Illegal dumping area off the New Jersey Turnpike, facing Manhattan across the Hudson River (1973).

What U.S. Cities Looked Like Before the EPA

Whatever the Trump administration does with Environmental Protection Agency, its urban legacy is clear.
1745 map of French Louisiana territories, drawn by cartographer Herman Moll.

Part of the Long History of Child Trafficking: 18th-Century French Louisiana

In the 1720s, French colonial authorities seized children off the streets of Paris and forced them to settle the New World.
Crowds outside the Faneuil Hall in Boston in 1776.

Boston Grapples With Faneuil Hall, Named for a Slaveholder

In a city that has long wrestled with issues of race, activists want Peter Faneuil’s name removed from the popular Colonial-era landmark.
A metal obelisk marked the international border between the U.S. and Mexico, ca. 1913. American (left) and Mexican (right) guards patrolled the line.

The Raging Controversy at the Border Began With This Incident 100 Years Ago

In Nogales, Arizona, the United States and Mexico agreed to build walls separating their countries.
Charlottesville's Pen Park, the site of an alleged sexual assault on July 11, 1898. John Henry James was accused of the crime and lynched the next day.

The Train at Wood's Crossing

Piecing together the story of an 1898 lynching in a community that chose to forget most of the details.
New York City skyline in May of 1962.

How New York City Became the Capital of the Jim Crow North

Racial injustice is not a regional sickness. It's a national cancer.
An illustration of a slave sale in Charleston, circa 1860.

Charleston, Key Port For Slaves In America, Apologizes And Meditates On Racism Today

The apology was a long time coming.
Harper Lee's 'Go Set a Watchman' is seen on sale at the Books and Books store on July 14, 2015 in Coral Gables, Florida.

Harper Lee and Her Father, the Real Atticus Finch

A new “biography” of the virtuous lawyer in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” brings to life the inconsistencies of the South.
A map of America's Confederate street names.

The South's Penchant for Confederate Street Names, Mapped

A new project tallies the streets named after Confederate leaders alongside those named after civil rights personalities.
Aftermath of bombings in Hiroshima


A hundred thousand people were killed by the atomic bomb, and these six were among the survivors.

How Women Mapped the Upheaval of 19th Century America

The second part in a series exploring little-seen contributions to cartography.
Opium trader, Hong Kong harbor, 1901.

How Profits From Opium Shaped 19th-Century Boston

In a city steeped in history, very few residents understand the powerful legacy of opium money.