This page includes, in addition to news about historians, news about political scientists, economists, law professors, and others who write about history. For a comprehensive list of historians' obituaries, go here.
SOURCE: TPM (Liberal blog) (12-15-09)
The celebrated historian John Hope Franklin was scrutinized by the FBI in the 1960s for supposed links to communists, particularly his opposition to the House Committee on Un-American Activities and his vocal support for W.E.B. Du Bois.
"Dr. Franklin is an apologist for the late Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois, a prominent crusader for civil rights and a sponsor of communist fronts who joined the Communist Party at the age of 93," wrote an unidentified FBI official in a letter to the White House in July 1965.
Franklin's file, obtained by TPMmuckraker through the Freedom of Information Act, is mainly a collection of background checks conducted when he was up for presidential appointments (though the FBI withheld 18 pages of the 515-page file). The author of the classic From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans, Franklin died in May at 94.
He was appointed by President Kennedy to the Board of Foreign Scholarships in 1962 and his background checks show universally glowing praise from friends, neighbors, and colleagues.
But that wasn't enough for J. Edgar Hoover's FBI. Almost dripping off the pages are overheated Cold War suspicions about Franklin's links, even two or three degrees removed, to communists.
Among the topics addressed in the files are: a favorable review of one of his books in the American Communist Party's Daily Worker in 1956; Franklin's signature on a petition against Joseph McCarthy's Committee on Un-American Activities, printed in the New York Times; his praise for a book by the Marxist historian Herbert Aptheker; his support for the Chicago school boycotts protesting segregated schools; and a 1968 speech he gave in Madison, Wisconsin, sponsored by Concerned Black People, a group with"Communist Party affiliations" that"openly opposed United States foreign policy in Vietnam."
Of particular interest to the FBI was Franklin's speech at a tribute to Du Bois at Carnegie Hall in early 1964, several months after Du Bois' death in Ghana. Franklin's presence generated a brief report by the bureau's New York office. Then, in 1965, a memo from the FBI's Chicago office, quotes Franklin's remarks about Du Bois -- who had joined the Communist Party in the last years of his life -- to the black journal Freedomways and the Nation of Islam publication Muhammad Speaks.
"Dr. Du Bois has been an inspiration to me and to most members of my generation. ... His impeccable scholarship, his fearlessness as a leader,and his determination to secure freedom for all peoples, were the hallmarks of his great and illustrious life," Franklin said.
Referencing the failed prosecution of Du Bois for antiwar activism (under the Foreign Agents Registration Act), Franklin told Muhammad Speaks in 1964:"I wish I could eradicate from my memory the picture of Dr. Du Bois, handcuffed like some common thief, accused at eighty years of age of being the agent of a foreign power. Even his later exoneration cannot obliterate from my mind the impression that, perhaps he was the victim not merely of the fanatacism that characterized those years, but that he was being punished for what he had represented for more than half a century."...
SOURCE: Garry Wills in the New York Review of Books (12-2-09)
I did not think he would lose me so soon—sooner than Bill Clinton did. Like many people, I was deeply invested in the success of our first African-American president. I had written op-ed pieces and articles to support him in The New York Times and The New York Review of Books. My wife and I had maxed out in donations for him. Our children had been ardent for his cause.
Others I respect have given up on him before now. I can see why. His backtracking on the treatment of torture (and photographs of torture), his hesitations to give up on rendition, on detentions, on military commissions, and on signing statements, are disheartening continuations of George W. Bush’s heritage. But I kept hoping that he was using these concessions to buy leeway for his most important position, for the ground on which his presidential bid was predicated.
There was only one thing that brought him to the attention of the nation as a future president. It was opposition to the Iraq war. None of his serious rivals for the Democratic nomination had that credential—not Hillary Clinton, not Joseph Biden, not John Edwards. It set him apart. He put in clarion terms the truth about that war—that it was a dumb war, that it went after an enemy where he was not hiding, that it had no indigenous base of support, that it had no sensible goal and no foreseeable cutoff point.
He said that he would not oppose war in general, but dumb wars. On that basis, we went for him. And now he betrays us. Although he talked of a larger commitment to Afghanistan during his campaign, he has now officially adopted his very own war, one with all the disqualifications that he attacked in the Iraq engagement. This war too is a dumb one. It has even less indigenous props than Iraq did.
Iraq at least had a functioning government (though a tyrannical one). The Afghanistan government that replaced the Taliban is not only corrupt but ineffectual. The country is riven by tribal war, Islamic militancy, and warlordism, and fueled by a drug economy —interrupting the drug industry will destabilize what order there is and increase hostility to us.
