Tracy Ehlert, a substitute teacher, in a classroom

Today’s Teacher Shortages are Part of a Longer Pattern

Until school boards and administrators listen to teachers, they’ll end up with shortages in every crisis.
Health care workers on strike, holding picket signs.

Are We Witnessing a ‘General Strike’ in Our Own Time?

W.E.B. Du Bois defined the shift from slavery to freedom as a “general strike” — and there are parallels to today.
Restaurant with 'Help Wanted' sign

‘Help Wanted’ Signs Indicate Lack of Decent Job Offers, Not People Unwilling to Work

The 19th-century antecedent to today’s complaints of labor shortage.

The Baby-Sitters Club Is Ready to Teach a New Generation About Work

Locked-down parents will need an army of tween child-minders. Let the Baby-Sitters Club show them the way.
A poster made by Ghazal Foroutan showing solidarity with the women of Iran

Was She Really Rosie?

The unlikely, true story of the Westinghouse “We Can Do It” work-incentive poster that became an international emblem of women’s empowerment.
Paul Thompson photograph of Staten Island Shipbuilding Company interior view, early 1900s, PK 4119, Staten Island Museum Photo Collection, Staten Island Museum, Staten Island, New York.

Crisis, Disease, Shortage, And Strike: Shipbuilding On Staten Island In World War I

How an industry responded to the needs of workers and of the federal government during a time of rapid mobilization for wartime production.
Illustrated cargo ship surrounded by a train loop.

How America’s Supply Chains Got Railroaded

Rail deregulation led to consolidation, price-gouging, and a variant of just-in-time unloading that left no slack in the system.
Mounted police clashing with strikers, one carrying an American flag, outside an electrical plant in Philadelphia, 1946

Cops at War: How World War II Transformed U.S. Policing

As wartime labor shortages depleted police forces, and fear of crime grew, chiefs turned to new initiatives to strengthen and professionalize their officers.
Job seekers wait to be called into the Heartland Workforce Solutions office in Omaha last summer.

How Cruelty Became the Point of Our Labor and Welfare Policies

Why do so many politicians think people only work if threatened or forced into doing so?

Richmond Rising

African Americans and the mobilization of the Confederate capital.
Female medics during the 1918 pandemic

How the Devastating 1918 Flu Pandemic Helped Advance US Women's Rights

With many men 'missing' from the population in the aftermath of the 1918 flu, women stepped into public roles that hadn't previously been open to them.

The Georgia Peach May Be Vanishing, but Its Mythology Is Alive and Well

It's been a tough year for the Georgia peach.
A group of Black medical students outside Howard University's medical school

The History Behind America’s Shortage of Black Doctors

Decisions about medical training and licensing in the 19th and early 20th century are still having an impact today.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) displays the signed Parental Rights in Education bill, also known as the "Don't Say Gay" law, while surrounded by elementary school students during a news conference on March 28.

Conservatives’ Panic Over Teachers Misses How Little Freedom They Have

Calls for control over educators are manufactured political myths as they’ve never had the power to push an agenda.
Dry cracked, barren land at dawn, the former bed of the Salton Sea, 2019.

The Toxic History of the Salton Sea

A new book catalogs the alarming events that created one of the West’s most polluted bodies of water.
Kids splash at the Rec pool on June 30, 2022. Heather Khalifa / Staff Photographer.

Philadelphia Had a Radical Vision for Its Public Pools. What Happened?

A century of battles over a neighborhood pool reveal a complicated picture, about who matters, and who gets the chance to live well in a segregated city.
Title card for The Class Room, and drawing of a woman holding a child.

How America Got (And Lost) Universal Child Care

The U.S. managed to pay for a child care program during the most expensive war ever. What happened?
Self-Portrait, by Jessie Tarbox Beals, 1904.

Midwestern Exposure

Zooming in on the places where early women photographers could build a career.
Family photo of a Japanese immigrant family.

The World's Only Samurai Colony Was Once in California

The families arrived from Japan with fanfare, most disappeared without a trace.

“All the World’s a Harem”

How masks became gendered during the 1918–1919 Flu Pandemic.