Our 9 Favorite Feature Stories This Week: A Boxer Who Fought Racism And Comedy Duos

This week for BuzzReads, Steve Knopper tells the forgotten story of a New Orleans boxer who fought for civil rights. Read that and these other stories from around BuzzFeed and the web.

1. Joe Dorsey’s Big Fight: How An Unknown Boxer Knocked Out Segregation In Louisiana — BuzzFeed

Courtesy Johnson Publishing Company, LLC. All rights reserved.

In 1955, an African-American boxer in New Orleans named Joe Dorsey sued the state of Louisiana for the right to fight against white opponents. What started out as a chance to advance his career wound up changing sports and culture in the state forever. Read it at BuzzFeed.

2. ‘Thinking of Ways to Harm Her’New York Times

Photograph by Leah Nash of the New York Times

A powerful series by Pam Belluck unpacking new findings to do with postpartum depression and related mental health issues. Read part one and part two at the New York Times.

3. Hospice, Inc.Huffington Post

Chris McGonigal / The Huffington Post

A sobering investigation into the for-profit hospice industry, which is booming, as are accusations of abuse and fraud. Ben Hallman reports. Read it at the Huffington Post.

4. The Gonzo OptionNational Journal

Photograph by Jason Lindsey for the National Journal

Marin Cogan profiles former Montana governor and 2016 Democratic hopeful Brian Schweitzer. “Now here comes a cowboy-politician who has wildly heterodox policy positions — hard-left on some issues, to the right on others — and a wild personality to match.” Read it at the National Journal.

5. The Spirit and the LawAmerican Prospect

Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux discusses the Becket Fund, which has backed Christian-owned Hobby Lobby as it seeks to be exempt from covering its employees’ birth control. “A ruling in Hobby Lobby’s favor would give believers wide latitude. Religious scruples could be invoked to duck all manner of laws — even anti-discrimination statutes.” Read it at the American Prospect.

6. Id GirlsNew Yorker

A fun look by Nick Paumgarten at the creators of Comedy Central’s Broad City, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer. “They are a funny kind of Millennial duo, a Comden and Green for the Instagram age.” Read it with a New Yorker subscription.

7. Yes We CodeMother Jones


Tasneem Raja asserts that coding is arguably as important as literacy in today’s world, a reality for which America is not well prepared: “even as the Department of Labor predicts the nation will add 1.2 million new computer-science-related jobs by 2022, we’re graduating proportionately fewer computer science majors than we did in the 1980s, and the number of students signing up for Advanced Placement computer science has flatlined.” Read it at Mother Jones.

8. The Blockbuster Bromance that Is Taking Over Hollywood — BuzzFeed

Macey Foronda / BuzzFeed

With movies like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The LEGO Movie, 21 Jump Street and its self-aware sequel, directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have charted the most creative and unlikely career path in Hollywood. As Adam B. Vary writes, it’s all because they have each other. Read it at BuzzFeed.

9. The Board Game of the Alpha NerdsGrantland

Illustration by John Tomac for Grantland

A hilarious journey into deep nerdom, in which David Hill enters an international Diplomacy competition. “Settlers of Catan, eat your goddamn heart out.” Read it at Grantland.

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9 Feature Stories We’re Reading This Week: Religious Feminists And The Most Expensive Scientific Instrument Ever

This week, we profile four women who are fighting for feminist change within their conservative religions: Orthodox Judaism, Mormonism, Catholicism, and Islam. Read that series and these other great stories from around BuzzFeed and the web.

1. Feminism in Faith: Four Women Who Are Revolutionizing Organized Religion — BuzzFeed

“Why bother? Why fight? If you’re an educated feminist who was born into such a religion, why not convert to another that doesn’t relegate women to a second-class status? For each of these women, the answer relates to not only her devotion to her own faith, but to her community.” Read it at BuzzFeed.

