Why Don’t American Jews Search for Their Heritage in New York City?

Tourists Now See the Holocaust, Not the Lower East Side, as the Core of the Jewish Experience

While the Jewish heritage industry is booming in many places, it is struggling in New York.

This poses a problem not just for the city but also for those who want to create the broadest and most complete understanding of Jewish heritage.

As the cradle of the Jewish history in America, New York City, and especially the Lower East Side, represents that breadth. Advances in literature, comedy, café life, politics, and labor can all be traced to the Jewish experience here. The city’s popular culture—from Fiddler on the Roof to …

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Ulysses Grant’s Forgotten Fight for Native American Rights

The President and His Seneca Friend Ely Parker Wanted Indians to Gain Citizenship, But Their Efforts Are Mostly Lost to History

The man elected president in 1868—Ulysses S. Grant—was determined to change the way many of his fellow Americans understood citizenship. As he saw it, anyone could become an American, not …

How Hawai‘i Inspired the Advance of Aviation

In the 1920s, the Contest to Cross the Ocean and Reach the Islands Was Deadly—and Transformational

Approximately 20 million airline passengers traveled through Hawaiian airports last year. That might seem like a lot of people on a couple of small Pacific islands, but Hawai‘i hardly broke …

The Quiet Yalie Who Invented American Football

As a Player and Coach, Walter Camp Rewrote Rugby’s Rules to Create a Sport Fit for America

American football is the all-but-official sport of the United States. But for all the media coverage it draws, the origin story of football gets missed. How did this game …

Preaching Civility Won’t Save American Democracy

Only by Learning to Communicate as Citizens, Not Propagandists, Can We Avert Political Tragedy

It’s obvious that our political discourse is broken. People don’t just yell at one another on cable television, they also do it in restaurants, and on social media. Our communities …

The Greek-American R&B Legend Who Passed as Black

Johnny Otis Felt He Had Been ‘Saved’ by the Political, Spiritual, and Moral Force of African-American Culture 

If a role exists in black music that Johnny Otis couldn’t play, it would be hard to find. Known as the godfather of rhythm and blues, Otis was a bandleader, …