-Fullerton


            The recent events at the University of Kansas regarding Dr. Andrea Quenette’s use of the N-word in her classroom have raised pertinent questions about linguistic reference to racial vitriol in a college classroom setting.  During a classroom discussion of racial discrimination on campus, Quenette claimed, “As a white woman I just never have seen the racism…It’s not like I see ‘Nigger’ spray painted on walls…”[1] This remark