Martin Luther King Jr. giving a speech.
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The Problem With Comparing Today's Activists to MLK

Media coverage of the civil rights movement is a reminder that the deification of King has skewed public memory.
John Marshall Harlan

We Shouldn’t Stop Talking About Justice John Marshall Harlan

Today, historical figures are held in deep suspicion, but refusing to acknowledge the heroes of the past diminishes our own sense of what is possible.
George Gordon Meade

After Winning the Battle of Gettysburg, George Meade Fought With—and Lost to—the Press

The Civil War general's reputation was shaped by partisan politics, editorial whims and his own personal failings.
Ethel and Julius Rosenberg leaving the courthouse in a prison van, 1951.

Not How He Wanted to Be Remembered

Two decades passed before the ghosts of the Rosenbergs came back to haunt Irving Kaufman, the judge who sentenced them to death.
Illustrated portrait of Martin Luther King Jr., by PS Spencer.

The New Definitive Biography of Martin Luther King Jr.

“King: A Life,” by Jonathan Eig, is the first comprehensive account of the civil rights icon in decades.
Car interior with Chuck Berry reflected in side view mirror.

An Anthropologist of Filth

On Chuck Berry.
A Metropolitan Museum official hands over a 13th-century wooden strut to Nepal’s archaeology department last year. Photograph: Aryan Dhimal/Zuma Press Wire/Rex/Shutterstock.

New York’s Met Museum Sees Reputation Erode Over Collection Practices

An investigation identified hundreds of artifacts linked to indicted or convicted traffickers. What does this mean for the future of museums?
Jimmy Carter campaigning with his wife, Rosalynn, in New York City for the 1976 presidential election.

‘Different From the Other Southerners’: Jimmy Carter’s Relationship With Black America

How a white politician from the South who once supported segregationist policies eventually won the enduring support of Black voters.
Former US President Jimmy Carter in profile.

Jimmy Carter’s Presidency Was Not What You Think

Jimmy Carter was probably the most intelligent, hard-working and decent man to have occupied the Oval Office in the 20th century.
Buster Keaton holds himself up against two walls.

Puzzled Puss: Buster Keaton’s Star Turn

Keaton had been on the stage longest, risen the highest, fallen the furthest, and left the most indelible legacy.
Portrait of Ulysses S. Grant

Democratic Spirit: Ulysses S. Grant at 200

The foremost challenge of Grant’s day has not gone away. His response to it merits our attention.
Illustration of Abraham Lincoln getting ready to give a speech.

Re-imagining the Great Emancipator

How shall a generation know its story, if it will know no other?
A drawing of President Abraham Lincoln with African Americans outside of the White House.

Guests of the Great Emancipator

Lin­coln’s interactions with black Americans provides a valuable resource for understanding a more farseeing Lincoln than the voices of despair have described.
Nixon in front of presidential photographs.

Daniel Schorr and Nixon’s Tricky Road to Redemption

Nixon portrayed himself as a victim of the press. But from the 1952 Checkers speech through his post-presidency, he proved to be an able manipulator of the media.
William Faulkner in front of bookshelf

William Faulkner’s Tragic Vision

In Yoknapatawpha County, the past never speaks with a single voice.
Picture of Claudette Colvin

Before Rosa Parks, Claudette Colvin Refused to Give Up Her Seat on a Bus. She’s Still on Probation.

Colvin, 82, is headed to court in Montgomery, Ala., to petition for her record to be cleared.
Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln’s Rowdy America

A new biography details the cultural jumble of literature, dirty jokes, and everything in between that went into the making of the foremost self-made American.

The Real Calamity Jane Was Distressingly Unlike Her Legend

A frontier character's life was crafted to be legendary, but was the real person as incredible?
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Rethinking the Construction of Ronald Reagan's Legacy

Conservatives created a rosy image of Reagan to further their political project.
Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King.

Information the FBI Once Hoped Could Destroy Martin Luther King Jr. Has Been Declassified

Revealing these materials could be considered “Hoover’s revenge.”