Convicts working at Reed Camp, South Carolina, 1934

How Mass Incarceration Has Shaped History

A historian argues that it's time to look at the consequences of locking up millions of people over several decades.
Mothers' Crusade for Victory over Communism

The Red Scare and Women in Government

In 1952, a government administrator named Mary Dublin Keyserling was accused of being a communist. The attack on her was also an attack on feminism.
A group of Puerto Ricans at Newark airport, who just arrived by plane from Puerto Rico waiting to be transported to New York, 1947

How Migrant Labor Policies Shaped a Latino Identity

When Puerto Rican and Mexican workers came to the U.S. in large numbers, they faced similar discrimination and bigotry.
Ellen and William Craft

Passing for White to Escape Slavery

Passing for white was an intentional strategy that enslaved people used to free themselves from bondage.
A person taking a photograph of a mushroom on their phone.

iNaturalist and Crowdsourcing Natural History

The citizen-science app iNaturalist lets you record observations of plants and animals. The data can be used to study biodiversity.
Photographs of criminals, with mask in the centre, from Cesare Lombroso's l'Uomo Delinquente, 1889

Criminal Minds? Try Criminal Bodies

Cesare Lombroso wanted to use science to understand who criminals were. But his ideas about biological "atavism" easily transferred to eugenics and nativism.
A hand holding a corn cob with a spray nozzle on its top

Corn Is Everywhere!

Two educators use the history of corn, from the domestication of maize 10,000 years ago to today's ubiquitous "commodity corn," to teach about biodiversity.
Bhagat Singh Thind in his U.S. Army Uniform, 1918

How “Prerequisite Cases” Tried to Define Whiteness

A law of 1790 said that only "free white persons" were eligible to be naturalized. But courts struggled for years afterward to tell who was white at all.
A poster supporting the Anti-Rent Movement, 1839

Rural Rent Wars of the 1840s

Anti-rent rebellions in New York State helped to shatter the two-party political system in the nineteenth century.
The cover of Exodus by Leon Uris

How Americans Were Taught to Understand Israel

Leon Uris's bestselling book Exodus portrayed the founding of the state of Israel in terms many Americans could relate to.