When Elijah was in the fourth grade, he came to me, came home from school bubbling over with excitement about what he had learned that day about African-American history. Now, I’m an African-American and cultural studies professor, and so, as you can imagine, African-American culture is kind of serious around my home. So I was very proud that my son was excited about what he had learned that day in school. So I said, “What did you learn?” He said, “I learned about Rosa Parks.” I said, “OK, what did you learn about Rosa Parks?” He said, “I learned that Rosa Parks was this frail, old black woman in the 1950s in Montgomery, Alabama. And she sat down on this bus, and she had tired feet, and when the bus driver told her to give up her seat to a white patron, she refused because she had tired feet. It had been a long day, and she was tired of oppression, and she didn’t give up her seat. And she marched with Martin Luther King, and she believed in nonviolence.”
And I guess he must have looked at my face and saw that I was a little less than impressed by his … um … history lesson. And so he stopped, and he was like, “Dad, what’s wrong? What did I get wrong?” I said, “Son, you didn’t get anything wrong, but I think your teacher got a whole lot of things wrong.”The Real Story of Rosa Parks – And Why We Need to confront Myths about Black History – TEDxNashville
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Hailed as the most famous African American of his time, he sang with a voice that left audiences weeping, and, for a period, had the entire world at his feet – and then lost everything for the sake of his principles. Weaving travelogue with biography, this is a story of political ardor, heritage, and trauma – a luminous portrait of a man and an urgent reflection on the politics that define us today.
Focuses on Washington’s efforts to help black people in the segregated South by promoting economic independence and moral character in order to integrate blacks into an American life free of exploitation and discrimination.
Beginning with the return of World War I African-American veterans to the riots and lynchings of the “Red Summer” of 1919 and ending with Du Bois’s self-imposed exile and death in Ghana forty-four years later, Lewis charts the dramatic evolution of the premier architect of the Civil Rights movement from Talented Tenth elitist to internationalist and proponent of economic as well as racial democracy for all people of color.[Read more…]