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According to author Christopher A. Thomas, the dedication "was a microcosm of the strained race relations of its day, marked by the rhetoric of good intentions and the behavior of bigamy."

A Century Ago, the Lincoln Memorial's Dedication Underscored the Nation's Racial Divide

Seating was segregated, and the ceremony's only Black speaker was forced to drastically revise his speech to avoid spreading "propaganda"

Tom Cruise revives his Top Gun role as Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in the new film arriving in theaters May 27.

'Top Gun' Is Back. But Is the Elite Navy Fighter Pilot School Really Like the Movies?

The Smithsonian’s Chris Browne flew the much-feared F-14, and as a former TOPGUN student, knows well the power of a Navy-trained fighter pilot

The archive of written work and speeches delivered by suffragists simply doesn’t indicate that abortion was at the forefront of discussions about women’s rights during the mid-19th to early 20th centuries.

History of Now

What Did the Suffragists Really Think About Abortion?

Contrary to contemporary claims, Susan B. Anthony and her peers rarely discussed abortion, which only emerged as a key political issue in the 1960s

In August 1994, Cuba's leader Fidel Castro announced a reprieve in the enforcement of laws governing emigration (above: a homemade raft sets off from the coast near Havana on August 22, 1994) and as a result nearly 35,000 left the island.  

A Makeshift Raft Speaks to the Risks Cubans Took to Escape Their Homeland

In the mid-1990s, tens of thousands left in boats or handcrafted floats facing treacherous waters in search of a better life

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Women Who Shaped History

Escape From the Gilded Cage

Even if her husband was a murderer, a woman in a bad marriage once had few options. Unless she fled to South Dakota

“Once upon a time, there was a piece of wood.” An Italian tradition, epitomized by the fictional Geppetto, continues at Bartolucci’s shop in Florence.

The Real Story of Pinocchio Tells No Lies

Forget what you know from the cartoon. The 19th-century story, now in a new translation, was a rallying cry for universal education and Italian nationhood

The first two panels of "Nazi Death Parade," a six-panel comic depicting the mass murder of Jews at a Nazi concentration camp

The Holocaust-Era Comic That Brought Americans Into the Nazi Gas Chambers

In early 1945, a six-panel comic in a U.S. pamphlet offered a visceral depiction of the Third Reich's killing machine

In closing remarks at the 1969 U.N. General Assembly in New York, Black recalled an Apollo 12 astronaut who, while in orbit, remarked on the Earth’s beauty. “Some of us down here are not so sure,” she said.

Women Who Shaped History

Shirley Temple Black's Remarkable Second Act as a Diplomat

An unpublished memoir reveals how the world’s most famous child actress became a star of the environmental movement

The massive sculpture by Sabin Howard consists of five tableaux about a U.S. soldier. This is “Battle Scene.”

World War I: 100 Years Later

An Exclusive Preview of the New World War I Memorial

One sculptor and his team of artists take on the epic project of conveying the century-old conflict through a massive bronze installation

Last September, an installation of almost 700,000 white flags on the National Mall paid tribute to the Americans who have died of Covid-19.

Covid-19

The Civil War Drastically Reshaped How Americans Deal With Death. Will the Pandemic?

Around 750,000 people died during the conflict—2.5 percent of the country's population at the time

Early efforts to sow hibiscus on the mainland had mixed success. Today it grows in many states; in the South, hibiscus used in punch is known as “Florida Cranberry.”

Race in America

A Brief History of Red Drink

The obscure roots of a centuries-old beverage that’s now a Juneteenth fixture

One reader wonders why men’s bicycles have crossbars but not women’s.


 

Why Do Only Men's Bicycles Have Crossbars? And More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts.

The Great Hall boasts works by nearly 50 American painters and sculptors.

What Makes the Library of Congress a Monument to Democracy

The world’s largest book repository has expanded far beyond its original scope to include sound recordings and digitized collections

Before the critical 1965 Supreme Court ruling Griswold v. Connecticut, state and federal morality laws prohibited access to contraceptives, even to married couples (above: a picketer protests the opening of a new Planned Parenthood Center in New Haven, Connecticut).

The Revolutionary 1965 Supreme Court Decision That Declared Sex a Private Affair

A Smithsonian curator of medicine and science looks back to the days when police could arrest couples for using contraception

Haribo products are available in more than 100 countries, with 160 million Goldbears leaving factory floors around the world every day.

The Colorful History of Haribo Goldbears, the World's First Gummy Bears

2022 marks the centenary of the German candy company's flagship product

AIM users could log on and instantly ping messages back and forth, remotely chatting with friends, colleagues and loved ones.

In the 25 Years Since Its Launch, AOL Instant Messenger Has Never Been 'Away'

While some aspects of AIM seem like relics of a different version of the internet, others remain deeply embedded in the social media landscape

As recent archival finds and reappraisals of well-known documents show, Liss forged her own path to freedom—and may have even spied on the British while doing so.

Women Who Shaped History

Did an Enslaved Woman Try to Warn the Americans of Benedict Arnold's Treason?

New research sheds light on Liss, who was enslaved by the family of a Culper Spy Ring leader and had ties to British spymaster John André

On the island of Dejima, European traders could interact with the Japanese, but with a few (carefully escorted) exceptions, they were barred from continuing on to mainland Japan.

The Wild West Outpost of Japan's Isolationist Era

For two centuries, an extreme protectionist policy barred foreigners from setting foot in Japan—except for one tiny island

After his shooting, a hospitalized Wallace holds up a newspaper touting his victories in the Maryland and Michigan Democratic presidential primaries.

How a Failed Assassination Attempt Pushed George Wallace to Reconsider His Segregationist Views

Fifty years ago, a fame-seeker shot the polarizing politician five times, paralyzing him from the waist down

Cookbook author Grace Young set out to raise awareness of the struggle that Chinatown's business owners were facing, recording her “Coronavirus Stories”—short on-the-spot video interviews with members of the community.

Grace Young, Who Documented the Toll of Anti-Asian Hate on NYC's Chinatown, Receives Julia Child Award

A $50,000 grant is awarded to the culinary historian for her advocacy of Chinese-American culture and cuisine

Photo of the day

A light beamed through Antelope Canyon. Light Through