The History and Legacy of ‘Black Wall Street’

Before 1921, most of Tulsa’s 10,000 African American residents lived in the vibrant district with flourishing Black-owned businesses. By Dora Mekouar Until recently, many Americans had never heard of the Greenwood District of the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, one of the largest, most prosperous Black communities in the United States that was destroyed in 1921 during what the Oklahoma[…]

“I, Too, Sing America”: Remembering David Driskell and Two Centuries of Black American Art

In 1976, the exhibition Two Centuries of Black American Art, 1750 to 1950, curated by David Driskell, debuted at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Opening the year of the Bicentennial, the anniversary of the country’s founding, the landmark exhibition was one of the first to document, in comprehensive detail, the enormous contributions of[…]

Fighting School Segregation in the North during the Civil Rights Movement

In the 1950s, Harlem mother Mae Mallory fought a school system that she saw as ‘just as Jim Crow’ as the one she had attended in the South. Introduction Whether it’s black-and-white photos of Arkansas’ Little Rock Nine or Norman Rockwell’s famous painting of New Orleans schoolgirl Ruby Bridges, images of school desegregation often make[…]

John Brown: Blazing a Moral Path for the Cautious Lincoln to End Slavery

President Lincoln was a statesman. John Brown was a radical. That’s the traditional view of how each one fought slavery. Introduction One of the most underappreciated figures in the nation’s history, John Brown, has been introduced to Americans by the Showtime series “The Good Lord Bird,” based on the James McBride novel of the same[…]

Tobacco and the Colonial American Economy

Tobacco, and the economic system of mercantilism, factored into the grievances of the colonists leading to the American Revolutionary War. Introduction The most important cash crop in Colonial America was tobacco, first cultivated by the English at their Jamestown Colony of Virginia in 1610 CE by the merchant John Rolfe (l. 1585-1622 CE). Tobacco grew[…]

A Brief History of Tobacco in the Americas

Tobacco, along with the “three sisters” (beans, maize, and squash), was among the most significant crops cultivated by Native Americans. Introduction The history of tobacco use in the Americas goes back over 1,000 years when natives of the region chewed or smoked the leaves of the plant now known as Nicotiana rustica (primarily in the[…]

Palmyra: The Fight to Preserve an Ancient Homeland in Syria

History and identity come together to tell the story of Palmyra. Introduction Born and raised in Palmyra, Syria, Waleed Khaled al-As’ad can trace his family’s lineage in the city back five generations. Now a refugee in France, he hopes to someday return to Palmyra, an important world heritage site that suffered widespread destruction by ISIS[…]

The 1856 Caning of Charles Sumner in the United States Senate

It has been considered symbolic of the “breakdown of reasoned discourse” and the use of violence that eventually led to the Civil War. Introduction The Caning of Charles Sumner, or the Brooks–Sumner Affair, occurred on May 22, 1856, in the United States Senate chamber, when Representative Preston Brooks, a pro-slavery Democrat from South Carolina, used[…]

A History of Politicians Shredding Etiquette since John Adams

Manners – and civility – are an essential component of how things get done in government, and the Founding Fathers knew it. Ripping Off the Toupee In 1801, at the presidential inauguration ceremony of Thomas Jefferson, the outgoing president, John Adams, was nowhere to be seen – he was not even invited. For his part,[…]

The Interaction between ‘History’ and ‘Story’ in Roman Historiography

Facts or fiction? Post-truth in the Roman historians. Introduction This essay examines the way in which ancient historiography makes use of rhetorical and even fictional devices (dramatic poetry as well as the novel) to dramatize in writing down events which the historians obviously consider as being important for their judgement, ideologically or otherwise biased, of[…]

Time, Tense, and Temporality in Ancient Greek Historiography

An approach to Greek historiography that establishes a new angle by tackling the relationship between historiography and time. Introduction One of the most important trends in recent scholarship on ancient historiography is to explore how historical meaning is constructed through the form of narrative. This essay argues that the narratives of ancient historians can and[…]

A History of the Broadcast Fairness Doctrine in the United States

The main agenda for the doctrine was to ensure that viewers were exposed to a diversity of viewpoints. Introduction The fairness doctrine of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), introduced in 1949, was a policy that required the holders of broadcast licenses to both present controversial issues of public importance and to do so[…]

Censors in Ancient Rome

The censor’s regulation of public morality is the origin of the modern meaning of the words censor and censorship. Introduction The censor (at any time, there were two) was a magistrate in ancient Rome who was responsible for maintaining the census, supervising public morality, and overseeing certain aspects of the government’s finances.[1] The power of[…]

