Excerpts

Curated stories from around the web.
New on Bunk
Food writer Edna Lewis.

What Is Southern?

A food writer's reminiscences of local cuisine in the springtime.
Illustration of a wood-paneled formal bathroom.

The Bathrooms of Old New York

On the enormous, ornate, and extremely impractical bathtub in his family’s old-fashioned brownstone home.
Composite by Hannah Yoest of images relating to the Iraq War.

Moral Injuries

Remembering what the Iraq War was like, 20 years later.
Daniel Ellsberg at a press conference in New York City, 1972.

My Fifty Years with Dan Ellsberg

The man who changed America.
The author (left) talks with a student at the dedication ceremony for Annette Gordon-Reed Elementary School, October 2022.

A Historian Makes History in Texas

In the 1960s, Annette Gordon-Reed was the first Black child to enroll in a white school in her hometown. Now she reflects on having a new school there named for her.
Norma and Mel Gabler, holding a textbook
partner

50 Years Ago, Anti-Woke Crusaders Came for My Grandfather

Christopher Rufo's polemical attacks against Critical Race Theory are not a new phenomenon. Public schools have long been a battlefield for ideological warfare.
Black writers Askia Toure, Lorenzo Thomas, and Ismael Reed seated at an Umbra meeting.

A New Flame for Black Fire

What will be the legacy of the Black Arts Movement? Ishmael Reed reflects on the transformation and growth of Black arts since the 1960s.
Students walk in the streets of Uvalde, Texas during the 1970 Uvalde School Walkout.

Remembering the Uvalde Public School Walkout of 1970

During the heyday of the Chicano Movement, school walkouts were organized to disrupt what activists called “the ongoing mis-education of Chicano students.”
Oil painting by Claire Lehmann called "Painter’s Hand, Patron’s Hand."

Learning and Not Learning Abortion

The fact that most doctors like me don't know how to perform abortions is one of the greatest scandals of contemporary medicine in the US.
Actor John Turturro and his grandmother.

My Grandmother’s Botched Abortion Transformed Three Generations

Her death was listed as ‘manic depressive psychosis,’ and it sent five of her six children to orphanages.
Artwork depicting two people with shovels and a machette, entitled “Broken Skies: Nou poko fini” (We aren't done yet), 2019, by Didier William

Tarry with Me

Reclaiming sweetness in an anti-Black world.
A picnic prior to a concert in the lyceum series at Pied Beauty Farm, 2019.

American Barn

The traditional wooden barn persists even as family farms have been almost entirely replaced by multinational agribusiness.
The author, as a young girl, standing in front of a wall.

As If I Wasn’t There: Writing from a Child’s Memory

The author confronts the daunting task of writing about her childhood memory, both as a memoirist and a historian.
Young boy holding the Communist sickle and hammer, in black and white

Revisions in Red

A scholar wrestles with the legacy of her grandfather, onetime leader of America’s Communist Party.
The house of Alfred Iverson Jr. behind a white curtain.

My Civil War

A southerner discovers the inaccuracy of the the myths he grew up with, and slowly comes to terms with his connection to the Civil War.
A Vietnam veteran greets supporters and press outside District Court in Concord

The Second (and Third) Battle of Lexington

What kind of place was the town I grew up in?
Sheet music cover for Civil War marching song "The Bonnie Blue Flag," featuring two flags used by Confederate states.

We Are a Band of Brothers

Why are so many songs of the Confederacy indelibly inscribed in my Yankee memory?
Birds-eye view map of Johnstown, New York.

The Stories We Give Ourselves

I wish I’d asked my grandfather more questions.
A broken down tank in the desert with smoke in the background.

Black Rain on the Highway of Death

An Iraqi soldier recalls fleeing through hell at the end of the first gulf war.
A picture of the author as a teenager with his parents, in his bedroom decorated with rock music posters.

My Dad and Kurt Cobain

When my father moved to Taiwan, a fax machine and a shared love of music bridged an ocean.
Painting imagining John Brown (bearded man embracing Black child), being escorted by authorities.

Eugene Debs’s Stirring, Never-Before-Published Eulogy to John Brown at Harpers Ferry

In 1908, Eugene Debs eulogized John Brown as America's "greatest liberator," vowing the Socialist Party would continue Brown's work. We publish it here in full.
A microphone surrounded by multiple pairs of eyes against a brick background.

Cut Me Loose

A personal account of how one young woman travels to South Carolina in search of her family history and freedom narrative.
Illustration by Nilé Livingston of the many flags used throughout America as symbols of freedom, patriotism, and protest.

Scars and Stripes

Philadelphia gave America its flag, along with other enduring icons of nationhood. But for many, the red, white and blue banner embodies a legacy of injustice.
The sun shining through the crown of a lone tree in an agricultural field.

What The Mississippi Delta Teaches Me About Home—And Hope

Finding struggle and resilience on a road trip through the birthplace of the blues.
Drawing of a woman standing with blurred people behind her and computer text boxes pointing to her face.

Cracking the Code

It's impossible for most black Americans to construct full family trees, but genetic testing can provide some clues.
The Pirates’ Ruse, early 19th century engraving, depicting people standing on deck in view of another ship pretend everything is normal, while armed pirates hide out of view of a nearby American vessel.

