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History of Race Relations

By looking back on the important events and milestones in American history, a lot can be learned about race relations in the U.S. Read about the Chicano Movement, the Asian-American Civil Rights Movement and affirmative action's history. Discover the wide reaching impact of the American Civil Rights Movement.

History of Race in the U.S.
Race and racism have a long and complicated history in the U.S.—from the peculiar institution of slavery to the civil rights movements of the 1960s and the efforts to right the wrongs of the past with programs such as affirmative action. Interested in exploring the history of race in America? Learn about the movers and shakers in the fight for civil rights, how to honor the past and the issues …

African-American History Overview
Strike down misperceptions about Black History Month by learning about the origins of the month-long observance and reflecting on the people and events that helped shape black history and, by extension, American history.

Examples of Institutional Racism in the United States
Institutional racism in the church, medicine and in the legal system, to name a few, has perpetuated discrimination in the United States for generations.

The Origins of Black History Month
With yearly celebrations of Black History Month taking place in the United States for decades, it’s easy to think that such cultural observances have always been a part of American society. In fact, Americans didn’t come together to recognize the contributions of blacks until the early 20th century. Thanks to the efforts of pioneering historian...

Shocking Moments in 20th Century Black History
Looking back, the groundbreaking events that shaped black history may not seem all that shocking. Through a contemporary lens, it's easy to think that the courts deemed segregation unconstitutional because it was the right thing to do or that a black athlete's performance had no bearing on race relations. In actuality, there was shock each time...

Public Figures Discuss Key Moments in Race Relations
When racial controversies occur, public figures such as President Barack Obama, Cornel West and Spike typically don’t hesitate to share their thoughts on the issues at hand. Here’s what celebrities and politicians thought of key moments in race relations, such as the March on Washington’s 50th anniversary and George Zimmerman’s acquittal.

Public Figures on The March on Washington’s 50th Anniversary
Civil rights activists celebrated the March on Washington’s 50th anniversary on Aug. 28, 2013. It was an event that many used to discuss the advances that have been made in race relations and the work that still needs to be done before racial equality becomes a reality.

Remembering Trayvon Martin After George Zimmerman’s Acquittal
A jury acquitting George Zimmerman of murder for killing Trayvon Martin sparked a huge public outcry. Public figures such as politicians, media personalities and celebrities shared their disappointment with the verdict and civil rights groups outlined ways concerned citizens could take action in the wake of Zimmerman’s acquittal.

Five Key Moments in Latino History of the 20th Century
This overview of key moments in Latino history highlights the milestones of Hispanic Americans as well as the challenges they endured—from the Zoot Suit Riots to Desi Arnaz appearing on “I Love Lucy” to the 1968 walkouts to Roberto Clemente becoming a baseball legend to Prop. 187.

An Overview of Slavery in the U.S.
Revisiting the painful topic of slavery is one way to prevent the past from repeating in the future. This overview examines interesting facts about slavery, including the countries slaves ended up in, the slaves that revolted against the institution of slavery, why Texas slaves remained in bondage longer than others in the U.S., films about...

Five Interesting Facts About Slavery
Learn the key facts about the United States’ involvement in the slave trade with this overview that details when the slave trade began, how many slaves were brought to the New World and when the county outlawed the importation of slaves, among other issues.

A Brief History of South African Apartheid
Learn more about apartheid in South Africa with this brief history of the racially stratified social system.

Is Black History Month Relevant?
In todays society, blacks are widely represented in U.S. society. So, is Black History Month still relevant, or worse yet, is it racist? The benefits and drawbacks to celebrating black history may be more complex than you think.

Spotlight on Asian-American History and Culture
An overview of the highlights of Asian-American history and culture, including the events that led to the Asian-American civil rights movement as well as the effort to establish Asian-Pacific Heritage Month. Moreover, learn about how Japanese-American activist Richard Aoki contributed to the Black Panther Party and how the murder of a Detroit...

