Runaway RailroadHistory of American Slavery, Episode 8: Our sometimes mythical memory of the Underground Railroad, and why the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 propelled the country toward war.
Rebuilding Pontchartrain ParkHurricane Katrina destroyed the neighborhood where I grew up. I’m still battling Big Easy politics to make it great again.
Vox’s VictoriansDoes playing dress-up really give you a sense of what the past was like? Of corset doesn’t.
Why They FledUnderground Railroad operator Sydney Howard Gay’s meticulous guestbook reveals how and why enslaved men and women risked everything to escape north.
End of the LineAfter Katrina, the second line became a symbol of New Orleans’ resilience. But the survival of the parades—and the neighborhoods the revelers called home—is far from assured.
“Good Breeders”During the antebellum period, enslaved women wielded their reproductive capital and fought off white encroachment on their sexual health.
What Happened Here?I’m a historian who knows almost nothing about the history of my town. I’m setting out to remedy that.
The Bittersweet Victory at Saint-DomingueThe 1791 Haitian Revolution secured black independence in the former French colony and sounded the death knell for the European slave trade. It also ensured the expansion of U.S. slavery.
What Happened When Slaves RebelledHistory of American Slavery, Episode 5: How the frontier was really settled, and the volatile conditions that ripened it for rebellion.
Double GenocideLithuania wants to erase its ugly history of Nazi collaboration—by accusing Jewish partisans who fought the Germans of war crimes.
The Unsung HemingsesHistorians have long objectified Sally Hemings, but the Hemings family’s experiences at Monticello offer a unique glimpse into the lives of “privileged” slaves.
The Landscape of Civil War CommemorationHow, when, and where the North and South memorialize the conflict.
“Richmond Reoccupied by Men Who Wore the Gray” In 1890, the former Confederate capital erected a monument to Robert E. Lee—and reasserted white supremacy.
History’s True WarningHow our misunderstanding of the Holocaust offers moral cover for the geopolitical disasters of our time.
The Case of the Piglet’s PaternityThe 1642 bestiality trial of New Haven colonist George Spencer reveals the horrifying growing pains of our modern justice system.
The First Victim of Sept. 11He was likely the first person killed, but his influence was felt that entire terrible day—online.
The Best IntentionsAfter the horror of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Manhattan Project scientists tried to advocate for nuclear de-escalation—instead, they unwittingly abetted the Vietnam War.
To Do No Harm?History of American Slavery, Episode 7: What modern medicine gained from slavery, and how slaveholders sought to legitimize their ideology through science.
Picking Cotton Under the Pushing SystemBy the 19th century, systematic violence had become an economic necessity on America’s cotton frontier.
When Cotton Became KingHistory of American Slavery, Episode 6: The rise of the 19th-century cotton economy brings about a powerful and frightening turn for the worse.
Are We in the Midst of a New Civil Rights Era?How the year since Ferguson does—and doesn’t—resemble the midcentury movement.
A “Fus’ Rate Bargain”Accounts of slave appraisals in mid–19th-century Georgia demonstrate how enslaved people sought to keep their families intact as they navigated the auction block.
For More Than 100 Years, Historians Doubted the Autobiographies of SlavesHenry Louis Gates joins the Academy to discuss slave narratives—what they’ve taught us and why scholars used to ignore them.
Who Should Tell the Story of Slavery?Read a transcript of Henry Louis Gates’ appearance on the History of American Slavery, a Slate Academy.
The Family Life of Enslaved PeopleHistory of American Slavery, Episode 4: What happened when Thomas Jefferson and other slaveholders tore apart the families they owned.
The Confederate Flag Doesn’t Belong in a MuseumFinding the proper home for this symbol of oppression isn’t as simple as politicians keep saying it is.