We have been in Afghanistan for eight years, earning hatred as occupiers, and after this record for longevity in American wars we will be there for still more years earning even more hatred. It gives us not another Iraq but another Vietnam, with wobbly rulers and an alien culture.
Although Obama says he plans to begin withdrawal from Afghanistan in July 2011, he will meanwhile be sending there not only soldiers but the contract employees that cling about us now like camp followers, corrupt adjuncts in perpetuity. Obama did not mention these plagues that now equal the number of military personnel we dispatch. We are sending off thousands of people to take and give bribes to drug dealers in Afghanistan.
If we had wanted Bush’s wars, and contractors, and corruption, we could have voted for John McCain. At least we would have seen our foe facing us, not felt him at our back, as now we do. The Republicans are given a great boon by this new war. They can use its cost to say that domestic needs are too expensive to be met—health care, education, infrastructure. They can say that military recruitments from the poor make job creation unnecessary. They can call it Obama’s war when it is really theirs. They can attack it and support it at the same time, with equal advantage.
I cannot vote for any Republican. But Obama will not get another penny from me, or another word of praise, after this betrayal. And in all this I know that my disappointment does not matter. What really matters are the lives of the young men and women he is sending off to senseless deaths.
SOURCE: Robert Dallek in USA Today (12-9-09)
As President Obama moves ahead with his expansion of the war in Afghanistan, history suggests that he has a better chance of being wrong than right.
Judging from the experience of Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and George W. Bush, miscalculations about war and peace are all too common. Despite receiving counsel from the best and the brightest in each of their generations, these presidents received poor advice that each should have resisted.
Wilson's Fourteen Points of January 1918, which were an amalgam of high-minded progressive thinking, described a postwar world that was beyond reach: a peace without victors, disarmament, self-determination for nationalities, a world safe for democracy, and an end to war through collective security provided by a league of nations. It was a mirage that did nothing to prevent the rise of Nazism and the onset of another world war.
A costly mistake in Korea
Truman's miscalculation followed a series of wise steps between 1945 and 1950 in the emerging Cold War. The fact that realistic good sense — containment as played out in the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan — characterized his initial Cold War decisions was no assurance that he would get things right in the Korean conflict. His decision to beat back North Korea's attack on South Korea in June 1950 now enjoys almost universal approval as a sensible extension of the containment response to communist aggression.
Yet the decision to cross the 38th parallel in order to unify Korea under a representative government was a blunder that cost the United States, Koreans and Chinese considerable blood and treasure. Gen. Douglas MacArthur's advice that the Chinese would not enter the fighting if we crossed the parallel and that they would suffer a great defeat if they did, with American troops returning home in a matter of weeks, was the greatest miscalculation of his military career. Moreover, it destroyed Truman's presidency: Unable to end the war or put across the domestic reforms promised in his 1948 election campaign, his approval rating fell to 23%.
Kennedy's decision to accept the judgment of CIA and military advisers that Cuban exiles could topple Fidel Castro's Cuban government was a failure he could never forget. "How could I have been so stupid?" Kennedy repeatedly asked himself later.
No president stands out more for poor judgment in fighting a war than Johnson. His beliefs that he could defeat a communist insurgency in South Vietnam, that this could be done quickly and that it was vital to the national security in the larger Cold War struggle all proved to be wrong. Two of the principal architects of the war — Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy later acknowledged how unwise they had been in pressing the case for a war they retrospectively saw as unwinnable. Their views reinforced Johnson's mistaken assumptions and made it easier for him to push ahead on a policy that was a disaster, costing more than 50,000 American lives and even greater Vietnamese losses.
Nixon, who was burdened with ending U.S. involvement in Vietnam, mistakenly drew out American withdrawal over four years on the conviction that Vietnamization — the training of South Vietnamese forces to replace U.S. troops — was a viable option suggested by his military chiefs that would produce "peace with honor." Nixon would have done well to recall the Herculean efforts to supply and train Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist armies, who never performed effectively against either the Japanese or the communists during and after World War II. Vietnamization was another miscalculation in the miserable history of American involvement in Vietnam.
Recent missteps in Iraq
Bush's misadventures in Iraq are a familiar tale that is so fresh in American minds, it hardly needs repeating...
SOURCE: NYT (12-10-09)
The cause was emphysema, said his wife, Ophra Yerushalmi, a concert pianist.
