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The Explosive Chapter Left Out of Malcolm X’s Autobiography

February 28, 2019 in History

By Missy Sullivan

Its title—’The Negro’—seemed innocuous enough. But the revolutionary civil-rights leader intended it to invoke a much harsher meaning.

It’s not often that a little-known chapter from one of the most important books of the 20th century emerges into the public sphere. Especially one in which a prominent

HISTORY: Many consider The Autobiography of Malcolm X to be one of the essential texts of the 20th century. Why, in your view, is that the case?

Ali: Because his experiences touch on so many significant currents in American history and black history. Born in 1925, he experienced racial violence as a young child, when his father was killed, many believe, at the hands of the Black Legion, a kind of northern version of the Ku Klux Klan. His family endured the grinding poverty of the Great Depression, made worse by his father’s death and mother’s mental breakdown. As a teen, he experienced early integration: After his family disintegrated, he was sent to live with a white foster family and attended a predominantly white school. As a young man, he lived in major urban centers in Boston and Harlem, when the black population was transforming from a rural southern one to an urban northern one. And like too many young black men, he spent time incarcerated by the criminal-justice system. And that’s just the first 25 years of his life.

That progression alone would be a powerful story to tell. But what’s even more compelling is his personal transformation: his conversion, in prison, to the Nation of Islam, or NOI…his rise to becoming its national spokesman…and finding himself in dialogue with other civil-rights leaders in the 1950s and 1960s, the pivotal turning point in the 20 century in terms of America’s experience with race. Ultimately the Autobiography is the story of one man, it’s the story of a people, and it’s a call to action all wrapped into one. That’s the brilliance of this text.

When this long-buried chapter came to light, how did Malcolm X scholars react?

These documents had become legendary for people who studied Malcolm. People thought these maybe held the keys to unlocking the direction Malcolm was going in and what he was really thinking, what his ideas really were. Some thought these would be part of the finishing of his story, which was cut short by his assassination at age 39.

READ MORE: The …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Before FDR, Herbert Hoover Tried His Own 'New Deal'

February 28, 2019 in History

By Christopher Klein

Herbert Hoover was not a “do-nothing” president during the Great Depression. In fact, his actions may have made things worse.

When confronted by the crisis of the . “Hoover entered public life during the Great War as Woodrow Wilson’s head of the United States Food Administration and in that position oversaw an unprecedented intervention in the American economy to ensure that the United States and its allies were sufficiently provisioned to win the war,” he says. “And as president he put the government to work in ways that were inconceivable to any of his predecessors.”

When he campaigned for the presidency amid a flourishing economy in 1928, Hoover pledged, “We shall soon, with the help of God, be in sight of the day when poverty will be banished from this nation.” However, just seven months into Hoover’s presidency, the Stock Market Crash of 1929 marked the start of a long economic implosion that grew into the Great Depression.

READ MORE: Here Are Warning Signs Investors Missed Before the 1929 Crash

Whyte says that Hoover quickly showed a willingness to tap the resources of the federal government to address the financial crisis. “He immediately cut taxes and introduced a counter-cyclical program of public works spending, the first of its kind, to stimulate employment and recovery. He bullied the nation’s largest employers into holding off on layoffs—their usual reaction to a downturn—to stabilize the economy and aid recovery, and to continue investing in new plants and equipment.”

When it became clear in 1931 that the financial tailspin was not abating, Hoover convinced Congress to accept a moratorium on the payment of international debt and enacted a series of federal policies to stimulate the economy that some historians have referred to as the “Hoover New Deal.” The new Reconstruction Finance Corporation, established in January 1932, lent tax dollars to bail out American banks and businesses. The Emergency Relief and Construction Act, enacted in July 1932, broadened the agency’s lending power to include financing state and local public works projects.

Hoover also approved substantial farm subsidy increases, eased requirements for the issuing of Federal Reserve notes and established the Federal Home Loan Bank Board to support mortgages. In an attempt to pay for the new programs, Hoover signed the Revenue Act of 1932, which doubled the estate tax, hiked corporate tax rates and increased the top personal tax rate from …read more

Source: HISTORY

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The Korean War Hasn't Officially Ended. One Reason: POWs

February 28, 2019 in History

By Erin Blakemore

Shot haven’t been fired in the Korean War for nearly 70 years—but that doesn’t mean it’s over. Officially, the Korean War never technically ended. Although the Korean Armistice Agreement brought an end to the hostilities that killed 2.5 million people on July 27, 1953, that ceasefire never gave way to a peace treaty. At the time, South Korea’s president refused to accept the division of Korea.

A peace treaty between North Korea and South Korea today would be anything but symbolic, however: It could usher in real change in both countries. But should serious peace talks ever occur, they might run into a major obstacle: prisoners of war.

