Scholar-activist W.E.B. DuBois in 1946.
Underwood Archives/Getty Images
As the 20th century’s preeminent scholar-activist on race, W.E.B. Du Bois would not be surprised by modern-day attempts at whitewashing American history. He saw them in 1930s and 1940s.
In this Feb. 2, 1964, image, Bayard Rustin talks on a telephone from a church in Brooklyn, New York.
Patrick A. Burns/New York Times Co./Getty Images
Bayard Rustin led a long and complicated life dedicated to the fight for equal rights. Targeted by the FBI, Rustin became a close adviser to Martin Luther King Jr.
The Supreme Court has no army to enforce its decisions; its authority rests solely on its legitimacy.
Win McNamee/Getty Images
The Supreme Court is a leading player in enacting policy in the US. But it has no army to enforce its decisions; its authority rests solely on its legitimacy.
W.E.B. Du Bois in his office at The Crisis in New York City, 1925.
W. E. B. Du Bois Papers (MS 312). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries
As editor of the magazine for 24 years, Du Bois featured articles about biology, evolution, archaeology in Africa and more to refute the rampant scientific racism of the early 20th century.
These NAACP leaders met at a 1916 conference.
Library of Congress
The influential civil rights group got its start following a wave of brutal white-led violence against Black people in Springfield, Illinois.
On May 27, 1919, British Prime Minister Lloyd George, Italian President Vittorio Orlando, French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau and American President Woodrow Wilson met May 27, 1919, during the Paris Peace Conference.
Lee Jackson/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
Suffering a pandemic and the aftermath of a war that killed 50 million, the world in 1920 faced a turning point as it negotiated a new political order. As today, the key issue was racial inequality.
Octavia Spencer, left, stars in this rags-to-riches tale, along with Blair Underwood.
The founder of a black hair-care empire supported the NAACP and the Tuskegee Institute, helped preserve Frederick Douglass’s home. She also tried to used her prominence to stop lynching.
The Supreme Court in June.
AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Was a friend-of-the-court brief filed with the Supreme Court by five Democratic senators a legal argument – or a political threat?
Thurgood Marshall outside the Supreme Court in Washington in 1958. Marshall, the head of the NAACP’s legal arm who argued part of the case, went on to become the Supreme Court’s first African-American justice.
While the Brown vs. Board of Education case is often celebrated for ordering school desegregation, history shows many black people in the city where the case began opposed integrated schools.
Duke Ellington leads his orchestra in a rehearsal in Coventry, England, on Dec. 2, 1966.
From spirituals about the trials of slavery to the fight for civil rights and the modern rhythms of swing music, Duke Ellington told a story about black life that was both beautiful and complex.
The Niagara Movement meeting in Fort Erie Canada, near Niagara Falls in 1905 had no Canadians present.
Library of Congress
The first NAACP meeting was held in Canada but there is no mention of Black Canadians in the books. This historical absence is a symbol of the invisibility of anti-Black racism in Canada.
Silent protest parade in New York against the East St. Louis riots, 1917.
Library of Congress
Thousands marched in silence against racial violence after a riot left hundreds of blacks dead and thousands homeless. The demands of black people in 2017 remain the same as they did in 1917.
Civil rights advocate Rachel Dolezal has been accused of falsely claiming she is African-American.
In the US and South Africa, “passing” as another race has a long and painful history. Controversial American Rachel Dolezal’s “passing” to justify her identity makes a mockery of such histories.
From person to person, the spread of online hate can be rapid.
Connections via shutterstock.com
Today’s radical right is remaking its profile, using online communications to spread its message farther and deeper into our society than ever possible before.
Rosa Parks was a hero in the fight against segregation … but she was just one of many.
Despite receiving mixed reviews, Go Set a Watchman was the most pre-ordered book in publisher HarperCollins’ history.
The novel’s two main characters represent the constitutional conundrum that many Americans grappled with in the pre-civil rights era.
Self-identifying as black is anyone’s right, but the lies are what do the most damage.
Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman Review via AP/file 2015
Blacks need allies, not avatars.
The “engineer” of civil rights legal victories
The civil rights movement produced many different types of leaders. Thurgood Marshall, argued successfully before the Supreme Court that racial segregation laws violated the US Constitution. Diane Nash…