Ronald Reagan signs the bill commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday as a national holiday in 1983.

The Sanitizing of Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks

An interview with political scientist Jeanne Theoharis about the uses and abuses of civil rights heroes.
Christopher Columbus lands on Watling Island and meets the natives, while three of his shipmates erect a cross (1492)

How Columbus Day Fell Victim to Its Own Success

It's worth remembering that the now-controversial holiday started as a way to empower immigrants and celebrate American diversity.
Jose Maria Velasco painting

How Columbus, Of All People, Became a National Symbol

Christopher Columbus was a narcissist.
The landing of Columbus at San Salvador, October 12, 1492
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1492: Columbus in American Memory

Columbus Day is here again -- along with the controversy over its namesake. How have earlier generations understood him?
Statue of Christopher Columbus in Providence, Rhode Island.

Recontextualizing the Ocean Blue

Italian Americans and the commemoration of Columbus.
United Daughters of the Confederacy members photographed in 1912.

The Confederacy’s ‘Living Monuments’

In helping create the myth of the “Lost Cause,” the United Daughters did a lot more than just build statues.
Filmmaker Ken Burns speaks onstage during the PBS Press tour 'Ken Burns's The Roosevelts: An Intimate History' (2014)

What’s So Bad About Ken Burns?

The modern historical profession's purpose has changed drastically in the past century.
Dylann Roof's mugshot

A Most American Terrorist

The Making Of Dylann Roof.
Bryan Stevenson speaking at TED in 2012.

Bryan Stevenson on Charleston and Our Real Problem with Race

"I don't believe slavery ended in 1865, I believe it just evolved."
Workers remove a statue of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from Robert E. Lee Park in Dallas, Texas, on September 14, 2017.

The Myth of Robert E. Lee And The "Good" Slave Owner

According to Lost Cause mythology, Lee was a benevolent slave owner who fought for states’ rights. His slaves said otherwise.
American combat helicopters during Operation Pershing, a search and destroy mission in South Vietnam (1967).

The Soldier Who Needed 'Nam

The story of one veteran who could never find peace—until he made Vietnam his home.
American napalm bombs exploding in fields south of Saigon during the Vietnam war.

Episode-by-Episode Reviews: "The Vietnam War"

Watching Ken Burns' latest epic with a historian who has written extensively about the war.