Tag Archives: Political History

Nellie Bly: Blackwell’s Island And Beyond


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Nellie Bly as a Herald in the 1913 Washington, DC Suffrage Parade

Nellie Bly gained her reputation as a reporter when she exposed poor conditions at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island. Bly reported on issues of importance to women, producing  an important interview with Susan B. Anthony and covering major events in the suffrage campaign.

A free lecture, Nellie Bly: From Blackwell’s Island to Well Beyond, has been set for Thursday, June 14th at 6:30 pm at the New York Public Library Branch on Roosevelt Island, 525 Main Street. Continue reading

New Book: Al Smith and the Revolution of 1928


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revolution of 28Robert 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.

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Governance After the American Revolution


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ben_franklins_worldIn this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, George William Van Cleve, a researcher in law and history at the University of Seattle Law School and author of We Have Not A Government: The Articles of Confederation and the Road to the Constitution (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2017), takes us into the Confederation period so we can discover more about the Articles of Confederation, the government it established, and the problems that government confronted. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/179

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Lexow Committee: 19th Century Police Corruption


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crossroads of rockland historyThis month on “Crossroads of Rockland History,” Clare Sheridan interviewed Daniel Czitrom, author of New York Exposed: The Gilded Age Police Scandal That Launched the Progressive Era.

The book reveals the architects of what became known as the Lexow Committee, the state task force that – after a couple of rough starts – blew the lid off New York’s most corrupt practices and sent Tammany Hall, once again, into decline. The committee is named for New York State Senator and Rockland County resident Clarence Lexow. The author did some of the research for this intriguing book using the archives at the Historical Society of Rockland County. Continue reading

Ned Sherman: Early African-American Mayor


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Ned Sherman“A Negro Elected President of the Village of Cleveland.”

On May 16, 1878, this was the startling title of the Oswego Daily Times’ article on the election of Edward “Ned” Sherman as President, or Mayor, of a small village of approximately 500 residents on the North shore of Oneida Lake three days earlier.

His one year term began with a surprise win in a special election for the office. It’s said he did not campaign for the post, which opened after a surprise resignation.

Upon his taking office, The Rome Daily Sentinel referred to Cleveland as “a mirthful village [that] must be peopled by a lot of fun-loving fellows.” Continue reading

Politics of Tea During the American Revolution


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ben_franklins_worldHow did early Americans go from hosting social tea parties to hosting protests like the Boston Tea Party?

Tea played a central role in the economic, cultural, and political lives of early Americans. As such, tea came to serve as a powerful symbol of both early American culture and of the American Revolution.

In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History, Jane Merritt, Jennifer Anderson, and David Shields take us on an exploration of the politics of tea during the era of the American Revolution. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/160

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Columbia Students Discover the Power of Protest


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Canon John Collins of St. Paul's Cathedral, speaking for nuclear disarmament at protest in London's Trafalgar Square on April 3, 1961The reckless threats of nuclear war flung back and forth between the North Korean and U.S. governments remind me of an event in which I participated back in the fall of 1961, when I was a senior at Columbia College.

At the end of August 1961, the Soviet government had announced that it was withdrawing from the U.S.-Soviet-British moratorium on nuclear weapons testing that had halted such tests for the previous three years while the three governments tried to agree on a test ban treaty. The resumption of Soviet government’s nuclear weapons testing that followed was topped off that October by its explosion in the atmosphere of a 50-megaton hydrogen bomb, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated. Meanwhile, the Kennedy administration, determined not to be outdone in a display of national “strength,” quickly resumed U.S. nuclear testing underground and began to discuss the U.S. resumption of nuclear testing in the atmosphere. Continue reading

Abolition Hall of Fame Weekend Planned


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2016 Induction Webber Stewart LandThe National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum (NAHOF) commemoration ceremonies for the 2016 inductees will be held Saturday, October 21, 2017 at NAHOF, 5255 Pleasant Valley Road, Peterboro NY.

The inductees are Rev. John Gregg Fee, Beriah Green, Angelina Grimké, and James W.C. Pennington. This is the last year of the two year induction-commemoration cycle. Beginning in 2018 inductions and commemorations will be completed in one year.

At 3 on Saturday, October 21 Christopher L. Webber, who nominated Pennington to the Hall of Fame, will present James W.C. Pennington: Pastor and Abolitionist for the Abolition Symposia. Webber, the author of American to the Backbone: The Journey of James W.C. Pennington from Slavery to World Leader, will use his research to present Pennington’s remarkable story. Pennington was born in slavery in Maryland in 1808. At the age of 19, scared and illiterate, James escaped from slavery. Moving finally to Brooklyn he found work as a carriage man and took advantage of night schools. In 1829 Pennington participated in the first Negro National Convention of which he became the presiding officer in 1853. Pennington served congregations in Long Island, Hartford, and Manhattan and traveled three times to England, Scotland, and the continent of Europe as an anti-slavery advocate. He was so respected by European audiences that the University of Heidelberg awarded him an honorary doctorate, making him the first person of African descent to receive such a degree.  Pennington was accepted as the first black student at the Yale Divinity School and was accepted for ordination in the Congregational Church. April 26, 2014 Yale University celebrated the opening of the James W.C. Pennington Christian Ministry Center. Continue reading