The Black Nurses Who Were Forced to Care for German Prisoners of War

Prohibited From Tending to White GIs, the Women Felt Betrayed by the Country They Sought to Serve

On the summer afternoon in 1944 that 23-year-old Elinor Powell walked into the Woolworth’s lunch counter in downtown Phoenix, it never occurred to her that she would be refused service. She was, after all, an officer in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, serving her country during wartime, and she had grown up in a predominantly white, upwardly mobile Boston suburb that didn’t subject her family to discrimination.

But the waiter who turned Elinor away wasn’t moved by her patriotism. All he saw was her brown skin. It probably never …

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The Golden State’s Unpopular Pro-Slavery Governor

The First American Executive of California Was a Pioneering Man of the West—and the South

Peter Hardeman Burnett had probably the most impressive list of achievements of any leader in the early American West. He served on the supreme court of the Oregon Territory and …

How UCLA Helped Break the Color Barrier in College Athletics

Jackie Robinson and Tom Bradley Were Among Sports Stars Who Proved That Integration Made Schools More Competitive

The arrival of five athletes, all African American, on the UCLA campus in the late 1930s would prove to be a moment of destiny, not just for college sports but …

The Runner Who Helped Irish Americans Lose Their Hyphen

"Bricklayer Bill" Kennedy Won the 1917 Boston Marathon Wrapped in the U.S. Flag

When I was a kid, my Dad would take me to Heartbreak Hill, rain or shine, to watch the Boston Marathon. For our family, the race held special meaning, because …

The Myth of a “Lost White Tribe” That Created a Global Racial Caste System

Pseudo-Scientific Theories About a "Perfect" Race Still Drive Ethnic Violence Today

18th-century German anatomist Johann Blumenbach kept a collection of 250 human skulls, but he found one skull particularly enchanting. “My beautiful typical head of a young Georgian female,” he wrote, …