Linton Weeks

Linton Weeks joined NPR in the summer of 2008, as its national correspondent for Digital News. He immediately hit the campaign trail, covering the Democratic and Republican National Conventions; fact-checking the debates; and exploring the candidates, the issues and the electorate.

Weeks is originally from Tennessee, and graduated from Rhodes College in 1976. He was the founding editor of Southern Magazine in 1986. The magazine was bought — and crushed — in 1989 by Time-Warner. In 1990, he was named managing editor of The Washington Post's Sunday magazine. Four years later, he became the first director of the newspaper's website, From 1995 until 2008, he was a staff writer in the Style section of The Washington Post.

He currently lives in a suburb of Washington with the artist Jan Taylor Weeks. In 2009, they created The Stone and Holt Weeks Foundation to honor their beloved sons.

The legendary Gold Rush of the late 1840s was a game changer in American history.

The promise of overnight wealth — and the industries that rose up around the wealth-seekers — lured legions of people from all over the world to Northern California and to cities and towns along the Pacific Coast. But there were other Gold Rush ramifications — economic and environmental — as well.

For example: the wholesale taking of tortoises from the Galapagos Islands by sailors and fortune seekers on their way to and from California.

Tortoise Soup

Florida Cowboys Week: Part Two

The state of Florida has a rich and diverse tradition of cattle ranching. Recently we explored the black cowboys of Florida. There are other distinctive elements to the state's past as well.

"Indian cowboys," for instance.

Florida Cowboys Week: Part One

To Mary K. Herron and others, the history of black cowboys in Florida is a venerable element of the state's past.

Once thought to be ephemeral and fleeting, the keeping of keepsakes online may be the best way to hold on to — and to share — historic photographs and documents.

The brutal death of Emmett Till — an African-American teenager — in Mississippi in August of 1955, and the subsequent acquittal of his white murderers by an all-white jury, was a pivotal moment in the surge for civil rights in America.

Till, 14, was kidnapped, beaten and shot — after allegedly flirting with a white grocery store cashier — on Aug. 28, 1955. Civil rights activists saw Till's tragic death and open-casket funeral as a call to action.

Just about a century ago, an international student at a college in the United States was telling someone what she likes best about the English language: American slang. "I must learn it," she said. "It is so unexpected."

For example, she was surprised to learn — according to a November 1916 edition of the Delta Delta Delta sorority publication, the Trident -- that "brick" was the masculine equivalent of "peach" because the former was a "term of approval" for a man and the latter was a term of approval for a woman.

Strange, isn't it, we remark to Sandra L. Oliver — founder and editor of Food History News — that Americans in the 19th century ate foods such as robins and calf's foot jelly and boiled eels.

She cautions against criticism of previous generations or other cultures. "You are safer not talking 'strange' but rather, perhaps, neglected or abandoned eating habits," she says. "That would include almost any offal — that is, livers, spleen, kidneys, heart, brains, sweetbreads, et cetera."

The clubs, balls, vast verdant courses, garish outfits: Golf in America has arguably become rather ho-hum and predictable as the 2015 PGA Championship tournament tees off this week at Whistling Straits in Sheboygan, Wis.

Seaside, riverside and lakeshore beaches in America today are democratic scenes — level playing fields for folks of all stripes.

Not so in summers past.

Dunes And Don'ts

Time was, certain beaches in America were off limits to people of color. Some beachgoers publicly objected to women and men bathing together. And there were conventional rules — written and unwritten — that dictated behavior for bathers everywhere.

In the early years of photography, shooters in America began taking pictures of people from the back. Thumb through old turn-of-the-20th century snapshots — in this country and in Europe — and you are liable to see women, men, couples facing "the wrong direction."

Sometimes you see only one eye of the subject; other times, no eyes at all.