Robert E. Weems Jr.

History commentator

Robert E. Weems, Jr. is the Willard W. Garvey Distinguished Professor of Business History at Wichita State University.

His research specialty is African American business and economic history.

Ways To Connect

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Within the next couple weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court will issue a decision regarding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.

The notion of government-supported health insurance for Americans has long generated 

Monica delaria / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

On Saturday, April 11, at the Summit of the Americas meeting in Panama, U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro had the first face-to-face discussion between the leaders of the two countries in several decades. Among other things, this historic meeting represents the last bit of thawing associated with the Cold War.

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Since 1964, to assist in the development of small business in the United States, the Service Corps of Retired Executives, popularly known as SCORE, has provided free and confidential mentoring to individuals who are either considering starting a business, are in the process of starting a business, or are already in business.

Jamelle Bouie / Wikimedia Commons

Protests stemming from recent grand jury decisions related to Michael Brown and Eric Garner have featured the refrain “black lives do matter.”

Sadly, one of the unsavory aspects of American history is that there are innumerable documented instances of where it was apparent that black lives, indeed, did not matter.

League of Women Voters of California LWVC, Flickr Creative Commons

In two weeks, the nation will express its political will in the midterm elections of 2014. Unfortunately, this election cycle, similar to previous ones in American history, features discourse related to African American voter suppression.

Elvert Barnes (perspective) / Flickr / Creative Commons

One of the talking points associated with the recent racial disturbance in Ferguson, Mo. is the enhanced militarization of contemporary municipal police forces.

This process began in the late 1960s, in the aftermath of the widespread racial disturbances of that era. Moreover, as Michelle Alexander discusses in her book The New Jim Crow, this arms build-up accelerated in the 1970s, as local law enforcement agencies across the country began a so-called “War On Drugs,” waged primarily in black and brown neighborhoods.

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On July 30, the House of Representatives passed a resolution approving of Speaker John Boehner’s proposed lawsuit against President Barack Obama. This represented the first time in U.S. history that a chamber of Congress has endorsed a lawsuit against a president.

Historically, if Congress believed a sitting president engaged in unlawful behavior, it issued “articles of impeachment.” Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton have been the most recent targets of such punitive congressional action.

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As a fan of the National Basketball Association, and as someone who does research in African American history, the recent Donald Sterling debacle reminded me that former President Dwight D. Eisenhower was correct when he stated that laws and court decisions can’t necessarily change what’s in the hearts of individuals.

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Since the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1788, the federal government has been the center of power in this country. However, two recent developments suggest that this may be shifting.

Courtesy photo / Wichita State University

A historic and ongoing shortcoming of the U.S. economy is its underutilization of the entrepreneurial potential within nonwhite communities. For instance, because of this longstanding problem, in Kansas today, nonwhites make up 20 percent of the state’s population, yet only seven percent of Kansas’ businesses are minority-owned.

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