Monuments, Statues and a National Reckoning on Racial Injustice

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6aQZPK9Bso PBS Newshour: "The debate over physical symbols of the Confederacy has evolved into a broader one about U.S. history. Judy Woodruff talks to Peniel Joseph, professor at the University of Texas at Austin, W. Fitzhugh Brundage, professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Arielle Hudson, one of six students who … Continue reading Monuments, Statues and a National Reckoning on Racial Injustice

Historian John Hope Franklin on the Dire Consequences of Not Learning America’s Racial History

I was privileged to conduct a video interview in 2007 with renowned African American historian John Hope Franklin at the Duke University Center named for him in Durham, NC, just two years before he died at age 94. He was first known for a ground-breaking history of African Americans, From Slavery to Freedom, first published … Continue reading Historian John Hope Franklin on the Dire Consequences of Not Learning America’s Racial History

Race: the Power of An Illusion, Especially in Housing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHlKwWp50IM "If race doesn't exist biologically, what is it? And why should it matter?" asks "The House We Live In," an episode in the PBS film series on race in America, "The Power of an Illusion." It focuses "not on individual attitudes and behavior but on the ways our institutions and policies advantage some groups … Continue reading Race: the Power of An Illusion, Especially in Housing

Moments When Time Stands Still and History Changes Dramatically: Just Before Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg, 1863

For students of history of almost every generation, there are moments when time stands still, to be relived over and over: what if the central characters had acted differently? What if Gavrilo Princip did not successfully murder Archduke Franz Ferdinand and set off WWI? What if it was raining (as predicted) and the roof went up on … Continue reading Moments When Time Stands Still and History Changes Dramatically: Just Before Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg, 1863

Does African History Disprove Jared Diamond’s Theory That Guns, Germs and Steel Explain Western Dominance?

Cynical Historian: "There’s a question in the history profession that if sufficiently answered could not only reshape how we conceive ourselves, but reveal the best course of action for politics around the world. What makes the West strong? While there are many answers, the most popular of these has been Jared Diamond’s "Guns Germs and … Continue reading Does African History Disprove Jared Diamond’s Theory That Guns, Germs and Steel Explain Western Dominance?

‘People Make Choices. Choices Make History’

History is, first of all, about choices -- good choices and bad choices -- and the consequences of those choices. Many times, these choices did not even seem like choices at the time, because people tend to operate on "automatic pilot." They simplistically embrace the profit motive. They act the way their culture or environment … Continue reading ‘People Make Choices. Choices Make History’

Warm-Up Quotes On History to Reflect Upon

Pick some of these quotes on history and write personal reflections on what they mean to you:  "We are not makers of history. We are made by history." -- Martin Luther King Jr. "A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history." -- Mahatma … Continue reading Warm-Up Quotes On History to Reflect Upon

Historian Timothy Snyder, ‘On Tyranny’: Two Years After His Book Was Published, The Threat Is Greater

In response to ominous events in Ukraine, Russia, Britain, Eastern Europe and the United States, Yale University Historian Timothy Snyder published On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the 20th Century, in early 2017. He is now speaking out that the world is in even greater risk of losing its democracies and embracing authoritarian if not tyrannical … Continue reading Historian Timothy Snyder, ‘On Tyranny’: Two Years After His Book Was Published, The Threat Is Greater

Historian Zara Steiner’s Succinct Characterization of 1920s, 1930s

The period leading up to World War II was a time of “few heroes, two evil Titans and an assortment of villains and knaves.” Adolph Hitler was "“an opportunist who knew where he was going.” Josef Stalin was a cruel tyrant whose purges of more than one million Russians in the 1930s grew out of … Continue reading Historian Zara Steiner’s Succinct Characterization of 1920s, 1930s

‘Overlooked’: NYT Obit Series Compensates for Historic Gender and Racial Bias

Media stories, and prominent obituaries in publications like The New York Times, just as with traditional stories from history, have been dominated by white men. "Who gets remembered — and how — inherently involves judgment. To look back at the obituary archives can, therefore, be a stark lesson in how society valued various achievements and … Continue reading ‘Overlooked’: NYT Obit Series Compensates for Historic Gender and Racial Bias