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Black medical students from Tulane take powerful photo in front of former slave quarters

Black medical students from Tulane take powerful photo in front of former slave quarters

Despite The U.S. continues to wrestle with the romanticization of southern plantations, with people still planning weddings at enslavers' mansions and tourists complaining about slavery narratives on plantation tours. Yet the stark reality of our country's racial history stares us squarely in the face.

For nearly 250 years, black people were enslaved in the U.S.. Nearly half of the states in the country refused to outlaw slavery after our founding, and most of those states were willing to go to war to defend the "right" to own Africans and their descendants. Our country saw generation after generation of black families torn apart, spouses and children being sold off like cattle, black bodies beaten into submission, and black individuals being legally barred from liberty and opportunity.

It wasn't just a blip. American slavery, which evolved into an institution of white supremacy, existed for longer on U.S. soil than not at this point in our history. There are people alive today whose grandparents were slaves. We are not far removed from slavery, and certainly not removed from the generational impact of it.


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Perhaps that's why a photo of black students at Tulane University School of Medicine in front of Whitney Plantation's slave quarters is stopping so many people in their tracks. Seeing 15 black medical students in white lab coats, well on their way to becoming doctors, standing on land that was once occupied by enslaved people who could only dream of such a future—well, it's undeniably powerful.

The photo was shared by 24-year-old Tulane student Sydney Labat, one of the med students pictured. "Standing in front of the slave quarters of our ancestors, at The Whitney Plantation, with my medical school classmates," she wrote on Twitter. "We are truly our ancestors' wildest dreams."

Labat's classmate, 33-year-old Russell J. Ledet, PhD, organized the trip to Whitney Plantation, which is currently the only plantation museum Louisiana focused on the experience of enslaved people. Ledet, who grew up in rural Mississippi, told NPR that he doesn't remember seeing images of black doctors growing up. That's part of what prompted the idea for the photo shoot.

"We are aware of our position," he said, "and what we mean to a whole lot of children. A whole lot of undergrads are hoping and praying to get an interview for medical school, or even somebody to just look at their application. We're here as living proof that it's possible. If we can do it, anybody can do it."

Ledet hopes that the photo can be framed and placed in classrooms around the country so kids can be exposed to images he never saw.

"I hope this image will be posted in somebody's classroom," he said, "and some teacher will be able to say, 'Every last one of those people up there is a practicing physician.'"

Ladat's photo has been retweeted more than 18,000 times, with countless comments of praise and gratitude.




Ladat told NBC News that the experience was an emotional one. "Seeing that many black students in training in one photo was striking. In a place that was dedicated to our ancestors and their struggles," she said. "We knew this photo was going to make people stop ... and really think."

RELATED: A teacher had her 8th graders write 'funny' captions under slavery-era photos. Seriously, WTF.

Ledet told NPR that he pictured what the slaves who inhabited that building would think of the students standing on the porch in their lab coats.

"I could just imagine our ancestors in heaven looking at us and being so happy," he said. "They're saying, 'Look at them. They're doing so well. Their resiliency is shining.'"

Resiliency is the key to the power of this photo. Some may look at these students and think, "Yay! Look at how well everything has worked out for black Americans since the days of slavery!" But that's not the story this photo tells. This is a story of climbing over obstacles and overcoming odds, of rising up through layers of oppression designed to keep black people down, of honoring the hopes and dreams of enslaved ancestors by making them come true.

"We wanted to make sure that we remain tied to our history and remain humble, you know," Ledet told NPR, "and understand whose shoulders we're climbing on—and pay homage."

Homage paid, Dr. Ledet, and beautifully so.

Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles

It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.

So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.

They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.

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Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson in 2006.

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After the athlete retires they are likely to earn a lot less money, and if they don’t adjust their spending, they’re in for some serious trouble.

In a candid interview with NFL Hall of Famer and TV personality Shannon Sharpe, Chad Ochocinco (legally Chad Johnson) revealed that he saved 80 to 83% of the $48 million he made in the NFL by faking his lavish lifestyle because it made no sense to him.

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Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

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Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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American mom living in Germany lists postpartum support and women are gobsmacked

“Every video you make gets me closer to actually moving to Germany.”

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Having a baby is not an easy feat no matter which way they come out. The pregnant person is either laboring for hours and then pushing for what feels like even more hours, or they're getting cut from hip to hip to bring about their bundle of joy. (Unless you're one of those lucky—or rather not-so-lucky—folks who get to labor for hours only to still end up in surgery.)

Giving birth is hard and healing afterward can feel dang near impossible, especially given that most states in the U.S. only offer six weeks of maternity leave and it's typically unpaid. But did you know that not everyone has that experience?

A mom who had her first child in the U.S. before meeting her current husband and relocating to Germany is shedding light on postpartum care in her new country. The stark contrast is beyond shocking to women living in the U.S. and she's got a few considering crossing the ocean for a better quality of life.

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Now people are being asked to tip just about any time they encounter a point-of-sale system. There is a big difference between tipping a server who lugged around hot plates of food for an hour-long meal and someone who simply handed you an ice cream cone.

"We're living in an era of inflation, but on top of that, we've got tipping everywhere—tipflation. I take it a step further and call it a tipping invasion. Because that's really what I think it is," etiquette expert Thomas Farley (aka Mister Manners) told CBS 8.

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One moment in history shot Tracy Chapman to music stardom. Watch it now.

She captivated millions with nothing but her guitar and an iconic voice.

Imagine being in the crowd and hearing "Fast Car" for the first time

While a catchy hook might make a song go viral, very few songs create such a unifying impact that they achieve timeless resonance. Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” is one of those songs.

So much courage and raw honesty is packed into the lyrics, only to be elevated by Chapman’s signature androgynous and soulful voice. Imagine being in the crowd and seeing her as a relatively unknown talent and hearing that song for the first time. Would you instantly recognize that you were witnessing a pivotal moment in musical history?

For concert goers at Wembley Stadium in the late 80s, this was the scenario.

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