Post Office Department mail wagon, 1916. Photograph by Harris & Ewing. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
• Zora Neale Hurston’s book about “the last survivor of the last slave ship to land on American shores” was finally published this month. Here’s an excerpt. (New York)
• Fifty years later, thinking about Gwendolyn Brooks’ Pulitzer win. (Shondaland)
• Unexpected origins: “Two hundred years ago, the treadmill was invented in England as a prison rehabilitation device. It was meant to cause the incarcerated to suffer and learn from their sweat. It would mill a bit of corn or pump some water as a bonus.” (JSTOR Daily)
• On the new lynching memorial: “We live in a moment when racism—explicit and unapologetic—has returned to a prominent place in American politics, both endorsed by and propagated through the Oval Office. And in that environment, a memorial to racial terrorism—one which indicts perpetrators as much as it honors victims—is the kind of provocation that we need, a vital and powerful statement against our national tendency to willful amnesia.” (Slate)
• The eternal need to rethink what canon even means: “Both Shakespeare and slaughter are part of the Enlightenment. Can we recognize both these faces of modernity? Not if we read only Shakespeare.” (The Washington Post)
• Behind the scenes of the Met’s new exhibit of Vatican fashion. (The New York Times)
• This week in obituaries: a Puerto Rican poet who died in 1953; an “iconic whimsical sparkly handbag genius”; the illustrator of The Fuzzy Duckling; and someone who believed, “If I can sit down behind the drums and get you to tap your feet or shake your butt, I’ve got you.”