sat at the conference table next to Frederick Douglass as they tried to convince President Abraham Lincoln that African Americans should be allowed to fight for their own freedom. He served five terms in Congress. He ran a newspaper and helped found a state Republican Party.
But first, he had to win his freedom.
posted by Blasdelb
on Feb 15, 2013 -
Hosted by three professors of US history (one a specialist in the 18th Century, one in the 19th, and one in the 20th), each episode of the radio show and podcast Backstory
takes a subject from the news and looks at the American history behind it. [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco
on Nov 17, 2012 -
In Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
, Douglass wrote of his early days in New York City after his escape from slavery:
Thank Heaven, I remained but a short time in this distressed situation. I was relieved from it by the humane hand of Mr. DAVID RUGGLES. [...] Mr. Ruggles was then very deeply engaged in the memorable Darg case, as well as attending to a number of other fugitive slaves, devising ways and means for their successful escape; and, though watched and hemmed in on almost every side, he seemed to be more than a match for his enemies. [more inside]
posted by Zed
on Aug 9, 2012 -
Bodie Bailey Flickr
A rare and fascinating bit of family and national history captured in B&W photographs. Bodie Bailey's Flickr
shares family photos collected by his Aunt Ida- an actress during the turn-of-the-century and active in the founding of California. Through the photos of this young actress, we are able to get a glimpse of early Hollywood, Mission Plays and intimate family moments.
posted by muchalucha
on Feb 10, 2012 -
Nearly seventy years ago, 10,000 Japanse Americans were forcibly relocated to Heart Mountain
, just outside Cody, Wyoming; they were part of a larger group of more than 120,000 men, women, and children incarcerated in War Relocation Authority (WRA) camps
due solely to their ancestry. This past weekend, about 100 survivors of the camp -- led by the delightfully named Bacon Sakatini
-- returned to this remote corner of Wyoming to celebrate the grand opening of the Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center
Of the ten WRA camps, Heart Mountain had the only organized resisters movement
, which was started in 1944 by seven men who formed the Fair Play Committee
to protest the drafting of Japanse American men while their families remained imprisoned -- leading to the largest draft resistance trial in U.S. history.
posted by scody
on Aug 25, 2011 -
Bill Cosby: "A lot of people think we oughta wash white, but we aint gonna, you see." "People think that we Afro-Americans started with nothing but little grass skirts like the kids in the Tarzan movies....but uh, we
had something before we left Africa." "Now if you want to look history right straight in the eye... you're going to get a black eye. Because it isn't important whether a few black heroes got lost or stolen or strayed in American history textbooks. What's important is why
they got left out."
Black History: Lost, Stolen, or Strayed. (Part 1
) [more inside]
posted by cashman
on Feb 21, 2011 -
For all the faults of the poorhouse
, the system it replaced was perceived to be even worse. In post-Revolution America, if you were poor, you could be "farmed out" at public auction to the lowest bidder. [more inside]
posted by Knappster
on Dec 30, 2010 -
On June 15th, 1920 in Duluth, Minnesota, three young, black circus workers, Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson and Issac McGhie, were lynched. The Minnesota Historical Society has a great site devoted to the terrible event, Duluth Lynchings Online Resource
. I'd especially like to point out the Oral Histories
section, which has short interviews with African-Americans who lived through the event. In 2001 Minnesota Public Radio covered the story
, inspired by a campaign to build a memorial to the three men, which was dedicated in October of 2003. The Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial has a fine website
which is well worth visiting.
posted by Kattullus
on Sep 10, 2010 -
In 1865, after the end of the Civil War, Col. P. H. Anderson of Big Spring, Tennessee, wrote to his former slave, Jourdon Anderson, asking him to return to work for him. In reply, Jourdon Anderson told Colonel Anderson exactly where he could stick his offer
. This letter was part of The Freedmen's Book (full download in many different formats
) which was distributed to those freed after and during the Civil War, so that they would know stories of other freedmen who had done well, including Touissant L'Ouverture, Phillis Wheatley and Frederick Douglass. The book was put together and published by Lydia Maria Child, abolitionist, women's rights activist, Indian rights campaigner and all around awesome person. She became famous in her own time for her cookbook The Frugal Housewife
, but today her best known work is Over the River and Through the Woods. The Freedmen's Book was part of an effort by abolitionists after the war to educate freed slaves. The American Antiquarian Society has a great website about that movement, Northern Visions of Race, Region and Reform
, which has plenty of primary sources
and images galore.
