Close-up of a Man's smiling mouth

The Laugh Track: Loathe It or Love It

The use of a laugh track began with radio, and was taken up by the new medium of television in 1950. Both viewers and critics have loathed it ever since.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and former Russian President Boris Yeltsin attend an inauguration ceremony for Putin May 7, 2000 in the Kremlin in Moscow.

Russia and the Soviet Union: A Syllabus of Background Readings

These readings from our archive provide context for the developing conflict in Ukraine.
Thurgood Marshall, 1967

Drafting a Constitution: Thurgood Marshall in Kenya

In 1960, before his nomination as a US Supreme Court justice, Thurgood Marshall helped frame the constitution that would serve a new country.
A promotional image for Moon Over Harlem, 1939

How Film Ads Were Part of the Fight Against Segregation

In the Jim Crow era, Black film theaters were left out of the "first-run" distribution channels. Theater owners used creativity to attract their audiences.

Independent Voices of the Black American Press

The digitized newspapers in this open access collection offer insight into the country’s diverse civil rights movements following the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Two open mouths with water ripples emanating out towards each other

Words on the Way In: A Retrospective

The first installment of a new column on living language: talking about COVID (talk)
Donald Goines, from the back cover of an early edition of Dopefiend

Donald Goines, Detroit’s Crime Writer Par Excellence

The writer used hard-boiled fiction as a wide lens to accurately capture the widescreen disparity of Black life in the 1970s.
Sidney Poitier in In the Heat of the Night

The Slap That Changed American Film-Making

When Sidney Poitier slapped a white murder suspect on screen, it changed how the stories of Black Americans were portrayed on film.
A photograph of the blue cover of the first edition, 1st printing of the book Ulysses by James Joyce, 1922

Censoring Ulysses

In reviewing the UK Home Office files on James Joyce's Ulysses, a historian found baffled officials afraid to bring more attention to it.
Actors Dennis Morgan and Betty Furness rehearsing a kissing scene for their movie Mama Steps Out, 1937

The 1918 Flu Pandemic’s Impact on Movie Theaters

With WWI coming to end, 1918 should have been a good year for the movies. Then along came influenza.