oral history

‘We May Have to Shoot Down This Aircraft’

What the chaos aboard Flight 93 on 9/11 looked like to the White House and the fighter pilots prepared to ram the plane's cockpit.

Mass Barbecue is the Invasive Species of Our Culinary Times

There's room for the haute and folk traditions but the market-driven style taking over is the most problematic.
origin story

The History of How School Buses Became Yellow

Rural educator Frank Cyr had the vision and pull to force the nation to standardize the color of the ubiquitous vehicle.

When “Peanuts” Went All-In on Vaccinations

Charles Schulz used his culturally monolithic comic strip to advocate for public health. But his approach had some serious shortcomings.

When W.E.B. Du Bois Made a Laughing Stock of a White Supremacist

Why the Jim Crow-era debate between the African-American leader and a ridiculous, Nazi-loving racist isn’t as famous as Lincoln-Douglas.

We’re Getting These Murals All Wrong

The murals have been denounced as demeaning, and defended as an exposé of America’s racist past. Both sides miss the point.
book excerpt

How Google Discovered the Value of Surveillance

In 2002, still reeling from the dot-com crash, Google realized they’d been harvesting a very valuable raw material — your behavior.

Muskets! Axes! Revolt! Here Are the Plans for a Reenactment of an Actual 1811 Rebellion

This fall 500 Louisianans, in 19th-century attire, will re-create America’s largest plantation uprising.
first person

Reflections on a Silent Soldier

After the television cameras went away, a North Carolina city debated the future of its toppled Confederate statue.

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