History Buzz February 1, 2010: 50th Anniversary of Civil Rights Sit-In in Greensboro



  • An act of defiance that changed history: Fifty years ago, African Americans in Greensboro and across the South lived in a separate, but not necessarily equal, society. On Feb. 1, 1960, that started to change. That day, the wall of segregation that divided blacks and whites began to crumble. It happened on South Elm Street in Greensboro…. – News Record, 1-31-10


  • FDR Defenders Top List Of Absurd Holocaust Statements: This is one “top ten” list no author wants to find himself on. The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies has just released its annual list of the “ten most absurd statements about the Allies’ response to the Holocaust.” Those who made the 2009 list range from old time Franklin Roosevelt diehards to legitimate historians who should know better. The Wyman Institute publishes the list each year in conjunction with International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is commemorated on January 27, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz…. – Jewish Press, 1-27-10


  • Jonathan Zimmerman: GOP due for another purge With the “birthers” making inroads in Congress, paranoia is back in style: So here’s a question for Scott Brown as he prepares to enter the U.S. Senate: Do you believe President Obama was born in the United States? And here’s why it needs to be asked: Many “Tea Party” activists who backed Brown think Obama was born overseas, which would make him constitutionally ineligible to be president. Somehow, these folks insist, the most closely observed man on the planet managed to keep his origins a secret from everyone – except them. In short, they’re paranoid…. – Philadelphia Inquirer, 2-2-10


  • Jeffrey H. Jackson: Après le Déluge: PARIS UNDER WATER How the City of Light Survived the Great Flood of 1910: …Jackson, a professor of history at ­Rhodes College in Memphis, explains in an afterword that he discovered the story of the Paris flood not long before Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, and parallels between the two catastrophes are apparent throughout the book…. – NYT, 1-29-10
  • Jeffrey H. Jackson: Book review: ‘Paris Under Water’ by Jeffrey Jackson PARIS UNDER WATER How the City of Light Survived the Great Flood of 1910WaPo, 1-29-10
  • Christopher Andrew: Smiley’s People: DEFEND THE REALM The Authorized History of MI5 In order to write this compendious but highly readable book, Christopher Andrew, a professor of modern and contemporary history at Cambridge University, and his team of researchers plowed through some 400,000 MI5 files. Marking the 100th anniversary of the service, “Defend the Realm” shines a penetrating light into some of the darkest corners of a secret world. It is not only a work of meticulous scholarship but also a series of riveting and true spy stories…. – NYT, 1-29-10
  • Christopher Andrew: DEFEND THE REALM The Authorized History of MI5 Excerpt – NYT, 1-29-10
  • ANDREW WHEATCROFT on Matthew Carr: Cast Away: BLOOD AND FAITH The Purging of Muslim Spain Who remembers the last survivors of Muslim Spain, whom Spaniards contemptuously called Moriscos (“little Moors”)? Impressive research on them has appeared in the last 30 years, yet until now, none of it has escaped beyond the walls of the academic ghetto. Matthew Carr’s well-balanced and comprehensive book brings the story of their tragic fate to a wider public…. – NYT, 1-29-10
  • Paul Strathern: Book review: ‘The Artist, the Philosopher, and the Warrior’ by Paul Strathern: THE ARTIST, THE PHILOSOPHER, AND THE WARRIOR The Intersecting Lives of da Vinci, Machiavelli, and Borgia and the World They Shaped Five hundred years after his death, Cesare Borgia still ranks as one of history’s most reprehensible figures: ruthless, power-hungry and peacock-vain. But his reputation as a brute obscures the full human dimensions of this duke who sought to reunite Italy and place himself at the head of a new Roman Empire. As Paul Strathern explains in his masterful narrative history, “The Artist, the Philosopher, and the Warrior,” Borgia was also brilliant, handsome, charismatic and well-versed in the classics, “a superb exemplar of the Renaissance man.”… – WaPo, 1-29-10
  • The all-powerful American president Garry Wills, in a new book, says Congress and the courts have become immaterial: It’s time we revised our eighth-grade social studies textbooks. America has no presidency any longer, but a monarchy. Absurd? Historian Garry Wills says it isn’t that far from the truth. So he argues in his new book, Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State. An exquisitely researched, passionately written political history, Bomb Power argues that for the last six decades, an increasingly militarized presidency has usurped power once limited to Congress and the courts…. – Philadelphia Inquirer, 2-1-10
  • McGraw-Hill Contemporizes Classic Text ‘From Slavery to Freedom’ to Bring African American History into the 21st Century: Renowned historian and author John Hope Franklin hands down his work to Harvard’s Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham… – PR Newswire


