How My Great-Grandfather Dealt With a Lout Named Jack London

A Muralist Finds Herself Captivated by the Bay Area Writer, Crusader for Justice, and Drunken Brawler

Growing up in the Bay Area, I heard a lot of family lore about Jack London, and my great-grandfather George Samuels.

Samuels had been a district attorney, a police court judge, and a Superior Court judge in Alameda County, serving continuously from around 1903 until his death in 1925. The famous author had appeared in his court as a defendant several times. Apparently, the encounters produced hard feelings in London. My aunt, prone to exaggeration, bragged that London had threatened to set off a bomb under my great-grandfather’s house.

My questions about …

An L.A. Woman Embraces Her Ancestral New Orleans Home

How Family Reunions Revealed That My Grandparents’ Stories Are My Own

Zigzagging through the crush of rush-hour commuters at L.A.’s Union Station, I’m hoping to make up for lost time. Suddenly, out of the edges of my vision, a man …

Walking Runs in My Blood

How My Family Legacy Inspired Me to Save a Special Trail in Apple Valley

You could say that walking runs in my blood: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t take long walks with my dad, though why was a mystery. Recently, …

Recovering the Stolen Histories of American Slaves

The Tragedy of Treating People as Property Has Left Only Scattered Scraps to Hint at Their Cultures and Communities

For the past eight years I’ve been living with 72 people. These 28 men, 25 women, 12 girls, and seven boys are long dead—they were Africans sold into captivity and …

A Priest. A Nun. And Me.

My Parents’ Relationship Has Always Been a Mystery to Me. It Was Also a Miracle.

Anyone can spend a lifetime trying to understand his parents. But mine might require eternity. My dad was a priest and my mom was a nun. They met, fell in …