For the first time in more than 50 years, a U.S. mission landed on the moon, delivering NASA research equipment that will inform future lunar exploration.
The Odysseus lander, built by the private sector company Intuitive Machines, touched down on the moon at 6:23 p.m. EST February 22.
The NASA-supported mission is the first U.S. lunar landing since the famed Apollo missions that landed the first man on the moon July 20, 1969. NASA’s Artemis program works with the private sector and partner nations to return astronauts to the moon and explore Mars.
“Together, with the entire G7, we have Ukraine’s back. And I promise we’re not going anywhere,” President Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the 2023 G7 Summit.
And since Russia’s President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine two years ago, G7 partners — the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan as well as the European Union — have unwaveringly supported Ukraine’s democracy and sovereignty.
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the largest in the world, plays an important role in the U.S. financial system, but also reflects and influences global trends.
The exchange, in which securities are bought and sold, got its start in May 1792 when 24 of New York’s biggest stockbrokers — all men — gathered under a tree in Manhattan to create the city’s first stock exchange.
Today, a woman heads the exchange for the second time in its 232-year history. Lynn Martin held roles at the exchange and its parent company, Intercontinental Exchange Incorporated, before rising to the position of NYSE president.
At one point, while working at NYSE’s listed derivatives business, Martin met Jeff Sprecher, chairman of the exchange. “I remember thinking about how bold and determined she was,” Sprecher says in a company report. “And I liked that about her.”
Martin’s background includes degrees in computer science and statistics before an early job at IBM. “A data scientist by trade and a leader by nature, Lynn Martin has brought innovation and technological expertise to the NYSE, ensuring [it] remains the premier global venue for capital raising,” said Josh King, NYSE spokesman.
With around 2,400 listed companies, the NYSE today is worth $36 trillion, the most of all exchanges in the world. That figure is based on the total market value of stocks traded on the exchange, known as market capitalization.
An estimated 61% of Americans in 2023 said they invested in the market, either through individual stocks, mutual funds, pensions or retirement plans, according to research from polling firm Gallup.
One of a kind
When the New York Stock Exchange was founded, a global community of stock exchanges already existed. The very first stock exchange was founded in Amsterdam in 1602, followed by the London and Frankfurt, Germany, stock exchanges.
The New York Stock Exchange was originally based on the Dutch exchange, said NYSE historian Peter Asch. (Its very location is thanks to the Dutch, who laid out New York streets such that a canal brought goods to market at the corner of Wall and Broad streets. Four hundred years later, the stock exchange at Wall and Broad streets remains a hub for global business activity.)
While the stock exchange in Amsterdam started out dealing in shares of the East India Company, the first products on the New York Stock Exchange were bonds issued by the newly formed U.S. government in order to pay debt accrued in the Revolutionary War.
Although the first U.S. stock exchange was in Philadelphia, the New York Stock Exchange quickly became the most prominent.
“Every city had banks at that time,” Asch said, “but New York very quickly grew to be the biggest banking center in the country. It became a place where, if you wanted to do a big project and you needed funding, we were the place to go.”
Today, the New York Stock Exchange is the only major stock exchange in the world that still has a physical trading floor. “That is really what makes us different, our market model,” Asch said. “NYSE is a community of the world’s greatest companies. They can come here to bring their ideas to the market.”
Since its start, activity on the New York Stock Exchange has been representative of market trends, providing a window into what drives the global economy. In its early years, the NYSE was focused on banking and insurance. By the 1830s, it had pivoted to railroads and operating companies. During the 1900s, car manufacturers arrived on the scene, followed by airplanes, computers, and today, digital-technology companies. According to Asch, the next big innovation can always be found in the listings of the New York Stock Exchange.
This story was written by freelance writer Maeve Allsup. An earlier version published July 10, 2018.
African American artists have long captured imaginations and influenced other artists worldwide.
From the jazz musicians of the 1950s and 60s, to global stars like Tina Turner and Prince, to Toni Morrison and other writers who transformed America’s literary landscape, Black artists have helped define their country’s cultural landscape.
During Black History Month, ShareAmerica celebrates several highly acclaimed U.S. artists whose work offers unique perspectives on African American life.