That might sound eerily familiar to anyone familiar with how the Korean War wound down. In 1953, prisoners of war became a thorny sticking point between both sides, threatening any chance of peace and contributing to an ongoing stalemate as millions died. Yet the end of the war hinged on successfully negotiating the fate of POWs on both sides. Those negotiations resulted in two massive prisoner exchanges that marked the war’s end.

The exchanges took place in two waves—Operation Little Switch, in which sick and wounded prisoners changed hands, and Operation Big Switch, the final push to exchange all remaining prisoners between sides. Fraught with controversy and risk, these prisoner of war exchanges were among the tensest moments of a war marked by catastrophe. And they still affect the chance of peace across the Korean peninsula.

US and South Korean prisoners of war are paraded through the streets of Pyongyang by communist troops during the Korean War. The US officer in the center was forced to wear a Hitler mustache and swastikas and drag a US flag.

A messy proxy war

The Korean War was a military and diplomatic disaster from its very beginning. The war was technically between North Korea and South Korea, but it played out against a backdrop of Cold War tensions. After North Korean forces invaded South Korea in June 1950, the United States led United Nations forces to defend South Korea. North Korea was advised, armed and trained by the USSR, and China came to its aid with over 2 million soldiers—the first time the Chinese military had fought on a large scale outside of China. As a result, the conflict was a proxy for the Cold War.

That chill marked the war from …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Feminism

February 28, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

Feminism, a belief in the political, economic and cultural equality of women, has roots in the earliest eras of human civilization.

Feminism, a belief in the political, economic and cultural equality of women, has roots in the earliest eras of human civilization. In his classic Republic, Plato advocated that women possess “natural capacities” equal to men for governing and defending ancient Greece.

But many disagreed with the philosopher’s views. When the women of ancient Rome staged a massive protest over the Oppian Law, which restricted women’s access to gold and other goods, Roman consul Marcus Porcius Cato argued, “As soon as they begin to be your equals, they will have become your superiors!” (Despite Cato’s fears, the law was repealed.)

In The Book of the City of Ladies, 15th-century writer Christine de Pizan protested misogyny and the role of women in the Middle Ages. Years later, during the Enlightenment, writers and philosophers like Margaret Cavendish, the Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and Mary Wollstonecraft, author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, argued vigorously for greater equality for women.

READ MORE: Milestones in U.S. Women’s History

Many of the feminists of the era specifically noted access to education, property and the ballot as critical to women’s equality. In letters to her husband John Adams, Abigail Adams warned, “If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice.”

The “Rebellion” that Adams threatened began in the 19th century, as calls for greater freedom for women joined with voices demanding the end of slavery. Indeed, many women leaders of the abolitionist movement found an unsettling irony in advocating for African Americans rights that they themselves could not enjoy.

The Seneca Falls Convention (TV-PG; 4:18)

At the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, abolitionists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott boldly proclaimed in their now-famous Declaration of Sentiments that “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men and women are created equal.” Controversially, the feminists demanded “their sacred right to the elective franchise,” or the right to vote.

Many attendees thought voting rights for women were beyond the pale, but were swayed when Frederick Douglass argued that he could not accept the right to vote as …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Los Angeles

February 28, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

America’s second largest city was originally inhabited by indigenous tribes and expanded with settlers from Spain, Mexico and then gold prospectors, land speculators, laborers, oil barons and those seeking fame in Hollywood.

Los Angeles, America’s second largest city and the West Coast’s biggest economic powerhouse, was originally settled by indigenous tribes, including the Chumash and Tongva hunter gatherers, by 8000 B.C.

Portuguese sailor Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo was the first European to explore the region in 1542, but it wasn’t until 1769 that Gaspar de Portolá established a Spanish outpost in the Los Angeles area.

The outpost grew larger in 1781, when a group of 44 settlers of European, African and Native American backgrounds traveled from northern Mexico to establish a farming village on the banks of the Rio Porciúncula. The Spanish governor named the settlement El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula, or “The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of Porciúncula.”

Spanish missions were soon established in the area, including Mission San Fernando, named for Ferdinand III of Spain, and Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, founded by Junipero Serra. In 1821, Mexico declared its independence from Spain, and all of California fell under Mexican control.

Gold Rush Brings Hordes of Prospectors

But in 1846, the Mexican American War broke out, and two years later California was annexed by the United States. The timing was fortuitous, as rich deposits of gold were discovered in the Sacramento Valley in 1848, igniting the Gold Rush. The hordes of ‘49ers flocking to California depended on beef and other foods from ranches and farms in the Los Angeles area.

The Gold Rush of 1849 (TV-PG; 2:37)

In 1881, after years of America’s “manifest destiny” expansion, Southern Pacific Railroad completed a track into Los Angeles, linking the city with the rest of the United States. This sparked a flurry of land speculation, and civic boosters were soon tempting winter-weary Easterners with promises of lush orange groves and boundless sunshine.

