Ryan Benk

Forty years ago, Lawrence Mass, a young, gay doctor living in New York City, made history. It is the kind of history no one wants to make.

Mass began writing news stories about a disease that many did not want to acknowledge.

At the time, gay men were falling ill from a mystery illness that left them with severely compromised immune systems. Mass's first article about it published May 18, 1981, for the New York Native, a gay newspaper. He'd gotten a tip from a friend who worked in a city ER and saw these cases up close.

Sporting a smile that lights up the overcast sky, It's a Sin's Ritchie Tozer can barely contain his excitement. He and his father are on board a ferry, leaving their home on the Isle of Wight behind. Ritchie, played by Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander, isn't elated just because he's leaving for college.

"Oh my God, I think we found the Goonies treasure."

That's what David Whitcomb thought late last year when he discovered what appeared to be a secret attic of a building he'd just bought in Geneva, N.Y. There, he found century-old photographs and equipment — and a mystery.

Whitcomb, who had just purchased the historic building to expand his law practice, remembers that he had invited a friend over for a tour.

For more than 100 years "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" has been known as the Black national anthem. Rep. James Clyburn says it's time for it to be honored as the national hymn, and on Jan. 13, he filed a bill to try to make that official.

Clyburn told USA Today that making it a national hymn would help unite Americans.

It was an eventful year to say the least. It began with a historic impeachment, and then the global pandemic, a reckoning around racial injustice, a tumultuous election and even more unlikely news.

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