posted by Kattullus
on Apr 22, 2010 -
Explorations in Black Leadership
is a collection of video interviews with prominent African-Americans, focusing on activists of one sort or another. 34 people are interviewed, including Nikki Giovanni
, John Lewis
, Barbara Lee
, Bobby Rush
, Dorothy Height
and Amiri Baraka
. There are full transcripts of every interview. Here's an excerpt from the Nikki Giovanni interview: "The kids today have to have a voice. I'm amazed that they found it. I remember Sugarhill Gang with Sylvia, you know: "Uptown, Downtown, the Holiday Inn." You know, things like that. Then, of course, I remember the explosion of Tupac Shakur. Losing Tupac was a great loss for this generation. I have a tattoo--it says "Thug Life" --because I wanted to mourn with this generation. I don't see how people can knock the kids…paying so little attention. I had deep regrets--and I know Rosa Parks, you know, we don't hang out but I know her--I so regretted that she lent her name to be used against Outkast, because Rosa Parks is a wonderful--is a wonderful tune. And they were giving her problems. If people don't--if the younger generation doesn't sing the praises of the older generation they get forgotten."
posted by Kattullus
on Oct 25, 2008 -
JARDA: Japanese American Relocation Digital Archives
is a collection of photographs, diaries, letters, camp newsletters, personal histories and a wealth of other material relating to the relocation and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. The site is divided into four categories: People
, the men, women, and children who were incarcerated. Places
, prewar neighborhoods and wartime camps. Daily Life
, eating, sleeping, working, playing, and going to school. Personal Experiences
, letters, diaries, art and other writing by internees. Among the photographers hired by the War Relocation Authority was famed dust bowl photographer Dorothea Lange. 855 of her photos
are on the site. Even though she was working as a propagandist many of her images captures a starker reality, for instance this picture of a glum little girl
posted by Kattullus
on Aug 3, 2008 -
A nation of outlaws.
A century and a half ago, another fast-growing nation had a reputation for sacrificing standards to its pursuit of profit, and it was the United States.
posted by Kirth Gerson
on Aug 27, 2007 -
On November 29, 1864, John Chivington led the Colorado Volunteers in a dawn attack in which at least 150 Cheyenne men, women and children were slaughtered (many of their corpses grotesquely mutilated), bringing a new wave of Indian-white conflict to Colorado's high plains along the Santa Fe Trail. The Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site
was officially dedicated today
See photos of some of the people
involved, read some contemporary propaganda
concerning the event, as well as actual testimony
from witnesses and perpetrators.
posted by flapjax at midnite
on Apr 28, 2007 -
The Zobo! Spanish-American Chess Men!
Where can you find these amazing products, including Sanitary Belt Pads
the Toilet Mask
, or a handy goat harness
, at amazing, rockbottom prices? The Sears, Roebuck Catalog
, of course. Everything you could need for the modern American family! They did houses
) even. Starting in 1888 and mostly selling watches, this venerable institution of consumerism spent its first 10 years
rapidly growing and adding products, lasting for over 100 years before finally folding in 1993. The catalog still stands as a detailed historical document of what the average American would buy to get through life. They make a fun collector's item, too
(1902 available on CD-ROM
as well). [ This post inspired by the 1902 Sears, Roebuck Catalog blog. ]
posted by tweak
on May 26, 2006 -
PICTURE THIS: A folksy, self-consciously plainspoken Southern politician rises to power during a period of profound unrest in America. The nation is facing one of the half-dozen or so of its worst existential crises to date, and the people, once sunny, confident, and striving, are now scared, angry, and disillusioned. Through a combination of factors -his easy bearing chief among them (along with massive cash donations from Big Business; disorganization in the liberal opposition; a stuffy, aloof opponent; and support from religious fanatics who feel they've been unfairly marginalized)-he wins the presidential election.
Ripped from today's headlines? Nope. Sinclair Lewis
, Circa 1935: "It Can't Happen Here"
has been recently reissued
. But you can read it here (with free registration)
at American Buddha
(possibly NSFW). first link via Arts & Letters Daily
posted by spock
on Dec 28, 2005 -
Miracle on 57th Street.
