An American flag themed tapestry.

Do American Family Names Make Sense?

What's in a name? According to the "Dictionary of American Family Names," it depends.
Patti Davis sits for a portrait with her pug, Lily, at her home.

For Years, the Reagans' Daughter Regretted Some Things She Wrote. Now She's at Peace.

Patti Davis has spent a lifetime chronicling her life with parents Ronald and Nancy Reagan. In a new book, 'Dear Mom and Dad,' she reckons with them as people.
Margie Burkhart

The Enduring Family Trauma Behind ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’

The murders of her Osage relatives for their oil wealth still reverberate in the life of Margie Burkhart, granddaughter of a central character in the new movie.
Afeni Shakur at a session of the Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention, organized by the Black Panther Party, in Philadelphia, September 1970.

How the Shakurs Became One of America’s Most Influential Families

In a white supremacist society, where Black people are still fighting for freedom, the Black family offers protection and, at times, a space for resistance.
Portrait of William Costin.

Did Martha Washington Have a Black Grandson?

Likely the child of Martha's son from her first marriage, William Costin used his position to advocate for D.C.'s free Black community.
Bobby Seal and Huey Newton standig in front of a Black Panther Party sign

How Huey P. Newton’s Early Intellectual Life Led Him To Activism

The role of family in Huey P. Newton's educational journey.
A Union soldier stands with African Americans on a plantation, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, 1862.

Military Service and Black Families During the Civil War

One war, in one city, Philadelphia, and the fate of the men, women, and children left behind as collateral damage in the wake of conflict.

A Brief History of One of the Most Powerful Families in New York City: The Morgenthaus

An excerpt from a new book on the so-called "Jewish Kennedys."
African American women with signs promoting voter registration, 1956

Things Ain’t Always Gone Be This Way

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers on how her mother overcame voter suppression and became an activist in her community.
A portrait of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow with white hair and a full beard.

A Beautiful Ending

On dying and heaven in the time of Longfellow.

Slavery and the Family Tree

How do you make a family tree when you may not know your family history?
Photo of a father and young child looking at each other

What It Means to Be a 'Good' Father in America Has Changed. Here's How.

"I think the key change for the invention of the modern father is in the 1920s," says historian Robert L. Griswold.

Lonesome for Our Home

Zora Neale Hurston’s long-lost oral history with one of the last survivors of the Atlantic slave trade.

The Hidden History of Anna Murray Douglass

Although she’s often overshadowed by her husband, Anna made his work possible.

The Ledger

In researching his family's past, the author learns of his ancestors' efforts to thrive despite the confines of racial oppression.
Joseph Jefferson, Palm Beach, Florida, circa 1904

Who Was the Most Famous of All?

The tale of the long forgotten Joseph Jefferson, who revolutionized character acting in 19th century American theater.
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.
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.
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?
A house and people from the American frontier.

The Wild Blood Dynasty

What a little-known family reveals about the nation’s untamed spirit.