Textile artist Bisa Butler’s painting-like “portrait quilts” celebrate Black life in vivid colors using materials ranging from cotton, silk, velvet and leather to African batiks and prints.
From South Orange, New Jersey, Butler creates monumental pieces that offer fresh takes on historical figures or capture the vibrancy of everyday African American life.
“Somehow I feel like they’re calling out to me,” Butler told National Public Radio in 2021 of how she chooses her subjects. “I describe my artwork as a quilted photo album of a Black family. But it’s the Black diaspora family,” she said. “I see the dignity and the beauty. So I want other people to see that.”
Misty Copeland, the first Black woman promoted to principal dancer for the prestigious American Ballet Theatre (ABT) in New York, has starred in iconic ballets including Swan Lake,Romeo and Juliet,Don Quixote and the holiday classic The Nutcracker.
After starting ballet at the relatively late age of 13, Copeland earned spots at top ballet schools and joined ABT’s main company in 2001. She became one of the youngest ABT dancers to earn a soloist role in 2007, before being promoted to principal dancer in 2015.
Copeland told LA.com in 2008 that she had felt culturally isolated as an African American ballerina and wasn’t prepared for being singled out as a role model for young dancers of color. In 2021, she launched a nonprofit to expand access to dance education and increase diversity in ballet.
Blues-rock guitarist Eric Gales, from Memphis, Tennessee, believes music is without limits. Naturally right-handed, Gales plays guitar left-handed and holds the instrument upside down, while blending styles ranging from “metal to avant-garde rock,” to “the blues to classical and everything in between,” he told Music Radar.
Hailed as “one of the greatest guitarists alive today,” Gales started playing guitar at age 4 and released his first album at 16. He credits influences ranging from rock legend Jimi Hendrix and blues great Albert King to Australian jazz hero Frank Gambale.
Gales has recorded 19 albums for major labels and his blistering live performances have made fans of guitar legends like Carlos Santana and Eric Clapton.
Poet Terrance Hayes strives for language that communicates feeling the way music does. Noted for his fluid phrasing and reflections on life as an artist and Black man, Hayes is regarded as one of the most compelling voices in American poetry.
The South Carolina native has authored seven poetry collections, including Lighthead, which won the National Book Award in 2010. The collection introduced the “golden shovel” form, which borrows a line from an existing poem and incorporates each word in a new poem. He’s won numerous honors, including a MacArthur “genius” fellowship.
“I think music is the primary model — how close can you get this language to be like music and communicate feeling at the base level,” Hayes, an English professor at New York University, told the University of Pittsburgh’s Hot Metal Bridge literary magazine in 2013. “Language is always burdened by thought. I’m just trying to get it so it can be like feeling.”
On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that school segregation on the basis of race violated the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee to equal protection under the law.
The landmark decision, Brown v. Board ofEducation, galvanized the U.S. Civil Rights Movement and had far-reaching implications for American public life.
By overturning the 1896 doctrine that allowed separate public facilities for whites and African Americans — provided facilities were deemed equal — the Brown ruling destroyed the legal basis for racial segregation, not only in schools, but also in housing, transportation and other public places.
Yet the full impact of the Brown decision, often described as “the case that changed America,” would take years to be fully realized, says Harvard University scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Dismantling ‘separate but equal’
“Ending legal segregation was a monumental shift,” Gates told ShareAmerica. Yet, the decision was only one salvo in a long-running battle for equality. Resistance to desegregation remained fierce, especially in the Deep South.
“The Court did not include an enforcement measure, meaning many schools dragged their feet and refused to desegregate until forced by court order during the 1960s,” Gates said.
In 1957, federal troops were sent to enforce the Brown ruling, and nine African American teenagers — known as the Little Rock Nine — integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. It took until the 1960s for most U.S. public schools to be integrated.
Playing ‘the long game’
The Brown decision made Thurgood Marshall, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People lawyer who successfully argued the case, a household name. Marshall would go on to serve as the first African American U.S. Supreme Court justice.
But Marshall was not solely responsible for dismantling the separate-but-equal doctrine. NAACP lawyer Charles Hamilton Houston had begun laying the legal foundation for overturning school segregation in the 1930s, Gates said.
