family history

  • Authors Call for a Rethink of Birth and Motherhood

    Peggy O'Donnell Heffington makes an assertive argument that the United States has a long history of official involvement in motherhood, from making reproduction near-compulsory for white women on one side of the color line to eugenics and sterilization on the other. 

  • Jeanne Manford's Support for her Gay Son was Revolutionary

    At the time Manford began publicly supporting her own gay son and organizing a group for other parents of gay children, 49 states had laws criminalizing gay sex; the scope and bravery of her activism is difficult to appreciate today. 

  • A Stranger's Gift: Family Photos from Before the Holocaust

    Software engineer Daniel Patt has developed an artificial intelligence program that can expedite the searching of photos from repositories like Yad Vashem and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, and has provided strangers with the gift of a connection to their relatives. 

  • The Clinton-Era Law that Still Devastates Black Families

    by Dorothy E. Roberts

    The Adoption and Safe Families Act mandated state intervention to protect children from neglect, but did nothing to ensure an economic and social safety net to mitigate hardship. The result, spurred by anti-Black tropes, was an acceleration of family breakup by state agencies. 

  • Our Adoption Policies have Harmed Children

    by Mical Raz

    Changes adopted under the Clinton administration elevated the adoption of children from foster care as a policy goal, which had the effect of marginalizing biological parents from the process, sometimes contrary to children's best interests. 

  • Empathy in the Archive: Care and Disdain for Wet Nursing Mothers

    by Anna K. Danziger Halperin

    "Just like today, women’s decisions in the past about how to feed their babies were shaped by personal preference, to be sure, but the possibilities available are bounded by technological innovations, shifting medical advice, and social, cultural, and economic pressures and practices."

  • Among Other COVID Changes? The Role of Grandparents

    by Sarah Stoller

    "Just as they were in the 19th century, grandparents are now commonly expected to help, despite their own need for various kinds of support and assistance."

  • The Golden Age of "Traditional Marriage" Never Was

    by Lauren Gutterman

    Despite conservative mythologizing, married Americans in the postwar era frequently sought and secured space to explore same-sex attractions and relationships. These histories show that regardless of who controls the Supreme Court, conservatives will be unable to force a narrow model of family life on the public. 

  • The Persistent Joy of Black Women

    by Leah Wright-Rigueur

    For Black women, claiming joy in motherhood is a rebellion against the historical subjection of "Black mothers’ private lives... to public surveillance, scrutiny, and judgment."

  • A Supreme Court Case Poses a Threat to L.G.B.T.Q. Foster Kids

    by Stephen Vider and David S. Byers

    State and local social service agencies for decades have been actively working to protect the safety and dignity of queer youth in the foster care system. A Supreme Court case threatens that progress in the name of "religious freedom." 

  • The Untold Story of Queer Foster Families

    by Michael Waters

    Before the legal recognition of same-sex adoptive parents, social workers around the country made decisions to place gay and lesbian teens with gay and lesbian foster parents as a humane and protective act. 

  • Richard Nixon Bears Responsibility for the Pandemic’s Child-Care Crisis

    by Anna K. Danziger Halperin

    Today’s child-care crisis may have been fueled by the outbreak, but it is not new. It has been simmering below the surface for decades and can be traced back to President Richard M. Nixon’s 1971 veto of federally funded universal child care.