Michelle Obama made history on July 25, when a speech that she made on the opening night of the Democratic National Convention mentioned the slave labor that built the White House. In response to a storm of responses on Twitter—some praising The First Lady, others refuting her—the Washington Post reached out to Clarence Lusane for a response on July 27. Lusane is the author of The Black History of the White House, and, having conducted extensive research into the dark history of the monument, is considered an expert on the topic. “I’m glad that she mentioned the role of enslaved Americans at the White House,” Lusane said, “because she presented a larger audience with a history that most people are not being taught in our schools.” NPR/“The Morning Edition” continued the conversation with an interview with Lusane that aired on July 28. Lusane again lauded the First Lady of the United States and highlighted once more the violent past of America’s Founding Fathers. Michelle Obama's speech also referenced the iconic photo of a young African American boy touching President Obama's hair which is featured in Double Exposure: Picturing Children and appeared on the New York Times Lens blog on July 19.
As the U.S. Olympic trials are coming to a close and the 2016 competitors are emerging from the fray, more and more eyes are on the host city of Rio de Janeiro. What is the cost of hosting such a colossal international event? Dave Zirin dives into this question in an article that will be the cover story of the Nation in the August 15 issue. Zirin discusses the budget failures, population displacement, and corruption in the Brazilian city that have only grown since the International Olympic Committee’s arrival. Conscious of his own role in the conversation, Zirin adds, “While articles about Zika, sewage, and government dysfunction flood the sports pages, the infamously corrupt International Olympic Committee will slink off, count its billions, and lick its chops waiting for the next games and the next round of debt, displacement, and despair.” To read more about the political and economic status of Rio de Janeiro, check out Zirin’s book, Brazil’s Dance with the Devil (Updated Olympics Edition).