Tag Archives: history

Juneteenth: The 155-Year History of America’s Other Holiday

Today, as demonstrators continue to fight for justice for Ahmaud ArberyBreonna TaylorGeorge Floyd, and a growing list of others, the country is getting ready to celebrate the 155th anniversary of a milestone in the liberation of Black people by way of America’s other holiday: Juneteenth. Continue reading Juneteenth: The 155-Year History of America’s Other Holiday

UNDERSTANDING THE HISTORY OF RACISM IN AMERICA

In a short essay published earlier this week, Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch wrote that the recent killing in Minnesota of George Floyd has forced the country to “confront the reality that, despite gains made in the past 50 years, we are still a nation riven by inequality and racial division.” Continue reading UNDERSTANDING THE HISTORY OF RACISM IN AMERICA

The Timely Return of the Drive-In Restaurant

For a city that’s still on substantial lockdown, including the suspension of dine-in eating due to COVID-19, San Francisco’s Mel’s Drive-in—at least, its parking lot along Geary Boulevard—is buzzing. Cars occupy many of the restaurant’s parking spaces, each one filled with customers awaiting orders of the burgers, milkshakes and french fries that have made this 1950s-style eatery famous. But there’s something else that has brought them here: the revival of Mel’s carhop service, a once prominent part of its offerings when Mel Weiss and Harold Dobbs opened the California restaurant chain’s original location back in 1947. At that time, it was the allure of car-oriented leisure offerings that inspired drive-in restaurants. Today it’s a pandemic. Continue reading The Timely Return of the Drive-In Restaurant

Nicholas Johnson Becomes Princeton University’s First Black Valedictorian in 274-Year History

Princeton University has announced Nicholas Johnson, a student who majored in operations research and financial engineering, as the school’s first black valedictorian in its 274-year history. Johnson is also pursuing certificates in statistics and machine learning, applied and computational mathematics, and applications of computing. Continue reading Nicholas Johnson Becomes Princeton University’s First Black Valedictorian in 274-Year History

The Walkman’s Invention 40 Years Ago Launched a Cultural Revolution

In 1979, when Sony introduced the Walkman—a 14-ounce cassette player, blue and silver with buttons that made a satisfying chunk when pushed—even the engineers inside Sony weren’t impressed. It wasn’t particularly innovative; cassette players already existed, and so did headphones. Plus, the Walkman could only play back—it couldn’t record. Who was going to want a device like that?

Continue reading The Walkman’s Invention 40 Years Ago Launched a Cultural Revolution

For Turn-of-the-Century African-Americans, the Camera Was a Tool for Empowerment

Regal would be the best way to describe the photograph of Mary Church Terrell. Delicately swathed in lace, satin and crystals, the charismatic civil rights activist is seen in profile. The front of her tasteful Gibson pompadour is dappled with light and her face is illuminated as if a single ray of sun had parted the clouds in the sky. It’s a highly flattering image of the D.C. activist and suffragist, and Terrell thought so herself. Continue reading For Turn-of-the-Century African-Americans, the Camera Was a Tool for Empowerment