Summer Reading Contest Week 4: What Got Your Attention in The Times This Week?

Welcome to Week Four of our 12th Annual Summer Reading Contest.

This contest is open to college students 11-19 from wherever in the world. To take part, submit a response by 9 a.m. Eastern on July 9 that solutions the questions “What got your attention in The New York Times this week? Why?”

If you might be 13 or older and dwell in the United States, or 16 or older from wherever else in the world, submit your response in the remark part. If you’re the dad or mum or the instructor of a kid who’s 11-12 years previous and lives in the United States, or 11-15 and lives in one other nation, see the underside of this submit for particulars on easy methods to submit on behalf of your baby.

Responses should be 1500 characters — about 250 phrases — or fewer.

What must you select? Well, as from the principles we’ve posted, you possibly can decide something revealed on NYTimes.com in 2021, together with articles, essays, movies, images, podcasts or infographics.

So what did you learn, watch or take heed to this week?

We hope you’ll click on round NYTimes.com and discover your individual nice articles, options and multimedia. But we additionally know that not everybody who participates has a Times subscription. Because all hyperlinks to Times content material from the scholar options on our web site are free, each week we’ll attempt to assist by posting fascinating items from quite a lot of sections.

For instance, this week you will have learn front-page information articles like …

Credit…Maria Alejandra Cardona for The New York Times

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Derek Chauvin Receives 22 and a Half Years for Murder of George Floyd

U.S. Has No Explanation for U.F.O.s, Does Not Rule Out Aliens

Discovery of ‘Dragon Man’ Skull in China May Add Species to Human Family Tree

Or, possibly you found tales in the Style, International, Sports, Magazine, Arts, U.S., Travel, Science, Health or Smarter Living sections like …

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1+1=four? Latin America Confronts a Pandemic Education Crisis

Dispossessed, Again: Climate Change Hits Native Americans Especially Hard

They Came to Slay: L.G.B.T.Q. Trailblazers

Tokyo Olympics: Athletes to Watch This Summer

When a Valedictorian Spoke of His Queer Identity, the Principal Cut Off His Speech

Bruce Springsteen Reopens Broadway, Ushering In Theater’s Return

A Graceful Place Where Bhangra and Bollywood Meet

The War on History Is a War on Democracy

‘A Form of Brainwashing’: China Remakes Hong Kong

Beyond Tulsa, Overlooked Race Massacres Draw New Focus

Are Black Creators Really on ‘Strike’ From TikTookay?

Anatomy of a Mascot

As Parents Forbid Covid Shots, Defiant Teenagers Seek Ways to Get Them

The Largest Comet Ever Found Is Making Its Move Into a Sky Near You

A 70-Year-Old Bat Girl Lives Out Her 60-Year-Old Dream

Elizabeth Martínez, Voice of the Chicana Movement, Dies at 95

Eight-Year-Olds in Despair: The Mental Health Crisis Is Getting Younger

It’s Not Easy Being Greenspeople

Expected to Be Demure, Japan’s Girls Face Steep Hurdles to Athletic Dreams

Peering Under Vermeers Without Peeling Off the Paint

If images, movies, graphics or podcasts are extra your type, possibly these bought your consideration …

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Searching for the Lost Graves of Louisiana’s Enslaved People

There are 1000’s of enslaved individuals buried in Louisiana’s industrial hall. But their places have remained a thriller. Until now. Using historic maps and aerial images, we will find these doable graves.