2.The Murders Before the MarathonBoston Magazine

A collaboration with This American Life, this stunning piece by Susan Zalkind examines a gristly triple homicide in Waltham, Mass. Two years later, two suspects were dead: Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and a friend the FBI say was about to confess — when agents shot him in the head. Zalkind asks the big question: Could the Boston Marathon bombing have been stopped? Read it at Boston Magazine.

3. A Star in a BottleNew Yorker

An ambitious piece by Raffi Khatchadourian about an extremely ambitious project: The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, which is being built with investment from 35 countries and is the most expensive scientific instrument ever. “But if it is truly possible to bottle up a star, and to do so economically, the technology could solve the world’s energy problems for the next thirty million years, and help save the planet from environmental catastrophe.” Read it at the New Yorker.

4. The Story Behind the SAT OverhaulThe New York Times Magazine

Photograph by Brian Finke for The New York Times

Todd Balf examines new College Board president David Coleman, who saw a clear need for change: “Teachers, students, parents, university presidents, college-admissions officers, high-school counselors. They all were unhappy with the test, and they all had valid reasons.” Read it at The New York Times Magazine.

5. Where the Wild Things Go ViralGQ

Via gq.com

Zach Baron delivers a funny and surprisingly introspective profile of our colleagues, the Beastmasters. “They are the sommeliers of endearing animals. Ask them the difference between a household pet and an Internet star and they can tell you, precisely, the characteristics that make the latter.” Read it at GQ.

6. The Top of AmericaTime


Josh Sanburn discusses the Freedom Tower’s laborious construction, and its significance: “While 1 WTC may not be all things to all people, its completion signals that America’s brawny, soaring ambition — the drive that sent pioneers west, launched rockets to the moon and led us to build steel-and-glass towers that pierced the clouds — is intact. Reaching 1,776 ft. has ensured it.” Read it at Time.

7. Precious MemoriesESPN The Magazine

Illustration by Alexander Wells for ESPN The Magazine

A moving reflection about the beloved, longtime North Carolina coach Dean Smith, who’s now succumbing to dementia. If sports, at their heart, connect us, Tommy Tomlinson writes, “Here is the special cruelty of it: The connector has become disconnected.” Read it at ESPN The Magazine.

8. A Nun’s Secret Ministry Brings Hope to the Transgender CommunityAl Jazeera America

Photograph by William Widmer for Al Jazeera America

Nathan Schneider explores the grave challenges that transgendered Catholics face, and one woman who’s determined to do something about it. “Call this nun Sister Monica, though that’s not her real name. At the request of her congregation, her name can’t be used here.” Read it at Al Jazeera America.

9. Showtime, SynergyThe Awl

A witty literary essay by Matt Siegel about the performance that is courtship “It was an acquaintance and former editor of one of those gay lifestyle magazines who advised twenty-year-old me to tone it down if I ever wanted to find a boyfriend.” Read it at The Awl.

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Our 9 Favorite Feature Stories This Week: The Question Of Guilt, And A Pop Princess’ Next Chapter

This week for BuzzReads, Victoria Beale reports on two children who conspired to kill — and asks whether their punishments were fair. Read that and these other great stories from BuzzFeed and the web.

1. Should Two Children Be Imprisoned For Plotting To Kill Their Classmates? — BuzzFeed

Illustration by Adam Setala for BuzzFeed

In Washington state, a 10- and 11-year-old were sentenced to years in a detention facility after being caught with weapons and claiming they were going to murder other kids at their school. Where is the line between a childish game and a real threat? Read it at BuzzFeed.

2. Richard LaFuente Is Finally Free!Texas Monthly

Photograph by Alyssa Banta

Michael Hall first met Richard LaFuente in 2006, when he was twenty years into a sentence for a murder he did not commit. After nearly three decades of refusing to feign remorse before parole boards, he has finally left prison. Here’s why it took so long. Read it at Texas Monthly.

3. While the World WatchedESPN

Photograph by Imago / Actionplus / Via espn.go.com

Wright Thompson reports from Argentina, which hosted the 1978 World Cup, even as the regime imprisoned, tortured, and murdered tens of thousands of its own citizens. As another Cup begins, memories return. Read it at ESPN.

