A scene from the film Orphans of the Storm depicting a group carrying a sign bearing the slogan “Liberté, Egalité et Fraternité,” 1921.

The History of Equality: It’s Complicated

The strange and contradicting development of the liberal version of egalitarianism.
Actress Bobby Bradshaw is tempted by a pearl necklace, 1925.

Pearl Jam

In the twentieth century, the mollusk-produced gem was a must have for members of WASP gentility. In the twenty-first century, its appeal is far more inclusive.
Collage of women's rights symbolism. Woman outline waving flag.

Who Lost the Sex Wars?

Fissures in the feminist movement should not be buried as signs of failure but worked through as opportunities for insight.

"Though Declared to be American Citizens"

The Colored Convention Movement, black citizenship, and the Fourteenth Amendment.

Citizens: 150 Years of the 14th Amendment

In 1868, black activists had already been promoting birthright as the basis of their national belonging for nearly half a century.

How Do We Explain This National Tragedy? This Trump?

On 400 Years of Tribalism, Genocide, Expulsion, and Imprisonment.

Trump’s View of America as a White Nation Is as American as Apple Pie

But it’s seriously dated. And there's another tradition he could draw on.

The Nationalist's Delusion

Trumpism emerged from a haze of delusion, denial, pride, and cruelty—not as a historical anomaly, but as a profoundly American phenomenon.

Growing Up in the Shadow of the Confederacy

Memorials to the Lost Cause have always meant something sinister for the descendants of enslaved people.

The Military, Minorities, and Social Engineering

Trump’s transgender ban restarts the debate about the relation between military service and social policy.

The Captive Aliens Who Remain Our Shame

A review of Robert Parkinson’s book “The Common Cause: Creating Race and Nation in the American Revolution”.

Who Tells America's Story? 'Hamilton,' Hip-Hop, and Me

How the hit musical allows those who have been left out of the story to claim the narrative of America as their own.
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.
A family of Greek immigrants disembarking on Ellis Island.

For We Were Strangers in the Land of America

Comparing the struggles of Mexican and Greek immigrants to the United States.
Black doctor tending to a Black patient in a bed with family nearby

How Tens of Thousands of Black U.S. Doctors Simply Vanished

My mother was a beloved doctor. She is also a reminder, to me, of every Black doctor who is not here with us but should be.

The Era Without a Name

There’s no one place to learn about the early decades of the 19th century. So I set off to see how that history is being remembered in the places where it happened.
A sign for the Lakewood Drive-In Theater.

Living Black in Lakewood

Rewriting the history and future of an iconic suburb.

Black Archives Look to Preservation Amid Growing US History Bans

Matter-of-fact accounting of the legal mechanism of slavery provides insight into American history and the country’s fraught present.
Children in a kindergarten classroom at the Horace Mann School, Tulsa, Okla., 1917.

Yes, Schools Should Teach Morality. But Whose Morals?

Belief that schools must teach moral values is older than public schools themselves. But whose morals?
U.S. President Truman smiles next to the President of Israel, Chaim Weizmann

A Brief History of the US-Israel 'Special Relationship'

A historian of the Middle East examines how connections have shifted since long before the 1948 founding of the Jewish state.