American Segregation Started Long Before the Civil War

How the Founders' Revolutionary Ideology Laid the Groundwork

Segregation remains an intractable force in American life, more than 60 years after the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling outlawed racial separation in America’s schools. The Government Accountability Office recently estimated that more than 20 million students of color attend public schools that are racially or socioeconomically isolated. This figure has increased in recent decades, despite a raft of federal and state initiatives.

Major cities like New York and Chicago struggle with high levels of residential segregation, especially at the neighborhood level. The entrenched correlation between …

Remembering 9/11, From a Scrawled Note to a Bit of Fuselage

How Objects Both Ordinary and Extraordinary Help Us Reflect on the Devastation

Three months after the attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress officially charged the Smithsonian and the National Museum of American History with collecting and preserving artifacts that would tell …

How William T. Sherman Helped Create California

And How His Golden State Past Influenced the Civil War General’s Most Famous Decision

This month, as California celebrates Admission Day—a legal holiday in honor of our officially joining the United States on September 9, 1850—we should give ourselves an overdue present:

A founding story …

A Punk Rock Tour Across Europe Gave Me Hope for Philly’s Revival

Photographing My Hometown’s Urban Neglect Captures the Hidden Potential in a City’s Ruins

Growing up in Philadelphia, I played and photographed in the ruins of buildings—some noble, even ones designated as important national historic landmarks. I wasn’t really cognizant of their importance in …

How World War II Turned Soldiers Into Bookworms

American GIs Devoured Paperbacks on the Front Lines, Spawning a New Generation of Readers

In January 1942, thousands of New Yorkers gathered on the steps of the legendary New York Public Library, at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street, wearing their Sunday best and warmest …

Donald and Bernie, Meet Andrew Jackson

The Seventh President Stoked the Anti-Elitist Rancor That Is Now Engulfing the 2016 Election

We hear a lot about populism these days. Throughout this primary season, headlines across the country have proclaimed the successes of the “populist” contenders, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Without …