Alice Childress, Paul Robeson and Lorraine Hansberry

In the McCarthy Era, to Be Black Was to Be Red

The Marxist sympathies of Black radical leaders like Paul Robeson, Alice Childress, and Lorraine Hansberry made them targets for the FBI.
"The Vexed Man" by Franz Xaver Messerschmidt at The Getty Center in Los Angeles, California.

The Man Whose Face Got Stuck Like That

No one could have predicted Franz Xaver Messerschmidt’s turn to the bizarre.
Mary Pickford, 1916

Mary Pickford Knew Not to Take the First Offer

When the 17-year-old actress auditioned for her first film, director D.W. Griffith offered her $5 a day. That wasn’t good enough for Mary.
Meet John Doe

“Meet John Doe” Shows the Darkness of American Democracy

Meet John Doe, Frank Capra’s 1941 drama, carries forward the populist themes of his other movies, only with a much darker premise.
The Dance of Death

A Roman Feast… of Death!

The banquet hall was painted black from ceiling to floor. By the pale flicker of grave lamps, the invited senators coud make out a row of tombstones.
A collection of Native American utensils and weapons

What We Lose When We Lose Indigenous Knowledge

By mistaking a culture's history for fantasy, or by disrespecting the wealth of indigenous knowledge, we're keeping up a Columbian, colonial tradition.
A woman reading a newspaper

To Predict the Role of Fake News in 2020, Look to Canada

Canada has taken steps to address the potential for online misinformation ("fake news") in its upcoming election, but the internet changes rapidly.
The Lost World (1925) - film poster

The 1925 Dinosaur Movie That Paved the Way for King Kong

During a slow day at work, a young marble cutter named Willis O’Brien began sculpting tiny T-Rex figurines.
A scene from Within Our Gates

How Oscar Micheaux Challenged the Racism of Early Hollywood

The black filmmaker Oscar Micheaux was one of the first to make films for a black audience, a rebuke to racist movies like The Birth of a Nation.
The cover of A Book to Burn by Li Zhi

Burn This Book!

Li Zhi’s exasperation with the corruption, greed, and superficiality of the powerbrokers in his society fueled his rebellious writing.