U.S. History

The Last Carolina Parakeet and Other Endlings

On February 21, 1918, the last known Carolina parakeet died at the Cincinnati Zoo. We examine the stories of this endling and two others to see how abundant species can quickly become extinct.

Pauline Sabin

The battle over Prohibition is often framed as a battle of the sexes, with women serving as the “moral” voice of sobriety. But a woman named Pauline Sabin is often credited as being one of the major activists behind Prohibition’s repeal.

The Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike

Memphis sanitation workers stayed off the job starting January 12, 1968 in a strike that lasted for nine weeks. This was the strike that brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Memphis, Tennessee, where he was assassinated on April 4 of that year.

Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton

Mary-Russel Ferrell Colton was a painter, author and educator. But she's most famous for co-founding of the Museum of Northern Arizona and related programs and projects intended to preserve and continue the art traditions of the Colorado Plateau.

Rufus Wilmot Griswold

Griswold is most commonly known as Edgar Allan Poe's rival, and for creating negative characterizations of Poe that have endured more than a century. But his life story beyond his connections to Poe is worthy of examination on its own.

The Wilmington Coup of 1898, Part 2

In 1898, a mob of armed white men enacted a violent plan against Wilmington, North Carolina’s black community. It was the only known successful coup d’état in U.S. history; the white mob overthrew the duly elected government of Wilmington.

The Wilmington Coup of 1898, Part 1

Resistance to post-Civil War reconstruction efforts, hotly contested elections, political corruption, and open racism all led to a climate of unrest and white supremacist violence in late 19th-century Wilmington, North Carolina.

Unearthed!: The USS Indianapolis

Today, the U.S.S. Indianapolis is most known for its crew’s horrifying wait for rescue after being torpedoed following a secret mission at the end of World War II. But the ship’s history goes back much farther than that.

NORAD Tracking Santa: A Cold War History

The story that circulates about how NORAD started tracking Santa is pretty heart-warming, but doesn’t completely hold up. So there’s some myth-busting here, and maybe the tiniest bit of bah-humbug.

The Historical Roots of Holiday Treats

Tasty treats associated with winter holidays - candy canes, wassail and gingerbread - have some slightly hazy origins, because the evidence of their histories was eaten. What do we actually know about these foods and their place in the holiday menu?