Because I teach urban history, immigration history, and in particular New York history, I often have students inquire about the merits of Martin Scorsese’s 2002 film “Gangs of New York.”
Here are a few observations about the movie and about New York history. Continue reading
In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Terri Halperin, an instructor at the University of Richmond and author of The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798: Testing the Constitution (John Hopkins University Press, 2016), helps us explore the Alien and Sedition Acts and their origins. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/188
The New York State Library has a new exhibit, “A Nation of Immigrants,” which focuses on the past and present immigrants in the United States.
The centerpiece of the exhibit is a two-page spread from the July 2, 1887 issue of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, which appeared less than a year after the Statue of Liberty was dedicated. The caption reads, “New York — Welcome to the Land of Freedom — An Ocean Steamer Passing the Statue of Liberty: Scene on the Steerage Deck.” Continue reading
Once upon a time in the 19th and 20th centuries, there was a neighborhood in Lower Manhattan called Little Syria. The area was defined as west of Broadway to the Hudson River and from the Battery at the southern tip of Manhattan north to Liberty Street.
Beginning in the 1880s, a variety of people from the eastern Mediterranean and Middle East began settling there. By the 1920s the population consisted of about 8,000 people, including 27 ethnicities. Their tenements were located near the docks where the residents worked. Continue reading
Robert Chiles new book, The Revolution of ’28: Al Smith, American Progressivism, and the Coming of the New Deal (Cornell University Press, 2018) explores the career of New York Governor and 1928 Democratic presidential nominee Alfred E. Smith.
The Revolution of ’28 charts the rise of that idiomatic progressivism during Smith’s early years as a state legislator through his time as governor of the Empire State in the 1920s, before proceeding to a revisionist narrative of the 1928 presidential campaign, exploring the ways in which Smith’s gubernatorial progressivism was presented to a national audience.
Funds from New York State will reopened the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island today, in the wake of the U.S. government shutdown that closed the two iconic federally operated historic sites on Friday.
The two sites have played important parts in America’s immigration history and have a significant impact on the New York State economy. According to an annual report by the National Park Service, 4.5 million people visited Liberty Island in 2016, generating $263.2 million in visitor spending per year and supporting 3,400 jobs, with an economic output of $364 million. Continue reading
Spending so much time conducting research in old books and newspapers, I’m often left shaking my head when today’s news headlines call to mind a favorite saying: “Those who don’t know history are condemned to repeat it.” We use the concept all the time for personal decisions.
Before making a purchase — car, washing machine, cable package, cell phone — have you ever referred to a magazine like Consumer Reports, read online reviews, or asked a friend how their own choice worked out? If so, you checked with history to avoid making a poor choice. It’s a simple concept: learn a product’s history and you’re not doomed to repeat it. Continue reading
The Old Stone Fort Museum continues its winter lecture series with Jeff O’Connor on Tuesday April 4th.
This month Jeff, a local author and historian, will discuss “The Palatine Experience” and the circumstances that led to these German refugees settling in the Schoharie Valley. Continue reading
Goodness has long been an admirable part of our identity as Americans. It is evident at the national level in our response when natural disasters strike here or abroad. Closer to home, we see it manifested daily in our own Adirondacks and foothills, where people donate, volunteer, and reach out to help others. Our foundation as small-town folk is one of welcoming, caring, sharing.
Along with that comes the knowledge that we’re also lucky to be Americans, lucky to not have been born in some other country where things are much different. Many of the lessons we learned in school were derived from the struggles of others in less fortunate circumstances.
We were taught to appreciate certain rights and freedoms, to speak out against perceived wrongs, to defend the less capable, and to question the directives of those in leadership positions. In some countries, those rights are viewed as privileges for the chosen few, or are not available at all. Continue reading
Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region will hold its 16th annual public history convention, Liberty Con 2017 – Americans@Risk: Race, Denial, privilege, and Who Matters, on March 24 to 25 at Schenectady County Community College and on March 26 at The Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence in Albany.
Attendees will be able to explore race relations, gender issues, immigration reform, white privilege, and religion, and their relationship with American history. As well as dialogue about action responses through a series of workshops, roundtable conversations, and keynote speakers. Continue reading