The Black-Owned Alabama Plantation That Taught Me the Value of Home

After Emancipation, Ex-Slaves Took Over the Cotton Fields. Today Their Descendants Still Cherish the Land.

By the time I was eight years old, in 1948, my parents, my sister, and I had lived in five different states and had moved more often than that. My grandparents had emigrated from Europe to America early in the 20th century. Somehow I took it for granted that staying in one place for a long time was, if not un-American, at least unusual.

When I became a historian in the 1960s, I gravitated to a man on the move and through him achieved mobility myself. I wrote a book …

More In: home

When the Idea of Home Was Key to American Identity

From Log Cabins to Gilded Age Mansions, How You Lived Determined Whether You Belonged

Like viewers using an old-fashioned stereoscope, historians look at the past from two slightly different angles—then and now. The past is its own country, different from today. But we …

The Gilded Age Lives on in Manhattan’s Mansions

New York's Historic Dream Homes Reflect Changing Tastes and Economic Shifts

Sixty-six floors above Midtown Manhattan, Donald J. Trump lives in a fantasy world copied from the French royalty of the 18th century. His residence, an enormous three-story penthouse that has …

Alki the Town of Dreams

Facing east towards water, a dozen porch benches
overlook an isle of skyscrapers; but nearer, a strip

of gray beach sand, a pier house selling hairy muscles
each second, then …

South L.A. Is a Story of Both Segregation and Desegregation

Homeownership in the Area Has Been Gaining Since the 1990s, Even as Prosperous Residents Move Out

The first big change in South Los Angeles over the last half-century has been the shift of concentrated black communities westward into newer and better housing. The second big change …