Plus: a new Holocaust drama and a history of the debt ceiling |

By Olivia B. Waxman
Staff Writer

TIME History has a lot of Memorial Day-related reading material for those stuck in traffic or waiting for food to cook on the grill this weekend. Here’s a roundup of our best Memorial Day stories over the years, to teach you about the holiday’s origins, its earliest celebrations, and the places around the country with the longest histories of celebrating it.

—A profile of the freed slaves who started the first Memorial Day celebration.

—A look at all of the U.S. cities that claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day—and which one has the best case.

—How Arlington National Cemetery became a center for Memorial Day tributes.

—How Memorial Day went from a somber occasion to a weekend for parties.

—What the holiday was originally called.

What to Know About the History of the Debt Ceiling
By Nik Popli and Olivia B. Waxman
But while a default would be unprecedented, this isn't the first time Washington has been down this road.
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How One Family Told the Story of the Tulsa Massacre
By Victor Luckerson
The story of the Goodwin family whose newspaper through the generations documented the Tulsa massacre
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How Afeni Shakur Put Black Women First In the Fight for Liberation
By Santi Elijah Holley
'When Afeni set out to do something, she did it completely. There was no half stepping,' writes Santi Elijah Holley.
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The Zone of Interest Is a Breath-Stopping, Hauntingly Original Holocaust Drama
By Stephanie Zacharek
Jonathan Glazer's first movie in a decade, which premiered at Cannes, tells the story of a Nazi family living just over the wall from Auschwitz.
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Column: Why Putin Is Right to Fear for His Life
By Simon Sebag-Montefiore
Vladimir Putin knows all too well the history of how tsars and dictators die.
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This week in 1965: Rock ‘n’ Roll

“Many cannot take rock 'n' roll, but no one can leave it. The big beat is everywhere. It resounds over TV and radio, in saloons and soda shops, fraternity houses and dance halls. It has become, in fact, the international anthem of a new and restless generation, the pulse beat for new modes of dress, dance, language, art and morality. The sledgehammer refrains of Wayne Fontana and the Mind Benders' Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um can be heard parting the walls of a Yokohama teahouse, a recreation room in Topeka, or a Communist youth club in Warsaw. For better or worse, like it or loathe it, rock 'n' roll is the sound of the Sixties.” (May 21, 1965)

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This week in 1986: Molly Ringwald

“Molly Ringwald is both hip enough to be the style setter of Right Now…After the day's fourth cup of coffee and eleventh cigarette, Molly's off to the Sherman Oaks Galleria, the Mecca of Valley Girls. If Andy Hardy's life was small town, Molly and her generation's is mall town: cruising the stores and the guys for a little post-innocent fun. Today's purchase is a portable tape player, a present for Mom. We detour to glom some sweaters, to pet the hamsters in the pet shop, to try on some beige Shiseido lipstick. Molly resists (and transcends) the Valley Girl stereotype, though she lives and speaks a variation of it. During a photo session she'll say, ‘This pose is, like, totally uncomfortable.’” (May 26, 1986)

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This week in 1998: Frank Sinatra dies

“He was strong enough, proud enough and professional enough to handle his celebrity. He wasn't undone by it, as the teen idol of a later generation, Elvis Presley, was; he didn't exploit the gifts of his fame and talent, he built on them, and in the end beat time itself. Not only does his music define the time and temper of the American decades in which it was made, but his singing moves those songs out of time into something indistinct, everlasting. In Sinatra's music, there is no past tense. You could say he was the greatest, and that's right. But that doesn't say enough. There's nothing you can call him that doesn't in some way sell him short. Except Sinatra. After's all good night.” (May 25, 1998)

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100 Years of TIME
Are You Mom Enough?

Catching up with the mom who breastfed her son on the May 21, 2012, cover of TIME

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