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 -
The Long Recall
is a daily news aggregator chronicling the buildup to the U.S. Civil War. The daily posts are
"digests of the news and commentary that an intelligent American might have had accessible 150 years ago."
posted by lalex
on Dec 1, 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 -
About 2% of the US population died while serving in the military during the US Civil War, roughly equivalent to about six million people today. A few years after the war the best selling book at 100,000 copies was Elizabeth Stuart Phelps
' The Gates Ajar
, which deals mainly with heaven and what exactly happens there. Spoilers follow. [more inside]
posted by shothotbot
on Jan 27, 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 -
McKinley Assassination Ink:
"The goal [...]: to gather the largest possible selection of full-text primary source documents relating to the assassination of William McKinley and the immediate aftermath of that event, including the succession of Theodore Roosevelt to the presidency and the incarceration, trial, and execution of [anarchist] assassin Leon Czolgosz."
posted by OmieWise
on Aug 18, 2006 -
"When I read his work, I forgive him all his sins".
Edmund Wilson disliked being called a critic
. He thought of himself as a journalist, and nearly all his work was done for commercial magazines
, principally Vanity Fair, in the nineteen-twenties; The New Republic, in the nineteen-twenties and thirties; The New Yorker, beginning in the nineteen-forties
; and The New York Review of Books, in the nineteen-sixties. He was exceptionally well read
: he had had a first-class education in English, French, and Italian literature, and he kept adding languages all his life
. He learned to read German, Russian, and Hebrew; when he died, in 1972, he was working on Hungarian.
Edmund Wilson and American culture
. (more inside)
posted by matteo
on Aug 25, 2005 -
"Approximately 250,000 persons viewed and passed by the bier of little Emmett Till. All were shocked, some horrified and appalled. Many prayed, scores fainted and practically all, men, women and children wept". Chicago Defender, September 1, 1955.
Federal officials this morning erected a white tent over the grave of Emmett Till
, Ill., in preparation to exhume the body
to shed light on the Chicago teenager's death
50 years ago.
Till, 14 years old at the time, was killed in a hate crime
in Money, Miss., that sparked the Civil Rights movement
. (previous Emmett Till MeFi threads here
posted by matteo
on Jun 1, 2005 -
The Reader of Gentlemen's Mail
In the spring of 1919, when the father of American cryptography, Herbert
, drew up a plan for a permanent State Department codebreaking organization — a "black chamber
— he estimated that a modest $100,000 a year would buy a chief (Yardley) and fifty clerks and cryptanalysts. Yardley rented a three-story building in New York City: on East 38th Street just off Fifth Avenue, he put two dozen people to work under civilian cover—as the Code Compiling Company
. His summary dismissal happened in 1929 at the hand of incoming Secretary of State Henry Stimson
, who closed down the Cipher Bureau
with the casual observation
that "gentlemen do not read each other's mail
". The son of a railroad telegrapher, a man with a lively Jazz Age interest in money, good-looking women, and drinks at five, Yardley not only taught his country how to read other people's mail but wrote two of the enduring American books—the memoir The American Black Chamber (1931)
, and The Education of a Poker Player (1957)
posted by matteo
on Apr 22, 2005 -
A few laughs at the expense of a "pretty great state"
Legislators' Ignorance Is Embarrassing
Few would argue that "a proper understanding of American history and government is essential to good citizenship," as stated in a bill written this year by the Utah Legislature and signed into law March 18 by Gov. Mike Leavitt.
But in its zeal to put God back in government, the Legislature revealed an embarrassing ignorance of America's history and its Constitution.
posted by onegoodmove
on Apr 7, 2002 -
The only "war" I can think of in U.S. history anything like the present situation is the U.S. Navy's war on Caribbean piracy
(1814-1825). Stateless, decentralized foe, no defined fields of battle, no "high-value targets"...Again, 1814-1825: eleven years.
Any U.S. history majors out there?
posted by luser
on Sep 19, 2001 -