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Black History in Two Minutes (or so)

History Podcasts

Brief and concise historical episodes of the African-American experience. Narrated by renowned historian, Henry Louis Gates Jr. and executive produced by Robert F. Smith.

Brief and concise historical episodes of the African-American experience. Narrated by renowned historian, Henry Louis Gates Jr. and executive produced by Robert F. Smith.


United States


Brief and concise historical episodes of the African-American experience. Narrated by renowned historian, Henry Louis Gates Jr. and executive produced by Robert F. Smith.






Oscar Micheaux: The First Black Indie Filmmaker

Transitioning from job to job as a teenager, Oscar Micheaux was able to write a story that was inspired by his experience on a farm. The novel, entitled The Homesteader, was published and later adapted into a silent motion picture. With this project, he became the first black filmmaker to independently produce and direct his own feature films.


W.E.B. Du Bois: The New Negro at The 1900 Paris Exposition

At the turn of the twentieth century, W. E. B. Du Bois curated an exhibit at the Paris Exposition in France entitled “The Exhibit of American Negroes.” The exhibition used photographs to disrupt the negative imagery that was used to depict black Americans at the time.


School Integration

The landmark case Brown v. Board of Education declared that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. However, for most black and white families, the decision was met with resistance and a court mandate didn’t mean things were going to change.


Migrations: From Exodusters to Great Migrations

With the formal ending of slavery in place, many freed black people saw this as an opportunity to start anew. But, for those in the south, things didn’t seem much different. The southern black experience saw more aggression, lynchings and segregation. As a result, the time to move was imminent.


The First Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad for many of us symbolizes the journey African slaves went on in the name of freedom. But, contrary to popular belief, the first path wasn’t south to north. Instead, it was north to south.


Second Middle Passage

As the United States began to expand, the demand for cotton led to an increase of slave trades in the country. Eager to capitalize, slave owners sold slaves into the deep south and west in the name of expanding the economy.


Transatlantic Slave Trade

In the early 1500s, the transatlantic slave trade commenced. Europeans invaded west and central Africa, capturing free people, enslaving them, and placing them on ships as cargo. Conditions aboard these slave ships were horrendous, and the voyage was long and brutal.


The Birth of Hip Hop

In 1973, DJ Kool Herc set up his turntables and introduced a technique at a South Bronx house party that would change music as many people knew it. His ability to switch from record to record — as well as isolate and repeat music breaks — led to the discovery of the hip hop genre.


Obama's 2008 Election

During the 2004 Democratic National Convention, a first-term senator named Barack Obama from Illinois delivered a speech that exuded excitement, charisma and spark. Four years later, he found himself on that same platform as he launched his campaign to become the president of the United States.


Marcus Garvey: Leader of a Revolutionary Global Movement

Marcus Garvey was born in Jamaica and experienced the impacts of colonization at the hands of the British. As a result, he developed a passion for improving race relations and launched a Black Nationalism movement that would seek to elevate black people throughout the world.


Protesting the Birth of a Nation

In 1915, D.W. Griffith, released a film that would go down as one of the most disturbing representations of black Americans ever, The Birth of a Nation. Released post-Civil War and Reconstruction Era, the film played on stereotypes abroad.


The Beginning of Black History: Juan Garrido

In the early 1500s, a West African man named Juan Garrido joined the ranks of Spanish explorers who ventured out in hopes of discovering new parts of the world. With their sights set on locating the fountain of youth, Garrido and other travelers landed in what we now call Florida in 1513.


Jackie Robinson Integrates Baseball

On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson tore down the color barrier and became the first black baseball player to play in the Major League arena. His talent, education, and ability to withstand racial issues that were sure to come, made him the ideal candidate.


Soul Train

Taking cues from American Bandstand, Soul Train became a black cultural phenomena. Created and hosted by Don Cornelius, a Chicago radio reporter and DJ, the show was launched in 1970, but only in Chicago. However, the program became an overnight success story as it quickly swept the nation.


Hank Aaron: Breaking the Home Run Record

Born Henry Louis Aaron, baseball legend Hank Aaron swung his way into the history books in 1974. While the Atlanta Braves enjoyed the benefits of having the talented athlete on their team, actions off the field forced the conversation to transition from celebratory to cautionary.


Civil War and Emancipation

In 1861, the south’s threats of seceding the union led to the start of the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln’s primary goal was to minimize secession talks. But, as black slaves who were forced to fight for the confederacy escaped to union territory, a shift occurred that worked in the favor of the president.


Fort Mose: The First All-Black Settlement in the U.S.

In this episode of Black History In Two Minutes or So hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr., with additional commentary from Hasan Jeffries of Ohio State University, we will take a look at the slaves who risked it all on a quest to attain the freedom they deserved.


Land: Giving Rise to the Famous Phrase 40 Acres & a Mule

The phrase “40 acres and a mule” — a promise to former slaves — would be hatched from this meeting. Unfortunately, President Andrew Johnson would renege on this promise and many families never saw this promise come to fruition. While land ownership would have been a step in the right direction, negotiations robbed black families of an opportunity to invest in an economic future with.


The Red Summer

The events unfolding across the United States today in the wake of the brutal murder of George Floyd, are an eerie repetition of events that marred the history of race relations in this country almost exactly a century ago.



Lynching was an action used to terrorize the black community for generations, with the first known public display of this injustice taking place in Madison, Mississippi in 1835.