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  • Originally published 05/31/2013

    Tony Horwitz: The Mammy DC Almost Had

    Tony Horwitz is a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist who has written for The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker. His books include Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War and Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War.If I say the word "Mammy," you're likely to conjure up the character from Gone With the Wind. Or, you may think of Aunt Jemima, in her trademark kerchief, beaming from boxes of pancake mix.What you probably won't picture is a massive slave woman, hewn from stone, cradling a white child atop a plinth in the nation's capital. Yet in 1923, the U.S. Senate authorized such a statue, "in memory of the faithful slave mammies of the South."As a Southern Congressman stated in support of the monument: "The traveler, as he passes by, will recall that epoch of southern civilization" when "fidelity and loyalty" prevailed. "No class of any race of people held in bondage could be found anywhere who lived more free from care or distress."

  • Originally published 05/07/2013

    Birkbeck tributes to "jazzy, snazzy, complete historian" Hobsbawm

    A celebration of the life and influence of legendary historian Eric Hobsbawm, who died last October at the age of 95, brought out family, friends and fellow scholars in force at Birkbeck, University of London this week.In a speech of welcome, David Latchman, master of Birkbeck – which Professor Hobsbawm joined as a lecturer in 1947 and where he served as president from 2002 until his death – said he was someone who had “clearly made a difference to people’s lives”.At graduation ceremonies, Professor Latchman recalled of Professor Hobsbawm, “the production line would be slowed down by people saying: ‘You influenced me! You are the reason I am here! You are the reason why I graduated!’ A proportion of them would be so excited at meeting their hero that they walked off the stage without remembering to shake hands with me.”...

  • Originally published 03/20/2013

    Maryland Breaks Ground on Tubman State Park;Governor Names Salazar Admiral

    Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and nearly 400 gathered in Dorchester County on Saturday March, 9 to break ground on the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park.  The new park, just south of Cambridge, will be the trail head for the Harriet Tubman Byway and will include a 15,000-square foot Visitor Center, exhibit hall and theater, memorial garden, trails and a picnic pavilion.Commemoration — marking the 100th anniversary of the freedom fighter’s death — also featured the official ribbon cutting for the Byway....

  • Originally published 02/27/2013

    Rosa Parks statue unveiled in U.S. Capitol

    More than half a century after she refused to give up her seat on an Alabama city bus, Rosa Parks has an immovable place in the U.S. Capitol — the first black woman to be honored with a statue there.President Barack Obama and congressional leaders from both parties said at an unveiling Wednesday that the depiction was fitting: Parks is shown seated, hands clasped in front of her, eyes fixed forward.“Rosa Parks’ singular act of disobedience launched a movement,” Obama said. “The tired feet of those who walked the dusty roads of Montgomery helped a nation see that to which it had once been blind.”...

  • Originally published 02/27/2013

    Lincoln statue at Gettysburg set for April installation

    The long-awaited Abraham Lincoln statue will finally be installed in Gettysburg in April. Rob Lesher, executive drector of the Adams County Library System, announced Tuesday that plans are now firmly in place for the statue's installation. "It will be a very attractive gift to the borough and should be a compelling driver for tourists to visit downtown," Lesher said at a Gettysburg Public Works Committee meeting. The 7-foot-6-inch-tall statue will be placed on the steps of the library on Baltimore Street, but it won't be the only Lincoln statue in downtown Gettysburg. Another statue two blocks away on Lincoln Square also depicts the 16th president, holding his hat and gesturing toward the Wills House where he put the finishing touches on the Gettysburg Address....

  • Originally published 02/07/2013

    In Memphis, discord over renaming parks and dropping their associations to past Confederacy

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The legacy of onetime Confederate fighter and slave trader Nathan Bedford Forrest has sparked new discord in Memphis amid moves to rename parks whose very names recall the Old South.Fresh division arose before the Memphis City Council voted recently to rename Nathan Bedford Forrest Park in Memphis, where a statue of Forrest stands and the general is buried. The council also voted to rename two other parks whose names evoke the Confederate Civil War heritage.The fight over Forrest highlights a broader debate over what Confederate figures should represent in the 21st century. Other U.S. cities also have wrestled with the issue of naming parks and buildings after Confederate figures....

  • Originally published 01/31/2013

    Tensions linger in U.S. over ‘comfort women’ memorials

    HACKENSACK, N.J. — Four years ago, noticing plaques at the county courthouse commemorating slavery, the Holocaust and other atrocities, Korean-American community leader Chejin Park struck upon the idea of adding a tribute to the “comfort women” of World War II.To his surprise, the seemingly small, local gesture — to honor the more than 200,000 mostly Korean and Chinese women forced to provide sex for Japanese soldiers — would make a tiny northern New Jersey town a flashpoint in an international controversy.Local officials would rebuff a request by Japanese officials to take down the first plaque put up just over two years ago in the town of Palisades Park, a square-mile borough outside New York where a majority of residents are of Korean descent....

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