The inaugural exhibition of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Latino was created in a gallery of the National Museum of American History. Called “¡Presente!,” it explores how Latinos shaped the United States.

Smithsonian’s Latino Museum Faces Political Winds Before a Brick Is Laid

Partisan battles over America’s past, and divisions among Latinos, are affecting this new institution set to be built on the National Mall.
John Birch Society book store.

A Mid-Century Playbook for Saving Progressive American Education

Fifty years ago, parents united to get the far-right John Birch Society out of their schools.
Drawing of George Washington Williams

George Washington Williams’ "History of the Negro Race in America" (1882–83)

A work of millennial scope by a self-taught African-American historian.
Secret Service agent Paul Landis, JFK, and Jackie Kennedy in crowd.

A New JFK Assassination Revelation Could Upend the Long-Held “Lone Gunman” Theory

Former Secret Service agent Paul Landis, largely silent for 60 years, says he found a bullet in Kennedy’s limo. Here's why that’s so significant, if true.
Compilation of historical markers from different states.

Why Historical Markers Matter

Few realize that the approval process for these outdoor signs varies widely by state and organization, enabling unsanctioned displays to slip through.
J. Robert Oppenheimer and Leslie Groves

Beyond Tortured Genius: Science and Conscience in Two Rediscovered Oppenheimer Films

"The Day After Trinity" and "The Strangest Dream" evacuate the mythical tropes of the tortured genius biopic that Hollywood loves to rehearse.
Freedpeople sit at Foller’s House in Cumberland Landing, Va., 1862.

If “Woke” Dies, Our Nation’s Truths Die with It

Ron DeSantis wants to retrofit history to conform to conservative ideology.
Drawing of Anthea Hartig with insurrectionist memorabilia behind her

Insurrectionabilia at the Smithsonian

In 2026, we will celebrate the nation’s semiquincentennial, and also the fifth anniversary of the January 6th uprising.
J. Robert Oppenheimer

Why the Fascination with Oppenheimer?

J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project scientists are a rare example of weapons designers who have gone down in history.
Cillian Murphy in the movie "Oppenheimer."

‘Oppenheimer’ Doesn’t Show us Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That's an Act of Rigor, Not Erasure

The movie has no interest in reducing the atomic bombings to a trivializing, exploitative spectacle, despite what some would want.
Artist Vinnie Bagwell's proposal for a Harriet Tubman statue.

Philadelphia Unveils Proposals for New Harriet Tubman Statue

After a year of controversy, the city has narrowed down five options for a monument to the activist and abolitionist.

Ron DeSantis Wants to Tell the Future by Controlling the Past

The history we teach to students in the present is as much about the country we hope to be as it is a record of the country we once were.
Covers of popular history books.

Who Is History For?

What happens when radical historians write for the public.
Martha Hodes (left) and her sister, Catherine, joint passport photo.

The Historian Who Lost Her Memory of a Hijacking

At 12 years old, Martha Hodes was on board a hijacked plane and was taken hostage for a week. How did she forget much of the experience?
Rural landscape in West Virginia.

The Redneck Army Refuses to Stay Buried

Proud resistance is our secret birthright.

Jason Aldean Can’t Rewrite the History His Song Depends On

That history has nothing to do with culture wars, and everything to do with what real justice looks like in the United States, and who has access to it.
Actor portraying Oppenheimer.

The Real History Behind Christopher Nolan's 'Oppenheimer'

The "father of the atomic bomb" has long been misunderstood. Will the new film finally get J. Robert Oppenheimer right?
A U.S. flag superimposed over a crowd of faces.

Howard Zinn and the Politics of Popular History

The controversial historian drew criticism from both left and right. We need more like him today.
A young Black boy pictured mid-flip, while his peers look on. In the background are a row of houses, one of which abandoned with the windows punched out.

What We Meant When We Said 'Crackhead'

“I’ve learned, through hundreds of interviews and years of research, is that what crack really did was expose every vulnerability of society.”
Striking workers at General Motors in 1970.

Nelson Lichtenstein on a Half-Century of American Class Struggle

The esteemed labor historian reflects on his life and career, including Berkeley in the 1960s, Walter Reuther, the early UAW, Walmart, Bill Clinton, and more.
A 1963 portrait of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the subject of the biography “American Prometheus” and a new film based on the book.

Behind ‘Oppenheimer,’ a Prizewinning Biography 25 Years in the Making

Martin Sherwin struck the deal and dived into the research. But it was only when Kai Bird joined as a collaborator that “American Prometheus” came to be.
John Gast's "American Progress" painting with the woman representing manifest destiny cut out.

Missed America

When all the bad things America did are true, but none of the good things, something is amiss.
Discolored painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Here Are 10 Shockingly Radical Things the Founding Fathers Said

The Founding Fathers made startlingly progressive statements that didn’t make it into popular history.
Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina.

"If America Doesn't Become America": Outlander and the American Revolution

"Outlander" challenges the myth of American exceptionalism at the root of much U.S. popular culture.
"The Negro in the American Revolution" cover

2026 and Black Americans: A Conversation about Benjamin Quarles

The long-term impact of Quarles’s work.
Illustration of the Battle of Little Big Horn.

The True History of 'Custer's Last Stand'

We're talking about the Battle of Little Bighorn all wrong.
The International African American Museum in Charleston, South Carolina, on the waterfront.

In Charleston, a Museum Honors a Journey of Grief and Grace

The International African American Museum, in a former slave port, is about more than slavery. It’s about survival and resilience.
The aftermath of the UpStairs Lounge fire on June 25, 1973.

50 Years Later, the UpStairs Lounge Fire Is More Important to Remember Than Ever

The arson attack on a New Orleans nightclub was the largest massacre of queer people in 20th-century America—and it remains relevant to our present moment.
Entrance to the Texas State Cemetery.

It's Time to Defend the History of All Texans

The way we learn about our collective past is under attack thanks to new leadership at the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA).
Colin Kaepernick at the ACLU SoCal Hosts Annual Bill of Rights Dinner in 2017.

“Black History Is an Absolute Necessity.”

A conversation with Colin Kaepernick on Black studies, white supremacy, and capitalism.