‘Pontifex Maximus’ and the Soul of Ancient Rome

A distinctly religious office under the early Roman Republic, it gradually became politicized. Introduction The pontifex maximus (Latin, “greatest priest”[1][2][3]) was the chief high priest of the College of Pontiffs (Collegium Pontificum) in ancient Rome. This was the most important position in the ancient Roman religion, open only to patricians until 254 BC, when a plebeian[…]

The College of Pontiffs: Priests in Ancient Rome

Membership in the various colleges of priests was usually an honor offered to members of politically powerful or wealthy families. Introduction The College of Pontiffs was a body of the ancient Roman state whose members were the highest-ranking priests of the state religion. The college consisted of the Pontifex Maximus and the other pontifices, the[…]

18th-Century Latin American Artistic Pilgrimages to Paris

They followed a similar pattern of studying abroad for a few years and returning home to teach at an academy or establish their own studio. Introduction The allure of Paris has attracted artists from all over the world. In the 19th century, Latin American artists eagerly traveled to this artistic capital, in part because of[…]

Map of Cholula, Mexico, from the Relaciones Geográficas in 1581

The map is organized on a grid—as was the actual city it represents. Introduction In 1581, an Indigenous artist from San Gabriel, Cholula (near the city of Puebla in Mexico, then part of the viceroyalty of New Spain) created an extraordinary map that shows the main buildings and spaces of the city—all centered around the[…]

An Introduction to Indigenous Caribbean Taíno Art

The Taíno remain central to understanding the history and the cultural diversity of the Caribbean. Taíno: Natives of the Caribbean Except for a few Spanish chronicles, such as Fray Ramón Pané’s Relación de las antigüedades de los indios (An Account of the Antiquities of the Indians, 1497), there are few written records of Taíno culture.[…]

The Medieval West African Trading Empire of Ghana

The early West African societies of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai all created empires that gained much of their wealth from trade. Introduction The kingdom of Ghana lasted from sometime before 500 C.E. until its final collapse in the 1200s. It arose in the semidesert Sahel and eventually spread over the valley between the Senegal and[…]

The Salt Trade of Ancient West Africa

When exactly salt became a trade commodity is unknown, but the exchange of salt for cereals dates back to prehistory. Introduction Salt from the Sahara desert was one of the major trade goods of ancient West Africa where very little naturally occurring deposits of the mineral could be found. Transported via camel caravans and by[…]

Keeping Warm in Ancient Rome

Hot drinks and early bedtimes were key to a comfortable winter. Images of Italy and the Mediterranean generally include bright sun shining on sparkling water and dusty groves of olive trees. In fact, according to Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, who wrote a 10-volume treatise on architecture in the first century, “Divine providence has so ordered it that[…]

Oriental Sages About the Relationship Between a Man and a Woman

Eastern philosophy is distinguished by its deep meaning and the special attitude to things and phenomena. The cornerstone of all the philosophical schools of the East is the idea that everything is energy. At the same time, the world is polar — there are yin and yang. Also, there are both positive and negative energies[…]

Eisenhower and the ‘Red Menace’ Conspiracies

Two distinct and contradictory images dominate our understanding of Eisenhower, McCarthy, and the communist question. On March 4, 1954, the editorial cartoonist Herbert Block took on one of the most controversial issues of the time in his daily offering in the Washington Post. He featured two of the dramatis personae of the day: President Dwight[…]

Lessons on Humility and Truth-Seeking from Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin spoke and wrote in ways that, if taken up now, could begin to erode the polarization of the current era. Introduction The previous year in the United States was a turbulent one, filled with political strife, protests over racism and a devastating pandemic. Underlying all three has been a pervasive political polarization, made[…]

Milo and Cicero’s ‘Pro Milone’: Chaos and Mob Violence in Ancient Rome

Milo organized bands of armed slaves, hired thugs, and gladiators in opposition to Clodius. Introduction Titus Annius Milo Papianus (died 48 BC) was a Roman political agitator. The son of Gaius Papius Celsus, he was adopted by his maternal grandfather, Titus Annius Luscus. In 52 BC, he was prosecuted for the murder of Publius Clodius[…]

Democracy and Mob Rule: The Problem of Freedom in Ancient Athens

Democracies and Republics, the best of all political structures, have a way of destroying themselves if not cherished and properly governed. By Aris Teon After World War II democracy began to be viewed in the West as the best possible form of government. However, a history of democratic states shows that freedom is not something[…]

The Hidden History of Valentine’s Day

The effects of marketing, consumerism, and social media on the holiday’s evolution and the fiction about love’s golden age. By Dr. Elizabeth NelsonAssociate Professor of HistoryUniversity of Las Vegas Introduction Pets, spouses, co-workers, friends, classmates: They’re all in line to be on the receiving end of another record year for Valentine’s Day spending, says a[…]