American history

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1935 Footage of FDR Made Head of His Library 'Gasp'

White House visitor Fred Hill recorded president walking in 1935

(Newser) - For seven seconds, the footage shows an American president walking to a White House railing to wave at a crowd. But "when I saw [it] ... I gasped," says Paul Sparrow, director of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, which has acquired the silent film of the... More »

Teacher on Leave After 'Gross' Slavery Assignment

Worksheet at Texas charter school asked students to list both negative and positive aspects of slavery

(Newser) - When Roberto Livar's wife picked up their son Wednesday from Great Hearts Monte Vista charter school in San Antonio, Texas, the 8th-grader was "distraught" over an assignment in history class, Livar tells KABB . The worksheet he completed was entitled "The Life of Slaves: A Balanced View,"... More »

The Most Important Event in the History of Each State

Yes, even Nebraska

(Newser) - Every state has been home to at least one major historical event—yes, even Nebraska—and 24/7 Wall St. has picked the most majorly historical event for each of the 50 states. The website chose the events—which range from court battles to actual battles, scientific discoveries to natural disasters—... More »

2 Men Alive Today Are Grandkids of Our 10th President

John Tyler's descendants have second wives to thank

(Newser) - "I think it had to do with second wives." Pretty much. CBS News is out with a good bit of historical trivia: John Tyler, who was born in 1790 when George Washington was president and became America's 10th president in 1841, has two living grandsons. As the... More »

Reporter May Have Found the Last American Slave Ship

Ben Raines of Al.com thinks he's uncovered the Clotilda in Alabama

(Newser) - Russell Ladd remembers seeing the shipwreck as a boy fishing with his father at low tide. His father told him it was the Clotilda, the last American slave ship, though Ladd wasn't sure he believed him. He might now. Using Ladd's account and historical records, including the journal... More »

Current Hysteria Harkens Back to Witch Hunts of WWII, Cold War

We risk repeating the 'tragedy' of civil rights violations of past, 1.2K historians warn

(Newser) - Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it—which is why 1,200 US history scholars have a lesson for America. In a statement, they ask people to recall World War II, when 120,000 Japanese Americans were imprisoned simply because of racism and hysteria. Next fast-forward... More »

Scientists Explain Deadly Wave of Molasses in Boston

A 'tsunami' of sticky syrup claimed the lives of 21 people and several horses, too

(Newser) - Nearly a century after what researchers call a "tsunami of molasses" descended on Boston, Harvard physicists say that fluid dynamics equations that hadn't yet been written now explain why the disaster proved so deadly—and that the cold weather is partly to blame. In January of 1919, 2.... More »

She Robbed a Single Stagecoach, Became Infamous

The 'Bandit Queen' was a media sensation

(Newser) - You've heard the story before—a girl is born wealthy, rebels and runs away as a teen, gets mixed up with drug dealers and pimps, and finds herself in and out of prison by 30. Only this story is more than 100 years old, and the woman, Pearl Hart,... More »

New Theory May Explain Mrs. Lincoln's Odd Behavior

Doctor thinks Mary Todd Lincoln suffered a vitamin deficiency

(Newser) - She's been described as perhaps the most troubled first lady to set foot in the White House, with fearsome moods, depression, and paranoia. Now a doctor says he may have uncovered the secret to Mary Todd Lincoln's behavior: a vitamin deficiency. Interestingly, this latest theory in Perspectives in ... More »

Scientists Study Lost Site of Largest Native American Massacre

Cavalrymen killed at least 250 Shoshone men, women, children in Idaho in 1863

(Newser) - By the end of that frigid day in January 1863, the blood of at least 250 men, women, and children stained the ground in Idaho. But rather than occupying a dark place in American history, the victims of the nation's single largest Native American massacre—Shoshone Indians slaughtered in... More »

The Man Who Built Sears Built Something Much More Incredible

New documentary explores Julius Rosenwald's philanthropy

(Newser) - Julius Rosenwald is well known as the 20th-century American businessman who co-founded what we now call Sears. But a new documentary by Aviva Kempner explores Rosenwald's lesser-known role as a Jewish philanthropist who brought education to thousands of African-American children at a time when most had no schools to... More »

New Texas Texts: Slavery Was 'Side Issue' of Civil War

It was mainly states' rights that was war's impetus, per state education standards

(Newser) - About 5 million Texas schoolchildren will get their hands on brand-new social studies textbooks when school starts up again, the Houston Chronicle reports—textbooks that USA Today says are "misleading, racially prejudiced, and, at times, flat-out false." The beef with the new primers: They're in keeping with... More »

Washington, Lincoln, Nixon Were Gay: New Book

Larry Kramer's new book is ruffling feathers, dividing critics

(Newser) - George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were gay. So were Alexander Hamilton, Herman Melville, and Richard Nixon—at least according to a new book that the author considers true but his publisher is selling as fiction to avoid legal problems, the Guardian reports. Needless to say, Larry Kramer's 800-page The ... More »

After 150 Years, Civil War Slave's Story Rewritten

Death records show Hannah Reynolds died a free woman

(Newser) - A Civil War cannonball that ripped through the cabin of Hannah Reynolds' master made her a footnote of misfortune, the lone civilian death at the Battle of Appomattox Court House. She died a slave at 60, hours before the war to end slavery unofficially came to a close. Or maybe... More »

Washington Counties Battle for Title of First

And Maryland may be the winner

(Newser) - The US has no shortage of Washington Counties. There's one in Maryland, one in Pennsylvania, another in Georgia, and one in Tennessee, to name just a few. And all of those claim to have been the first named after the first president, the Wall Street Journal reports. A monument... More »

Deeded to God, Healing Springs Draw Believers

South Carolina Healing Springs are site of 1781 legend

(Newser) - A natural spring in South Carolina was deeded to God, and those who have visited it over the past 233 years have no trouble seeing why. "I'd take a shower in it if I could," Annabelle Galik says of the Healing Springs of Barnwell County. "Jesus... More »

In Southern Genes, 'Black' and 'White' Get a Little Gray

Many white people have black ancestry, vice versa

(Newser) - A simple cheek swab can reveal a lot about your DNA, and for 6 million Americans who identify as white, mostly in the South, that swab has revealed African ancestry hidden in their genes, the Washington Post reports. One in 10 Southerners have at least 1% African origins, and the... More »

Piece of America's Slavery History Uncovered

Dig finds timbers from Gadsden's Wharf

(Newser) - Over the course of just a few decades at the turn of the 19th century, some 100,000 slaves arrived in the US at Gadsden's Wharf, in Charleston, South Carolina. With a new African American Museum set to begin construction at the site in 2016, researchers decided to launch... More »

Ship That Doomed France's Colonial Land Grab Is Reborn

La Belle sunk in 1686 as La Salle failed to settle Texas, Southwest

(Newser) - A 17th-century shipwreck rebuilt inside a Texas museum will let visitors walk the deck of a frigate whose sinking some 330 years ago explains why no one speaks French in Texas, the AP reports. The doomed La Belle was France's last hope to settle Texas and the American southwest,... More »

More Denver Students Walk Out in History Protest

They say school board wants to whitewash America's past

(Newser) - High school students in a big Colorado district walked out for the third straight day today to protest proposed changes to their history curriculum. Today's protests, the largest yet, mean that about half of all high school students in Jefferson County have participated this week, reports the Denver Post... More »

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