Tag Archives: historian

Rutgers Historian Connects Celebrities With African-American Ancestors on TV Series


Erica Armstrong Dunbar with Laverne Cox on TLC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” (Photo Courtesy of TLC)


What do Julie Bowen, Laverne Cox, Liv Tyler and Regina King have in common? All four actresses learned compelling stories about their ancestors with help from Rutgers history professor and award-winning author Erica Armstrong Dunbar, through her work with the TLC genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are?

As a historian for the show, Dunbar researches and builds narratives about celebrities’ ancestors, then meets with them on set in locations where their family came from, often in distant parts of the United States. 

She found, for example, that Bowen – star of ABC’s Modern Family – is descended from an abolitionist who helped fugitive slaves escape to freedom in Canada; Cox, of…

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Historian Kevin Gaines Is UVA’s First Julian Bond Professor


On a bright autumn afternoon in Cleveland more than 50 years ago, 6-year-old Kevin Gaines waited for a rally at his neighborhood playground to see a visitor he already knew was important: a minister named Martin Luther King Jr.

Alas, hearing the civil rights icon was not to happen that day for Gaines. King’s arrival was delayed so long that at sunset, the boy decided to head home and not be late for dinner.

Today, Gaines describes himself as a product of the civil rights era. Even when very young, it was hard not to be affected, he said. His parents were “thoughtful citizens who made sure I had access to what was going on.”

Gaines became a professor of African-American history. And now, after several previous posts at other prestigious universities, he has arrived at the University of…

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In memoriam: ‘Polly’ Nooter Roberts, art historian and scholar of African art


Mary “Polly” Nooter Roberts, UCLA professor of world arts and cultures/dance, died peacefully in her sleep at home on Tuesday, Sept. 11. She was 59, and had been living with stage four metastatic breast cancer for more than eight years.

Roberts was trained as an art historian and became one of the world’s foremost scholars of African arts. She focused her research in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where she undertook long-term dissertation research among Luba peoples, and in Senegal, where she conducted field research on the arts of a local Sufi movement called the Mouride Way.

Roberts studied the philosophical underpinnings of African visual and performance-based arts and was celebrated for her sensitive and innovative translation of cultural experience into museum exhibitions….

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A UVa Historian Talks About Charlottesville’s White-Supremacist Rally a Year Later


Shay Horse, Getty Images

Torch-wielding extremists encircled counterprotesters in a violent attack at the U. of Virginia last August.

After white supremacists marched through the University of Virginia’s campus with flaming tiki torches last summer, some students and faculty members managed to find one reason for optimism: Maybe, they thought, the nightmare would bring more people into the conversation about racism on campus. Those who had been apathetic would see that racism is not just a problem of the past and might be spurred into action.

“It’s never going to be the same, and that’s a great thing,” Devin Willis said last year. On August 11, just before the…

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Myron B. Pitts: Juneteenth narrative misses the mark, historian says



The name refers to June 19, 1865 when, as the popular version of the story goes, word reached enslaved African Americans in Texas that they were …
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*** This news item is 3rd party content and is included strictly for non-commercial informational purposes.

Historian to give Civil War presentation


FAYETTEVILLE — The North Carolina Civil War & Reconstruction History Center is sponsoring a presentation on June 19 by Hari Jones, one of the foremost authorities on the role of African-Americans in the Civil War.

Jones’ presentation is titled “How the Civil War Made America Great.” The presentation will be at 7 p.m. in the Rudolph Jones Student Center at Fayetteville State University, located at 1200 Murchison Road.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, comes on Juneteenth or Freedom Day, an American holiday that commemorates the June 19, 1865, announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas. It has also come to commemorate more generally the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans throughout the former Confederacy.

The presentation focuses on the perspective that…

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*** This news item is 3rd party content and is included strictly for non-commercial informational purposes.