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Portraits of John Adams (left) and John Quincy Adams (right).

The Fall of the House of Adams: Charles Francis Adams Jr. on Race and Public Service

A look inside America’s first political dynasty.
Japanese prime minister and minister of war Hideki Tojo on trial in 1947.

Japan’s Incomplete Reckoning With World War II Crimes

Gary Bass’s new book asks why the tribunal in Tokyo after World War II was so ineffective.
An illustration of a solar eclipse next to a portrait of James Fenimore Cooper.

Solar Eclipses in American History

How the spectacle of the 1806 solar eclipse impacted the national consciousness.
Men await bread and coffee distributed to the homeless and unemployed at the Bowery Mission in NYC, 1906.

The Crusading Newsman Who Taught Americans to Give to the Poor

On May 10, 1900, the Navy steamship Quito sailed from Brooklyn, New York, to deliver 5,000 tons of corn and seeds to the “starving multitudes” of India.
Black girls exiting a school building accompanied by U.S. Marshalls.

First Day of School—1960, New Orleans

Leona Tate thought it must be Mardi Gras. Gail thought they were going to kill her.
A celebration of Linda Martell on the stage of the Country Music Awards.

Who is Linda Martell, the Black Country Musician Beyoncé Spotlights?

The first Black woman to play the Grand Ole Opry and hit Billboard’s country music charts.
Alexander I

Why Early American Conservatives Loved Russia

A conspiracy theory among New England Federalists led some to contemplate separating from the U.S. during the War of 1812.
Fats Domino's restored white piano in a museum in New Orleans.

An Object Lesson: What The Restoration of Fats Domino's Piano Means to New Orleans

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, the legend’s showpiece symbolizes the city's resilience.
AIDS Memorial Quilt on display on the Mall in Washington, DC in 1987.

'We Need a Day.' Meet the Man Who Helped Create World AIDS Day

A conversation with the man behind World AIDS Day.
Still from the 2023 indie film "Late Night with the Devil"

The Role of Talk Shows in Sensationalizing the Satanic Panic of the 1980s

"Late Night with the Devil," a “found footage” horror film, perfectly captures the mood and style that surrounded media depictions of the occult in the 1970s.
A protest in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray.

The Problem with Baltimore

The impact of the city's history with slavery.
Cover page of an AP Psychology exam

Bankrupt Authority

Advanced Placement testing is "a money-making racket that lets states off the hook for underfunding education."
Abraham Lincoln campaigning with the Wide Awakes.

The Club of Cape-Wearing Activists Who Helped Elect Lincoln—and Spark the Civil War

The untold story of the Wide Awakes, the young Americans who took up the torch for their antislavery cause and stirred the nation.
Looking north over Union Square East, in 1901 or 1902.

When the NYC Subway Was Just a Dirt Trench

Rare photos from the early 1900s show the 120-year-old system’s pick-and-shovel beginnings.
Sketch of women traveling with the Continental Army.

How a Curator at the Museum of the American Revolution Solved a Nearly 250-Year-Old Art Mystery

An eye-witness depiction of the Continental Army passing through Philadelphia hung in a New York apartment for decades.

Made for Misfits: The Colorful History of the Black Leather Jacket

“Leather-laden outlaws struck fear into the hearts of civilians and cops alike, as they tore through towns with gleeful irreverence.”
A portrait of Marlon Brando (1948).

On the Activism of Marlon Brando, Before the Fame

Agitprop, Israel, and the shape of the world after WWII.


While Louisiana began as a French colony and its culture remained Creole, its Anglo-American population formed a large minority in the late colonial period.
The Three Strikes You’re Out fishing crew : several older Black man posing and smiling around a large fish.

Fish Hacks

Often dismissed as a “trash fish,” the porgy is an anchor of Black maritime culture.
Korean fried chicken.

Drumstick Diplomacy

Korean fried chicken has a savory story to tell about wartime culture and the Korean diaspora.
Illustration of a literary rejection letter.

There Is No Point in My Being Other Than Honest with You: On Toni Morrison’s Rejection Letters

Autopsies of a changing publishing industry; frustrations with readers' tastes; and sympathies for poets and authors drawn to commercially hopeless genres.
Irma Sherman, Chair of McMaid Workers Organizing Committee.

How Four Black Women Changed Labor Organizing Forever

40 years ago in Chicago, McMaid workers sparked a movement.
Two men carrying a weakened hunger striker.

Remembering the 1932 Ford Hunger March: Detroit Park Honors Labor and Environmental History

On March 7, workers at the Ford Rouge River plant marched for better working conditions. Almost a century later, a quiet park honors their memory.

American Exchanges: Third Reich’s Elite Schools

How the Nazi government used exchange student programs to foster sympathy for Nazism in the United States.
The Interstate 10 junction with Highway 90 near downtown New Orleans, Louisiana.

