Excerpts

Curated stories from around the web.
New on Bunk
Reenactment of a group of settlers on the Ellis Trail, walking through prairie grass beside horse-drawn wagons.

Nicodemus, Kansas: The Last All Black Town in the West

Descendants of the first settlers in Nicodemus are working to preserve and share a story of grit, perseverance, self-governance, and homecomings.
The 1917 Silent Parade march in New York City protesting antiblack violence.

The Social-gospel Roots of Environmentalism

America's environmental movement has always been moralistic, which has made it bad at weighing tradeoffs. This accounts for its successes and also its failures.
Black women gathered in discussion for an episode of "Black Journal."

“The Black Woman”: Black Women Activism within Documentary Films in the 1960s United States

Uncovering Black women's agency in activism and art.
An up close photograph of Leonard Cohen.

Leonard Cohen: Hippie Troubadour and Forgotten Reactionary

As the legend of the singer–poet–sex symbol grows, fans rarely acknowledge his conservative streak.
A print titled "Heroes of the Colored Race," centered on portraits of Blanche Bruce, Frederick Douglas, and Hiram Revels.

Slavery, Capitalism, and the Politics of Abolition

"The Reckoning," Robin Blackburn’s monumental history, offers a dizzying account of the politics behind slavery's rise and fall.
Pete Rose on a baseball diamond, head bowed.

For Pete’s Sake

A new book traces "the rise and fall of Pete Rose, and the last glory days of baseball."
Image of a man distributing newspapers at a post office.
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The Post Office and Privacy

We can thank the postal service for establishing the foundations of the American tradition of communications confidentiality.
First Lady Betty Ford poses atop of the cabinet's conference table.

First Lady In Motion

Betty Ford and the public eye.
Illustration of an AI machine reading a book.

How AI Can Make History

Large language models can do a lot of things. But can they write like an 18th-century fur trader?
A magnifying glass sitting on top of "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" by Thomas S. Kuhn.

What Was the “Paradigm Shift”?

When Thomas Kuhn coined the term, he wasn’t referring simply to “out of the box” thinking.

Photographing a Lost New York

When I moved to Lower Manhattan in 1967, I decided to make a picture of every building in the neighbourhood before the city knocked it down.
Martin Luther King Jr., 1967.

In Defense of the Color-Blind Principle

Wilfred Reilly reviews two books critiquing modern ideas of race, social status, and diversity, advocating in favor of racial color-blindness.
Death to Beauty book cover, featuring a gloved hand with a syringe.

The Eyes Have It: On Eugene M. Helveston’s “Death to Beauty”

Injecting the world’s deadliest toxin into one’s eye was always going to be a hard sell.
NYPD officers in riot gear march onto Columbia University campus, where pro-Palestinian students were barricaded inside a building and set up an encampment, on April 30, 2024.

Columbia’s Violence Against Protesters Has a Long History

An overlooked history of selective policing at Columbia has undermined the safety of those within as well as beyond campus walls.
Tiny Suburban House
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The Tiny House Trend Began 100 Years Ago

In 1924, sociologist and social reformer Caroline Bartlett Crane designed an award-winning tiny home in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Campus police struggle with anti-war demonstrators in Berkeley, California 1967.
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The Protests That Anticipated the Gaza Solidarity Encampments

With the Dow sit-ins of the 1960s, students drew attention to links between the campus, war, and imperialism.
New York City's Twin Towers.

New 9/11 Evidence Points to Deep Saudi Complicity

Two decades of U.S. policy appear to be rooted in a mistaken understanding of what happened that day.
Children sit by wreaths in a cemetery of Civil War dead.
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The Evolution of Memorial Day

What started as a solemn commemoration of dead Civil War soldiers has become a celebration of summer. Here's why that makes total sense.
Ed Dwight Jr. with model rocket.

I Was Poised to be the First Black Astronaut. I Never Made it to Space.

Ed Dwight Jr. trained to go to the moon, but racism in the selection process kept him out of space.
A Black person points to Neshoba county on a map of Mississippi.

The Lynching That Sent My Family North

How we rediscovered the tragedy in Mississippi that ushered us into the Great Migration.
Collage of eyes.

Who’s Watching

The evolution of the right to privacy.
Painting of man finding woman seated at table writing
partner

A Kind of Historical Faith

On the history of literature masquerading as primary source.
Collage of a radio and Rush Limbaugh's mouth.

How Rush Limbaugh Broke the Old Media — and Built the New One

Whether you like Rachel Maddow, Stephen Colbert, Joe Rogan, or Sean Hannity, you're engaging the media world created by the late radio host.
Person wearing rainbow mask, in front of signs asking Disney to oppose "Don't Say Gay" law
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It’s Nothing New for Florida to Claim Anti-LGBTQ Measures Will Protect Children

How political figures have framed anti-LGBTQ bigotry as being pro-child and pro-parent.
Marlon Brando on the set of 'One-Eyed Jacks,' 1961.