In working to overturn the separate-but-equal doctrine and the so-called ‘Jim Crow’ laws that enforced racial segregation in the South, Houston and Marshall “understood that they needed to play the long game,” Gates said.
Marshall recruited a brilliant team, including lawyers Constance Baker Motley and Robert Carter, that “won higher-education desegregation cases to set the precedent, and litigated many lower-court secondary cases in the lead-up to Brown,” Gates said.
Commemorating the struggle
The triumph in Brown and other court cases provided momentum for the U.S. Civil Rights Movement that swept the nation in the 1950s and 1960s. The movement led to passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting discrimination in public places, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The United States honors the lawyers and others who fought for racial equality. Marshall is memorialized by a statue in Annapolis, Maryland, near the courthouse where he argued early civil rights cases.
The United States Civil Rights Trail, spanning sites in 15 states, commemorates landmark events in the Civil Rights Movement. A monument called “Testament” on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol honors the Little Rock Nine who integrated Central High School in 1957. The monument features bronze statues and plaques with the students’ quotations.
“Visiting historical sites can be educational, even inspiring,” Gates said. “Historical sites force us to reckon with the past and how it echoes today. Equally important, they also allow us to celebrate the brave Black Americans who forced the nation to change.”
When Edie Ceccarelli was born in 1908, horse-drawn carriages still ran the streets of her hometown of Willits, California. She was in her 30s when World War II broke out.
While she has outlived several close relatives, she is not alone. Ceccarelli still lives in the small city of Willits, and the whole town celebrated her 116th birthday, which falls on February 5, with a parade. Neighbors waved and shouted “Happy birthday!” during the parade, held Sunday, February 4.
Edie Ceccarelli, at 116, is the oldest known person in the U.S. and the second oldest on Earth.
In fact, residents of Willits have held festivities on Ceccarelli’s birthday every year since she turned 100 years old. In a past year, she’s said her secrets to longevity are “a couple of fingers of red wine with dinner, and mind your own business,” the Press Democrat of Santa Rosa, California, reports.
As the oldest person living in the U.S. and the second-oldest person in the world, Ceccarelli, along with the city of Willits, has drawn the attention of a documentary featuring the world’s oldest people and of media outlets in places as far as New York and London.
“Her birthday, ever since she was 100, has always been a community thing, a public party,” parade organizer Suzanne Picetti told USA Today. “It brings community together to celebrate a really special human being. It bring[s] a lot of joy and happiness to our community.”
Since its introduction in the mid-19th century, photography has shaped public perception of U.S. presidents during their lifetimes and long after. So American presidents, always among the most photographed people on earth, learned to use photography to mold how they were presented, says Cara Finnegan, a professor of communications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
In her book, Photographic Presidents: Making History from Daguerreotype to Digital, Finnegan traces U.S. presidents’ evolving relationship with photography.
As technology changed how photographs were produced and disseminated, presidents adapted their efforts to present a positive image. The complex relationship dates back to photography’s earliest form: the daguerreotype.
A new form of portraiture
John Quincy Adams, who served as president from 1825 to 1829, considered the daguerreotype a “wondrous” invention. Presented by inventor Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre in Paris in 1839, the process used mercury vapor to create images on a plate. By the early 1840s, photography studios had cropped up in most major cities, and people flocked to have their portraits made.
Adams was among them. But having sat for painters and sculptors his whole life, the sixth U.S. president had a fraught relationship with portraiture. “He believed portraits should be an index of someone’s moral character — what he called ‘true portraiture of the heart,'” Finnegan told ShareAmerica. “And he felt that photography could not capture that.” Adams described his photographic portraits as “hideous.”
An 1843 daguerreotype, taken 14 years after Adams left the White House, is the earliest surviving photograph of a U.S. president. An 1849 daguerreotype of James K. Polk, the 11th president, is the earliest surviving photograph of a sitting U.S. president.
Abraham Lincoln was photographed more than 120 times, mostly in the ambrotype format. The process, common in the 1850s, still used chemicals to create an image on a glass plate but allowed for portable equipment. Photographers left their studios, traveled and produced compact portraits known as “cartes de visite.” By the mid- to late 1860s, the ambrotype was succeeded by the more economical tintype, printed on iron.
