The cover of a music book for the musical "He's Up Against The Real Thing Now," starring Bert Williams and George Walker, 1898

When Black Celebrities Wore Blackface

A Black Bohemia flourished in New York before the Harlem Renaissance and with it a new type of self-determined, contradictory Black celebrity.
DJ Kool Herc speaks during a press conference about the fate of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, a building considered by many to be the birthplace of hip hop on January 15, 2008 in the Bronx

The Rec Room Party Where Hip-Hop Was Born

Thinking quickly and reading the dance floor, an innovative DJ began playing the funkiest parts of every record.
Linda Martell

The First Black Woman to Perform at the Grand Ole Opry

Linda Martell made the switch from R&B to country music in the late 1960s. Her star then shined on country's biggest stage.
An illustration of four people standing and wearing masks

Choosing Love over Eugenics

Some writers see contagion as a metaphor for community—proof that we exist within an interdependent network and not as autonomous disconnected islands.

How to Meme What You Say

The linguistic theories behind what we're trying to say when we adapt and share internet memes.
The Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb blast at Bikini Atoll on March 1, 1954

How the H-Bomb Led to a Reckoning in Japan

For years, the trauma of the atomic bomb was hardly talked about in Japan. The H-bomb test at Bikini Atoll changed that.
Religious candles placed by religious devotees at a Catholic shrine in San Antonio, Texas.

In Defense of Kitsch

The denigration of kitsch betrays a latent anti-Catholicism, one born from centuries of class and ethnic divisions.
Illustration: An illustration from The Experiences of Loveday Brooke, Lady Detective

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/britishlibrary/11305222256

Meet Loveday Brooke, Lady Detective

Fictional detectives usually reflect conservative values. But the first "lady detective" story written by a woman broke boundaries.
The sheet music booklet for I'm Just Wild About Harry

When the Truman Campaign Used a Song from an All-Black Show

"I'm Just Wild about Harry" originated with the songwriting team of Sissle and Blake and first appeared in the Broadway musical Shuffle Along.
Charles Mingus

The Newport Rebels and Jazz as Protest

In 1960 a group of jazz musicians organized an alternative to the Newport Jazz Festival, which they saw as too pop and too white.