4. On the Edge of Civil War in Ukraine — BuzzFeed

Baz Ratner / Reuters

In the eastern city of Donetsk, friends and neighbors have transformed into enemies, and people on both sides of the conflict worry that there’s no way out from a slide to civil war. Mike Giglio reports. Read it at BuzzFeed.

5. Quack Quack Quack: An Oral History of the Mighty Ducks TrilogyTime

Jordan Kerner

“Like the fictional team, The Mighty Ducks film franchise was always an underdog, one that forced its way to three movies and a fiercely devoted following through dedication, passion and, as often as not, good fortune. Few would declare it the greatest trilogy in movie history. Many more would call it their favorite.” Read it at Time.

6. Why Nicholas Sparks Matters Now — BuzzFeed

The Notebook and the other movies based on his books are all variations on the same theme. But, Anne Helen Petersen writes, the reason you can’t stop watching them is more complex than you think. Read it at BuzzFeed.

7. Miss American DreamMatter

Illustration by Geoff J. Kim for Matter

Taffy Brodesser-Akner heads to Vegas and explains how Britney Spears has become a feminist idol. No, really. Read it at Matter.

8. Sitting is Bad for You. So I Stopped. For a Whole Month.New York

Photo by Chris Buck for New York Magazine

A witty essay by Dan Kois about a month he spent on foot: “If you sit down more than 11 hours a day, one study suggests, you’re 40 percent more likely to die in the next three years than I am.” Read it at New York.

9. A Party At The Last Magazine: An Exclusive Excerpt From Michael Hastings’ New Novel — BuzzFeed


Next week marks the publication of The Last Magazine, the late BuzzFeed reporter’s first novel — as well as the first anniversary of his death. We’re celebrating his work and his life with these chapters, chronicling a book party that totally in no way took place in the offices of Newsweek. Read it at BuzzFeed.

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An All-American BuzzReads Reading List

Before you hit the road or the beach this weekend, take along these stories, which capture the people, culture, politics, and history of the U.S.A.

Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed

1. The Chef Who’s Leading The Backlash Against Mississippi’s New Anti-Gay Law by Wyatt Williams

Photograph by David Bertozzi for BuzzFeed

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, Mississippi is enacting a law that could sanction anti-LGBT discrimination. Can the state’s most prominent chef and cultural ambassador help keep his adoptive home from repeating its ugly past?

2. Joe Dorsey’s Big Fight: How An Unknown Boxer Knocked Out Segregation In Louisiana by Steve Knopper

Courtesy Johnson Publishing Company, LLC. All rights reserved.

In 1955, an African-American boxer in New Orleans named Joe Dorsey sued the state of Louisiana for the right to fight against white opponents. What started out as a chance to advance his career wound up changing sports and culture in the state forever.

3. Failure To Launch: How New Mexico Is Paying For Richard Branson’s Space Tourism Fantasy by Joshua Wheeler

John Gara / BuzzFeed

One of the poorest states in the nation has invested nearly a quarter of a billion dollars and 10 years in creating a hub for Richard Branson’s space tourism company, Virgin Galactic. Some see it as the crown jewel of a new space age while others call it a carnival for the 1 percent — but with persistent delays and mounting financial strain, Spaceport America is just trying to avoid becoming New Mexico’s costliest, most futuristic ghost town.

4. The Low-Budget, High-Pressure Life Of An MLS Rookie by David Peisner

Photograph by Emily Berl for BuzzFeed

Major League Soccer is the only pro sports league in America where superstars can earn 140 times more than their teammates. How much longer will it be able to convince talented, internationally coveted young players like the Los Angeles Galaxy’s Kofi Opare to stay in the U.S. for $35,000 a year?

5. Fighting For Hip-Hop In The Whitest City In America by Arianna Rebolini

Yousef Hatlani / facesontheradio.com

Portland, Ore., is known as a haven for progressive culture. So why does it seem like police consider rappers and their fans a threat to the city’s specific brand of weird?

