The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Read a letter from Coretta Scott King and stories by Lizzie Presser, Kathryn Schulz, Michael Friscolanti, and Mitchell Sunderland.

In this week’s Top 5, read a letter from Coretta Scott King and stories by Lizzie Presser, Kathryn Schulz, Michael Friscolanti, and Mitchell Sunderland.

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1. Coretta Scott King’s Letter Opposing Sessions’ 1986 Federal Nomination

Coretta Scott King | Washington Post | Feb 7, 2017 | 7 minutes (1,878 words)

On Tuesday, February 7th, Elizabeth Warren was silenced by Republicans at Jeffrey Sessions’ confirmation hearing for Attorney General, because she read aloud Coretta Scott King’s March 19, 1986 letter to Senator Strom Thurmond opposing Sessions’ appointment as a Federal Judge for the Southern District of Alabama. King’s objection stemmed from Sessions’ alleged attempts to intimidate elderly black voters from voting, via a 1984 voter fraud case he prosecuted.

2. Below Deck

Lizzie Presser | The California Sunday Magazine | Feb 2, 2017 | 25 minutes (6,371 words)

Lizzie Presser reports on the Dickensian treatment of Filipino workers aboard Carnival Cruise Line ships — where the routine involves 12 and 14-hour days, seven-days a week for paltry pay and zero overtime — just to be able to provide better lives for families they rarely get to see.

3. When Things Go Missing

Kathryn Schulz | The New Yorker | Feb 6, 2017 | 27 minutes (6,996 words)

On two forms of loss: grief and the misplacement of everyday objects.

4. Saving Family No. 417

Michael Friscolanti | Maclean’s | Jan 13, 2016 | 44 minutes (11,207 words)

Michael Friscolanti reports on the 14 everyday Canadians who — galvanized by the sickening image of three-year-old Alan Kurdi face-down on the beach — banded together to sponsor a family of Syrian refugees whose names they did not know, in a bid to “do what’s right. To do something.” In a story reminiscent of Saving Private Ryan, Maclean’s travelled to war-torn Beirut to find and interview Amal Alkhalaf, the single-mother and her three children, dubbed “family no. 417.”

5. Wrestling with Demons: The Story of Chyna’s Final Days

Mitchell Sunderland | Broadly | Feb 2, 2017 | 8 minutes (2,002 words)

Joanie “Chyna” Laurer changed American professional wrestling. She was the first woman to combat men in the WWE, she won multiple championships, and helped women who struggled with body image by challenging America’s perception of female beauty. But she struggled, and her legacy risks being that of a reality show actress and Hollywood casualty.