Excerpts

Curated stories from around the web.
New on Bunk
Ledger drawing of Plains Indians on horseback.

A Shameful US History Told Through Ledger Drawings

In the 19th century ledger drawings became a concentrated point of resistance for Indigenous people, an expression of individual and communal pride.
A river surrounded by trees and mountains

From the Reservation to the River: On the Complexities of Writing About a Native Childhood

Remembering the river helps me forget, at least for a moment, the challenges, fears, and feelings of inadequacy I experienced in my childhood.
Miles Davis, Howard McGhee, and unknown pianist. NYC, September 1947.

Michael Kramer on Menand’s "The Free World" and Dinerstein’s "The Origins of Cool in Postwar America"

Two differing explorations of post-WWII culture, politics, and ideals.
Sedat Pakay, James Baldwin, Istanbul, 1966.

James Baldwin in Turkey

How Istanbul changed his career—and his life.
Oil pumpjack in the rural southwest.

Public Universities Are Profiting In Billions From Industries On Stolen Indigenous Land

Extractive industries filling public university coffers on stolen land. Here's how 14 land-grant colleges took 8.2 million acres from 123 Indigenous nations.
Mary A. Hallern sitting in her military uniform.

The Little Colonel That Could: Mary Hallaren and the Fight for Women in the Military

After World War II ended, government and military leaders were ready to return women to their domestic roles. But one woman had other ideas.
Painting of a young boy working as an apprentice, wearing an apron

How Long Did the School Year Last in Early America?

Even throwing off of a colonial power, representative institutions, Protestantism, and local autonomy in school decisions did not produce an egalitarian system.
A black man peeking out from behind a door with bullet holes by a broadside schedule of Black Panther Party events.

Landmarking The Black Panther Party

In Chicago, preservationists have launched an unusual effort to explore the radical history of the 1960s civil rights group through the city’s built environment.
In July 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt swore in Attorney General Robert Jackson as a Supreme Court justice. Jackson and Roosevelt often played poker together.

How FDR’s Influence Over the Supreme Court Transformed History

In “The Court at War,” Cliff Sloan examines the close relationship between FDR and the high court during World War II.
James Baldwin

Reading Baldwin After Kanye

A conversation about James Baldwin’s 1967 essay, “Negroes are Anti-Semitic Because They are Anti-White.”
Painting of an owl superimposed on a painting of its range around Puget Sound.

The Epic History of the Endangered Species Act

The two-volume ‘Codex of the Endangered Species Act’ takes a long look back — and forward.
Miles Davis.

Not Not Jazz

When Miles Davis went electric in the late 1960s, he overhauled his thinking about songs, genres, and what it meant to lead a band.
Illustration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt among tanks.

The ‘Arsenal of Democracy’ Once More

In sending military aid to Ukraine, America’s values and security interests are aligned.
Bust of Isaiah Bowman at Johns Hopkins University.

Why is Johns Hopkins Still Honoring an Antisemite?

Isaiah Bowman was one of the worst college presidents in American history.
Photo of a blue bin filled with recyclable garbage.

Petrochemical Companies Have Known for 40 Years that Plastics Recycling Wouldn't Work

Despite knowing that plastic recycling wouldn't work, new documents show how petrochemical companies promoted it anyway.
American and Israeli Jews protest outside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's New York hotel in support of democracy for all in Israel-Palestine, September 19, 2023.

The Forgotten History of American Jewish Dissent Against Zionism

In resurrecting stories of non- and anti-Zionist critics, a new book shows American Jews how questioning Israel is deeply rooted in their community.
The First Women’s Rights Convention, Seneca Falls, 1848.

What American Divorces Tell Us About American Marriages

On the inseparable histories of matrimony and disunion in the United States.
A Buddhist monk stands next to a banner with a picture of monk Thich Quang Duc who set fire to himself to protest the Vietnam War.

Why Would Anyone Kill Themselves to Stop A War?

In the past 3 months, two people in the US have taken or risked taking their own lives in an attempt to change US policies on Palestine and call for a cease-fire.
Man in suit with sunglasses at a military graveyard

A Century Later, 17 Wrongly Executed Black Soldiers are Honored at Gravesites

New headstones show each soldier’s rank, unit and home state — a simple honor accorded to every other veteran buried in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.
Law and Political Economy Project logo

What Centuries of Common Law Can Teach Us About Regulating Social Media

Today, tech platforms, including social media, are the new common carriers.
Collage of African Americans' faces.

Specters of the Mythic South

How plantation fiction fixed ghost stories to Black Americans.
Illustration of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and William James, and a cemetery.

‘Live All You Can’

The reflections of Emerson, Thoreau, and William James one finds a characteristically nineteenth-century American sense of resilience and regeneration.
Painting of people examining a globe that depicts California as an island.

California, an Island?

Meet cartography's most persistent mistake.
Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, New York.

The Last Of The Brooklyn Dodgers

Richard Staff interviews four former Brooklyn Dodgers players, who, despite the team's move to Los Angeles, still identify with their Brooklyn roots.
Gloved hand holding COVID-19-shaped dandelion

Did the Year 2020 Change Us Forever?

