From Mary Spicuzza for the Milwaukee Journal: "Florence Grady and Augie Palmisano reached the elevator doors at the same time. Both were tenants at Juneau Village Garden Apartments in downtown Milwaukee. And shortly before 9 a.m. that Friday — June 30, 1978 — both were heading to the basement of the apartment complex. They chatted about the weather and Summerfest. When they reached the basement, he walked to his car, a 1977 Mercury Marquis. Less than a minute later, there was a massive explosion. The blast shook the city. Paintings fell from walls and books tumbled off shelves. Tenants ran from the building as firefighters and police rushed to the scene. Augie Palmisano was my cousin. His murder has never been solved."
The Black female engineer who played a pivotal role in developing GPS
From Tanasia Kenney for the Atlanta Black Star: "From cell phones to cars and even social media, most folks in this day and age are familiar with the Geographical Positioning System, or GPS. Little known is the fact that an African–American woman mathematician was a part of the original team of engineers tasked with developing the highly useful system. West, 87, enjoyed a 42-year career as a mathematician at the Naval Support Facility in Virginia where she, and fellow engineers saw the early beginnings of the popular tracking system. She was just one of four Black Americans employed at the base when she first started in 1956, her calculations eventually leading to GPS satellites."
Why the real Christopher Robin came to hate Winnie the Pooh
From Maria Carter for Country Living: "Christopher Robin Milne told writer Gyles Brandreth his father was not good with children and was mostly absent, either working or at London's esteemed Garrick Club. His mother, meanwhile, insisted on dressing him in "girlish" clothes and keeping his hair below his ears, a style that was odd even for the time. Entering boarding school at age 9, Christopher Robin had a full-fledged love-hate relationship with his fictional namesake that continued into adulthood. After serving in World War II, Christopher failed to find work. He would later say that his father "had got where he was by climbing on my infant shoulders, that he had filched from me my good name and had left me with nothing but the empty fame of being his son."
Editor's note: If you like this newsletter, please share it with someone else. And if you really like it, perhaps you could subscribe, or contribute something via my Patreon. Thanks for being a reader!
When Frank Johnson died his family found he'd been drawing cartoons for 50 years
From Ruben Bolling for Boing Boing: "When shipping clerk and former musician Frank Johnson died in Chicago in 1979 at the age of 67, his family was shocked to discover 2,300 pages of comics in bound notebooks that apparently nobody knew about. When his widow passed away in 2003, the notebooks were put up for sale, and comics expert Dan Nadel happened upon them. What Nadel saw astounded him: thousands of comics comprising what could be called a sprawling graphic novel, of surprising skill, created from 1928 to 1979. It wasn't until 2016 that Nadel began to find a publisher who would put Johnson's comic into print."
He wowed audiences with his dance despite having only one arm and one leg
From Meisha Rosenberg for the NYT: "It is October 1958 and the tap dancer Henry Heard has taken the stage at the Copa Club in Columbus, Ohio, as part of a tour by the Idlewild Revue, which hails from a resort town for African Americans in northwest Michigan. A slender, elegant man with one arm and one leg, he begins his performance by dancing with a crutch. Less than a minute in, he throws the crutch offstage and continues to dance, to thunderous applause. In the 1940s and ’50s, Heard was a popular act in the United States and Canada, gaining celebrity at a time when Hollywood, television and rock ’n’ roll provided limited opportunities to Black entertainers."
Brooklyn ‘River Hag’ searches for life in one of America’s most toxic waterways
From Diana Hubbell for Atlas Obscura: "Karolina Zaniesienko sinks a hand into the gunmetal gray ooze lodged in a gap in the pavement. We’re standing at the northernmost tip of Greenpoint at the edge of Newtown Creek, a narrow body of water that runs between Brooklyn and Queens before it meets New York’s East River. Behind us looms a wastewater treatment plant and, in front of it, an immense barge loaded with trash. An ominous, iridescent shimmer lingers in the places where the water stagnates. Upon closer inspection, a series of bumps in the muck reveal themselves to be mussels, maws agape. Zaniesienko gently pries a fistful of mollusks free, then places them in one of the five-gallon buckets in her pull cart. After she’s loaded up, we wander in search of other jerry-rigged bucket traps, today baited with instant ramen noodles."
The Black Hole, a short film about greed and its consequences
Acknowledgements: I find a lot of these links myself, but I also get some from other newsletters that I rely on as "serendipty engines," such as The Morning News from Rosecrans Baldwin and Andrew Womack, Jodi Ettenberg's Curious About Everything, Dan Lewis's Now I Know, Robert Cottrell and Caroline Crampton's The Browser, Clive Thompson's Linkfest, Noah Brier and Colin Nagy's Why Is This Interesting, Maria Popova's The Marginalian, Sheehan Quirke AKA The Cultural Tutor, the Smithsonian magazine, and JSTOR Daily. If you come across something interesting that you think should be included here, please feel free to email me.