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Livia Gershon

Livia Gershon is a freelance writer in Nashua, New Hampshire. Her writing has appeared in publications including Salon, Aeon Magazine and the Good Men Project. Contact her on Twitter @liviagershon.

Cannabis sativa, 1828

Growing Cannabis to Fight Exploitation

In the early years of cannabis prohibition, agricultural workers in the western United States used the plant to treat pain and supplement family incomes.
A U.S. postage stamp depicting Hispanic Americans

Where Did the Term “Hispanic” Come From?

"Hispanic" as the name of an ethnicity is contested today. But the category arose from a political need for unity.
A young protester marches during the All Black Lives Matter Solidarity March on June 14, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.

A Century of Black Youth Activism

The history of the 1950s and 1960s Civil Rights Movement is widely studied, but young Black Americans have been organizing for justice for much longer.
Women’s Day March poster from the Womens Liberation Workshop in London, 1975

What Was Women’s Liberation?

The short-lived radical movement within feminism has gotten a bad reputation for centering white women's experiences. Is that deserved?
Kuwasi Balagoon

The Real Story of Black Anarchists

Often in the news today, anarchism is widely misunderstood. One myth is that it's a movement for white people.
Gwich'in warrior and his wife

How Gwich’in Hunters Protect Caribou Herds

An Arctic indigenous community has developed complicated but flexible "rules" for its own hunters to follow. Respect for animals is paramount.
"Diagram of the causes of mortality in the army in the East" by Florence Nightingale, 1858

Florence Nightingale, Data Visualization Visionary

The woman who revolutionized nursing was also a mathematician who knew the power of a visible representation of information.
Le Passage des Brisants à Hawaï

Did White People Really Revive Surfing?

Contrary to the widespread idea that white missionaries stamped out the sport, evidence suggests that Native Hawai‘ians never stopped surfing.
John Frost and daughter listening to radio in their home. Tehama County, California

The People Who Thought Farmers Without Radios Were Rubes

In the 1920s, some people thought that the new invention of radio would make American farmers less "backward."
Protest Against Closing of Child Care Center

Is Childcare a Right?

Feminists supported universal childcare as a means of allowing women to advance in the workforce. But did this argument focus mostly on white women?
Dr. Emile Coue, 1923

The Self-Help Mantra That Got Better and Better

Every day, in every way, the pop psychology of Emile Coué conquered 1920s Britain.
Lady Duff Gordon

World War I Austerity Couldn’t Stop the Fashion Show

To the designer Lucile, luxury consumerism was a virtue as wartime economies struggled.
City of Chicago Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium poster promoting testing for tuberculosis, 1939

What Happened to U.S. Public Health?

After the Civil War, support for public health measures was high. Now, some people blast them as part of the "nanny state."
A woman hiking in the Southwest

How Harassment Keeps Women off Hiking Trails

For many women, the pleasures of solitude in the outdoors must be weighed against the possibility of harassment.
Interior of a London Coffee-house, 17th century

The News Junkies of the Eighteenth Century

Hooked on viral news (or is it gossip?), today's Twitter hordes owe a lot to history's coffeehouses.
Bella Abzug for Mayor Button, New York City 1977

Bella Abzug Began Her Career as an Anti-Racist Lawyer

As an outspoken lawyer, the future congresswoman defended a Black man accused of raping a white woman.
Pro-police demonstrators argue across a temporary barricade during a protest outside the Governors Mansion on June 27, 2020 in St Paul, Minnesota.

Is Political Backlash Real?

Many people assume that strong movements for minority rights provoke backlash at the polls. But some scholars have doubts.
a baby uses the top of mother's skirt as a footrest and leans on her back for a comfortable ride home

Caregiving, Gender, and Power in Papua New Guinea

Among the Murik people, mothering isn't something that comes "naturally" to women who give birth; it's a form of power.
The workroom at St James's workhouse" from The Microcosm of London (1808)

The Trouble with Nursing Homes

From the almshouse to the nursing home, has long-term care for seniors been destined to fail?
Orange Buddish Monks Robe tied around a tree.

Why Some Buddhist Monks Ordain Trees

Buddhist monks in Thailand began tying trees with their traditional colored robes in the 1980s, as threats to ecology increased.
Raven Ziegler from Minneapolis protests the name of the Washington Redskins before a game on November 7, 2013

Playing Sports and “Playing Indian”

The use of Native American stereotypes for team mascots and nicknames is related to efforts to erase Indian identity and culture.
A young man and woman eating ice cream.

Who Invented Weird Hipster Ice Cream Flavors?

From asparagus to pâté de fois gras, early modern ice cream was decidedly different from plain chocolate and vanilla.
A Fourth of July picnic, possibly in South Carolina, 1874, by J. A. Palmer

How Black Americans Co-opted the Fourth of July

After the Civil War, white southerners saw the Fourth of July as a celebration of Confederate defeat. Black southerners saw opportunities.
A Swedish couple c. 1850

How Churches Helped Make Scandinavians “White”

At a time when people from the "wrong" places were entering the U.S., missionaries tried to recruit immigrants they found acceptable.
The head of school security, and a Miami-Dade Police officer stand at the front entrance to the Kenwood K-8 Center on August 24, 2018 in Miami, Florida.

Why Do We Have Cops in Schools?

In the mid-1970s, police officers were in only about 1 percent of US schools. That changed since the late 1990s.