6. Wildcatting: A Stripper’s Guide to the Modern American Boomtown by Susan Elizabeth Shepard

Susan Elizabeth Shepard

Nothing is more emblematic of the American dream than chaotic mining and drilling towns such as Williston, North Dakota, and the people who flock to them in search of fortune. And no one knows better how these communities work — and don’t — than the traveling topless dancer.

7. William Suess Thought He Was An American Until The Day He Was Deported by Mike Giglio

John Gara / BuzzFeed

Born in Germany but raised in Missouri, “Wild Bill” Suess served in the Army, then did time for various crimes. But he didn’t know what prison really was until strict immigration laws left him to fend for himself at a grim shelter in a foreign country he was now forced to call home.

8. Pastor Andrew Hamblin Would Rather Die Or Go To Jail Than Give Up Handling Snakes by Gemma de Choisy

Photograph by Shawn Poynter for BuzzFeed

As part of a traditional Appalachian sect, the 22-year-old church leader illegally handled venomous snakes — and starred on the reality TV show Snake Salvation — until wildlife authorities seized them all. Risking his life and his livelihood, he’s taking a stand in the name of Jesus, and, he argues, in the name of religious freedom.

9. How An Ohio Housewife Flew Around The World, Made History, And Was Then Forgotten by Amy Saunders

Sheldon Ross / The Columbus Dispatch, © Dispatch Printing Company / Via dispatch.com

Jerrie Mock was a 38-year-old housewife from Columbus, Ohio, when 50 years ago she accomplished what Amelia Earhart is famous for having failed to do. But, in the decades since, as Mock’s life began to unravel, history all but forgot the pilot who made it.

10. Why I Bought A House In Detroit For $500 by Drew Philp

Photograph by Mike Williams

After college, as his friends left Michigan for better opportunities, the 23-year-old author was determined to help fix a broken, chaotic city by building his own home in the middle of it.

11. The Eel World: Inside Maine’s Wild Elver Turf War by Peter Andrey Smith

Photograph by Jenny Calivas

In an economically depressed Maine county, Bill Sheldon is the kingpin of a $40 million baby-eel industry that may be doomed to extinction. Find out what happens when a community full of armed fishermen and elver dealers stop being polite and start getting real.

12. Takeru Kobayashi’s Declaration Of Independence by Emily Fleischaker

Macey J. Foronda

Last July, for the fourth year in a row, the Nathan’s 4th of July hot dog-eating contest was without its original superstar thanks to an ongoing, bilious contract dispute. It’s hard to prove you’re still the champ when you don’t have any opponents, and it’s hard to plan your future when your golden opportunity implodes in scandal.

13. 60 Words And A War Without End: The Untold Story Of The Most Dangerous Sentence In U.S. History by Gregory D. Johnsen

John Gara / BuzzFeed

Written in the frenzied, emotional days after 9/11, the Authorization for the Use of Military Force was intended to give President Bush the ability to retaliate against whoever orchestrated the attacks. But more than 12 years later, this sentence remains the primary legal justification for nearly every covert operation around the world. Here’s how it came to be, and what it’s since come to mean.

14. Gored In The U.S.A.: The Running Of The Bulls Comes To America by Wyatt Williams

Photograph by Nick Ghobashi for BuzzFeed

Two enterprising ex-lawyers are risking their livelihoods to reinvent a centuries-old Spanish tradition for thrill-seeking weekend warriors. But what are the long-term prospects for a venture that relies on its customers getting trampled by large, angry animals?

15. Dispatches From The Front Line Of Florida’s Wild Python Hunt by Amanda Petrusich

Adam Setala

The monthlong Python Challenge in the Everglades is part controversial preservationist initiative, part sensationalistic media stunt, and all slinking through swamps trying to kill giant deadly reptiles.

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Our 9 Favorite Feature Stories This Week: Dirty Cops, Michael Brown Sr., And A Whole Lot Of Elvis

This week for BuzzFeed News, Elise Jordan goes back to her hometown Mississippi to visit the world’s most notorious Elvis shrine. Read that and these other great stories from BuzzFeed and around the web.