President Obama’s Speeches and Public Remarks About Race
While President Barack Obama wrote extensively about his racial identity in the memoir Dreams From My Father. The first black president has been spoken only occasionally about race while in the public eye. This overview highlights the rare speeches and public remarks President Obama has made about race during his tenure in office.

Five Key Figures in African-American History Before 1900
When black history month rolls around each year, many focus on the accomplishments of black activists and inventors. However, black poets, politicians and war heroes are among the historical figures who’ve left indelible marks on U.S. society for hundreds of years now. Learn more about their contributions to American culture

Celebrating Latino History and Heritage
Exploring the milestones in Hispanic-American history provides a clearer picture of the contributions Latinos have made to the United States. Civil rights activists, entertainers and athletes of Hispanic origin have all left their mark on the country. Federal observances such as National Hispanic Heritage Month aim to inspire the public to take...

Race, Racism and U.S. Health Care
This overview highlights how medical racism leads today’s doctors to give patients of color fewer treatment options than white patients and how in the past, medical racism led to the compulsory sterilization of women of color and to minorities being used as guinea pigs for medical research.

Medical Racism: The Tuskegee and Guatemala Syphilis Studies
This overview details two examples of U.S. government sponsored medical racism: The Tuskegee and Guatemala Syphilis Studies.

The U.S. Government’s Role in Sterilizing Women of Color
In the 20th century, women of color—blacks, Puerto Ricans and Native Americans—were targeted for sterilization by the U.S. government. This overview provides details on what happened.

The Argument Against Columbus Day
Columbus Day has been official U.S. holiday since 1937, but civil rights activists argue that Christopher Columbus should not be honored. They say that when the Italian explorer made his way to the New World, he treated the indigenous peoples he encountered inhumanely—introducing them to torture, sexual exploitation, colonization and capitalism.

Observing Italian American Heritage Month
Highlighting facts about Italian Americans and their immigrant ancestors during Italian American Heritage Month.

The 2013 Year in Review: Top 10 Race Relations Stories
This year in review highlights the major new stories in 2013 about race relations, including George Zimmerman’s acquittal, Paula Deen’s use of the N-word and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

Top 7 Race Relations Stories of 2012
Many of the top news stories of 2012 involved race. For example, President Obama managed to win reelection thanks in large part to unprecedented numbers of Hispanic, Asian and black voters supporting him at the polls. Gabby Douglas became the first black gymnast to win a gold medal in women’s all-around at the Olympics.

The 10 Biggest News Stories of 2011 About Race
The biggest news stories of 2011 involving race include Amy Chua’s assertion that Chinese mothers parent better than others, Newt Gingrich’s criticism of poor black kids, an immigration law that has led Latinos in Alabama to flee and the rise of black conservative Herman Cain in the Republican presidential race. This Top 10 list elaborates on...

World War II’s Impact on Race Relations
How did World War II affect U.S. race relations? The xenophobia and racism directed at Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor’s attack resulted in President Roosevelt signing an executive order to evacuate them into concentration camps, lest they conspire with Japan to plan additional attacks on the U.S. Some Japanese Americans responded to this...

Do Your Food Products Have Racist Roots?
Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben are just some of the African American faces that have been used to advertise food over the years. Because such food products have long been criticized for fueling racial stereotypes, however, the link between food marketing and racism remains a touchy subject

The Year 2010 in Review: Top Race Relations Stories
How will the year 2010 go down in history in terms of race relations? It saw a black USDA official lose her job on the false basis that she's anti-white, celebrity after celebrity drop the N-word, a boycott of Arizona due to an immigration law viewed as racist and plenty more. Take a look back at which news stories about race gripped the nation...

The 2009 Year in Review for Race Relations
The year has come to a close, and there’s no doubt it will go down in history as a groundbreaking period for race relations. The year was one in which minorities broke extraordinary ground in politics, the most famous African American icon in the world died and Disney unveiled the first black princess in its 72-year history. Still, the year was...