An elegant writer and mesmerizing raconteur, Dr. Yerushalmi earned his reputation as one of his generation’s foremost Jewish historians by plumbing eclectic subjects like the history of the Jews expelled from Spain and Portugal in the 1490s, messianism, the intellectual history of modern German Jewry and Freud’s relationship with his religion. In 1982, Dr. Yerushalmi, then the Salo Wittmayer Baron professor of Jewish history, culture and society at Columbia University, published perhaps his most influential work, “Zachor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory,” a slim volume whose title bore the Hebrew imperative “Remember!”...
SOURCE: Richmond Times-Dispatch (8-12-09)
SOURCE: World Bulletin (12-9-09)
Turkish Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Sahin presented the award to Karpat at ceremony in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Wednesday.
"I have never worked to get a prize and never have never thought I would get one someday. My only goal has been to discover my own people and to tell about them," Karpat said.
Kemal Karpat is a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Istanbul, his masters degree from the University of Washington and his PhD from New York University. He has previously worked for the UN Economics and Social Council and taught at Montana State University and New York University.
SOURCE: The Star (12-9-09)
Yes, women have made tremendous strides but many of their rights have eroded since feminism's second wave in the 1970s and 1980s, she writes in her new book, Sexism in America: Alive, Well, and Ruining our Future.
I reached the longtime married mother of three at her home in New York City.
This is an edited version of our 90-minute conversation.
Q: You surveyed some 200 women, and interviewed another 200, and you paint a very grim picture.
A: I don't want you to get the feeling that we're back in the dark old ages, but in many ways we are moving backward, not forward.
Many of the ways that women go about their lives and men go about their lives are based on premises such as we had seen in the 1950s. A sense of difference over who had power.
Numerous women told me that would not challenge the authority of a male boss, that they were happy to have their jobs, that they felt that they had to accept – and this is very disturbing – a certain amount of sexual harassment, that they did not expect the same kind of promotions, that they were accepting the 70 cents to the dollar gender wage gap.
A: I think there has been a tremendous sense of acceptance of a hierarchical and patriarchal society again. Twenty years ago, people would have been up in arms about some of the issues I encountered.
Q: But, when you asked young women whether they should have equal rights, they said yes.
A: But on the follow up question – "Do you and your friends act equal?" – many said no. They said it's a man's world; we have to play the game, even if we have to play the sex kitten. So how many of them are identifying with the male power structure? ...
SOURCE: VOV News (12-9-09)
Referring to French and English documents, Tonnesson sourced materials for his book from some translated Vietnamese texts on Vietnam in 1946 as well as from the memoirs of the famous Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap. He visited the Vietnam Revolutionary Museum and the Ho Chi Minh Museum to see objects from the war on display there and learn about the patriotism of Vietnamese people.
The book gives readers access to new and intriguing information that the author discovered by delving deeply into formerly classified French, English and US military documents.
Tonnesson expressed his wish to have “Vietnam 1946” translated into Vietnamese to present it to Vietnamese researchers and readers.
SOURCE: Yahoo News (12-7-09)
“The new century began on a bang, and it was a shot heard ’round the world,” Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman, a history professor at San Diego State University, said, speaking of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
“People are going to think that 9/11 is a significant historical turning point no matter what happens, because it certainly altered the international order,” said Bruce Schulman, who teaches history at Boston University.
Brian Balogh, a history professor at the University of Virginia, pointed out that 9/11 demonstrated the power of non-state actors and has kept us talking about “homeland security,” a term not widely used before the attacks. Hoffman said 9/11 revealed that the U.S. didn’t have a post-Cold War strategic vision.
But before the attacks, there was the unforgettable presidential election of 2000, a close race followed by a recount and momentous Supreme Court decision. And while the full historical significance of these major events and their aftermaths may largely remain to be seen, both reflect a growing trend in the century’s first decade: heightened political partisanship.
As a result of 9/11, the political polarization was amplified, said Julian Zelizer, a history professor at Princeton University and author of “Arsenal of Democracy: The Politics of National Security — From World War II to the War on Terrorism.”...
SOURCE: The Philadelphia Inquirer (12-8-09)
They'd come to catch the crème of hip-hop's past (Run-DMC's Darryl McDaniels) and present (Lupe Fiasco) in person and watch footage of John Legend, Bruce Springsteen and Eddie Vedder performing protest songs.
The message: Change isn't a marketing term Barack Obama made up. America's victories of diversity and innovation came not from presidents or governments but from grassroots social movements: from the people.