Thomas Wolfe said that America is not only the place where miracles happen, but where they happen all the time. This is the story of a miracle, a true-life fairy tale, and appropriately enough it begins with the intervention of the Almighty.
, music director of the New York Philharmonic from 1943 to 1947, was an eccentric, a health nut who drank only milk from goats he raised himself and who kept a loaded revolver in his back pocket whenever he conducted. Rodzinski said that God told him to hire 24 year old Leonard Bernstein
, to be his assistant conductor. In the fall of 1943 Rodzinski decided to take a vacation, spend a little time with his goats, and called in Bruno Walter
to conduct seven concerts in ten days. Only hours before one of those concerts (in the program, works by Schumann, Rosza, Strauss and Wagner) Walter fell ill
. Rodzinski was only four hours away, in his farm. But he declined to come back to Carnegie Hall: "Call Bernstein. That's why we hired him." The concert was broadcast over radio and a review appeared on page 1 of The New York Times the next day: "Young Aide Leads Philharmonic; Steps in When Bruno Walter is Ill"
. In the same size type as another that read, "Japanese Plane Transport Sunk." More inside.
posted by matteo
on Dec 28, 2005 -
"Somewhere in the Bible it is said: "If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off." I used to think the remedy somewhat radical. But to-day, being imbued with the wisdom of the prohibitionist, I have to acknowledge that, if the Bible in general, and that passage in it in particular, has a fault, it lies in its ultra-conservativeness. What? Merely cut off my own right hand if it offend me? What business have my neighbors to keep their right hands if I am not able to make mine behave itself ? Off with the lot of them! Let there be no right hands; then I am certain that mine won't land me in trouble."
So wrote Percy Andreae in 1915 when arguing against Prohibition
. That excerpt is at the OSU Prohibition History site
, along with such delights as Prohibition Party Cartoons
(check out this adorable camel
: "Vote as if your vote would be the last straw"
). At the LOC, along with this page of Prohibition information
, and this panoramic shot of the 1915 Anti-Saloon League of America
, there is also this reminder of the link between temperance and women's suffrage
. If you don't want to join The Temperance Crusade
in song, or admit that (I Never Knew I Had A Wonderful Wife Until The Town Went Dry)
, you can listen to these mp3's at the LOC: The Drunkard's dream
, The Drunkard's child
, and, of course, Goodbye, booze
. Prohibition and moonshining
; the rise of bootlegging gangs
; more primary sources at the National Archives
. And no post on prohibition or temperance would be complete without Carrie Nation's Hammer
posted by OmieWise
on Sep 23, 2005 -
More than 30 feet of water stood over land inhabited by nearly one million people. Almost 300,000 African Americans were forced to live in refugee camps for months. Many people, both black and white, left the land and never returned. "When Mother Nature rages, the physical results are never subtle. Because we cannot contain the weather, we can only react by tabulating the damage in dollar amounts, estimating the number of people left homeless, and laying the plans for rebuilding. But . . . some calamities transform much more than the landscape."
No, not Katrina. The Great Mississippi flood of 1927. Author John M. Barry in his definitive work on the subject, "shows how a heretofore anti-socialist America was forced by unprecedented circumstance to embrace an enormous, Washington-based big-government solution to the greatest natural catastrophe in our history, preparing the way (psychologically and otherwise) for the New Deal."
The author is a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Center for Bioenvironmental Research of Tulane and Xavier universities (whose web site is *understandably* not answering right now). <Heading for the library to find this book>
posted by spock
on Aug 30, 2005 -
OK, Seattleites, see the American flag here
? On the sidewalk below is where your 3rd & Pine McDonalds now sits. Man, I can see five buildings here that are still standing, but that red brick one at the lower right got replaced early
. Now here's the Northern Life Tower
. Note how the bricks lighten towards the top, so as to make it look taller from below--very subtle, that. It's one of Seattle's two Art Deco buildings, the other being the Exchange Building
. You can cut through that one, coming off the ferry at First Avenue and take the elevator to walk out on Second Ave rather than climb that steep hill, you know.
And consider on what playground equipment
our grandparents got to play. Lucky stiffs--you can't even find a decent 50s era swing set in a park in this town anymore. Penny Postcards From King County
, from Penny Postcards of Washington
, from Penny Postcards
. Man, I loves me some vintage postcards. And if you do, too, check that last link--it's got all 50 states.
posted by y2karl
on Dec 19, 2004 -