#InContext: Frederick Douglass

By: TAKIM WILLIAMS Frederick Douglass was a well-respected abolitionist, social activist, orator, and statesman. Born into slavery in Maryland in 1818, his story is one of overcoming oppression in order to pave the way for others to do the same. All three of his autobiographies, from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass in 1845 … Continue reading #InContext: Frederick Douglass

#InContext: Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, known as Mahatma meaning “Great Soul,” was born in 1869 to an elite family in northwest India. Influenced by Jainism, his mother taught him the virtues of tolerance, non-violence, and simple living that would reappear later in his political campaigns. In direct defiance of the elders of his caste, Gandhi left India … Continue reading #InContext: Gandhi

#InContext: Dwight D. Eisenhower

By: TAKIM WILLIAMS The Cold War was in full swing when Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected president of the United States for the second time. Soviet tanks had violently smothered Hungarian protesters months before the election, which Eisenhower mentions in his second inaugural address in January 1957, “Budapest is no longer merely the name of … Continue reading #InContext: Dwight D. Eisenhower

#InContext: Oscar Arias Sanchez

By: TAKIM WILLIAMS Oscar Arias Sanchez was elected president of Costa Rica in 1986, in the midst of the Cold War. While the United States and the Soviet Union stared each other down across the Pacific ocean, the ideological conflict between the two superpowers played out in miniature in the civil wars that ravaged Central … Continue reading #InContext: Oscar Arias Sanchez

#InContext: Harriet Tubman

By: TAKIM WILLIAMS Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery in 1849. She made her way from her Maryland plantation to the city of Philadelphia, where she was able to find work and save money. Yet she was not satisfied by her own freedom. She returned to Maryland to escort her sister to the North. Then, she … Continue reading #InContext: Harriet Tubman

#InContext: Nelson Mandela

By: TAKIM WILLIAMS In 1918, Nelson Mandela was born into a system of racial segregation and discrimination that would later become known as apartheid. Growing up in his South African village of Mvezo, he longed to pursue black freedom and equality just as his ancestors had resisted Dutch colonization. But for much of his life, … Continue reading #InContext: Nelson Mandela

#InContext: Cornel West

By: TAKIM WILLIAMS “Justice is what love looks like in public, just like tenderness is what love feels like in private,” said Dr. Cornel West, Professor of Philosophy at Union Theological Seminary and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. The provocative black intellectual has said this on more than one occasion. However, it was during his … Continue reading #InContext: Cornel West

#InContext: Maya Angelou

By: TAKIM WILLIAMS Over the course of her 86-year life, Maya Angelou was an accomplished singer, actor, dancer, poet, playwright, author, historian, and civil rights activist. President Barack Obama honored her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010 in celebration of each area of achievement, yet Angelou herself identified first and foremost as a … Continue reading #InContext: Maya Angelou