That's long been the view of Howard Zinn, 87, professor emeritus in the Boston University Political Science Department, historian, writer, and civil-liberties and antiwar activist. Now his books A People's History of the United States and Voices of a People's History have been turned into the provocative TV special The People Speak, of which Penn students were seeing snippets at the Nov. 17 screening. (The show debuts Sunday at 8 p.m. on the History Channel.)
Zinn was executive producer along with Josh Brolin and Matt Damon. Those Hollywood names-above-the-title appear on-screen too, performing dramatic speeches that make up Voices. They're joined by other stars.
Viggo Mortensen reads from farmer Plough Jogger's words leading up to Shays' Rebellion of 1786. Morgan Freeman performs a letter from Frederick Douglass ("The Meaning of July 4th for the Negro," published July 5, 1852) as if he'd written it himself. In the film clips Fiasco and McDaniels read smart and weary words from sons of slaves and antiwar 1960s teens with furious potency...
SOURCE: The Chronicle of Higher Education (12-6-09)
It was during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and Mr. Livingston, a professor of philosophy at Emory University and raised in South Carolina, decided there should be more thoughtful discourse on the topic of secession.
A political philosopher who specializes in David Hume, he searched philosophy papers published since 1940 and turned up only seven on the matter of secession from federal unions: five reviews of a book and two articles about Quebec. Thinking he had the market to himself, he held a conference on secession at the 1991 meeting of the American Philosophical Association.
He was right about his share of the market. Nobody came.
Today Mr. Livingston is drawing slightly larger crowds. In 2003 he started the Abbeville Institute, named after the South Carolina birthplace of John C. Calhoun, seventh vice president of the United States and a forceful advocate of slavery and states' rights. The institute now has 64 associated scholars from various colleges and disciplines. They gather to discuss topics about the South that they feel are misrepresented in today's classrooms. Feeling a chilly reception to its ideas—officials of the Southern Poverty Law Center say its work borders on white supremacy—the group has kept a low profile. Mr. Livingston's own department chair, as well as a number of Emory history professors, say they have never heard of it.
That may change. Mr. Livingston says Abbeville is, for the first time, publicly advertising a conference, on secession and nullification—the refusal of states to recognize given federal laws within their territory—to be held February 4 to 7 in Charleston, S.C. It is the institute's eighth annual conference. The group does not endorse secession but does say the idea has moral and political validity...
... The other Abbeville scholars teach history, philosophy, economics, and literature at institutions including Emory, the University of South Carolina, the University of Georgia, and the University of Virginia. They write books with titles like Defending Dixie: Essays in Southern History and Culture (published by the Foundation for American Education, a nonprofit group "dedicated to the preservation of American culture and learning") and The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, his Agenda, and an Unnecessary War (Prima). They say the institute's work, although academic in nature, is really about values. Its members study the South in search of a history of piety, humility, and manners. The scholars acknowledge a history of bigotry and slavery, but they focus primarily on what they say are the positive aspects of Southern history and culture...
SOURCE: SF Chronicle (12-8-09)
One candidate: "Interesting Times."
"You know what the Chinese curse is? `May you live in interesting times,'" he says.
Interesting times: covering the war in Vietnam, from the first Americans killed, in 1959; traveling to China for President Richard M. Nixon's 1972 visit; Karnow's friendship with Corazon Aquino, who in the 1980s became president of the Philippines and an international heroine.
For now, he has settled on "Out of Asia" as a title, a tribute to a book he admires, Isak Dinesen's "Out of Africa," and a concise summary for the author of one of the defining texts on the Vietnam War, and a Pulitzer winner in 1990 for "In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines."
Karnow has not published a book since "Paris in the Fifties," a memoir that came out in 1997. The silence was unplanned. He tried writing a history of Asians in the United States, but decided that an Asian was more suited for the job. He attempted a book on Jewish humor, "a marvelous book," but never advanced beyond an outline.
He also had personal reasons. His wife, Annette, became ill with cancer and Karnow spent the last few years caring for her. Annette Karnow, an artist and diplomat, died in July.
So at age 84, Stanley Karnow, whose round, sad eyes brighten when he tells a favorite story, has been going through papers and writing on a computer in his cellar, a place he calls "Santa's Workshop."
"Working on the book is my therapy," he says.
SOURCE: The Gainesville Sun (12-8-09)
The controversy stretches from Gainesville to Palo Alto, Calif., where Stanford University history professor Robert Proctor has publicly identified and criticized historians who work for the tobacco industry. Proctor's discovery that UF graduate students in history were working for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. attorneys led him to e-mail objections to a UF professor, Betty Smocovitis.
