Chances Are the FBI Has Files on Your Favorite Human Rights Activist

By: Friday November 21, 2014 4:25 pm

Yale University American historian Beverly Gage was sifting through the US National Archives in the summer of 2014, doing research for a book on J. Edgar Hoover, when she came across a letter historians had been searching for for many a decade. Written from the perspective of an imaginary yet disappointed admirer of Martin Luther King, Jr., the missive encouraged the leading civil rights, anti-war, and socialist activist to kill himself.

“There is only one thing left for you to do,” the anonymous author warned, “before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation.” “You know what it is.”

 

The Erasure of ‘Gay’ From Black History & the Black Community Must Stop

By: Sunday October 19, 2014 6:49 pm

As a gay African-American, I’ve heard the argument about how “you can’t compare the gay civil rights movement to the African-American civil rights movement” more times than I care to count.

The constant so-called moral outrage of some African-American heterosexuals when the topic is mentioned has gotten me to the point where my mind automatically tunes out the monotonous drones of how supposed sinful homosexuals are “high jacking” the civil rights movement or how gays “can’t compare their sin with black skin.”

As such, I almost missed the epiphany which occurred over two weeks ago.

Posse Comitatus and the Fourth Amendment

By: Tuesday September 30, 2014 7:35 am

Back in pre-Constitution America, the British army would burst into the homes and businesses of American colonists.
The searches would often be destructive, and intended so. Some of the time the point was to seize incriminating “revolutionary” materials, many times the point was simply to harass and threaten people the Crown feared and wanted to send a message to. It was in direct response to such invasions of freedom that the Founders wrote in the Fourth Amendment “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…”

Late Night: Public Schools in New Orleans 1958-1959

By: Wednesday August 27, 2014 8:00 pm

New Orleans 1958

Cultural experiences abound in this land of ours, but none can surpass living in New Orleans for just one year. The mockingbirds singing in the magnolias were left behind in Atlanta, along with red dirt and Stone Mountain. Ray went ahead of the six of us to begin his year of duty in the New Orleans Public Health Service Hospital. He got established and rented a house before the kids and I loaded the car and followed to what we found to be a strange locale.

Monsters at the End of a War

By: Sunday August 17, 2014 4:00 pm

August 15 was the end of World War II in Asia, 69 years ago, following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I could not find a single reference to the bombings, or to the end of the war itself, anywhere in the American media. Even the Yazidis in Iraq, a big story a week ago, had yielded to the death of Robin Williams, who gave up his place at the top of the news to the shooting of a young African-American man in Missouri. There may be something else dominating the national agenda by the time you read this.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Rick Perlstein, The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan

By: Sunday August 17, 2014 1:59 pm

It’s an honor to moderate today’s discussion of Rick Perlstein’s new book, The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan. For American history buffs and scholars alike, Rick’s work needs little introduction. He’s the acclaimed author of three major works on the rise of conservatism in the postwar United States (Before the Storm, Nixonland, and now The Invisible Bridge), whose journalism, criticism and writings on history have appeared in The Nation, Rolling Stone and countless other publications.

Not just do his books hit the best-seller lists and make the end-of-year best-book roundups, they have become part of the canon, required reading for aspiring American political historians—appearing on the syllabi for graduate seminars, a necessary part of the rite-of-passage hazing ritual for graduate students known as the comprehensive exam, and thus filtering down into the undergraduate lecture courses that introduce the college students of this country to twentieth-century American history.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Ilan Stavans, A Most Imperfect Union: A Contrarian History of the United States

By: Saturday August 16, 2014 1:58 pm

This book uses cartoons and narrative to make the points on some of the things we absolutely know about US history that did not happen the way our myths lead us to believe. We follow the narrative of Stavans from the earliest colonial times, through the founding of the United States, the Civil War, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War through to the “War on Terror.” (This is not an inclusive list by any stretch.)

If Iraq Were in Central America

By: Wednesday July 16, 2014 4:15 pm

Just as in discussions of bombing nations for women’s rights it’s hard to bring up the subject of the right not to be bombed, in discussions of shipping so-called illegal children away from the border where you’ve been terrorizing them in reenactments of Freedom Ride buses it’s hard to bring up the subject of not having your government overthrown and your nation turned into a living hell.

FDL Movie Night: The American Brew

By: Monday July 7, 2014 4:59 pm

Beer! This miraculous beverage is actually more American than apple pie, and its history is linked inextricably with our country’s. Tonight’s guest, director Roger Sherman, a founder of Florentine Films with Ken Burns, brings us The American Brew a fine crafted, bubbly film with depth and flavor that explores our nation’s relationship with beer.

Court: No Matter How Long Ago It Happened, CIA Can Keep Final Volume of Bay of Pigs History Secret

By: Tuesday May 20, 2014 5:45 pm

A federal appeals court has ruled against the release of the final volume of CIA history of the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba. It decided the agency could keep it secret under an exemption in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that is supposed to protect inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters from being subject to release.

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