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Neal V. Loving in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1954

In 1946, a Black Pilot Returned to the Cockpit After a Double Amputation

Neal V. Loving, whose memoir will soon be released by Smithsonian Books, built his own planes, ran a flight school and conducted research for the Air Force

At the Paris World's Fair a powerful display of hand-drawn diagrams (above: Income and expenditure of 150 Negro families in Atlanta, Ga.,U.S. designed by W.E.B. Du Bois and his students) called attention to the unrecognized contributions of Black Americans. The fragile posters are being rotatated in and out of an exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum through May 2023.

How W.E.B. Du Bois Disrupted America’s Dominance at the World’s Fair

With bar graphs and pie charts, the sociologist and his Atlanta students demonstrated Black excellence in the face of widespread discrimination

The cast of the 1983 film, from left to right: Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, C. Thomas Howell, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez and Tom Cruise

S.E. Hinton Is Tired of Talking About 'The Outsiders.' No One Else Is

The author reflects on her classic 1967 novel, its 1983 film adaptation and its legacy today

Miriam Wosk's illustration of a blue-skinned, eight-armed multitasking woman adorned the first cover of Ms. magazine. "Making her blue was a way of making her universal," says Gloria Steinem in this month's "Portraits" podcast.

Explore the Founding of 'Ms.' Magazine and the Making of a Space Telescope Photograph in This Month’s Featured Podcasts

“AirSpace” speaks to astronomer Shauna Edson and “Portraits” drops in on activist and author Gloria Steinhem

“People always liked and admired Colette, but after [World War I], with this need to consolidate French identity, Colette really becomes a classique,” says Kathleen Antonioli. 

Colette Revolutionized French Literature With Her Depictions of Female Desire

Born 150 years ago this week, the author was known for her incisive portrayals of women's everyday lives

Fall/Winter Sears catalog from 1957

Before Folding 30 Years Ago, the Sears Catalog Sold Some Surprising Products

The retail giant’s mail-order business reigned supreme for more than a century, offering everything from quack cures to ready-to-build homes

Indigenous people brought to Spain by Hernán Cortés play the game patolli.

The Indigenous Americans Who Visited Europe

A new book reverses the narrative of the Age of Discovery, which has long evoked the ambitions of Europeans looking to the Americas rather than vice versa

Jill Biden addresses a crowd at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History on January 25. Inaugural ensembles by Gabriella Hearst (left) and Alexandra O'Neill (right) stand next to her.

Jill Biden's Inaugural Attire Is on View at the Smithsonian

The day and evening ensembles are now the centerpiece of the American History Museum's popular "First Ladies" exhibition

The installation Create to Free Yourselves: Abraham Lincoln and the History of Freeing Slaves in America by Georges Adéagbo (above) will be on view at President Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington, D.C. through February 15.

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At Abraham Lincoln's Cottage, Artist Georges Adéagbo Pays Homage to the Great Emancipator

The award-winning Beninese artist unveils a work dedicated to the president’s “generosity of heart”

Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson at his desk in November 1957

When Lyndon B. Johnson Chose the Middle Ground on Civil Rights—and Disappointed Everyone

Always a dealmaker, then-senator LBJ negotiated with segregationists to pass a bill that cautiously advanced racial equality

On the morning of August 14, 1932, the Keuka sank under suspicious circumstances, prompting speculation both at the time and in the decades since.

Once a Floating Speakeasy, This Shipwreck Tells a Tale of Bullets and Booze

The "Keuka" sank in 1932, just three years after its grand opening as a dance hall, roller rink and illicit party boat

Drummer boy John Clem (left) and Robert Henry Hendershot, who claimed to be the celebrated "drummer boy of Rappahannock" (right)

Why the Union Army Had So Many Boy Soldiers

A new book unearths the startling numbers behind underage enlistment during the Civil War

L to R: Andrew Carnegie, Elizabeth I, Henry VIII and Henry Ford

The Tudor Roots of Modern Billionaires' Philanthropy

The debate over how to manage the wealthy's fortunes after their deaths traces its roots to Henry VIII and Elizabeth I

On January 12, 1928, Ruth Snyder was executed at Sing Sing prison for murdering her husband, Albert.

How a New York Tabloid Captured the First Photo of an Execution by the Electric Chair

In January 1928, Tom Howard of the "Daily News" smuggled a camera into Sing Sing, where he snapped a picture of Ruth Snyder’s final moments

On January 9, 2023, Spanish aeronautic engineer Juan de la Cierva became the first person to fly an autogiro.

How Quixote’s Windmills Inspired a Spanish Inventor to Envision Vertical Flight

The autogiro finds new fans a century after its first liftoff

This 1605 drawing of a Black sumo wrestler may depict Yasuke.

Who Was Yasuke, Japan's First Black Samurai?

In the late 16th century, the enigmatic warrior fought alongside a feudal lord dubbed the "Great Unifier"

The statue Sons of St. Augustine imagines a warm encounter between Alexander Darnes, a physician, and Edmund Kirby Smith, the Confederate general who had enslaved him.

The Doctor and the Confederate

A historian’s journey into the relationship between Alexander Darnes and Edmund Kirby Smith starts with a surprising eulogy

The 17th-century fort at Portobelo, built by enslaved laborers, overlooks the bay area where some of the earliest maroons settled after gaining their freedom.

A New Discovery Puts Panama as the Site of the First Successful Slave Rebellion

Deep in the archives, a historian rescues the tale of brave maroons

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The Misunderstood Roman Empress Who Willed Her Way to the Top

A fresh view of Galla Placidia, who married a barbarian and ruled when the world power fell into chaos

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How the Myth of the American Frontier Got Its Start

Frederick Jackson Turner’s thesis informed decades of scholarship and culture. Then he realized he was wrong

Photo of the day

This photo was produced during the pandemic. It is made up of shots studied from the house's window and shots stolen by the city in those rare moments outdoors. They are my representation of some moments in search of something new in the usual visual routine, trying to fix emotions in a different occupation of the spaces Blue Distance