African American Heritage Collection
"People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them." - James Baldwin
The struggle for full equality in the United States does not merely cover the span of decades. It is a project generations and centuries in the making. With domestic policies that systematically marginalized African Americans and other people of color and fundamentally shaped the cultural and political landscape of the United States, how can we reconcile our nation’s ideals of equality, justice and liberty when we live in a society that enforces racial inequality. Racial inequality has shaped the African American experience.
The first Africans to arrive in North America were captured and sold as chattel in the transatlantic slave trade. Between the 1600s and 1800s, over twelve million enslaved Africans were shipped to the New World. Slavery stripped our ancestors of their most basic human rights and embedded racial inequality into American society and law. The enslaved and their descendants have spent the subsequent centuries fighting against injustice and for the freedom and human rights the United States’ society has so long denied them.
The African American Heritage Collection embodies the affirmations that the African American culture has come to embrace to remind ourselves that we are equal in spite of the history of America and the current events that project inadequacy upon our race.