William Melvin Kelley

The Lost Giant of American Literature

A major black novelist made a remarkable début. How did he disappear?
Kehinde Wiley portrait of Barack Obama; Amy Sherald’s take on Michelle Obama.

Where the Newly Unveiled Obama Portraits Fit in the History of (Black) Portraiture

An art historian explains how portraits can convey so much more than mere likeness.
Brad Paisley and Charley Pride perform  at the 50th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 2, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Charley Pride’s Music Taught Listeners That Country Music Was Black Music, Too

The mythology of cowboy culture is aggressively white, but there was always a black West.
Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther.

How 'Black Panther' Taps Into 500 Years of History

The film draws on centuries of black dreams of independence to create Wakanda.
Women at Atari assembling circuit boards.

Sex, Pong, And Pioneers

What Atari was really like, according to the women that were there.
A cheeseburger and french fries being served at a Shake Shack restaurant in Chicago, Illinois in 2015.

The Hamburger: An American Lyric

How hamburgers became a staple of the American diet.
A public service announcement of the PCPF/Ad Council from the late-1960s.

Selling American Vigor

The Cold War and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness.
Roy Cohn, a future confidant and lawyer to Donald Trump, speaking with Senator Joseph McCarthy (ca. 1954).

‘Eight Loving Arms and All Those Suckers.’

How Angels in America put Roy Cohn into the definitive story of AIDS.
Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) and T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) face off in Black Panther

Why ‘Black Panther’ Is a Defining Moment for Black America

It re-imagines Africa as a dream of African-American wholeness, greatness and self-realization.
Sarah Silverman performing at

Want to Hear a Dirty Joke? Get a Woman to Tell It

The Courage and Comic Genius of Groundbreaking Female Stand-Ups
Jennie Wilde float design

Illustrating Carnival: Remembering the Overlooked Artists Behind Early Mardi Gras

A look at the ornate float and costume designs from Carnival’s “Golden Age."
Bob McDill (bottom, center) and other songwriters at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on July 31, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.

A Hardworking Man Named Bob McDill

The steady hand behind more than 30 No. 1 country hits.