Unpublished Black History
February 1, 2016 8:38 AM   Subscribe

"Every day during Black History Month, we will publish at least one of these photographs online, illuminating stories that were never told in our pages and others that have been mostly forgotten.... other holes in coverage probably reflect the biases of some earlier editors at our news organization, long known as the newspaper of record. They and they alone determined who was newsworthy and who was not, at a time when black people were marginalized in society and in the media."
posted by roomthreeseventeen (13 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
This is awesome. And so long overdue. Thanks for the post!
posted by pjsky at 8:45 AM on February 1, 2016

Within hours of moving in, Mr. Belafonte said, the building’s manager “became aware that he had a Negro as a tenant.” The building’s owner asked him to leave. Mr. Belafonte refused.

Instead, he bought the building, using dummy real estate companies to cloak his identity. Some tenants who had been renting there bought their apartments and some of Mr. Belafonte’s friends moved in, too. “Lena Horne got the penthouse,” said Mr. Belafonte

Ball so hard mothafuckas want to fine me
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:57 AM on February 1, 2016 [26 favorites]

This is fantastic. I love the photo of the kids at the blackboard. And the kids in the parade. And the story about Lena Horne and Harry Belafonte and the penthouse apartment? Amazing.

I just sent it to the children's publishing group at my workplace as a "hey, look at this cool thing, guys" share. I can imagine a picture book about nearly every one of these topics. (Well... maybe Run-DMC would be YA. Maybe.) #weneeddiversebooks
posted by sunset in snow country at 8:59 AM on February 1, 2016 [4 favorites]

Every time I want to throw the NYT out the window, they do something like this. This is pretty damn awesome.
posted by rtha at 9:18 AM on February 1, 2016 [5 favorites]

Update: No picture books have been birthed so far, but my coworker sent a response that reminded me of this amazing photo: James Baldwin and Lorraine Hansberry gettin' down
posted by sunset in snow country at 9:38 AM on February 1, 2016 [4 favorites]

These are great, but somehow it falls short to me. I guess I just think about all the people we still haven't heard of because no one paid attention. Which is still the Times fault but impossible to undo. Or how I would love a February where we talk about civil rights but skip King & Malcolm X. Or maybe every month of the year.
posted by dame at 9:59 AM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

dame, today was just the first post of 29. So it's going to be a much larger thing.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:02 AM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Or like Adam Clayton Powell. They choose the picture of him being barred from the House but skip over how he is the whole reason Harlem has express trains, not to mention all the wonderful things he did for blacks as the representative from Harlem, aka the one who did not have to kowtow because he would be reelected. I think this would have been better had the Times paired with like the Amsterdam News or something to cover the stories they really missed.
posted by dame at 10:03 AM on February 1, 2016 [5 favorites]

I mean, start as you mean to go on, I suppose.
posted by dame at 10:04 AM on February 1, 2016

I mean this comment as a "yes, and..." not a "no, but..."

I like how the intro emphasizes that sense of missing history - that history was irrevocably lost because of past and present biases, and that despite what they're doing to correct that (this project), racism and selective bias mean that there are parts of our heritage we can never get back.

dame, I'm reading about Adam Clayton Powell now. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.
posted by sunset in snow country at 10:19 AM on February 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

When "the paper of record," more often than not thought of as a liberal paper buries items like this in its archival vault, you can begin to get an idea of how racism has infected our nation. As for Powell, he did do many great things for his constituency. But like his white counterparts in Congress, he did some not so nice things. His absenteeism from his elected duties finally unseated him and he was replaced by Charles Rangel. I am fond of his retort when under investigation he answered that he did nothing that many of his white counterparts in congress do with regularity.
posted by Postroad at 11:31 AM on February 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

I would love an attached site where people can submit their own photos of family members participating in historical moments.

Especially for social movements the media will cover the spokespeople, but the movement is made of legions of ordinary folks making coffee, painting banners, taking in strangers so they have a place to sleep the night before the big event, waiting in line to register to vote, taking their kids to the big march because it is important, and sitting in a church basement deciding about how much risk their family can bear.
posted by chapps at 1:47 PM on February 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

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