Posts Tagged ‘history’

DC Emancipation Day, 1862: It Was Slaveowners Who Got Reparations.

April 16, 2019

DC Emancipation Day, 1862: It Was Slaveowners Who Got Reparations.

On April 16, 1862, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signed an act freeing the 3000 enslaved people in the District of Columbia. This was nine months before he signed the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves in the Confederate states, many of whom actually remained in bondage until the the war’s end in 1865, and 20 months before ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, which definitively outlawed slavery everywhere in the United States.

Understandably, April 16th is a holiday in the District of Columbia, District Emancipation Day, celebrated with speeches, concerts, fireworks and parades. There’s a bit of rain on that parade, though, if you take a closer look at history. That 1862 act was called the Compensated Emancipation Act, and it authorized payments to DC slaveowners rather than liberation of enslaved people on moral grounds. It even sought to promote emigration of former slaves outside the borders of the United States.

In any case, black Washingtonians had their freedom. That’s definitely worth celebrating.

More:

“When Slaveowners Got Reparations,” Tera W. Hunter, New York Times

Related:

“Georgetown students vote in favor of reparations for enslaved people,” Susan Svrluga, Washington Post

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Despite Bone Spurs, Trump to Attend D-Day Anniversary

April 15, 2019
Despite Bone Spurs, Trump to Attend D-Day Anniversary

High School Cadet Capt. Trump. Thank you for your service.

President Donald J. Trump will attend the 75th anniversary commemoration of the WWII D-Day landings, the President told a group of veterans last week. You may recall that Mr. Trump has a service-connected disability. He was gravely wounded as soon as he became eligible for the Vietnam draft lottery, and was treated (on paper) at a Queens NY storefront a podiatrist rented from Fred Trump, his dad. We expect the President to storm Normandy’s Omaha Beach in an amphibious golf cart (weather permitting). France, a grateful nation, says “S’il vous plaît remplacer les divots” (“Please replace the divots”).

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Top image: Cadet Capt. Trump’s high school picture. Download a copy here.

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De humani corporis fabrica

March 26, 2019

De humani corporis fabrica

in 1543, long before Gray’s Anatomy, Our Bodies Ourselves, or Dr. Oz, Andreas Vesalius had a best-selling medical book, De humani corporis fabrica (“Fabric of the Human Body”). While Amazon has the facsimile, Atlas Obscura visited the New York Academy of Medicine to look at an original edition:

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The Web Is Ancient

March 13, 2019

The Web Is Ancient

The World Wide Web is 30 years old this week. That’s three millennia in computer years.

On March 12, 1989, Sir Tim Berners-Lee designed the Web, and he published the first website two years later.  Sir Tim unleashed the first public World Wide Web server on August 6, 1991. It was a NeXT cube on his desk at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.

CERN went on to produce the Large Hadron Collider. The Web produces memes.

More:

“The World Wide Web Turns 30. Where Does It Go From Here?” Tim Berners-Lee, Wired

“The World Wide Web is 30 years old — and its inventor has a warning for us,” Farnoush Amiri, NBC News

“The World Wide Web Turns 30: Our Favorite Memories From A to Z,” The Verge

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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George Washington & Black History Month

February 22, 2019

George Washington & Black History Month
February 22nd, George Washington’s Birthday falls during Black History Month, bitterly appropriate, as the Father of His Country owned as many as 317 slaves. As president, he signed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, requiring authorities in free states and territories to allow slave-catchers to seize escaped slaves and transport them South. However, Ona Judge, a maid to Martha Washington, fled the president’s household and resisted his recovery attempts.

In 1780 the Washingtons were living in Philadelphia, then the seat of government, when Pennsylvania passed a law that freed enslaved people if they lived there for more than six months. The Washingtons gamed the system, moving their household slaves out of Pennsylvania for one or two days every six months so they legally could remain in bondage. The household was preparing to return to Virginia in 1796 when members of Philadelphia’s free Black community helped Ona Judge arrange ship passage to Portsmouth, NH, where she settled.

George Washington’s steward soon advertised for recovery of the “absconded” Ona Judge in the Philadelphia Gazette:

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Migrant Mother

February 21, 2019

An exhibition of Dorothea Lange’s photographs, The Politics of Seeing is currently on display at the Jeu de Paume museum in Paris. Her most well-known photograph is her 1936 portrait of Florence Owens Thompson, popularly known as “Migrant Mother.”

A video from the WorldCrunch OneShot photography series.

More:

“The Assignment I’ll Never Forget: Migrant Mother,” Dorothea, Lange, Popular Photography (1960).

“Unraveling the Mysteries of Dorothea Lange’s ‘Migrant Mother,’” James Estrin, New York Times

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Happy Birthday Charlie Darwin

February 12, 2019

Happy Birthday Charlie Darwin

 

Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809. His birthday has, um, evolved into a worldwide celebration of science and rational thought, Darwin Day.

More:

“For Darwin Day, 6 facts about the evolution debate,” David Masci, PewResearch.org

“Rewriting Nature: Charles Darwin, natural novelist.” Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

The complete works and manuscripts of Charles Darwin are available online, free.

Best Darwin Day graphic.

Bonus: Darwin, the comic book.

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Dr. King on the Roots of Economic Inequality

January 21, 2019

Dr. King on the Roots of Economic Inequality

Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) planned a Poor People’s Campaign for May 1968 to demand jobs, unemployment insurance, a fair minimum wage, affordable housing, and education for poor adults and children, an Economic Bill of Rights. The effort was to involve poor people of all races from all parts of the country, urban and rural, but the historical roots of racial economic disparity could not be ignored:

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The 8th of January

January 8, 2019

On December 23, 1814, American forces began a week-long defense of the city of New Orleans from British attackers. Neither force knew that a treaty ending the war was signed on December 24th, so the battle continued. U.S. forces under Major General Andrew Jackson were finally victorious on January 8, 1815. Frontier Americans commemorated the feat with a fiddle tune, “The 8th of January,” which entered tradition. In 1936, Arkansas schoolteacher and folksong buff James Morris (later Jimmy Driftwood) wrote a song about the battle to go with that fiddle tune, and Country-Western star Johnny Horton recorded it in 1959. If Americans know anything about the battle, it’s probably that song.

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Who Invented the iPhone?

December 4, 2018

Who Invented the iPhone?

Steve Jobs invented the iPhone in 2007, right?

Well … it’s complicated. Eric Arthur Johnson invented the touchscreen in the 1960s.  Stanley Whittingham invented the lithium battery in the 1970s. And a whole bunch of people gave us the Internet.

But surely Steve Jobs saw all this stuff and went “Eureka!”

Nope.

“When Apple engineer Andy Grignon first added internet functionality to an iPod in 2004, Steve Jobs was far from enthusiastic: ‘This is bullshit. I don’t want this. I know it works, I got it, great, thanks, but this is a shitty experience.’”

— “Who Invented the iPhone?” Matthew Hayes, Scientific American

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Image (“Portrait of a Young Girl With an iPhone, after Agnolo Bronzino”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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