Here’s some excellent archival research by NPR’s Code Switch team (with help from NPR librarian Katie Daugert) on blacks passing as East Indian or using “exotica” to navigate the Jim Crow South. This perspective complicates the conversations trending on the Internet about cultural appropriation. 

"I was Jim Crowed here, Jim Crowed there, Jim Crowed all over the place. And I didn’t like being Jim Crowed." —- Jesse Routté, who pulled off what historian Paul Kramer calls the “turban trick.”

At the time, ideas of race in America were quite literally black and white. But a few meters of cloth changed the way some people of color were treated.

Because historical context is so much better with sound from the era…

And a longer remembrance from NPR’s Bill Chappell and The Two-Way.

Marvel Entertainment made a big announcement about its new Thor series. Debuting in October, Thor—oh, ye of the might hammer—will be female. This editorial decision is way different from introducing a new female character or updating female superheros’ uniforms or hair.

Have a listen to this 1982 interview between All Things Considered’s Susan Stamberg and Marv Wolfman, who edited Wonder Woman and The New Teen Titans.

What does progress mean when it comes to gender politics in comics then and now? 

Photo credit: Alan Light, Flickr

Left to right: Dori Seda (1951-1988), Laurie Sutton, Jan Duursema, Trina Robbins, Carol Kalish, on the Women In Comics panel at the 1982 San Diego Comic Con (today called Comic-Con International). 

(Found by Kimberly Springer, library intern. Original airdate 09/23/1982.)

In its continuing series on trade lingo, All Things Considered is exploring the specialized language we use in work and leisure.

ATC Senior Editor Alison MacAdam sent us this first sighting (sounding?) of GPS by Deborah Amos reporting from Iraq and Saudi Arabia. 

"It’s a device that’s small enough to be held in the palm of the hand and looks like a calculator. It’s called GPS—-global positioning system." 

Original airdate 05/01/1991. Photo credit: Jimmy_Joe, Flickr

Ad from The New York Times, 1971. (via niemanlab's Josh Benton) 

Ad from The New York Times, 1971. (via niemanlab's Josh Benton

The last of the Ramones, Tommy, died this past weekend

Music critic Milo Miles reviewed the Ramones’ last tour in 1996. He summed up how many fans felt about the band, 

"…they were perfectly dopey, delightful, and defiant to the end…None of it—-the mosh pit, the crowd, the kissers—-would’ve been the same without the Ramones.” 

Found by library intern Kimberly Springer. Original airdate 02/22/1996. Illustration courtesy of Mike Licht, Flickr.

Summer of 1984 saw the release of many well-remembered blockbusters: Gremlins, Ghostbusters, The Terminator and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, among others.  John G. Avildsen’s The Karate Kid was also among the year’s top-grossing films, and critic Bob Mondello shares how the film came about as the summer’s “sleeper” hit. (Found by library intern Will Chase.  Original air date: 6/30/1984) 

What’s in your personal archives? Any letters or recordings that lead to exactly where you are now? 

"Ladies! Please don’t squeeze the Charmin!" What do Mr. Whipple and Meatless Mondays have in common? Have a listen and you might want to go squeeze a veggie burger today.