Like most teenagers growing up in Alabama during the late nineties, my first encounter with the 1925 John Scopes Trial came on the first day of my ninth grade biology class. Inside the front cover of the textbook a message from the Alabama State Board of Education stated: “This textbook discusses evolution, a controversial theory some scientists present as a scientific explanation for the origin of living things, such as plants, animals, and humans.”
The 1792 poem “Verses to Abigail Smith,” was preserved by Abigail’s brother, Elihu Hubbard Smith, who transcribed the poem into his diary and chronicled the strong friendship that existed between Sarah Pierce, the author and future founder of the Litchfield Female Academy, and his sisters Abigail and Mary.
Fifty years ago, in the spring and summer of 1961, a brave group of activists dared to commit one of the most dangerous acts imaginable at the time: they blatantly obeyed the laws of the United States.
Rick Perlstein traces the antecedents of contemporary American politics to the period 1965-1972, presenting Richard Nixon as a central figure in creating a foundation for today’s bitter partisanship.
Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian immigrant turned US citizen, owned a home repair and painting business with his wife, Kathy, in New Orleans in 2005. When Hurricane Katrina hit the city on August 29 of that year, Kathy and their three children fled the city for Baton Rouge.
As one of the students in my U.S. women’s history class put it, “Women are just like men; except that they are different.” For all that men and women have had in common these many millenia, women’s experience has often been different.
James Mann provides a lively and comprehensive study of the advisers who would guide George W. Bush as he sought to make the world safer for U.S. Mann argues that Bush’s inexperience led him to rely on—as well as greatly empower—a cohort including some of the most experienced and respected members of the conservative foreign policy making community.
Michele Mitchell’s Righteous Propagation is a fascinating study of the tactics African Americans used to bolster racial uplift after Reconstruction. Mitchell presents the book as a social history, revealing moments when African Americans shared ideas on ways to advance the race during the Progressive Era at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries.
The HBO series Boardwalk Empire may currently be winning laurels for its workmanlike depiction of Prohibition-era gangsters and corrupt politicos, but viewers interested in a more fully-realized work about the Golden Age of American organized crime would be wise to turn to the Coen Brother’s 1990 masterpiece Miller’s Crossing.