African-American History

African-American children's book "Tobe"
UNC Press


First published in 1939 by UNC Press, the picture book Tobe was a rare children's story featuring an African-American protagonist.

The book follows a boy who works hard on his family farm. The story uses the real photos of people who lived in an African-American township just outside of Greensboro called Goshen.

The book gave a historical glimpse into African-American communities in North Carolina, but left open questions about what happened to these families in the decades to come.

The book, "Jim Crow Wisdom," (UNC Press/2013) explores stories black Americans tell about their past and the way those stories inform modern black identity. 

Dixie Highway Road Building and the Making of the Modern South, 1900 to 1930 / UNC Press


Before the 20th century, Southern roads were little more than rubble and dirt. Traveling from county to county was difficult and state to state was near impossible. The Dixie Highway, constructed in 1915, shifted control and funding of road regulations from local government to state and federal authorities. 

Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men Of The South / Sweet Tea The Play

Television shows like Glee, Will and Grace, and Modern Family portray gay identity as white, northern, and secular. But that was far from E. Patrick Johnson's reality growing up in Hickory, North Carolina. Johnson decided to travel across the South to unearth stories of African American gay men and document his findings in the book Sweet Tea: Gay Black Men of the South (UNC Press/2008).

State of the Re:Union - Re:Defining Black History 2014
State of the Re:Union

The public radio program State of the Re:Union has a lofty goal. They want to tell the story of America, one community at a time.

On Monday January 20 at noon and 8 p.m. WUNC will present a State of the Re:Union special called Re:Defining Black History 2014. (Listen to the show here.)

Wikimedia Commons


Many people know that during the Trail of Tears, tens of thousands of American Indians were forced to walk to Oklahoma.


When Patricia Harris became leader of the North Carolina Department of the American Legion, she was the first African-American and the first female to take the post. 

UNC Press


The struggle for education equality in North Carolina was hard-fought for more than four decades.

It was not only a struggle for facilities that were equal to white schools, but a fight for integration and civic inclusion. Host Frank Stasio talks with Sarah Caroline Thuesen, author of “Greater Than Equal: African American Struggles for Schools and Citizenship in North Carolina, 1919-1965,” and a professor of history at Guilford College.

Bill Ferris' new book, The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists, presents 40 years of interviews and photographs.
UNC Press

For decades, Bill Ferris documented Southern African-American folklore.  His latest book The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists presents material from 40 years of interviews with writers, scholars and artists who reflected southern culture in their work.

Elizabeth Cotten conducting a guitar workshop at the 1968 Newport Folk Festival / flickr

In the early 1900s in Carrboro, a young Elizabeth Cotten took her brother's handmade guitar from under his bed.

She started playing the instrument upside down - with her right hand on the fret and strumming with her left hand. The young woman went on to become a famous blues and folk musician. Next weekend, Carrboro will dedicate a historic marker to honor Cotton’s legacy and ties to the town.