Becoming Anne Frank

“Why did we turn an isolated teenage girl into the world’s most famous Holocaust victim?”

Author: Dara Horn
Source: Smithsonian
Published: Oct 30, 2018
Length: 14 minutes (3,591 words)

The Counterfeit Queen of Soul

In the 1960s, Mary Jane Jones modeled herself after Aretha Franklin, but she had the emotion and range of an original soul singer. After a crooked James Brown impersonator forced her to perform as Franklin, she got famous from her own talent, until she gave up show bizness to raise her sons.

Author: Jeff Maysh
Source: Smithsonian
Published: Jul 1, 2018
Length: 17 minutes (4,499 words)

Putting Enslaved Families’ Stories Back in the Monticello Narrative

Author Andrew M. Davenport highlights how the work of an oral history project, Getting Word, has informed a shift in the visitor experience of Thomas Jefferson’s primary estate, Monticello.

Source: Smithsonian
Published: Jun 14, 2018
Length: 16 minutes (4,226 words)

The Moral Cost of Cats

Pete Marra, head of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, is pushing a controversial conservation idea: that as the single-biggest man-made danger to bird and small mammal populations in the United States, outdoor and feral cat populations should be controlled, either by keeping pets inside, or by euthanasia and sterilize-and-return programs.

Source: Smithsonian
Published: Sep 20, 2016
Length: 15 minutes (3,772 words)

The Great Chinese Dinosaur Boom

A gold rush of fossil-finding is turning China into the new epicenter of paleontology.

Source: Smithsonian
Published: Apr 19, 2018
Length: 8 minutes (2,219 words)

The Strike that Brought MLK to Memphis

In a compelling history of the strike of sanitation workers that brought Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Memphis in 1968, Ted Conover connects the concerns of Memphis fifty years ago with present-day, national movements around labor and income inequality.

Source: Smithsonian
Published: Jan 2, 2018
Length: 25 minutes (6,466 words)

Fifty Years Ago, Protesters Took on the Miss America Pageant and Electrified the Feminist Movement

In the wake of a sexist email scandal that has led to new management of the Miss America Pageant, Bad Feminist author Roxane Gay reports on 1968 protests by radical feminists against all that the pageant stands for.

Author: Roxane Gay
Source: Smithsonian
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Length: 6 minutes (1,646 words)

Why It’s So Hard to Find the Original Owners of Nazi-Looted Art

When the Nazis purged Germany of so-called “degenerate art” and looted from occupied countries, some private dealers like Hildebrand Gurlitt capitalized off the opportunity to hoard masterpieces and make a profit. Professionals now search what’s called ‘provenance’ to return recovered art to its original owners. It’s patient, difficult work, when it works.

Source: Smithsonian
Published: May 31, 2017
Length: 6 minutes (1,737 words)

The Holocaust’s Great Escape

A remarkable discovery in Lithuania — an escape tunnel from the Nazi killing site at Ponar — brings a legendary tale of survival back to life.

Source: Smithsonian
Published: Mar 1, 2017
Length: 19 minutes (4,827 words)

A Photographic Chronicle of America’s Working Poor

Writing Dale Maharidge and photographer Matt Black traveled through Maine, Ohio, and California for this piece updating the landmark study of the American working poor, Now Let Us Praise Famous Men.

Source: Smithsonian
Published: Dec 15, 2016
Length: 22 minutes (5,590 words)