It’s natural to think about the processes that produced the food in your daily sack lunch, but have you ever stopped to consider the manufacturing techniques behind the sack itself? The flat-bottomed brown paper bags we encounter constantly—in the lunch context, at grocery stores, in gift shops—are as unassuming as they are ubiquitous, but the story underlying them deserves recognition. At the center of it is a precocious young woman, born in Maine on the heels of the Industrial Revolution and raised in New Hampshire. Her name is Margaret Kni
Continue reading Meet the Female Inventor Behind Mass-Market Paper Bags
Regal would be the best way to describe the photograph of Mary Church Terrell. Delicately swathed in lace, satin and crystals, the charismatic civil rights activist is seen in profile. The front of her tasteful Gibson pompadour is dappled with light and her face is illuminated as if a single ray of sun had parted the clouds in the sky. It’s a highly flattering image of the D.C. activist and suffragist, and Terrell thought so herself. Continue reading For Turn-of-the-Century African-Americans, the Camera Was a Tool for Empowerment
During his 21 seasons as an outfielder, first with the Cincinnati Reds and later with the Baltimore Orioles among other teams, Major League Baseball hall of famer Frank Robinson accumulated some of the best stats in baseball history. He hit 586 career home runs, was named an All-Star 14 times and remains the only player to earn the Most Valuable Player award in both leagues, receiving the title in 1961 for his work with the Reds and in 1966 while playing for the Orioles, respectively.
Continue reading Smithsonian Curator Weighs in on Legacy of Frank Robinson, Barrier-Breaking Baseball Great
For years, Martin Luther King Jr. and poet Langston Hughes maintained a friendship, exchanging letters and favors and even traveling to Nigeria together in 1960. Continue reading In His Speeches, MLK Carefully Evoked the Poetry of Langston Hughes
In September 1950, Oliver Brown walked his young daughter to her neighborhood school in Topeka, Kansas. When he tried to enroll her in the all-white Sumner School, however, she was denied a spot because she was black. The rejection set in motion one of the most famous court cases in United States History, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. The 1954 Supreme Court decision that followed struck down the half-century old “separate-but-equal” standard, ushering in an era of school de-segregation. On Sunday, Linda Brown, the little girl at the center of that monumental ruling, died in Topeka at the age of 75, Neil Genzlinger at The New York Times reports.
Continue reading Linda Brown, at the Center of Brown v. Board of Education, Has Died
Discussing difficult topics in a meaningful way with adolescents isn’t easy. But that’s the responsibility that comes with the job for history teachers. However, as Cory Turner at NPR reports, a new study from the Southern Poverty Law Center reveals that many classrooms are falling short in this regard, specifically when it comes to teaching about the United States’ history with slavery.
Continue reading Study Reveals Deep Shortcomings With How Schools Teach America’s History of Slavery
Dizzy Gillespie was one of the most influential and well-known jazz musicians of all-time. John Birks Gillespie, who passed away 25 years ago this month, he pioneered a number of jazz subgenres and became internationally famous for his legendary ability on the trumpet, his trademark “balloon cheeks,” and his playful stage presence.
Continue reading Dizzy Gillespie and His Bent Trumpet