Editor's note

In the 20th century, African-American newspapers helped lay the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement, with weeklies like the Los Angeles Sentinel and the Pittsburgh Courier reaching millions and covering stories that the mainstream media largely ignored.

Today readership is down. At a moment in history when a number of issues facing black communities sound depressingly familiar, USC Annenberg’s Bill Celis wonders who – and what – will be able to preserve and advance the legacy of the black press.

And with Black History Month wrapping up, you can check out the rest of our coverage.

Nick Lehr

Editor, Arts and Culture

Top story

Workers operate the Chicago Defender’s printing press in 1941. Wikimedia Commons

Can the black press stay relevant?

Bill Celis, University of Southern California, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

From the treatment of black World War II veterans to Emmett Till's murder, the black press helped lay the groundwork for the civil rights movement. What role can it play today?

Environment + Energy

  • Why farmers and ranchers think the EPA Clean Water Rule goes too far

    Reagan Waskom, Colorado State University; David J. Cooper, Colorado State University

    The Trump administration is preparing to roll back the 2015 Clean Water Rule, which identifies waters that are federally protected. Two water experts explain why the rule alarms farmers and ranchers.

Politics + Society

Economy + Business

Health + Medicine

Stories of Note

  • Air pollution exposure may increase risk of dementia

    Caleb Finch, University of Southern California; Jiu-Chiuan Chen, University of Southern California

    New research shows that exposure to fine particulate air pollution may double the risk of dementia in older women by increasing growth of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain.

  • The destructive life of a Mardi Gras bead

    David Redmon, University of Kent

    Each Mardi Gras, 25 million pounds of beads hit the streets of New Orleans. One researcher went to the Chinese factories that make them – and spoke to the workers who believe the beads will be given to royalty.

  • America's mass deportation system is rooted in racism

    Kelly Lytle Hernandez, University of California, Los Angeles

    From Chinese laborers to 'bad hombres,' the US settler mentality has perpetuated an immigration system that pushes out unwanted groups and bypasses the Constitution.

  • Who are the Sufis and why does ISIS see them as threatening?

    Peter Gottschalk, Wesleyan University

    Around the world, Muslims and non-Muslims celebrate Sufi saints and gather together for worship in their shrines, offering an example of pluralism. But groups such as IS oppose this.