Every year around Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, social media feeds get flooded with memes bearing Dr. King's face and words—snapshots of the man with a snippet of his message, wrapped neatly in a square package, easily digested by the masses.

We get bombarded by the "not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character" quote we all know and love. We get hit with "darkness cannot drive out darkness" memes that keep us feeling cozy in our comfort zones. We see "I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear," over and over, and nod our heads in placid agreement. People of all stripes share MLK quotes that give us all the warm fuzzies, and we think, "Wow, what an amazing, peaceful, universally beloved man."

Keep Reading
popular

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.

Keep Reading
popular

Sometimes you hear a story that's so absurd that your first response is, "No freaking way." Then you read more details, realize that the absurd thing actually did happen, and alternate between outright outrage and a resigned "Well, of course."

I've lost count of how many times that scenario has played out in recent years. It's pretty much daily at this point. I feel like every media outlet should have a WTF section. Good times, fellow humans.

So, in today's WTF news, a middle school teacher at J.W. Dodd Middle School in Freeport, NY allegedly handed out historical slavery-era photographs and asked her eighth grade students to caption them. She then implored students to make the captions "funny" because she didn't want to be bored.

Keep Reading
popular

Black history in the United States is heartbreaking, breathtaking, and utterly incredible.

Photo by Kent Gavin/Keystone/Getty Images.

There’s one day in particular that has been incredibly influential.

Keep Reading
More