In the face of extreme punishment for enslaved people and breaking the law for whites, roughly 5 percent of the enslaved population learned to read and write. Letters like the ones written below show the lengths they would go to learn.
Why do we dance? African-American social dances started as a way for enslaved Africans to keep cultural traditions alive and retain a sense of inner freedom. They remain an affirmation of identity and independence. In this electric demonstration, packed with live performances, choreographer, educator and TED Fellow Camille A. Brown explores what happens when communities let loose and express themselves by dancing together.
After serving a 19-year sentence, Jean Valjean ends up on the Lord Bishop's doorstep, where he is offered a warm meal and bed to sleep in. Although he steals from the bishop, in the end, he earns redemption and a second chance thanks to the bishop's wise and caring ways.
This story follows a girl who befriends the first African American to attend High Point Central High School, as a result of desegregation. What begins as an unintended and awkward experience in the cafeteria, becomes a strong and admirable friendship.
Bayard Rustin was an African American leader who worked for the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) in the 1940s and 1950s for equal rights for all Americans using nonviolence. In this story, he writes about the struggle for an African American man to order a simple hamburger at a restaurant in the Midwest.