Their e-mail exchange caused a legal dispute about whether Proctor tampered with witnesses. Last month, a Volusia County circuit court judge issued a harsh rebuke that said Proctor had intended to harass and humiliate the students to either resign or run the risk of being exposed in national publications...
... Over the past few decades, historians have been witnesses and consultants for tobacco companies. In recent years, Proctor has written about whether historians who lack expertise on the history of tobacco and its health effects should be doing such work.
Proctor is also one of a few historians who testified for plaintiffs suing the tobacco industry. He said the industry was now trying to silence him...
SOURCE: Huffington Post (12-3-09)
Lies My Teacher Told Me is the result of Loewen's research into the 12 most popular history textbooks used in American schools (circa 1996). He explores the common threads of what/who is given coverage, how much coverage is given, and in what lights that coverage is made. He also looks into what is conspicuously absent, what is biased, and, finally, what is flat out false. More than myth-busting, Loewen examines the far-reaching social consequences of the history of teaching practices, a history that he finds has served more as jingoistic propaganda than scholarly discourse. At its heart, this book (and the follow-up Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sights Get Wrong) is about why the way in which history is disseminated matters; and how society could benefit from a curriculum that is unafraid to look deeply into the dark side of Canada's past as opposed to the feel-good bits. (Both Lies My Teacher Told Me and Lies Across America as well as Loewen's Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism are required reading, especially for those in the US. Get your hands on them now or turn in your "progressive" card.)
Loewen demonstrates how the bland, celebratory versions of history found throughout the pages of various Canadian textbooks serve as a form of boosterism catering specifically to a white, middle- and upper-class audience. In essence, stories about white people written by and for white people. Page after page, Europeans are exalted for their great achievements while non-Europeans, if mentioned at all, are painted as people in need of European help. This feel-good bias doesn't feel right, however, and worse, it goes beyond the classroom, visible in pop culture and everyday discussions about historical events.
The film and television equivalent of this form of boosterism comes in the Hollywood archetype of the white savior -- a white, typically middle- or upper-class, usually male and almost exclusively heterosexual character through whom the life of a person of color (or persons of color) is dramatically improved. The basic formula goes like this: through the white protagonist's selfless deeds the helpless, downtrodden victim of circumstance is rescued from the cycle of poverty and violence, changing both their lives forever. One gains new opportunities that would otherwise never be afforded to them, while the other gains redemption and a well-deserved personal sense of piety. Most importantly, the white audience gets to feel good about themselves.
White Man's Burden: The Movie
One problem with white savior films is that they perpetuate the archaic paradigm of the white man's burden. They tell stories of white people going outside of their privilege to help people of color who ultimately can't or won't help themselves. Whether it's Uncle Sam bringing "civility, education and religion" to the Philippines or Clint Eastwood teaching his young Hmong neighbor how to be a "real man," it's the same old story being played out again and again. It's been colonialism's best justification since Manifest Destiny in real life, as well as the template plot for movies like To Kill a Mockingbird, Finding Forrester, Gran Torino, Freedom Writers, The Blind Side...
Another problem with stories focusing on white heroes is that the reality of people of color working hard to improve their communities goes largely ignored. Just like the selective telling of history in textbooks, the audiences of white savior films walk away with the message that it is only white people that are doing anything to change things for the better. While there are films telling the stories of some of these individuals striving to improve the lives of the underprivileged, they are a disproportionate exception. For every Lean On Me (1989) there are at least three or four Dangerous Minds, a film which also exemplifies yet another issue.
"Destroyers and usurpers, curse them."
The movie Dangerous Minds (1995), which purports to be based on a true story, stars Michelle Pfieffer as a LouAnne Johnson, a white English teacher who tries to help her inner-city high school students learn an appreciation for poetry through the lyrics of Bob Dylan. The "based on a true story" isn't entirely dishonest. There really was a woman named LouAnne Johnson who used musical lyricism to connect with her underfunded inner-city high school students; in fact, it was her book, My Posse Don't Do Homework (1993) that was the inspiration for the film. The betrayal in the movie adaptation is that the real LouAnne Johnson was Latina and used rap music.
The filmmakers had a profound opportunity to tell the story of a non-white person inspiring a group of inner-city Black and Latino students, who had been otherwise written off, to become engaged with their own destiny. Instead, they chose to usurp LouAnne Johnson, while the movie tirelessly extols the virtues of being white.