Lincoln, the 16th president, sat for his last official portrait in February 1865, just weeks before his assassination. The resulting “cracked plate” image, made on glass that was accidentally damaged, captures a careworn president wrestling with the fate of a nation in the midst of civil war.
The rise of photojournalism
Dry plate photography, invented in 1871 and popularized in the 1880s, further enhanced photographers’ mobility. New gelatin-coated plates could be stored for a month before exposure, freeing photographers from messy and inconvenient production processes.
New York entrepreneur George Eastman launched a dry plate manufacturing company and began experimenting with and producing film in the mid-1880s. In 1888, Eastman’s company “introduced film rolls sufficient for 100 exposures — mounted in a small box camera called the Kodak,” according to the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Changes in technology brought presidents both greater publicity and increased risk of unflattering images. While presidents were once photographed only in photographers’ studios, Finnegan said, “anyone out on the street could now capture a photo of you.”
In the early 20th century, the advent of newsreels and the rise of photojournalism brought presidents even greater visibility. Theodore Roosevelt, who became the 26th U.S. president in 1901, “was savvy about arranging photo opportunities,” Finnegan said.
In the 1920s, Warren Harding, the 29th president and a former newspaperman, and his successor, Calvin Coolidge, also embraced “photo ops.”
Capturing the president’s image became a full-time job in 1961, when President John F. Kennedy made Cecil Stoughton the first official White House photographer. Previously, military photographers had photographed White House events and captured candid moments of first families.
With the exception of Jimmy Carter, every U.S. president since has had an official photographer. After taking office in 1963, Lyndon Johnson gave photographer Yoichi Okamoto unprecedented access, and Okamoto’s work still inspires presidential photographers today, Finnegan said.
Barack Obama’s election in 2008 coincided with increasing social media use in the U.S. The 44th U.S. president embraced the new platform, Finnegan said, creating a social media team and a White House Flickr page to engage global audiences.
Pete Souza, White House photographer for both Obama and Ronald Reagan, the 39th U.S. president, had free rein to take behind-the-scenes photographs, as Okamoto had, Finnegan said.
“Circling back to John Quincy Adams and his notions of ‘portraiture of the heart,’ the Johnson and Obama photos do, in fact, reveal quite a lot about the characters of these presidents.”
When the Most Reverend Michael Curry was a boy, he gave up Bazooka bubble gum for Lent, just as many Christian children give up chocolate or some other candy.
Now, as presiding bishop and primate of The Episcopal Church, Curry sees more clearly what Lent means.
“It’s bigger than a Hershey bar,” he said. The 40 days of prayer, fasting and giving to others started as preparation for people joining the church at Easter. But the season has been broadened to include all Christians seeking a deeper connection to their faith.
The period leading up to Easter mirrors the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness praying, fasting and getting ready for his ministry. American Christians echo those efforts with various approaches. They may give up bad habits, abstain from some foods or forms of entertainment, take Bible study classes, serve others or make charitable donations.
Lent is “spring cleaning for the soul,” and the abstinence — whether from candy, social media or whatever a person chooses to give up — is a way of getting rid of distractions that take away from spiritual awareness, said Ryan Dunn, minister of online engagement for the United Methodist Church, which has 30,000 churches in the U.S.
Curry says practicing willpower helps one “become aware of how selfishness can lead us astray and how it rises up within us.”
Connecting and reflecting
Many Catholic parishes in America offer meatless Friday dinners in their gathering halls, which buzz with the activity of parishioners volunteering, kids darting around and adults chatting. Parishioners join a devotional exercise called Stations of the Cross, a way to reflect on the last events of Jesus’ life.
Lenten activities culminate with Holy Week, which begins with Palm Sunday and leads up to Easter. Holy Week is packed with extra services, and church pews fill with people.
Lenten observations can refocus Christians, Curry said, relating the New Testament story of Jesus walking on water toward his disciples, who were in a boat and struggling against dangerous winds. “That’s what Lent is trying to teach you to do — walk on the water in a storm, which life often is,” he said.
A version of this story was previously published March 20, 2023.