Still from the 1915 film The Birth of a Nation featuring Ku Klux Klan riders.

How the KKK Shaped Modern Comic Book Superheroes

Masked men who take the law into their own hands.

The Strange Story of the Forever 1980s

Why the makers of today's popular culture are still so obsessed with the Reagan era.
Joyce Weisbecker (center) with her sister, Jean, and father, Joseph, in 1962, years before she programmed her first video game.

Rediscovering History’s Lost First Female Video Game Designer

In 1976, Joyce Weisbecker programmed games for an RCA PC and console based on technology created at home by her dad.
Title page of

The Cookbook That Brought Chinese Food to American Kitchens

The lasting influence of "How to Cook and Eat in Chinese."
A couple sits in a sandwich bar (1974).

In America's Sandwiches, the Story of a Nation

What the origins of tuna salad, the club sandwich, PB & J, Chow Mein sandwich, and the Scotch Woodcock reveal about our shared history.
Poster for Federal Theatre Project presentation of

The Powerful Tune That Drives ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’

A melody can carry an undeniable purpose even before it gets paired with a lyric.
The statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee stands in the center of the renamed Emancipation Park on August 22, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Robert E. Lee WAS a Man of Honor. That’s the Problem.

For white southerners, honor had little to do with justice.
Detail from Jimmie Durham's

What If Jimmie Durham, Noted Cherokee Artist, Is Not Actually Cherokee?

He’s been called “the art world’s Rachel Dolezal.”
San Diego Padres pitcher Eric Show at work, 1985.

Remembering Baseball’s Right-Wing Rotation

When three Padres pitchers joined the John Birch Society in 1984, the sports world was challenged by a different kind of political activism.
Thoreau's Cove, Walden Pond, Concord, Mass. (ca. 1908)

Darwin's Early Adopters

A new book argues that Darwin failed to capture the American imagination because of the untimely death of Henry David Thoreau.
Orson Welles meeting with reporters after the War of he Worlds radio broadcast (1938)

The Myth of the War of the Worlds Panic

Orson Welles’ infamous 1938 radio program did not touch off nationwide hysteria. Why does the legend persist?

American Spirit: A History of the Supernatural

On the occasion of Halloween, an exploration of previous generations' fascination with ghosts, spirits, and witches.