Brando Unmatched

The legendary actor left a mark in both film history and an industry fraught with self-regard.
President Bill Clinton addresses crowd at Waikiki.

An Unrelinquished Claim and Vested Interest

A conversation with John David Waiheʻe III, former Governor of Hawai‘i, on the U.S. apology to the Hawaiian people.
Painting of the Boston Tea Party.

“Boston Harbor a Tea-pot This Night!” 

The dumping of tons of tea in protest set the stage for the American Revolution and was a window on the culture and attitudes of the time.
Uncle Sam sleeping on the job, avoiding looking at x-rays of damaged lungs.

Asbestos Is Finally Banned in the U.S. Here’s Why It Took So Long.

The carcinogenic effects of asbestos have been known for decades. We should have banned it long ago.
Hand throwing crumpled dollar bills into pile

Extravagances of Neoliberalism

On how the fringe ideas of a set of American neoliberals became a new and pervasive way of life.
Star-Herb Medicines and Teas for all Diseases, 1923.
partner

How Government Helped Birth the Advertising Industry

Advertising went from being an embarrassing activity to a legitimate part of every company’s business plans—despite scant evidence that it worked.
Portrait of a Sailor (possibly Paul Cuffe), circa 1800.

Paul Cuffe’s Revolutionary American Life and Legacy

Paul Cuffe was the first Black American to formally meet with a sitting president at the White House.
Man holding Israel flag and Palestine flag

Who Created the Israel-Palestine Conflict?

It wasn’t really Jews or Palestinians. It was the U.S. Congress, which closed American borders 100 years ago this month.
A colorful illlustration of Texas Rangers, three Tejano men, guns, and alcohol bottles.

After a Borderland Shootout, a 100-Year-Old Battle for the Truth

A century after three Tejano men were shot to death, the story their family tells is different than the official account. Whose story counts as Texas history?
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall; painting by Henry Inman, 1832.

Hail to the Chief

“John Marshall...exhibited a subservience to the executive branch that continues to haunt us.”
Peter Waddell's "A Vision Unfolds" imaginatively depicts Benjamin Banneker advising President Washington and fellow surveyor Andrew Ellicott on the layout of the proposed federal capital.

Banneker’s Answer to Jefferson: “I Am an American”

The black naturalist, astronomer, surveyor, and almanac-writer Benjamin Banneker took issue with Thomas Jefferson’s attitude toward “those of my complexion.”
Collage of Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ted Kennedy on the campaign trail.

The Debate Gaffe That Changed American History

And cost Gerald Ford the presidency.
Hazel Ying Lee (right) and fellow pilot Virginia Wong (left).

This Chinese American Aviatrix Overcame Racism to Fly for the U.S. During World War II

A second-generation immigrant, Hazel Ying Lee was the first Chinese American woman to receive her pilot's license.
Students in Winnetka, Ill., are checked by a nurses as shown here on return to school following illness. 1947.
partner

To Address the Teen Mental Health Crisis, Look to School Nurses

For more than a century, school nurses have improved public health in schools and beyond.
U.S. Constitution

The President Who Would Not Be King

Executive power and the Constitution.
Vice President Joe Biden visits Israel on January 13, 2014.

The Shoah after Gaza

Jewish suffering at the hands of Nazis are the foundation on which most descriptions of extreme ideology and atrocity have been built.
Alabama Governor George Wallace standing in front of an American map with the words, "Wallace County," written over it.

The Freedom to Dominate

When viewing federal authority as a bulwark for civil rights against local tyranny, we miss what the U.S. government has done to sustain white freedom.

‘Brown’ at 70

The rhetorically modest but functionally powerful ruling that ended segregation shouldn’t be misused to forestall other efforts at racial equality.
A drawing of a Wide Awake march.

These Torchlit Young Marchers Helped to Save American Democracy

They called themselves the Wide Awakes. They are a lesson in building a political movement.
Séance with spirit manifestation, 1872, by John Beattie.

Immortalizing Words

Henry James, spiritualism, and the afterlife.
Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruther Bader Ginsburg speaking at the Congrsssional Women's Caucus.

The First and Last of Her Kind

The legal academy has grown dismissive of Justice O’Connor, but the Supreme Court is not a law school faculty workshop. She saw herself as a problem-solver.
Women wearing early twentieth-century gym suits emblazoned with 1902, some women in baskets.

How Sports Clothes Became Fashion

The evolution of women's sportswear.

Divestment and the American Political Tradition

From Dow to now.
Two 1950s cars in front of a diner

You Can’t Go Home Again

Our thinking about nostalgia is badly flawed because it relies on defective assumptions about progress and time.
Angela Davis

The AAUP and the Angela Davis Case

Revisiting the AAUP's 1971 UCLA investigation.
Black nurses and Sea View Hospital.

The ‘Black Angels’ Who Helped Cure Tuberculosis

Professional nurses who moved north during the Great Migration worked in New York City’s most contagious sanatorium — and changed the course of public health.
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