A New Orleans Neighborhood Confronts the Racist Legacy of a Toxic Stretch of Highway

In New Orleans, plans compete for how to deal with the harm done to minority communities by the Claiborne Expressway.
The Chesapeake 1000 crane at Tradepoint Atlantic in Sparrows Point, Md., on Friday.

A Crane with Cold War CIA Origins Will Help the Baltimore Bridge Cleanup

The Chesapeake 1000, which can lift 1,000 tons, arrived in Baltimore on Friday. Decades ago, it helped build a ship for a CIA mission to recover Soviet secrets.
Soldiers in Continental Army

Rumming with the Devil

A perusal of Benjamin Franklin’s "Drinker’s Dictionary," and a chat about how the drink of choice in revolutionary America switched from cider to rum.
A Black woman swearing the oath to join the Navy.

A New ERA for Women in the Navy

Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr, z-grams, and the all-volunteer force.
The album cover of "Cowboy Carter" released by Beyonce in 2024

Cowboy Carter and the Black Roots of Country Music

Beyoncé is following in the footsteps of many Black musicians before her.
European fur traders trading rum to Native Americans

Liquid Poison

American Indians and the tumult in their cultures precipitated by the arrival of alcohol.
Croton aqueduct.

Testing the Waters in Gotham

The three forms of water distribution form a fluid archive of community formation, civic pride, and the many ways New Yorkers can choose the water they drink.
Orange cider booth at the World's Fair.

The Hottest Drink of the 1893 World's Fair Was an Artificial Orange 'Cider'

"You're drinking something that some guy just cobbled together out of Lake Michigan water and food dye.”
Law and Political Economy Project

Recovering the Left-Wing Free Trade Tradition

Free trade has been defended primarily by neoliberals who cared little about social justice or democracy. An examination of its history paints a different picture.
A woman in a dress shows off her drawings.

Pioneering D.C. Artist Inez Demonet Helped WWI Soldiers Put Their Lives Back Together

Meet the Washington artist who pioneered the field of medical illustration — and helped repair the lives of soldiers returning from WWI.

How American Intelligence Was Born in the Trenches of World War I

The Great War forced the US to create a modern spying and analysis apparatus.
1975 shot of a victim of police brutality. Photo by Corky Lee.

The Chronicler of Asian America: On Photographer and Activist Corky Lee

“We await our moment, in pursuit of the picture that Corky envisaged, a portrait of a community that is too large and too brilliant.”
Files in Guatemala’s Historical Archive of the National Police. Photo by Luis Soto.

Rachel Nolan: In the Best Interest of the Child

A new book gets inside Guatemala’s international adoption industry and the complicated context of deciding a child’s welfare.
Map of routes of the Underground Railroad, 1850-1865

Marronage & Police Abolition

Marronage as a placemaking practice, pointing to histories that shape and inspire abolitionist struggles.
Men dumping a barrel of alcohol down the sewer during Prohibition.

Dried Up

How nativism and racism shaped the national movement towards Prohibition.
Rip Van Winkle painting by Albertis del Orient Browere, 1833.

Age Before Duty

What role does age play in determining the status of equals?
Creole in a Red Headdress. Amans, Jacques Guillaume Lucien (Artist).


The word "Creole" invites debate because it possesses several meanings, some of which concern the innately sensitive subjects of race and ethnicity.
A protest sign raised in front of the Supreme Court, reading, "Keep abortion safe, legal, & accessible!"

The History of Abortion Law in the United States

The right to abortion has been both supported and contested throughout history.  When banned, abortions still occur, but legal restrictions make them less safe.
Woman holding up a pocket-sized copy of the U.S. Constitution.

Conservatives Don’t Have a Monopoly on Originalism

The text and historical context of the Constitution provide liberals with ample opportunities to advance their own vision of America.
Lyndon Johnson looking unimpressed with what Martin Luther King Jr. is saying.

Feeling Versus Fact: Reconciling Ava DuVernay’s Retelling of Selma

“There has never been an honest movie about the civil rights movement,” says civil rights leader Julian Bond.
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1933 presidential inauguration.

The First New Deal

Planning, market coordination, and the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933.
‘Fifty Shades of White’ by Jaune Quick-To-See Smith.

Remembering the Future

Climate change, colonization, and the Navajo Nation.
A photograph of Fannie Farmer cooking with another woman.

Baking for the Holidays? Here's Why You Should Thank Culinary Pioneer Fannie Farmer

We all can thank a 19th century Boston-born cookbook author and domestic science pioneer for revolutionizing the way recipes are replicated at home.
Inventor of mifepristone Etienne-Emile Baulieu in lab

The Long and Winding History of the War on Abortion Drugs

While these pills are making headlines in the US, where a Texas judge tried to ban them, the story of their invention is often overlooked.
Ketamine bottles

The Many Lives of Ketamine

Neuroscientist Bita Moghaddam traces the history of ketamine from the battlefield to the dance floor.
A presidential portrait of George Washington.

The Enduring Power of Purim

Since colonial times, the Book of Esther has proved a powerful metaphor in American politics.
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