(And if that doesn't churn your stomach just a little bit, wait until next summer's release about the true story of the Black Panther's Free Breakfast for School Children Program, starring Tom Cruise. (I'm kidding))
What are students supposed to make of such history? What is an audience supposed to make of such movies? The constant message is that white people shape the world; non-white people are passive participants merely benefiting from those efforts. White people are the only ones with the faculty to improve anyone's situation; non-whites are unorganized, hapless people, doomed until saved by the good will of their white saviors. Moreover, the white protagonist is usually the only character to have any depth or character development, while non-white supporting characters are foils to the white protagonist, and largely without history. The million-dollar film budget question is, why are white people the only ones deserving of inspiration?
The fact that none of these movies even mention, much less try to really address, the issue of systemic racism, is an appalling failure. The tragedy of over-crowded and under-funded inner city classrooms is never explained. It's never explained why these under privileged people are under-privileged to begin with. The situation is presented without any nuance, save for the givenness of white privilege.
White savior movies, like their history text counterparts, are designed to reinforce and perpetuate white privilege. White audiences get to walk away from these films feeling good about being white, and they are never prompted to empathize with supporting non-white characters. Furthermore, white audience members are never confronted with their own privilege or internalized racism. They are let completely off the hook for their own roles and responsibilities in the perpetuation of a racist power structure.
Since more whites than non-whites are shown throughout our pop culture as the people effecting change, the lesson inferred is that these individual cases we see in movies and on TV are the rule, when they are really the exception. This leads to a false sense of racial justice in the minds of all audience members. Just as the election of Barack Obama led some white Americans to actually believe that the West was entering a "post-racial" state [*insert bellowing gut laugh here*], white savior films give white audience members the notion that they don't have to do anything about racism themselves because, look, there are plenty of examples of white people out there doing good!
Back to the history question, Loewen deftly points out that "the Eurocentric history in our textbooks amounts to psychotherapy for whites." To run with this simile, I would liken these white savior films to psychotherapy for whites with a bonus happy ending. But like the history behind them, there is much therapy needed to right the normalization of whiteness, which is plainly wrong.
SOURCE: Press Release (12-8-09)
Kathy holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in history, and has served history museums and associations. In addition to her passion for history, she is also a trained and seasoned nonprofit executive whose experience and talents will help us achieve the ambitious goals of the recently adopted Strategic Plan (look for more on the Strategic Plan to follow in a subsequent e-mail).
Kathy will be coming to us from her current position of Executive Director of the Real Estate Investment Securities Association and the TICA Foundation in Indianapolis. Previous experiences have been as Director of the American College of Sports Medicine Foundation and senior executive team leader for Advancement, Education and Meetings for the American College of Sports Medicine; Executive Director of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) and Associate Faculty in Philanthropic Studies at IUPUI; and Executive Director of Roller Skating Association International and the Roller Skating Foundation.
Kathy's start date will be March 1, 2010 so that she can become acclimated to the organization in advance of the 2010 OAH Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., April 7-10. (Reminder: Early preregistration is now available! Visit <http://meetings.oah.org/>.) Katha Kissman, our Interim Executive Director, will serve in a transition capacity through the Annual Meeting and thereafter as may be needed.
I speak for all of us on the Executive Board that we look forward to working with Kathy and are confident that under her and our Executive Editor, Ed Linenthal's co-leadership in combination with our dedicated staff, the OAH has a bright future ahead.
Elaine Tyler May
SOURCE: Press Release (12-7-09)
More details are at http://www.history.com/peoplespeak
ABOUT THE PEOPLE SPEAK
Using dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries and speeches of everyday Americans, the documentary feature film THE PEOPLE SPEAK gives voice to those who spoke up for social change throughout U.S. history, forging a nation from the bottom up with their insistence on equality and justice.
Narrated by acclaimed historian Howard Zinn and based on his best-selling books, A People's History of the United States and, with Anthony Arnove, Voices of a People's History, THE PEOPLE SPEAK illustrates the relevance of these passionate historical moments to our society today and reminds us never to take liberty for granted.
THE PEOPLE SPEAK is produced by Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Chris Moore, Anthony Arnove, and Howard Zinn, co-directed by Moore, Arnove and Zinn, and features dramatic and musical performances by Allison Moorer, Benjamin Bratt, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Chris Robinson, Christina Kirk, Danny Glover, Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, David Strathairn, Don Cheadle, Eddie Vedder, Harris Yulin, Jasmine Guy, John Legend, Josh Brolin, Kathleen Chalfant, Kerry Washington, Lupe Fiasco, Marisa Tomei, Martín Espada, Matt Damon, Michael Ealy, Mike O'Malley, Morgan Freeman, Q'orianka Kilcher, Reg E. Cathey, Rich Robinson, Rosario Dawson, Sandra Oh, Staceyann Chin, and Viggo Mortensen.
