Posts Tagged ‘history’

Mesmerism

July 8, 2021

“Franz Anton Mesmer, a charismatic physician from Vienna, Austria, began ‘healing’ people in Paris using an alternative therapeutic practice he called ‘animal magnetism’ …..

“Mesmer claimed an invisible magnetic fluid was the life force that connected all things, and that he had the power to regulate it to restore health in his patients. He was a celebrity figure until Louis XVI, the last king of France, commissioned a group of leading scientists to investigate Mesmer’s methods in 1784.”

More:

“Mesmerising Science: The Franklin Commission and the Modern Clinical Trial,” Urte Laukaityte, Public Domain Review

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Global Warming Was Explained in 1856. By a Woman

July 5, 2021

Eunice Foote, a pioneer in the field of climate change, wrote about the heat-trapping effects of CO2 in 1856. She was ignored by history, perhaps because she also wrote about womens rights. A BBC video, animated by Peter Caires.

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American Venus: The Tragedy of America’s First Supermodel

July 1, 2021

Audrey Munson (1891 – 1996), the “American Venus,” an artist’s model and film actress, was the model or inspiration for scores of statues in New York City and across the country. She appeared, nude, in the 1915 film Inspiration (re-issued in 1918 as The Perfect Model), the 1916 film Purity, and also in Heedless Moths (1921). Her long life didn’t end as glamously. After a series of scandals, she attempted suicide in 1922, and spent 65 years in an asylum before her death at age 104. Even though her likeness appears on sculptures and images across America, her grave was unmarked until 2016.

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Mao’s Big Swim

June 22, 2021

After announcing his Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in 1966, Mao Zedong swam across the Yangtze River. Mao had done that 10 years earlier, to prove his vitality, and he hoped it would work again. A Vox video.

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Juneteenth

June 18, 2021
Juneteenth

(General Orders. Department of Texas June 19, 1865)

On June 19, 1865 Union general Gordon Granger sailed into Galveston and issued General Order Number 3, which began: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” This ended the legal institution of chattel slavery in the former Confederate States, two years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, 10 weeks after Appomattox.

Contrary to popular belief, Juneteenth didn’t end slavery in the United States. It still existed in northern border states which hadn’t seceded from the Union like Kentucky, New Jersey, and Delaware, until January 1, 1866, six months after the first Juneteenth, when the 13th Amendment became effective. Slavery among the tribes of Indian Territory (today’s Oklahoma) did not effectually end until August 1966.

More:

“Juneteenth: Our Other Independence Day,” Kenneth C. Davis, Smithsonian.com

“Juneteenth,” Teresa Palomo Acosta, Handbook of Texas Online

“Juneteenth,” Stephanie Hall, Folklife Today

“What Is Juneteenth?” Henry Louis Gates, Jr., PBS

“Juneteenth,” Teresa Palomo Acosta, Handbook of Texas History

“The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth,” NMAAHC

Related:

“Freedmen’s Bureau,” Cecil Harper, Jr., Handbook of Texas History

Updates:

“Juneteenth holiday marking the end of slavery becomes law after decades of inaction,” Seung Min Kim, Washington Post

“How the US Military Helped Create the Juneteenth Holiday,” Blake Stilwell, Military.com

“When Did Slavery Really End in the United States?” J. Gordon Hylton, Marquette University Law School Faculty Blog

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Baseball: Negro League Stars

June 14, 2021

Between 1920 and 1948, when baseball’s Major Leagues were segregated, some 3,400 players competed in the Negro Leagues. Neil Paine introduces some Negro League stars who should be household names.

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Biden Uproots Trump’s ‘Garden of Heroes’

May 18, 2021

Biden Uproots Trump's 'Garden of Heroes'

Disgraced ex-president Donald Trump once told the Times of London he had no heroes, but, nevertheless, he ordered erection of a National Garden of American Heroes before his Mar-a-Logo exile.

Nevermind that he had no location or budget. He wanted to honor the men and women who made America great, people like Daniel Boone, Kobe Bryant, William F. Buckley, Jr., Johnny Cash, Whittaker Chambers, Buffalo Bill Cody, Davy Crockett, Walt Disney, Milton Friedman, Lou Gehrig, Dr. Seuss, Barry Goldwater, Billy Graham, Charlton Heston, Bob Hope, Sam Houston, Whitney Houston, Steve Jobs, Vince Lombardi, Annie Oakley, Elvis Presley, Ronald Reagan, Babe Ruth, Antonin Scalia, Fulton Sheen, Shirley Temple, Alex Trebek, John Wayne, and Cy Young.

Historians think that’s a bad idea. So does current president Joe Biden, who rescinded the Dead Celebrity Garden order.

More:

“Biden kills Trump’s sculpture garden of ‘American heroes,’” Nick Niedzwiadek, Politico

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Image (alternate “Heroes Garden” concept) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Napoleon’s Hand

May 14, 2021

Why is Napoleon Bonaparte‘s hand always inside his shirt? Coleman Lowndes explains. A Vox video.

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

April 16, 2021

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, traditionally 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

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

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A History of Policing in America

April 15, 2021

 A quick overview of the history of policing in America through the lens of race, by Khalil Gibran Muhammad. A clip from an NPR podcast.

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