The COVID-19 pandemic affected us in millions of ways. But it evades the meanings we want it to bear.
Archival map of the U.S.-Mexico border region near Mexicali, Mexico. Displays the Colorado River Delta system

A Cartography of Loss in the Borderlands

Mexicali’s "Colorado River Family Album" documents what is no more.
Endesha Ida Mae Holland in the documentary “Freedom on My Mind.

“Freedom on My Mind”: A Symphony of Voices for Civil Rights

This 1994 documentary brings the passions and agonies of Mississippi’s voter-registration drive into the present tense.
Mural of Harriet Tubman with arm outstretched

Harriet Tubman and the Most Important, Understudied Battle of the Civil War

Edda L. Fields-Black sets out to restore the Combahee River Raid to its proper place in Tubman’s life and in the war on slavery.
A silhouette of Hercules Posey created for Mount Vernon’s “Lives Bound Together” exhibit using a description of the cook written by George Washington’s step-grandson.

Bringing to Light the Cuisine of Hercules Posey, George Washington’s Enslaved Chef

For two centuries, the story of the nation’s first presidential chef has been lost to history. A group of historians is working to give Hercules Posey his due.
A photograph of the Arizona desert at sunset with cacti in the foreground.

I Want Settlers To Be Dislodged From the Comfort of Guilt

My ancestors were the good whites, or at least that’s what I’ve always wanted to believe.
President Trump and religious leaders praying in the Oval Office
partner

Today is a National Day of Prayer. Should That be Legal?

How solid is the wall between church and state?
Black and white photograph of an abandoned house with bare trees surrounding it

This Peaceful Nature Sanctuary in Washington, D.C. Sits on the Ruins of a Plantation

Before Theodore Roosevelt Island was transformed, a prominent Virginia family relied on enslaved laborers to build and tend to its summer home.
San Diego Postcard.

San Diego—A Green(Er) City: Six Decades Of Environmental Activism In A Biodiversity Hotspot

San Diego's city-wide mission to promote sustainability, combat climate change, and reduce environmental health disparities.
New York City draft riots.

The 1863 Draft Riots and the Birth of the New York City Police

With low police morale, limited peacekeeping ability and agitated immigrants, the city only needed a match to set it ablaze.
A painting of George Washington.
partner

What Is Presidents’ Day Actually About?

For most of American history, Washington's Birthday was a really big deal, but that’s changed a lot since the middle of the twentieth century.
A letter that Elizabeth Gloucester wrote to the abolitionist John Brown and a photo of an anonymous woman

The Lost Story of New York’s Most Powerful Black Woman

Elizabeth Gloucester was born into slavery. By the end of her life, she embodied a new model of Black, feminist capitalism.
Butter churn by a kitchen fireplace.

Mexican Freedom, American Slavery

Mexico's resistance to the institution of slavery made it a land ripe for African American immigration in the 1800s.
"Choosing the Ring" painting by Jean Carolus (1814–1897).

How Diamond Rings Became a Symbol of Love

While engagement or wedding rings are certainly not a new idea, the prevalence of diamonds is a more recent phenomenon.
An advertisement from China for soup with brain meat.

In Defense of Eating Brains

While some in the West are squeamish, globally, it's more common than not.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in a scene from the 1966 film “Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?”

The Drama of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” Spilled Into Real Life

After "Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," the nightmare of American familyhood was the only game in town.
USS San Jacinto on ocean
partner

The U.S. Only Pretends to Want 'Freedom of the Seas'

Too often, U.S. support for open navigation has devolved into military conflict.
Robert Smalls.

What a Teacher's Letters Reveal About Robert Smalls, Who Stole a Confederate Ship to Secure Freedom

Harriet M. Buss' missives home detail the future congressman's candid views on race and the complicity of Confederate women.
A colorful drawing of Native Americans on horses.

Pictures From a Genocide

An astonishing new show of Native American ledger drawings brings a historic crime into focus.
Black soldier getting married in 1866, with a Freedmen's Bureau officer officiating.

The Story of Eliza and Miles

An enslaved couple overcame unimaginable odds to safeguard their marriage and their love.
Composite photo of a child wearing a work clothes.

Composite Photographs of Child Labourers

A unique set of composite photographs by Lewis Hine depicting Southern cotton mill workers.
Woodrow Wilson.

Woodrow Wilson Should Stay Canceled

The 28th President of the United States enabled segregation and vile treatment of Black federal workers. He doesn’t deserve an image rehabilitation.
Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln’s Faith

The President's spiritual journey transformed him and the nation.
Peanuts' Franklin as a flat two-dimensional character.

It’s Flagrant Tokenism, Charlie Brown!

Peanuts’ Franklin has been a controversial character for decades. A new special attempts reparations.
Mother of school shooter enters courtroom
partner

The Problem With Punishing Parents for Their Kids' Crimes

Americans have long tried to hold parents responsible for their children’s misdeeds—but it never really works.
Brigham Young

The Reds Under Romney’s Bed

The most ambitious social experiment in American history that until 1877, explicitly rejected the core values of Victorian capitalism.
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