RETROPOLIS

The past, rediscovered

The angry White populist who paved the way for Trump

Fifty years ago, George Wallace was winning Democratic presidential primaries. Gunfire ended his campaign but not the political forces he unleashed.

By Peter JamisonMay 19, 2022

Three survivors of Tulsa Race Massacre receive $1 million donation

Viola Fletcher, 108, Lessie Benningfield Randall, 107, and Hughes Van Ellis, 102, received a lump $1 million donation Wednesday from co-founders of Business for Good, a New York nonprofit.

By DeNeen L. BrownMay 18, 2022

When Picasso partied with Joyce and Stravinsky, things got surreal

The "soiree of the century," 100 years ago, brought five of the world's leading modern artists together for the only time. The evening took a predictably unpredictable turn.

By Theo ZenouMay 18, 2022

Before Old Bay Goldfish, a man fled Nazi Germany with a spice grinder

Maryland's favorite spice is on T-shirts and dog leashes and now in Goldfish. It was born in part because its inventor wanted to make a recipe seem more complicated.

By Karina ElwoodMay 17, 2022

The father of ‘great replacement’: An ex-socialist French writer

French author Renaud Camus, now maligned and isolated for his racist theories adopted by white supremacists, was once a celebrated left-wing author and gay activist.

By Gillian BrockellMay 17, 2022

Thurgood Marshall’s unusual meeting with a judge helped end segregation

Fifty years ago, the Supreme Court ended school segregation in Brown v. Board. It might not have happened without an unorthodox meeting between Marshall and a White Southern judge, J. Waties Waring.

By Chris LambMay 17, 2022

In reversal, Montpelier appoints directors from descendants of the enslaved

The board overseeing James Madison's Montpelier has appointed a historic slate of directors representing descendants of enslaved workers.

By Gregory S. SchneiderMay 16, 2022

‘We have had abortions’: 1972 petition changed abortion rights movement

A year before Roe v. Wade, 53 prominent American women, including singer Judy Collins, actress Lee Grant and tennis star Billie Jean King, signed a petition headlined "We have had abortions" in Ms. magazine.

By Jodie TillmanMay 16, 2022

More than 1,800 congressmen once enslaved Black people. This is who they were, and how they shaped the nation.

The Washington Post has compiled the first database of slaveholding members of Congress by examining thousands of pages of census records and historical documents.

By Julie Zauzmer Weil,  Adrian Blanco and Leo DominguezMay 15, 2022

Help us identify members of Congress who enslaved people

We’re looking for documents to conclude whether certain members of Congress were or were not slaveholders.

By Julie Zauzmer WeilMay 15, 2022

The roots of the ‘great replacement theory’ believed to fuel Buffalo suspect

The man authorities say opened fire in a Buffalo grocery store Saturday appears to have left behind a manifesto centered on a white supremacist conspiracy theory dating back to Mississippi Sen. Theodore Bilbo.

By Martha M. Hamilton and Aaron WienerMay 15, 2022

Abortion in the Founders’ era: Violent, chaotic and unregulated

Justice Alito's draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade is full of references to early U.S. history. Here's what abortion really looked like in the time of the Founders.

By Gillian BrockellMay 15, 2022

‘Call Jane’: Underground network helped women get abortions before Roe

In the era before abortion was legal in America, an underground group in Chicago only known by the codename 'Jane' helped thousands of women access a safe abortion.

By Kim BellwareMay 14, 2022

Meet the centenarian who’s worked at the same company for 84 years

Walter Orthmann, who turned 100 on April 19, holds the Guinness World Records title for the longest career at the same company, spanning 84 years and counting.

By Dave KindyMay 14, 2022

Pussy Riot escape from Russia recalls Soviet dancer’s dramatic defection

Decades before a member of the band Pussy Riot escaped from Russia after criticizing Vladimir Putin, the Soviet Union’s top ballet star, Rudolf Nureyev, made a dash for freedom at the Paris airport.

By Ronald G. ShaferMay 13, 2022

The most important decisions the Supreme Court has overturned

The leaked draft opinion that could overturn Roe v. Wade would follow a recent increase in decisions rejecting Supreme Court precedents. Here are the most significant ones from the past century.

By Frederic J. FrommerMay 12, 2022

As U.S. archivist retires, Jan. 6 looms as his worst day

David S. Ferriero served 12 years under three presidents in the agency that holds treasured documents.

By Michael E. RuaneMay 11, 2022

The Supreme Court clerk who leaked a ruling to Wall Street traders

In 1919, Ashton Fox Embry was indicted for allegedly providing inside information about the expected result in a case to Wall Street speculators, who used the information to make illicit profits in stock trades.

By James D. RobenaltMay 11, 2022

Discoveries shed new light on the day the dinosaurs died

The moment 66 million years ago when an asteroid ended the reign of the dinosaurs is frozen in time today through a stunning fossil found last year at the Tanis dig site in North Dakota and revealed in a PBS documentary.

By Dave KindyMay 9, 2022

A war with Russia led Florence Nightingale to revolutionize nursing

Nightingale sought to ensure that the medical crisis she witnessed in the Crimean War would never again occur. Now, as we celebrate National Nurses Week, nursing is again in crisis amid the covid pandemic.

By Jess McHughMay 8, 2022