Robert Penn Warren's book Who Speaks for the Negro?
was a collection of interviews with various men and women involved in the Civil Rights Movement published in 1965. Vanderbilt University has made all the interviews
available as audio and transcripts, taken from the original reel-to-reel recordings. Among the interviewees were Martin Luther King Jr.
, Malcolm X
, Septima Poinsette Clark
, Ralph Ellison
, Stokely Carmichael
, James Baldwin
and Bayard Rustin
. On the page for each interview there are links to related documents
, such as letters, photos and contemporary news articles.
"We’ve coined a term," said Katrinah Lewis, the actress who typically interprets Lydia. "Post-traumautic slave syndrome." The Washington Post reports on African American actors who interpret the lives of slaves at Colonial Williamsburg
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.
If you've been along the Connecticut river in eastern Vermont, you may have crossed the Samuel Morey Memorial Bridge
, relaxed at Lake Morey
, or seen some road markers
mentioning Samuel Morey. Besides being the second person in the world to be in a car accident
, who was Samuel Morey? [more inside]
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]
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]
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.
The Undefended Border: the myth and the reality
(PDF). In 1812, the US invaded Canada. Today, the US and Canada share the world's longest undefended border. What happened in between? Canadian historian C. P. Stacey
discusses the history of relations between the US and Canada from the War of 1812
to the Treaty of Washington in 1871
. [more inside]
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.
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.
Drawing from 175 digital collections and growing, American Social History Online
pulls together primary sources documenting our past as a people. A project of the Digital Library Federation
. [more inside]
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."
The John Mobberly Story
(parts one through four) about a Confederate Guerilla who terrorized Loudoun county Virginia and the Harpers Ferry area, as written by blogger Neddie Jingo
. [more inside]
The Massachusetts Historical Society has a nice collection of Thomas Jefferson's papers
online. It includes two catalogs
of Jefferson's books, a draft of the Declaration of Independence
and his Garden Book
. Architectural Drawings
too! [more inside]
A People's History for the Classroom [pdf]
is a high school history lesson plan/workbook based on Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States
. The entire 124-page workbook available for free as a downloadable PDF
, as part of the Zinn Education Project
, supported by Rethinking Schools
and Teaching for Change
. You must enter an email and agree to take a later survey to download.
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
Sounds of America
is a new monthly streaming audio program, a collaboration between the National Museum of American History
and Smithsonian Global Sound
. Up now are 3 episodes: African-American music in New Orleans, Women in American Music, and Freedom Songs of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
Slavery in the North
is a website covering the 200-year history of slavery in the northern colonies in what would become the United States.
Texas Beyond History
is a comprehensive web site covering the last 10,000 years of human occupation of (what is now called)
Texas. A small section of the site was previously posted on Metafilter. via archaeolog
The of Battlefields and Bibliophiles
blog has a fun quiz. Check your knowledge of American Civil War battlefields by guessing which battleground is featured in the Google Earth images
. Answers here
. [more inside]
Want to study some history and have hundreds of hours on your hands? Don't worry now. We already exhaustive know
about the Valley of the Shadow
project. But what about Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History
, a bilingual English-French archive? If neither of these (vast) subjects tickle your pickle, don't worry... [more inside]
First Nations Histories
is a site with compact histories of 48 first nations, from the Abenaki to the Winnebago, written by Lee Sultzman. They are primarily focused on nations in the Northeast, Midwest, with a smattering in the Plains and the Southeast. It also hosts two articles that aren't part of the project, Manifest Destiny and Western Canada
and The Coree are Not Extinct
Most people know that Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860
. However, not many people know that a man named John J. Crittenden
made a last-ditch effort to amend the Constitution, as a compromise between the north and south
. How would have American history have progressed if this
was the 13th Amendment as opposed to this
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. ]
The Goats of West Point ”...though only about twenty years of age, had the appearance of being much older. He had a worn, weary, discontented look, not easily forgotten by those who were intimate with him.”
A new book
tells the story of Sergeant Major Edgar Allan Poe
Battery H (.pdf)
, First Artillery
, West Point
, Class of 1834
. And of other famous cadets
is produced by the National Portrait Gallery and is dedicated to examining the Civil War through the Smithsonian Institution's extensive and manifold collections." Winslow Homer's Civil War drawings
, portraits of leaders
, artifacts of soldiering
, and, of course, Mathew Brady's portraits
. Much more
besides. Previous Winslow Homer thread.
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>
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.
Voices from the Days of Slavery.
A collection of audio recordings made between 1932 and 1975 of African Americans known to have once been slaves. Hear Isom Moseley
describe how he used to make soap, and express his opinion of the "white folks" who owned and ran the plantation where he was held. Wallace Quarterman
describes his experience as a freed man in Georgia, and recounts the violent atmosphere of the Reconstruction South. Aunt Phoebe Boyd
describes the demands of agricultural work. Even more narratives are available as transcripts from the companion exhibit, Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938
(linked to previously on Metafilter here
), though some of these were unfortunately edited selectively.
December 2, 1823
President James Monroe made his annual speech to congress and outlined his policy that the American continents were "henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers" Since then the US has, for better or worse, at times stood by
the Monroe Doctrine
, ignored it
when they had bigger issues back home and even argued that it doesn't apply
in the case of American imperialism. Is it time to retool our Latin America policy now that Europe doesn't seem so bent on imperialism there, or is the Doctrine needed as much as ever
“A nation is little more and nothing less than a conversation. [T]he conversation that is the United States has continued for more than 200 years as a lover's quarrel between equality and justice.” A gallery of ways this “conversation” is still taking place in the ways we live the Constitution’s 27 Amendments
Data Archives from the American Presidency Project
Fascinating statistical data about a variety of subjects, and not just trivia either. Includes data, for example, about Congressional concurrence with the President, number of Presidential vetos, number of first-year requests, etc. Good information for acquiring an overall understanding of our current political situation.
One Hell of a Big Bang
-- Studs Turkel meets Paul Tibbets the pilot of the Enola Gay
. It's a great, though-provoking and disturbing interview to read on Hiroshima Day.
Textbook Publishers Learn to Avoid Messing With Texas.
"Out of Many," the work of four respected historians, is one of the biggest sellers among American history college textbooks in the United States, but it is not likely to be available to Texas high school students taking advanced placement history. Conservative groups in Texas objected to two paragraphs in the nearly 1,000-page text that explained that prostitution was rampant in cattle towns during the late 19th century, before the West was fully settled.
"Julia Child and a few of her male compatriots got together and literally cooked up a shark repellent"
The "Clandestine Women" exhibit at the Women in Military Service to America Memorial (Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, DC) tells how the French Chef, as well as Josephine Baker and many others, used to work for American intelligence.
A thoughtful and fascinating analysis
of the historical backdrop to the current situation. Why did this happen, what circumstances got us into a de facto state of undeclared war with the Islamic world, and what can we realistically do to prevent those circumstances from ever recurring?
A historical rebuttal to the currently rabid NRA.
Michael Bellesiles analyzes gun culture throughout American history and finds a number of points that disagree with Chuck Heston's version of 'Merica. Not surprisingly, the NRA is livid. At the risk of posting flamebait, will people ever be able to approach this issue from a reasoned, educated perspective, rather than responding with knee-jerk reactions?