Immigrants

Blue jeans gained popularity in the late 19th-century American West due to their durability.

Cache of 19th-Century Blue Jeans Discovered in Abandoned Arizona Mineshaft

The seven pairs of pants open a portal into life in the Castle Dome mining district

Paula, Sam and Sol Messinger aboard the M.S. St. Louis in May 1939. The U.S. denied the ship entry, forcing its 937 passengers to return to Europe. More than a quarter of these refugees were later killed in the Holocaust.

Untold Stories of American History

Why Was America So Reluctant to Take Action on the Holocaust?

A new Ken Burns documentary examines the U.S.' complex, often shameful response to the rise of Nazism and the plight of Jewish refugees

The Pekin Noodle Parlor in Butte, Montana, serves what owner Jerry Tam calls “Chinese American comfort food.”

The First Chinese Restaurant in America Has a Savory—and Unsavory—History

Venture into the Montana eatery, once a gambling den and opium repository, that still draws a crowd

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

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

Untold Stories of American History

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

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

Denver's apology for an 1880 anti-Chinese riot comes during a surge of racially motivated violence and discrimination toward Asian Americans. 

Denver Apologizes for Anti-Chinese Riot of 1880

A white mob terrorized residents and murdered a man, but the city never punished the perpetrators

Lois Mailou Jones, The Green Door, 1981, watercolor over graphite on wove paper

These Artworks Reimagine the Legacy of the African Diaspora

A new exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. showcases 130 works by artists from 24 countries

Joseph Mikulec, the “Globe-Trotter” whose toes touched six continents, collected the signatures of such luminaries as Woodrow Wilson, William Howard Taft, Edward VIII, Mary Pickford and Teddy Roosevelt.

The Man Who Walked Around the World, Collecting the Autographs of the Rich and Famous

In the early 1900s, Joseph Mikulec traveled some 175,000 miles on foot, gathering 60,000 signatures in a leather-bound album that is now up for sale

A wooden trestle bridge near Terrace, Utah. The state has more intact miles of original railroad grade than any other in the West.

Untold Stories of American History

What Archaeologists Are Learning About the Lives of the Chinese Immigrants Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad

In the sparse Utah desert, the vital contributions of these 19th-century laborers are finally coming to light

The Godfather was named Best Motion Picture–Drama in the 1973 Golden Globe Awards and Best Picture in the Academy Awards.

Studio Executives Did Not Want Marlon Brando for the Title Role in 'The Godfather'

On the film's 50th anniversary, a Smithsonian historian reflects on the cultural phenomenon of the blockbuster hit

Researchers identified that these vertebrae belonged to giant snakeheads, freshwater fish native to Southeast Asia.

Fish Bones Found in Razed California Chinatown Reveal Complex 19th-Century Trade Network

DNA analysis suggests the Chinese immigrants' supply chain stretched to Southeast Asia

Toshio Mori's Yokohama, California was slated for publication in fall 1942. Japan's bombing of Pearl Harbor—and Mori's incarceration under Executive Order 9066—delayed the short story collection's release until 1949.

The Fascinating—and Harrowing—Tale of the First Japanese American to Publish a Book of Fiction

After his incarceration during WWII, Toshio Mori released a collection of short stories based on his experiences as a second generation Asian immigrant

Pancho Villa supposedly came to Columbus because he was enraged at the author's paternal grandfather, Sam Ravel, over an arms deal gone wrong. This photo album helped the author better understand Sam.

The Photo Album That Succeeded Where Pancho Villa Failed

The revolutionary may have tried to find the author's grandfather by raiding a New Mexico village—but a friend's camera truly captured her family patriarch

Being the Ricardos features Nicole Kidman (left) as Lucille Ball and Javier Bardem (right) as Desi Arnaz.

Based on a True Story

The True History Behind 'Being the Ricardos'

Aaron Sorkin's new film dramatizes three pivotal moments in the lives of comedy legends Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz

Chinese railroad workers near the Secret Town Trestle in Placer County, California, around 1869

Cool Finds

Artifacts Used by Chinese Transcontinental Railroad Workers Found in Utah

Researchers discovered the remains of a mid-19th century house, a centuries-old Chinese coin and other traces of the short-lived town of Terrace

Abdulrazak Gurnah, 73, was awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday.

Abdulrazak Gurnah, Chronicler of Migrant Experience, Wins 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature

The Zanzibar-born author of ten novels tells richly detailed stories about people living "in the gulf between cultures and continents"

Group portrait of three Chinese children, each holding an American flag and a Chinese flag, in a room in Chicago, 1929

Innovation for Good

Illinois Becomes First State to Mandate Teaching Asian American History

The move arrives amid a surge in anti-Asian hate crimes across the country

The free silver movement—which fought to allow for unfettered silver coinage alongside the gold standard—reflected the divides of 1890s America.

The U.S. Government's Failed Attempt to Forge Unity Through Currency

In the late 1890s, the Bureau of Printing and Engraving tried to bridge the divide between silver and gold with a series of educational paper certificates

The new film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's In the Heights draws on the real history of Manhattan's Washington Heights neighborhood.

The Immigrant History of the NYC Neighborhood Behind 'In the Heights'

How Washington Heights, a community in upper Manhattan, became the heart of an award-winning musical and a hotly anticipated film adaptation

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