The Poetics of History from Below

All good storytellers tell a big story within a little story, and so do all good historians.
Black-and-white portrait of Fidel Castro looking down with his hand near his ear.

I Was With Fidel Castro When JFK Was Assassinated

A first-person account of Fidel Castro during a monumental moment in history.
Picture of Senator Raphael G. Warnock

Sen. Raphael G. Warnock Remembers How the Police Killing of Amadou Diallo Sparked His Activism

"It didn’t make much sense for us to be talking about justice in the classroom if we weren’t willing to get in the struggle in the streets."
Black and white photo of Ishmael Reed as a child in Willert Park Courts, 1943.

The Buffalo I Knew

The city is at a crossroads. Which path will it take?
Demonstrators hold signs that read "Keep abortion legal" and "The Lord is pro-choice."

Abortion Is About Freedom, Not Just Privacy

The right to abortion is an affirmation that women and girls have the right to control their own destiny.
A flier with profiles of women's faces and the words "Speak-out on abortion."

“I Called Jane” for a Pre-“Roe” Illegal Abortion

No woman should have to go through what I went through, and no woman should have to overcome barriers to obtain a safe abortion.
Ada “Bricktop” Smith (far left) seated at table with other women, the New York Public Library Digital Collections, 1920 – 1929 (Courtesy of the Schomburg Center).

Behind and Beyond Biography: Writing Black Women’s Lives and Thoughts

Ashley D. Farmer and Tanisha C. Ford explain the importance of biographical writing of African American women and the personal connection involved.
The author at a Feminary Collective meeting with co-members Eleanor Holland (left) and Helen Langa (center) in Durham. Photo by Elena Freedom.

The Queer South: Where The Past is Not Past, and The Future is Now

Minnie Bruce Pratt shares her own story as a lesbian within the South, and the activism that occurred and the activism still ongoing.
Stokely Carmichael talking to members of the press at the House Rules Committee (1966).

Watching the Watchers

Confessions of an FBI special agent.
Collage of a photograph of a boy over a photo of Castro and his entourage.

My Brother’s Keeper

Early in the Cuban Revolution, my mother made a consequential decision.
Tilted, weathered headstone near a fallen tree in Copp's Hill Burying Ground.

The Forgotten Legacy of Boston’s Historic Black Graveyard

At one of Boston’s historical burial grounds, more than 1,000 Black Bostonians were laid to rest in unmarked graves. Their legacy continues to haunt us today.
Illustration of Pimento Cheese on Bread by Carter.

Pimento-cracy

The history of pimento cheese as a working class fixture and a symbol of Southern culture as seen through mystery novels.
Photograph of a desk constructed in Poland in the mid 1920s. The desk is an ornate wooden desk; at left, there are three photographs, at right, a lamp and some miscellaneous items.

An Ornate Desk, Family History and the Jewish Past

My mother’s desk connected me with our shared heritage.
Portrait of Medgar Evers.

The Day The Civil-Rights Movement Changed

What my father saw in Mississippi.
Linda Coffee working on the Roe v. Wade case

I Argued Roe v. Wade. It Would Be a Tragedy to Overturn It.

To take away the right to privacy is to take a giant step backward in American history.
A tattered newspaper with headlines about lynching.

The Wind Delivered the News

I live in a place where the wind blows history into my path.
A 1907 photograph of immigrants arriving at Ellis Island.

What I Don’t Know

At the heart of my family tree are only questions and mysteries.
Vladimir Putin with Bill Clinton

I Tried to Put Russia on Another Path

My policy was to work for the best, while expanding NATO to prepare for the worst.
A crowd with communist and unemployment relief signs listens to a woman making a speech.

What Endures of the Romance of American Communism

Many of the Communists who felt destined for a life of radicalism experienced their lives as irradiated by a kind of expressiveness that made them feel centered.
Black and white photograph of James Baldwin

A Report from Occupied Territory

These things happen, in all our Harlems, every single day. If we ignore this fact, and our common responsibility to change this fact, we are sealing our doom.
Portrait of young Bundists seated and standing

My Great-Grandfather the Bundist

Family paintings led me to a revolutionary society my mother’s grandfather was a member of and whose story was interwoven with Eastern European Jews.
Phonograph records of Japanese music and a Japanese character dictionary.

Japanese on Dakota Land

Japanese Americans enter the frame of everyday Midwestern lives.
Collage of photos: author's grandfather, Shigeki, in his army uniform; his house; an internment camp.

My Family Lost Our Farm During Japanese Incarceration. I Went Searching for What Remains.

When Executive Order 9066 forcibly removed my family from their community 80 years ago, we lost more than I realized.
“Our first camp.” Vado de Piedra, Chihuahua, Mexico. January 26, 1921.

The Photo Album That Succeeded Where Pancho Villa Failed

The revolutionary may have tried to find my grandfather by raiding a New Mexico village—but a friend’s camera truly captured our family patriarch.
Artwork depicting the Manzanar War Relocation Center sign.

Souvenirs From Manzanar

The daughter and granddaughter of a former internee return to the notorious WWI-era detention site for Japanese-Americans.
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