• 400 years later, America still has so much to learn about its racial history

    by Lonnie Bunch

    Slavery was central to the country’s formation: its economy, its government, its identity, its entire way of life. Without a systemized, entrenched slave trade, America would not have grown to the extent it did. During the past 400 years, the fault lines created in our foundation by a fundamentally dehumanizing system have periodically cracked wide-open. From the Civil War to the violent backlash in response to Reconstruction; from the segregation of Jim Crow laws to persistent inequities in economic outcomes, housing policy and the criminal-justice system, the specter of 1619 continues to haunt us.

  • The Muslims of Early America

    by Peter Manseau

    In a sense, Islam is as American as the rodeo. It, too, was imported, but is now undeniably part of the culture.

  • LoC historian publishes history of Renaissance man who named America

    A DECADE AGO, the Library of Congress paid $10 million to acquire the only known original copy of a 1507 world map that has been called “the birth certificate of America.” The large map, a masterpiece of woodblock printing, has been a star attraction at the library ever since and the object of revived scholarly fascination about the earliest cartography of the New World. The research has also rescued from obscurity a little-known Renaissance man, the 16th-century globe maker Johannes Schöner, who was responsible for saving the map for posterity.Five years ago, John W. Hessler, a historian of cartography at the library, published “The Naming of America,” an account of the map’s importance in post-Ptolemy geography, its disappearance for centuries and its rediscovery in a castle near the Black Forest in southwestern Germany. Now, Dr. Hessler has dug deeper into the dynamic of the years between Columbus, in 1492, and Copernicus, in 1543. Science and exploration were stretching minds to distant horizons, once unknown. Copernican astronomy was about to dislodge Earth from the center of the universe, a start to the Scientific Revolution.