  • Vince Leggett: Historian seeks Chesapeake Bay’s hidden past: Looking at blacks in history, including Underground Railroad – Baltimore Sun, 1-31-10


  • Chester Pach: Obama isn’t alone among presidents with first-year frustrations: “People are starting to blame him for things not getting better,” Chester Pach, a presidential historian and a professor at Ohio University. “My guess is that until the economy improves substantially, his ratings are going to stay somewhere between 45 and 55 percent,” or just south of so-so, historically speaking…. – Kansas City Star, 1-30-10
  • Stephen Hess: Obama isn’t alone among presidents with first-year frustrations: Historians say the economy isn’t all that drives these ratings. “A lot has to do with the type of leader you are,” said Stephen Hess of the Brookings Institute. Contrary to Reagan’s rosy persona in the face of recession, “Obama, he’s kind of a cool cat,” which may not seem so cool to people losing jobs, Hess said. “In the long term, we might all be thankful for having an intellectual, farsighted president,” Hess said. “But in the short term, people trying to feed their families aren’t so generous.” – Kansas City Star, 1-30-10


  • ASU prof to co-host PBS series: Eduardo Obregón Pagán, an associate professor of history and American studies, has been signed as a permanent co-host for History Detectives…. – Latino Perspectives, 2-10


  • UT professors offer perspective, predictions about the future: Predicting the future has always fascinated mankind. “Among some, it’s known as the world’s second-oldest profession,” said Michael Stoff, a history professor at the University of Texas. Stoff and three other UT professors headlined a program called “Perspectives on the Future” at the Park City Club in Dallas…. – Dallas News, 1-31-10


  • Museum Review: International Civil Rights Center and Museum Four Men, a Counter and Soon, Revolution: The International Civil Rights Center and Museum is at 132 South Elm Street, Greensboro, N.C.; (336) 274-9199, sitinmovement.org One of the achievements of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, which is opening Monday in that former Woolworth building, is that you begin to understand how such a place became a pivot in the greatest political movement of the 20th century…. – NYT, 1-31-10




  • Andrew Young: The Politician: An Insider’s Account of John Edwards’s Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down (Hardcover) Feb 2, 2010
  • Charles Lachman: The Last Lincolns: The Rise & Fall of a Great American Family (Paperback), February 2, 2010
  • S. M. Plokhy: Yalta: The Price of Peace (Hardcover), February 4, 2010
  • Richard Beeman: Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution (Paperback), February 9, 2010
  • Philip Dray: Capitol Men: The Epic Story of Reconstruction Through the Lives of the First Black Congressmen (Paperback) February 11, 2010
  • Ken Gormley: The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr (Hardcover), February 16, 2010
  • Susan Wise Bauer: The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade, (Hardcover) February 22, 2010
  • Richard J. Evans: The Third Reich at War (Paperback) February 23, 2010
  • Seth G. Jones: In the Graveyard of Empires: America’s War in Afghanistan (Paperback) April 12, 2010


  • Louis R. Harlan, Historian of Booker T. Washington, Dies at 87: Louis R. Harlan, whose definitive two-volume biography of Booker T. Washington convincingly embraced its subject’s daunting complexities and ambiguities and won both the Bancroft Prize and the Pulitzer Prize, died on Jan. 22 in Lexington, Va. He was 87. The cause was liver failure, said his wife, Sadie. – NYT, 1-29-10
  • Howard Zinn, Historian, Is Dead at 87: Howard Zinn, historian and shipyard worker, civil rights activist and World War II bombardier, and author of “A People’s History of the United States,” a best seller that inspired a generation of high school and college students to rethink American history, died Wednesday in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 87 and lived in Auburndale, Mass. The cause was a heart attack he had while swimming, his family said…. – NYT, 1-28-10
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