Black History Month

Black History Month on the MIT Press Reader

Articles on the lives, culture, and history of Black Americans from our MIT Press Reader

February marks Black History Month, first conceived in 1925 as a weeklong commemoration of Black Americans’ often overlooked achievements. Today the month offers an opportunity to reflect on the experiences, history, lives, culture, and contributions of this historically marginalized group.

At the MIT Press, we welcome the chance to consider our own work in amplifying diverse voices and stories—where we have made strides and where we may still fall short. To close out the month, we are sharing articles from our own MIT Press Reader that tackle issues of Black experience, culture, and history in America. Explore these articles below and read more on the MIT Press Reader.

Reflections on the Black Experience at MIT by Clarence G. Williams:

We must explore our role and leave a legacy so that future generations can relate to our hopes and disappointments, our struggles and achievements.

Excerpted from Technology and the Dream: Reflections on the Black Experience at MIT, 1941–1999 by Clarence G. Williams, with an introduction from the author.

Explore oral histories in this series:
W. Ahmad Salih
Jennifer N. Rudd
Reginald Van Lee
Phillip Clay
Gustave M. Solomons, Jr.
Kofi Annan

300 Years of African-American Invention and Innovation by Portia James:

Sketches of bravery, determination, and inventiveness.

Excerpted from Technology and the African-American Experience: Needs and Opportunities for Study edited by Bruce Sinclair

Trayvon Martin and the Hashtag Campaign That Set the Stage for Black Lives Matter by Sarah J. Jackson, Moya Bailey, and Brooke Foucault Welles:

Over time, #TrayvonMartin transformed from a signifier of Martin himself to a symbol of the broader condition of racial bias and injustice in America.

Excerpted from #HashtagActivism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice by Sarah J. Jackson, Moya Bailey and Brooke Foucault Welles

The Oppressive, Enduring Legacy of ‘Racecraft’ by Peter Temin:

We no longer believe that witches ride on brooms, but we continue to believe that races have powers that we should fear.

Excerpted from The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy by Peter Temin

Toward Rethinking Self-Defense in a Racist Culture by Dhoruba Bin Wahad:

American writer and activist Wahad was falsely imprisoned for 19 years. His essay on the national oppression of Black people remains deeply relevant today.

Excerpted from Still Black, Still Strong: Survivors of the U.S. War Against Black Revolutionaries by Dhoruba Bin Wahad, Assata Shakur and Mumia Abu-Jamal, distributed for Semiotext(e)

Explore more on the MIT Press Reader, and learn about our Grant Program for Diverse Voices