Top 10 Events in Race Relations This Decade (2000-2009)
The first decade of the new millennium saw extraordinary strides in race relations. New ground was broken in film, television and politics, to name a few. This timeline provides a look at the key events in race relations between 2000 and 2009, including Obama’s historic rise to the presidency in what some have called “post-racial America.”

Thanksgiving: A Day of Celebration or Mourning for Native Americans
For many Americans, Thanksgiving means family, food and football. For others, particularly Native Americans, the day is one of mourning. So, should Thanksgiving be celebrated? Is it possible to have a Thanksgiving celebration that does not romanticize interactions between Pilgrims and American Indians?

Key Events in Affirmative Action's History
Today affirmative action is talked about so much, it seems like the practice has always been around. Actually, race-based preferences arose after hard-fought battles waged by civil rights leaders and acted on by U.S. presidents. Learn which events were the most noteworthy in affirmative action’s history.

The Asian-American Civil Rights Movement
Asian Americans mobilized around political causes in the 1960s and ’70s during the Asian-American Civil Rights Movement. An apology to Japanese American internees, an end to the Vietnam War and ethnic studies programs in colleges were major movement causes. Today, Asian Americans continue to be politically active and recently celebrated the...

The Chicano Movement: Brown and Proud
Latinos have more political power than ever before. A major voting bloc, both Republicans and Democrats court the Hispanic population. In the Civil Rights era, however, Latinos had to fight to be heard. They voiced their concerns in what is known as the Chicano Movement.

What Is Juneteenth and Why Is it Celebrated?
Each June African Americans across the United States celebrate a holiday called Juneteenth that recognizes the date that all slaves received their freedom. Learn more about the history of the holiday and how it is celebrated today.

Remembering Vincent Chin
Vincent Chin’s murder in 1982 by two white Michigan men who blamed the Japanese for taking away auto jobs inspired Asian Americans to rally for justice. Learn more information about Vincent Chin in this profile.

Celebrating the Kwanzaa Holiday and Understanding its Impact
Just what is Kwanzaa? One of the newer American holidays, Kwanzaa originated in the turbulent 1960s to instill racial pride and unity in the black community. Now, fully recognized in mainstream America and elsewhere, Kwanzaa is widely celebrated.

Celebrating Diversity While Celebrating the Holidays
The United States is a cultural melting pot, or as some now call it, a salad bowl. How can we honor cultural diversity during the holidays? The best way is by having interfaith celebrations that don't mock other cultures and that respect those with different cultural traditions. That means no inappropriate Halloween costumes, understanding why...

Discrimination and the Irish American Experience
When the Irish arrived in the United States they faced racial stereotypes and discrimination, largely because of how the English had treated them in the Old World. They managed to overcome bias by distancing themselves from other racial minorities rather than aligning with them.

Holidays of Interest to African Americans
While most Americans are familiar with holidays such as Kwanzaa and Martin Luther King Day, other holidays of particular interest to African Americans remain off the radar of mainstream America. This overview highlights holidays such as Juneteenth and Loving Day and provides history and background information on the “black” holidays with which...

How Four Christian Denominations in the U.S. Atoned For Racism
Many Christian denominations have publicly apologized for supporting racial injustice in the past. The Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church and the Southern Baptist Convention are among those denominations that have asked forgiveness for perpetuating racial discrimination.

Race, Intolerance and the Church
American churches have a past that’s been colored by racism, but in recent years a number of churches have apologized for their role in slavery, segregation and racial discrimination in the U.S. Today many churches seek to diversify their congregations, but some churches still make headlines for discriminatory treatment against minority groups.

Celebrating Irish-American, Italian-American and Polish-American Heritage

Politicians Weigh-In on Slavery and Segregation
A number of public figures, including Condoleezza Rice, Haley Barbour and Rand Paul have made headlines by speaking out on controversial issues such as slavery and racial segregation in the United States.

Trends in Race Relations From Year to Year
This list tracks the most popular race relations stories by year.

Overview of Apartheid and Its Opponents Nelson Mandela and Steve Biko

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