A single tree. An uncultivated patch of farmland. What do these locations reveal a couple of brutal chapter of American historical past? They lead us to the forgotten burial grounds of 1000’s of enslaved individuals. “This whole region, it’s like a land of lost cemeteries.” Using a system of maps that goes again almost 150 years, we will see proof of cemeteries on Louisiana’s former plantations. These graves are scattered alongside the Mississippi River the place petrochemical crops now dominate the panorama. We went to Louisiana to research these websites from the bottom, from the air and from area, and spoke to native residents about their quest to protect these graves earlier than they’re misplaced eternally. “On a plantation, this was your freedom. You didn’t get freedom until you were dead in your grave.” Darryl Hambrick and his sister, Kathe, run the River Road African American Museum. They discovered concerning the area’s misplaced cemeteries by way of their work as historians and funeral administrators, and have been figuring out them for the previous 30 years. “There needs to be a place that’s protected in the memory of those people who were enslaved here.” “These families’ lives were bound to this land because of plantations. They were brought here to work these plantations and remain here and die here and be buried here.” It’s simple to determine a cemetery that has headstones, however enslaved individuals used no matter supplies had been at hand. “Sometimes, they would mark it with a tree, or there would be very few markings, maybe a wooden cross.” This is a part of the explanation they’re so onerous to seek out. Trees turn out to be part of the panorama over time. Wood crosses decompose. “When something is invisible or somewhat imperceptible, it’s easy to claim that it doesn’t exist.” Imani Jacqueline Brown is a researcher with Forensic Architecture, a London-based group that applies visible and spatial investigative strategies to points starting from wars to local weather change. “I grew up in Louisiana and worked as an environmental activist and as a fossil fuel accountability activist for many years. And, when I thought about what lay beneath the ground, I mostly thought about pipelines. I never thought about the graves of historically enslaved people, some of whom are very likely to be my ancestors.” Using layers of maps, Forensic Architecture has created a form of time machine to assist discover these unmarked burial grounds. “By toggling these layers on and off, we can travel through this sort of wormhole.” Here’s the way it works. Look at these maps from 1878. They had been created for the U.S. Coast Survey to assist in navigation, up and down the river. But look nearer, and you may see different necessary clues about what the land was used for at the moment. Some of the symbols are summary, however some are very clear, like this pair of crosses. “The cross indicates the presence of a cemetery. From there, we jump for a period of about 65 years to the first aerial photography.” In 1940, the U.S. Department of Agriculture took a collection of aerial pictures of this area. In the identical spot we noticed the crosses, we now see a clump of timber. Researchers name this an anomaly. “An anomaly is a topographical feature that seems out of place in a landscape. It can be an uncultivated patch of land. It could be a grove of trees.” As we transfer ahead in time, we will see that the grove of timber will get smaller, however the anomaly persists. “When we look at a contemporary satellite image, we see a single tree standing alone amidst a sea of sugar cane, and we recognize that this is a site that should be investigated as a potential cemetery.” Forensic Architecture has positioned greater than 1,00Zero anomalies in the 1940 aerial imagery, however many have since disappeared. Only 329 can nonetheless be seen as we speak. “Ultimately, if a patch of land is uncultivated, there’s a reason for it.” “To most people, and I guess even to us, they look just like fields.” Don Hunter is an archaeologist who has been working in the area for many years. He’s used these maps to determine cemeteries on industrial enlargement tasks. “There’s a cemetery right there in front of you. You’ve got to look hard.” His earlier work impressed Forensic Architecture to develop this mapping system for a bigger space alongside the Mississippi River. “There are thousands of these things out there, potentially. Unless steps are made to put more effort into identifying these sites and protecting them, we’ll continue to lose them.” The solely method to absolutely affirm the anomalies is to do an archaeological dig. “The biggest obstacle to doing this type of research, first of all, is money. It cost money to go out and dig holes in the ground, and nobody wants a cemetery in their backyard for various reasons.” Louisiana’s legal guidelines state that any identified cemetery should be cordoned off and guarded, however these legal guidelines didn’t exist when petrochemical corporations first began shopping for up plantations. “They started buying up the property because they need access to the river just as the plantations did.” “Over 200 plantations and counting are now petrochemical plants, and these cemeteries are now being crushed by these petrochemical plants.” Because these websites are on personal property, they will solely be accessed with the landowner’s permission. Forensic Architecture’s analysis reveals us the place a few of these suspected websites have already been affected. Some have been plowed over. Here is one in an oil refinery and one other beneath a retention pond. “The confidence level in the locations on the Coast Survey maps are so high that I would bet anything that it’s there. It’s under the pond.” Most corporations haven’t publicly acknowledged burial websites on their property. The quantity which have labored with the group to protect them? One. “It’s been 25 years of trying to contact Texaco and Star Enterprise and Motiva and Shell. I would get no response — ” — till Shell bought again to Kathe in 2013. The firm confirmed the existence of two cemeteries and wished her assist to protect them. But one cemetery had already been destroyed by years of plowing. An organization report discovered small human bone fragments throughout a whole area. The different cemetery stood forgotten as a grove of timber in the center of farmland. “The archaeologists estimate that there are as many as 1,400 graves between those two cemeteries, alone.” Images from the positioning present the grave of an toddler discovered together with a single white button. Archaeologists imagine it might have been positioned on high of the coffin on the time of burial. In 2018, Shell fenced them off and made them accessible to descendant communities by appointment solely. How corporations select to protect cemeteries discovered on their property has been on the heart of a battle towards a brand new 2,400-acre plastic facility in St. James Parish. “Here, where you see that partial fence that’s going around the grave site, that’s Buena Vista grave site, the site with our ancestors in that ground right over there. And we are not allowed to go on that property.” Sharon Lavigne, an area activist, has been main the battle towards Formosa Plastics, which needs to construct an ethylene cracking advanced two miles from her dwelling. Formosa has recognized and investigated two potential cemeteries. They discovered human stays at one, and fenced it off. Another doable web site recognized by numerous researchers hasn’t been checked out. The firm says it should at all times be respectful of the burial stays found on the property, but it surely’s not solely the burial web site Sharon is frightened about. She says this new plant might trigger additional hurt to the predominantly Black group that lives in this space. “The chemical that they’re going to use to make the plastics is cancer-causing. Ethylene oxide, that’s cancer-causing. Benzene from formaldehyde, that’s cancer-causing.” The Environmental Protection Agency has highlighted how communities of shade are disproportionately affected by excessive air pollution ranges. According to the E.P.A., long-term most cancers danger in St. James Parish, the place Sharon lives, is 3 times larger than the nationwide common. “Racism and structural racism is a largely invisible force that pervades our society. During the antebellum era, sugar cane was notorious for being the most dangerous crop to cultivate. Today, these freetown communities are at the fence line of some of the nation’s most polluting petrochemical facilities.” “Now, the landscape is Black community, chemical plants, sugar cane fields, Black community, chemical plant. It makes me very sad, but I want to preserve what’s left.” Remember this tree? It marks a cemetery on the former Point Houmas plantation. Enslaved individuals could possibly be buried right here. Today, it’s on the market as a part of a future industrial web site.