Buy the SOUNDTRACK, featuring new songs from THE PEOPLE SPEAK by Allison Moorer, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder, Exene Cervenka, Jackson Browne, John Doe, John Legend, Lupe Fiasco, P!nk, Randy Newman, Rich Robinson, and Taj Mahal.
A two-disc special DVD set of THE PEOPLE SPEAK will be out in January! More details soon at:
NEW AND UPDATED edition of a source book for THE PEOPLE SPEAK just released:
Voices of a People's History of the United States, by Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove
Sign up at http://www.thepeoplespeak.com
Join The People Speak on History on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter @vph and @HISTORY_Daily
SOURCE: The Washington Post (12-4-09)
Drawing on interviews with prominent black leaders -- including former Senator Carol Moseley Braun, Freedom marcher and Georgia Congressman John Lewis and Washington's own Eleanor Holmes Norton -- Griggs aims for an oral history in which "the black leaders' voices are not circumscribed by the analysis; instead, their voices shape the analysis."
But that nod to objectivity is half-hearted. Griggs takes a dim view of the hip-hop generation and basks in 1960s nostalgia instead of mulling over the controversial work of Cornel West or Todd Boyd, the self-styled "Notorious Ph.D.," who has argued that the civil rights movement is dead...
SOURCE: Times Argus (11-29-09)
"We don't know the full extent of the hanging in Vermont. We do know in Arlington, (Almera Hawley Canfield) was firmly opposed to slavery, and had her grandsons ring the bells in the Episcopal church all day long," said Civil War historian and preservationist Howard Coffin. "One of the grandsons (later) said he couldn't go into Arlington without hearing that long, long tolling."
And in Peacham, Coffin said, abolitionist Leonard Johnson rang the bell at the Congregationalist church as the execution took place...
... It's clear that Coffin also is a fan of Brown, who is a controversial figure because unlike pacifist abolitionists, he promoted armed insurrections that, in the case of a Kansas campaign in 1856, left five pro-slavery people dead. Brown was hanged after an ultimately failed attempt to seize a federal armory at Harpers Ferry, Va., (now West Virginia) that left seven dead.
"The day he's hanged, he leaves a note to his jailer saying he believes 'that the crimes of this guilty land will not be purged away but with blood.' He predicts the war," Coffin said. And historians generally believe the hanging of Brown prompted the South to begin setting up militias, inevitably leading to the U.S. Civil War...
... What Coffin only discovered six weeks ago, however, was that Brown made a visit to Cavendish in 1857, probably in hopes of securing some of the $20,000 the Vermont Legislature had approved to support anti-slavery settlements in Kansas. Although Vermont's governor at that time, Ryland Fletcher, was a devout abolitionist, he turned down Brown's request for some of the money at the Cavendish meeting.
Coffin tripped across a newspaper recounting of the visit in a microfilmed copy of the Rutland Herald from May 7, 1869.
The writer, who is not identified, described how Brown's physical appearance on that visit differed from the bearded photographs taken around the time of the Harpers Ferry raid...
SOURCE: NYT (12-7-09)
Maciej Kowalczyk said Monday that he found the file last month while going through old German archives in the western Polish city of Ostrow Wielkopolski. The area was formerly German, and Richthofen was briefly stationed there.
The entry is a one-page handwritten form in a 1918 registry book of deaths that Kowalczyk was using to research the deaths of troops in the war.
SOURCE: Redstone Rocket (12-1-09)
“Hard to believe that was 30 years ago,” Baker mused in his Sparkman Center Office. “Thirty years… Wow.”
The “job” was to work at the then Missile Command’s History Office as the command’s archivist. It was a job and an office that he would never leave.
Baker was born and raised in Americus, Ga. He completed his undergraduate work at the University of Georgia and his graduate work at Florida State. He was hired by Mary Cagle, the command historian, on Dec. 10, 1979.
“What few people today, if anyone, remembers about Mary Cagle is that she worked for the contractors that built (what was then) Huntsville Arsenal in 1941,” Baker said. “So I guess you could say that my office is the only office on Redstone Arsenal that has a direct connection to the establishment of Redstone Arsenal almost 70 years ago.”...
