Tag: Memory

War Art 100 Years Later: The “World War I and American Art” Exhibit and the Centenary of the Great War

On March 12, I attended the exhibit “World War I and American Art” at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. This museum and art school, one of the oldest art academies in the United States that first opened in 1805, hosted the exhibit as part of a nationwide effort to remember American entry… Read more →

“Save Changes”: Telling Stories of Disability Protest

At first, it was a simple case of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” as I worked with WikiEducation Foundation to teach a methods course in which students created disability history content. But the more I learned, the more it became clear that we were engaging in multiple forms of protest, especially once I… Read more →

Silence and Noise: What AIDS Activism and Social Memory Can Teach Us

In the mid-1980s, when I was a twenty-something college dropout, I met people my age or older who knew a lot about history, about our history, the history of queer people. Part of this history included that of the men who were forced to wear the pink triangle in the Nazi concentration camps. And maybe… Read more →

Rosie the Riveter for President: Margaret Wright, the People’s Party, and Black Feminism

  “I’ve been discriminated against because I am a woman, because I am black, because I am poor, because I am fat, because I am left-handed.” On an August afternoon in 1976, about 100 people from 14 states gathered at an alternative high school in the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco to hear Margaret Wright… Read more →

“I Know This Guy”: Humanity in Hamilton’s America

As those of you with more exciting social calendars than mine may not know, this past Friday PBS aired a documentary about the making of the Broadway hit Hamilton: An American Musical. The documentary, entitled Hamilton’s America, provides Hamilfans and relative newcomers alike with backstage passes to the drama we may never get to see…. Read more →

Sex, Death, and Three Irish Women

In November 1984 the Catholic parish of Tynagh, County Galway, Ireland, gathered to bury a woman who had been dead for 150 years.1 Local tradition asserted that the woman, Áine, gave birth to three illegitimate children in the 1830s or 1840s and then became gravely ill. Citing her sexual transgressions, Áine’s parish priest would not… Read more →

Report from Pride: LGBT History Is (Not Yet) American History

Last June I participated in the annual Pride March in New York City, the biggest celebration of LGBT pride in the world. My girlfriend and I marched with the Episcopal Diocese of New York, waving a tiny rainbow flag someone handed us and walking behind a long white banner down 5th Avenue. After a slow start,… Read more →

Poking Holes in Political Memes: History, the Welfare State, and the Trope of the Founding Fathers

An elderly man behind me in the checkout line at the grocery store asked me what I do. When I told him I’m a PhD candidate in history, he commented that understanding history better would really help this country to get “back on track.” I braced myself for a speech about the greatness of the… Read more →

A Letter to the Lady in Pants: Dr. Mary Edwards Walker and the History of Women (Un)Worthies

“WALKER, Mary Edwards (Nov. 26, 1832 – Feb. 21, 1919), Civil War medical worker, dress reformer, and eccentric.” So begins the description of the collected papers of Dr. Mary Edwards Walker at Syracuse University: a strange summary of a strange life.1 Dr. Walker, though she was a contemporary of Drs. Elizabeth Blackwell, Ann Preston, and… Read more →

Pink Hollyhocks

This month, National Poetry Month, we encounter a poem both contemporary and historical — “Pink Hollyhocks,” a piece from Diane Gilliam Fisher’s 2004 collection Kettle Bottom that imagines the voices of dozens of residents of Mingo County, a small Appalachian coal mining community, during the West Virginia labor battles of 1920-1921. Fisher brings a poet’s… Read more →