America Explained

What is Presidents’ Day?

From George Washington’s birthday to a day honoring all U.S. Presidents, learn how Presidents’ Day became a national holiday and its significance today.

Voting Rights Act of 1965

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 tackled voter suppression in the United States. While it significantly increased the registration of Black voters, it was not without controversy.

Protests at the White House

There is a rich history of protests and demonstrations at the White House and Lafayette Park, from the suffragists’ silent pickets to a peace vigil that has spanned across decades.

Museum of Artifacts That Made America

The Great American Songbook

The Great American Songbook, a collection of jazz standards and show tunes created by talented songwriters in early 20th century New York, provided solace and joy during difficult times in U.S. history.

Nixon’s Tape Recorder

Installed in selected rooms at the White House on the President’s orders, this is the story of how a state-of-the-art recording system ultimately led to Richard Nixon’s downfall.

The History of the Rainbow Flag

The rainbow flag is one of the most recognisable symbols in the world, synonymous with tolerance and LGBTQ+ rights. But how was it created?

Hidden Figures

Abdul Rahman Ibrahima Sori: A Prince Enslaved

Abdul Rahman Ibrahima Sori, a Fula prince and former slave, was determined to free his family. His extraordinary story and character caught America’s attention at a complicated time in American history.

Josephine Baker: Actor, Singer, Spy

Actor and singer Josephine Baker spent her life resisting racial discrimination at home and abroad. During World War II, she bravely used her fame to fight back against the Nazis.

Women and the American Story

Sarah Winnemucca

The first Indigenous woman to publish a memoir, Paiute educator and activist Sarah Winnemucca campaigned tirelessly for the rights of Indigenous Americans.

Beverly LaHaye: Conservative Activist

At a time when many women in the United States were campaigning for greater rights, Beverly LaHaye raised her voice for traditional values. An expert activist and founder of Concerned Women for America, today she is admired and reviled in equal measure.

David Pharaoh Asserts Indigenous Rights

Montaukett leader David Pharaoh fought for indigenous land rights – and established a lasting legacy as the founder of America’s first Montaukett school.

Wong Kim Ark’s Fight for Birthright Citizenship

By taking on the US government and winning, Wong Kim Ark ensured that the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution granted citizenship to every American by birth, regardless of their race or ethnicity.

Art That Changed America

The Federal Art Project and The New Deal

Thanks to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ambitious New Deal plan, American artists were able to keep working during the Great Depression. The work they produced remains a key part of the American landscape.

Indigenous North American Tattoos

To Indigenous North Americans, tattoos aren’t just decorative, they’re also sacred, rich in artistry and meaning, and of huge social, cultural and religious significance.

How Art Saved Yellowstone National Park

The first dedicated National Park anywhere in the world, Yellowstone attracts millions of visitors every year. It was saved for posterity by the work of two pioneering artists.

Wild Wild West

John Wesley Powell: Wild West Explorer

Despite losing an arm in the US Civil War, John Wesley Powell was one of the great explorers of the American West, and made history as the man who mapped the Grand Canyon.

Remember the Alamo

The Battle of the Alamo has become the stuff of legend – when 200 brave Texan fighters took a stand against a Mexican force of thousands. But there’s more to the story than meets the eye.

Power to the People

The Haymarket Affair

One of the worst miscarriages of justice in U.S. history, the Haymarket Affair, a labor action in support of an eight-hour working day, led to the unlawful executions of four Chicago residents.

The Blowouts

In 1968, thousands of Latino students walked out of school in Los Angeles to protest against racial inequality in the classroom. Their collective action, known as the Blowouts, was a defining moment of the Chicano Movement.

The Explosive Story of Dynamite Hill

When Black residents moved into one neighborhood in Birmingham, Alabama, White supremacists unleashed a wave of terror against the community.

Slavery in the Presidents’ Neighborhood

Things You Didn’t Know

Charles Curtis: Native American Vice President

In 1929, Charles Curtis – a member of the Kaw Nation – made history by becoming the first Vice President of color in the U.S. Yet he left behind a complicated legacy that some claim had a lasting negative impact on Native Americans.

WWII POW Camps on U.S. Soil

Between 1942 and 1946, the U.S. government constructed around 700 POW camps on U.S. soil, housing around 400,000 captured enemy soldiers. But what were the conditions like there?

The Know Nothings

In the mid 19th century a new political party, the Know Nothings, set the stage for xenophobia and nationalism to take root in American politics.

Academy of American Democracy

Voting in Ancient Athens

The United States is a representative democracy where people vote for politicians to govern on their behalf – but voting in the direct democracy of ancient Athens was a very different process.

Race in Ancient Greece

We often think of ancient Greek society as White, but it was a lot more diverse than we give it credit for.

Speeches That Changed America

Shirley Chisholm – Equal Rights for Women Speech

Shirley Chisholm, the first African American Woman elected to Congress, addresses the US House of Representatives to argue in support of a controversial women’s rights bill; the Equal Rights Amendment.