One of the talking points associated with the recent racial disturbance in Ferguson, Mo. is the enhanced militarization of contemporary municipal police forces.
This process began in the late 1960s, in the aftermath of the widespread racial disturbances of that era. Moreover, as Michelle Alexander discusses in her book The New Jim Crow, this arms build-up accelerated in the 1970s, as local law enforcement agencies across the country began a so-called “War On Drugs,” waged primarily in black and brown neighborhoods.
This year, Americans are observing the 200th anniversaries of events from the War of 1812, such as the burning of Washington, D.C. and the attack on Fort McHenry.
This year also marks the 200th anniversary of the Hartford Convention. Comprised of clandestine meetings held by anti-war New Englanders between December 1814 and January 1815, the Convention called for radical actions, such as the nullification of federal laws and possible secession from the union.
Ivanpah, in Greenwood County, is today little more than a schoolhouse. I recently gave a talk about it for the Symphony in the Flint Hills.
Dating from 1879, the community owed its origins to a sheep rancher named A.H. Thompson and a newspaperman, Frank Presbrey. A few days before I was to give my talk, a random internet search uncovered a story that made my jaw drop.
On July 30, the House of Representatives passed a resolution approving of Speaker John Boehner’s proposed lawsuit against President Barack Obama. This represented the first time in U.S. history that a chamber of Congress has endorsed a lawsuit against a president.
Historically, if Congress believed a sitting president engaged in unlawful behavior, it issued “articles of impeachment.” Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton have been the most recent targets of such punitive congressional action.
While Europe teetered on the brink of war during the summer of 1914, the threat of escalating violence and warfare with Mexico consumed Americans’ attentions.
The relationship between the United States and Mexico began to sour in 1910 as Mexico fell into a decade-long civil war. Until 1914, the U.S. warned Mexico that it would only get involved if the fighting threatened the lives or property of Americans living in Mexico. Twice, President Taft sent troops to the border as a warning, but did not allow them to intervene in the conflict.
This month is Wichita State University’s 50th birthday!
On July 1, 1964, the University of Wichita officially joined the state university system. It was not an easy journey.
The University of Wichita had been municipal university since the 1920s. By the 1960s, however, many in Wichita believed that the time had come for WU to join the state university system, serving the state, not just one city.
As a fan of the National Basketball Association, and as someone who does research in African American history, the recent Donald Sterling debacle reminded me that former President Dwight D. Eisenhower was correct when he stated that laws and court decisions can’t necessarily change what’s in the hearts of individuals.
On June 19th 1964, the Senate passed the Civil Rights Act, breaking the 83-day filibuster by Southern Democrats. While this act is recognized as a groundbreaking piece of civil rights legislation for African Americans, it also held the key to future civil rights advancements and protections for women.
Two days before the final vote, Representative Howard W. Smith, a powerful Democrat from Virginia, added sex as a protected class to Title VII, a section that prohibits discrimination by employers. Historians have been wondering about his motivations ever since.