“Caged Bird” Inspired by the Library of Congress

Poet Maya Angelou’s debut memoir, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” is her most famous work. The coming-of-age story has influenced writers and touched millions of people. Yet its title is not original to Angelou: She borrowed it from a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar that he composed, at least in part, in response […]

Mystery Photos: Genius Edition of “Who am I?”

This is guest post is by Cary O’Dell, assistant to the National Film Preservation Board and the National Recording Preservation Board. Hey kids, it’s time for another round of Mystery Photos! In years past, you’ve helped us identify people in more than 1,000 publicity stills from the music, film, television or other entertainment industries. These […]

Inquiring Minds: Teaching American Culture Through Movies

For the past three decades or so, Thomas Doherty has taught and written about films, television and Hollywood — a lot. An American studies professor at Brandeis University with a special interest in classical Hollywood, he has written seven books touching on topics including teen movies, censorship, Hitler and McCarthyism. His latest book, “Show Trial: […]

African-American History Month: ‘Native Son,’ Uncensored

This post is republished from the January–February issue of LCM, the Library of Congress Magazine. The entire issue is available online. In his classic novel “Native Son,” Richard Wright tells the story of a poverty-stricken young black man who takes a job as a chauffeur to a white family in Chicago, accidentally kills the daughter […]