During the 1990s, Bruce Glasrud spent considerable time, together with co-editor Laurie Champion seeking African American fiction set in the West. They discovered a remarkable trove of short stories that were published in 2000 as The African American West: A Century of Short Stories. In the process, Glasrud noticed that a number of prominent (or sometimes forgotten) black authors who wrote stories connected to themes, time, and spirit of the Harlem Renaissance. He began to suggest that there was a Harlem Renaissance in the West. Concurrently, Harlem Renaissance scholar Cary D. Wintz began arguing that the understanding of the Harlem Renaissance could greatly be energized and understood by examining other cities such as Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington D.C. where this emerging cultural activity took place, and by examining music, the visual arts and other creative forms beyond literature. At one conference where Glasrud discussed the Renaissance in the West, Wintz agreed that it might be significant, and said to Glasrud: “let’s do something about it.” We decided to do just that. Continue reading THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE IN THE AMERICAN WEST


After the passage of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, open skirmishes took place between Southern slave catchers and Northern abolitionists who despised slavery and what they saw as its encroachments on the liberty and freedom of residents of the free states.  Armed altercations and confrontations took place in a number of Northern communities between 1851 and 1861.  One of the earliest—what came to be called the Christiana Riot—took place in 1851 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  Lancaster County abuts Maryland along the lower reaches of the Susquehanna River, and the area had two branches of the Underground Railroa Continue reading Revisit: CHRISTIANA RIOT OF 1851


On Christmas Day, 1837, during the Second Seminole War, the Africans and Native Americans comprising Florida’s Seminole Nation defeated a superior U.S. fighting force. In more than half a century of Florida invasions, this was the worst defeat the Seminole Nation inflicted on the American Army, which was the strongest military force on the continent at that time. This victory, though long omitted from history books, is a milestone moment in American history. Continue reading Revisit: BATTLE OF LAKE OKEECHOBEE (1837)


On July 14, 1946, four African American sharecroppers were lynched at Moore’s Ford in northeast Georgia in an event now described as the “last mass lynching in America.” Yet the killers of George Dorsey, Mae Murray Dorsey, Roger Malcolm, and Dorothy Malcolm were never brought to justice. The violence and public outcry surrounding the event reflected growing African American challenges to Jim Crow in the post-World War II years as well the failures of state and federal authorities to address racial inequality and violence in the South. Continue reading Revisit: THE MOORE’S FORD LYNCHING (JULY 1946)