SOURCE: Balkan Insight (12-7-09)
The Serbian team is composed mostly of legal experts, but having a historian at the helm indicates that the Serbian side might be paying some attention to the deeper causes of the Serb-Albanian disputes and the conflict in Kosovo.
In his academic career, Batakovic has explored those same relationships from Medieval times to the present day, trying to explain the positions of both the Serb and Albanian side in his works...
SOURCE: WSJ (12-7-09)
To judge by Robert E. Sullivan's "Macaulay: The Tragedy of Power," one might well conclude that Macaulay was a hypocritical monster who smoothed the way for Nazi and Soviet genocide. The inescapable conclusion, after reading Mr. Sullivan, is that Macaulay, far from deserving his resting place in Westminster Abbey, ought to be disinterred and flung into a plague pit. With loathing dripping from almost every page, the book paints a portrait of Macaulay that is entirely removed from the generally rosy picture we currently have of him. But is it backed up by evidence?
"Thomas Babington Macaulay succeeded in crafting an intricate and winning public face that often belied him," Mr. Sullivan states early on. "He became a prominent spokesman for abolishing slavery in the British Empire who lacked any taste for the cause, a forceful theoretician and practitioner of reforming Whig politics who was a Machiavellian realist, a soaring parliamentary orator who avoided debate, a self-declared Christian who was a committed skeptic and a masterly secularizer of English history and culture, and a stern public moralist in love with his two youngest sisters." A complete fraud, in other words, and incestuous to boot!
This is quite the gravest series of accusations—especially the last one—ever made against a Victorian public figure, and I must admit to reading on avidly to discover Mr. Sullivan's support for so severe an assault. I prepared myself for a series of titillating revelations—maybe from a cache of freshly uncovered secret diaries?—about one of 19th-century England's more respected public figures. No such luck...
SOURCE: Charlotte Conservative News (12-6-09)
On Sunday, November 22, Kearns was the star at a “Women at Work” event for Steve Pagliuca, the co-owner of the Boston Celtics who is third in the polls. “Steve Pagliuca woos female support,” declared the headline in the next day’s Boston Herald, “Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin backs ‘pro-choice’ candidate.”
Goodwin’s Web page touts NBC’s affinity for her observations: “Presidential historian and political news analyst, appearing frequently on NBC, MSNBC, The Charlie Rose Show and Meet the Press.”
The invitation for the event held at the Hard Rock Cafe featured a picture of Goodwin and promised remarks from her on “Eleanor Roosevelt and working women of the last hundred years.”
SOURCE: The Buffalo News (12-6-09)
At age 47, Wachadlo is considered an expert on Buffalo's stock of old buildings — compiling neighborhood surveys, researching historic districts, drafting National Register nominations. With an advanced degree in architecture, Wachadlo is a preservationist at heart — but he's also a realist.
PeopleTalk: To what lengths would you go to save a building?
Martin Wachadlo: Would I do anything radical like chain myself to the bulldozer? No, because there is so much treasure here that I think it is important to try and save as much as we can, especially really important buildings like the Guaranty or the Delaware Avenue Baptist Church, but you can't save everything. We're not the city we were. We were the eighth largest and now we're heading for 50.
PT: What new-build in town catches your eye?
MW: The Erie County Public Safety Building [just north of ECC campus on Elm Street downtown] is an interesting design. It's got the dramatic outward sloping entry pavilion. The handling of materials was well-done, but there just is not a lot of good new design going on in Buffalo.
PT: Tell me about a hidden treasure.
MW: Delaware Avenue Baptist Church is probably the most unknown space in the city. The church was completed in 1895. The interior is spectacular, an almost unaltered composition by J&R Lamb, who were the chief competitors of the Tiffany Company in the decoration of churches 100 years ago. Because J&R Lamb did not make jewelry and lamps, you haven't heard about them...
SOURCE: C-Span (10-8-09)
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SOURCE: New Zealand Herald (12-6-09)
Dame Judith Binney is in Auckland City Hospital with serious head injuries after being hit on Friday night. The truck stopped after hitting her in heavy rain.
Prime Minister John Key and culture minister Chris Finlayson were told of the accident only hours after it happened.
Binney is celebrated for her historical writing on New Zealand communities, and has a strong bond with Tuhoe. Her latest book Encircled Lands: Te Urewera, 1820-1921 was launched last Monday at Ruatoki Marae. It tells of the first 100 years of Tuhoe following European contact.