Category Archives: History

Teaching Civil Rights

In March 2014, The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) released a report describing civil rights education in the United States as “woefully inadequate.” According to the SPLC: In this new report, 20 states received grades of ‘F.’ These include five states – Alaska, Iowa, Maine, Oregon and Wyoming – that neither cover the movement in their […]

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2013 World Series – A Spectacle of the Unprecedented

Fans of both 2013 World Series teams — the Red Sox and the Cardinals — bristled during the games at back-to-back, pivotal unprecedented World Series plays on consecutive nights. These plays left the fans — and veteran sportscasters — bewildered by their rarity, that combined with their influence — made for riveting and dramatic baseball. […]

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We are marching by the content of our character, not by the color of our skin

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Martin Luther King Because they marched. We are marching. President Barack Obama’s commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington expressed the Civil Rights Movement’s globally-endearing sentiment: its rallying cry is inclusion, freedom, and justice for all of humanity; the mission transcends national boundaries and […]

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Trains and the Labor Movement – Part One

In “The Home Run That Tours America,” Jack spends much of the book unraveling the mystery of the monument in his hometown that reads “People Get Ready.” When he eventually learns its meaning from Clark, a black reverend in his community, Jack thinks he and Clark are from two separate, different worlds with different attitudes–despite […]

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People Get Ready – to Travel – Part One

Central to “The Home Run That Tours America,” is the idea of travel and its effect on the imagination. Set in 1975, Jack feels a sense of entitlement to the country. When his best friend hits a home run on a train in New Jersey bound for California, the entire country opens up to him […]

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American Political Evolution & Gender Studies

What developments in the last sixty years of American history invented modern American presidents like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama? How have cultural and popular opinions shifted so that leaders like Clinton and Obama can so effectively organize, woo, harness, and mobilize popular opinion and sentiment while winning the “hearts and minds” of Americans and […]

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Political Relationships – Kennedy & Sorenson

One of the most interesting relationships in political history is between John F. Kennedy and his friend and speechwriter Ted Sorenson. Their relationship is a model of the type of self-sacrifice and blurred identity that comprises many successful legendary political teams. Ted is rumored to be the real author of Kennedy’s Pulitzer Prize winning “Profiles […]

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Ready? Music & Diversity Sensitivity

Mortgage lending influences segregation as described in Ken Burns’ documentary “New York.” Scholars are now exploring this in light of the recent mortgage credit boom, but this practice has a long legacy. My small town where I grew up in the 1980′s was segregated, but music was a way we could bypass this legacy of […]

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Nation Building Train

In “The Home Run That Tours America” transportation is both a literal and metaphorical concept. An imagined cross country train ride in 1975 inspires a reflection on the role of transportation in American history. By the book’s conclusion, the concept transcends its literal terms to explain how an aging neglected infrastructure — as Thomas Friedman […]

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How could a home run travel for 40 years?

In 1975 Joe Seaver hit the longest home run in the history of baseball. He was only ten years old. His home run still travels today, almost 40 years later. Like Hall of Famer Ted Williams, Joe hit a home run that landed on a freight train. Ted Williams’ home run train traveled 126 miles […]

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