Headscarves, Fabric, and Secrets
Read my article on Het Koto Museum on OZY.
Located in a quiet neighborhood near the center of historic Paramaribo, Suriname, Het Koto Museum celebrates the lives and legacy of Afro-Surinamese women. The museum is founded and run by Christine Van Russel-Henar, who is reviving the tradition of the Koto outfit. She shared her knowledge and passion with me during a visit the the museum.
Think hockey is a white sport? The fast-paced action and some signature moves are thanks to a pioneering Black Hockey League that changed the game forever.
The Coloured Hockey League of the Maritimes was truly innovative in so many ways, and I'm glad that George and Darril Fosty researched the story in their book Black Ice: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, 1895–1925. I can't remember where I first heard about the anecdote that led me to the Fostys' book, and I didn't know much about the history of Black Canadians in Nova Scotia or the Maritimes, but I've found some cool research of which I hope to share more.
A Skimmington Shaming
Is your neighbor being annoying? Too loud? Coveting another neighbor's wife? What do you do about it?
Read my new piece on OZY!
Just in time for election day, OZY published my piece on how early feminists in the U.S. got inspiration from women participating in the French Revolution. This story was inspired by an essay in Riot and Revelry in Early America, a book that explores the celebrations, parades, and traditions that helped create American culture, even if they have been forgotten.
Check out my new piece on OZY about El Hadj Sidikida Diabate, his sons, and the start of Guinean National Orchestras in West Africa.
Check out more music and stories of the Guinean orchestras here on the blog.
A Treatment Meant to Save that Harmed
Cancer is a spectre, and patients are often willing to try anything for a cure, for a chance at life. In the 1990s, tens of thousands of women underwent bone marrow transplants in hopes of curing their breast cancer. The harsh protocol was meant to eradicate cancer from their bodies, and bring them back from the brink of death with healthy bone marrow blood stem cells. The problem? The study that promoted the treatment as a success was completely fraudulent.
William Halsted developed the radical mastectomy to try to remove as much breast tissue as possible before effective chemotherapy had been discovered. Once chemo entered the sphere of treatment, it was also just as radical through the 1990s. If you have a strong stomach, you can view the surgery in a 1930s instructional film here.
Read the full article at OZY.com.
Read my new article on OZY.com about the Laserman, the Swedish serial killer.
At a time when a nationalist, anti-immigrant sentiment was sweeping through Sweden, a political party took advantage. The New Democracy party fed on those fears, and created a space where Swedes could "say what they thought." One result? A man got the idea that it would be OK to shoot immigrants with a laser-sighted rifle. Read the article for more, and if you speak Swedish, check out the Sveriges Radio P3 Dokumentär that informed some of my reporting.
Read my article on OZY.com about the Drunkometer.
Not everything great can make it into an article, so I've included some more images and documents here on the blog!
Come in, the stacks are open.
Away from prying eyes, damaging light, and pilfering hands, the most special collections are kept in closed stacks. You need an appointment to view the objects, letters, and books that open a door to the past.
Here, pieces of material culture are examined in the light. The stacks are open. Read the stories behind objects and ephemera found in private collections, archives, and museums.
African American History
Banjo Collector's Gathering
"Freak Show" History
James Ford Bell Library
Native American History
New York City
South American History
World War II