Ed Ayers

Ed Ayers is Bunk's founder. He is the author of many prize-winning books, president emeritus at the University of Richmond, and former co-host of BackStory.


History on the Road

After decades of reading, writing, and teaching about the American past, Ed Ayers sets out to see how that past is remembered in the places where it happened.

American Journey

A journal of my road trip to the formative decades of American history.
Collage of maps representative of the project

Southern Journey: The Migrations of the American South 1790-2020

The maps embrace everyone —free and enslaved, from the first national census of the late 18th century to the sophisticated surveys of the early 21st century.

Not Even Past: Social Vulnerability and the Legacy of Redlining

Juxtaposing contemporary public health data with 1930s redlining maps reveals one of the legacies of urban racial segregation.

Teaching History Is Hard

Bunk Executive Director Ed Ayers on the importance of teaching students to think for themselves.

"What is Sport to You is Death to Us."

In 1867, African-Americans in Virginia stood up for their new political rights in the face of threats from their white neighbors.

Our Silent Civil War: Debate Over Statues Didn't Come out of Thin Air

In history, suppressed memories, stories half-told or lied about, carry greater power for having been suppressed.

(Still) Worrying About the Civil War

Why I decided to devote my professional life to something I wasn't very interested in.

The Forced Migration of Enslaved People

An interactive set of maps and narratives of the forced migration of approximately 850,000 enslaved people from 1810-1860.
Interactive map of the U.S. Overland Trails, 1840 to 1860, showing cross-country migration routes.

The Overland Trails 1840-1860

An interactive map of overland trails that settlers followed on their western journeys.
Interactive map (above) and graph (below) showing the canals of the American Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, 1820 to 1860.

Canals 1820-1890

An interactive map of U.S. canals in the first half of the 19th century.

Foreign Born Population 1850-2010

An interactive map of immigrant populations in the United States.