There are 1000’s of enslaved individuals buried in Louisiana’s industrial hall. But their places have remained a thriller. Until now. Using historic maps and aerial images, we will find these doable graves.CreditCredit…Quincy G. Ledbetter

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Whatever caught your eye, inform us about it.

The contest guidelines are all right here, and you may learn the work of final 12 months’s winners right here. A fast overview, although:

You can select from something revealed in the print paper or on NYTimes.com in 2021, together with movies, podcasts, graphics and images. (In your response, please embody the URL or headline of the piece you decide.)

We’ll submit this query every Friday from as we speak by way of Aug. 13, and also you’ll have till the following Friday morning to reply along with your picks. Then we’ll shut that submit and open a brand new one with the identical query.

We’ll select not less than one favourite reply to characteristic on our web site every week. Winners from this week might be introduced on July 20.

Feel free to take part every week, however we enable just one submission per individual per week.

The contest is open to college students ages 11 to 19 from wherever in the world. If you might be 13 or older and dwell in the United States, or 16 or older from wherever else in the world, submit your response in the feedback part. If you’re a instructor, dad or mum or guardian of a pupil or baby who’s between the ages of 11 and 12 and dwell in the United States, or 11 and 15 and dwell in one other nation, then you should submit an entry on the scholar’s behalf utilizing the shape beneath. All entries from the feedback part and the shape beneath might be judged collectively.

Summer Reading Contest Submission Form: Week four

Parents, guardians and academics ought to use this manner on behalf of scholars ages 11-12 in the United States and ages 11-15 outdoors the United States.