1. The Last Days Of Graceland Too — BuzzFeed News

Photograph by Tim Soter

Paul MacLeod’s Graceland Too — a house-turned-shrine to the King of Rock ‘n Roll — ushered in decades of tourism to the small town of Holly Springs, MS and made its eccentric owner a local celebrity. But when MacLeod shot his handyman dead at the property and died himself two days later, Graceland Too came to symbolize more than an innocuous hobby. Read it at BuzzFeed News.

2. America’s Dirtiest Cops: Cash, Cocaine and Corruption on the Texas BorderRolling Stone

Illustration by John Ritter, Image of Alexis Espinoza in illustration by Gabe Hernandez/”The Monitor” / AP Images

An unbelievable romp of a story by Josh Eells on the rise and downfall of the Panama Unit, an elite anti-narcotics border task force — led by the son of a sheriff — that took bribes from some drug dealers and used police resources to rob others. “They were running around like that movie Training Day.” Read it at Rolling Stone.

3. Michael Brown Sr. and the Agony of the Black Father in AmericaEsquire

Photograph by Barrett Emke for Esquire

John H. Richardson spends a heartbreaking, yet hopeful, Thanksgiving with the Brown family, as Mike Brown, Sr. reflects on his son, goes to church, and grapples with his new life in the public eye. “At one point, he lowers his head and hides his face under his hat brim. When he lifts his head again, his face looks exhausted and stoic and agonized, like a man determined not to cry out under torture.” Read it at Esquire.

4. Construction Work is Getting More Deadly, but Only for Latinos — BuzzFeed News

Staten Island Advance / SILive / Via silive.com

While construction work has gotten safer for every other group over the past decade, the deaths of Latino workers has been on the rise. David Noriega reports on the startling trend. Read it at BuzzFeed News.

5. The Town Without Wi-FiWashingtonian

Photograph by Joshua Cogan for Washingtonian

Green Bank, West Virginia is a town where residents are banned from using technology most of us can’t imagine living without: wi-fi, cell phones, Bluetooth. It’s become a haven for people who believe their medical problems stem from electromagnetism but, as Michael J. Gaynor explores, not all the locals are happy about it. Read it at Washingtonian.

6. Chris Harrison: The Reigning King of #BachelorNationGQ

PHotograph by Art Streiber for GQ

Taffy Brodesser-Akner hangs out with Chris Harrison, the charming host of The Bachelor, as he navigates having recently become a bachelor himself. “It is hard to believe that a man whose job is to be a human seismometer of romantic chemistry can be so oblivious, but maybe it’s the sort of thing where the cobbler’s children have no shoes, or doctors can’t operate on themselves.” Read it at GQ.

7. The Rise of the Black British Actor in America — BuzzFeed News

Atsushi Nishijima/Paramount Pictures

Lacking opportunities in the UK, many black British actors, such as Selma’s David Oleyowo, have recently found success in the states, writes Kelley Carter. “There’s a black British Actor Renaissance of sorts occurring, largely because black Brits aren’t finding the type of work in the United Kingdom that allows them to explore the depth they’re seeking from their roles.” Read it at BuzzFeed News.

8. Food Fight: Dallas Chefs Take on the Morning NewsD Magazine

Photograph by Kevin Marple for D Magazine

Zac Crain dives into the embittered battle that has been publicly stewing for the past year between a top Dallas food critic and the city’s best chefs. “It was like watching Frankenstein and seeing the townspeople head up to the professor’s operating room with pitchforks and torches.” Read it at D Magazine.

9. The Talking CureThe New Yorker

Illustration by Leo Espinosa for the New Yorker

Margaret Talbot visits Providence, Rhode Island, where the mayor has secured millions for an innovative program aimed at closing the “word gap,” the disparity in words learned by poorer children compared to their wealthier counterparts. The program is just one complex example of national efforts to tackle educational reform. Read it at The New Yorker.

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