But oranges and people need water, and L.A. looked to the Owens Valley, some 200 miles away, to slake its thirst. After years of backroom deals, bribery and other shenanigans, superintendent William Mulholland opened the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913 with the words, “There it is. Take it.”

Hollywood Is Born, Oil Industry Moves In

D.W. Griffith was among the first …read more

Source: HISTORY

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When Withdrawing Troops Is Worse Than Nuclear War

February 28, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

For years, most Asia analysts couldn’t imagine a more
fearsome possibility than a nuclear North Korea. Presidents going
back to George H.W. Bush have declared that Pyongyang must not be
allowed to develop nuclear weapons-to no avail.

Yet as Pyongyang tested intercontinental ballistic missiles,
President Donald Trump came along and threatened “fire and
fury” if the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea
(DPRK) did not disarm. Presidential sidekick Senator Lindsey Graham
dismissed fears of a U.S. attack on the North, opining that any war
would be “over there” rather than “over
here.”

But then Trump showed a willingness to talk, ending what had
seemed like a slide toward war. After the Singapore meeting, he
declared, “I want to bring our soldiers back home.” For
years before being elected, Trump had railed against the South
Koreans as well as the Europeans for underinvesting in their
defense and unnecessarily relying upon America. He has since
reiterated those criticisms as president.

Trump should put his
skepticism of the value of permanent U.S. military deployments to
good use.

These sentiments have horrified many of the same analysts
demanding action to prevent a nuclear DPRK. Better, apparently, to
remain in an entangling alliance that risks nuclear war than to end
both the threat and the response taken to confront the threat.
Better to leave U.S. cities vulnerable to annihilation than to
return the burden of defense to an allied country grown wealthy
under American protection. Members of the Korean policy community
have decided that an even worse threat than nuclear war is the
possibility of the president pulling troops out of South Korea and
ending our alliance with Seoul. It is a case of extraordinary
misplaced priorities.

The Korean saga began in 1945 with the defeat of Japan. The U.S.
became involved on the peninsula when Moscow agreed to create two
separate occupation zones, which became two competing nations. In
1950, the North’s Kim Il-sung invaded South Korea, starting the
Korean War. U.S. and Chinese intervention followed, and the
conflict did not end until 1953.

By then, the South had been ravaged by war, was politically
unstable, and was headed by an aging and irascible authoritarian.
Only continued American backing protected the ROK from falling to
the well-armed North backed by China and the Soviet Union. An
alliance appeared to be the only way to preserve an independent
South.

That world disappeared long ago. Economic growth came to the
South during the 1960s under the Park Chung-hee government.
Democracy took longer, with the first free elections occurring in
1987. Today, South Korea has an economy 50 times the size of the
North’s, along with twice the population, a vast …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Hanoi Summit: Trump Hit a Bump on a Long Road

February 28, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

To the surprise of almost everyone, the Hanoi summit between
President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un ended without an
agreement. But the president noted that he made a friendly exit,
not “an angry walk-out.” This was something often lost
amid the hype surrounding the purported Trump-Kim lovefest:
reversing seven decades of hostility inevitably will take time.

The major problem appeared to be the amount of preparatory
negotiation done prior to the trip—there was too little of
it. The sticking point, according to Trump, was that the North
Koreans wanted sanctions lifted in exchange for dismantling part of
their nuclear facilities, apparently the Yongbyon Nuclear
Scientific Research Center. The administration wanted more; it took
aim at facilities that the North Koreans possibly believed the
United States didn’t know about. Upon this rock, it seems,
the summit finale foundered. Such issues should have been hashed
out by the respective governments before the two principals
met.

Rather than wring their collective hands, officials in both
capitals should step back and create a step-by-step process of
engagement, confidence-building, disarmament, and ultimately
denuclearization. Every advance should benefit both sides. And even
if the progression ultimately breaks down in the sense that the
United States and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
can’t agree on complete verifiable irreversible
denuclearization, which has long been Washington’s ultimate
desire, the Korean Peninsula nevertheless will be more stable and
peaceful, with the North largely integrated in the international
system and playing a responsible, predictable role.

Moving the Korean peace
process forward requires that the president’s optimism be tempered
by a large dose of realism; a nuclear-free Northeast Asia is
unlikely.

Moving forward requires that the president’s optimism be
tempered by a large dose of realism. A nuclear-free Northeast Asia
is unlikely. More important, however, a peaceful Northeast Asia is
possible, even probable. And that would be an achievement worth
celebrating.

– The Korean “problem” is seven decades old.
In that time the peninsula has suffered through a deadly hot war
followed by years of brutal cold war punctuated by brilliant hot
flashes. DPRK leaders have buried Washington with obloquy, insults,
slander and hatred. Although the West’s rhetoric was more
restrained, its sentiments were similar. Closing the divide between
North Korea and America will take more than a year or two. Most
important, the two governments have begun a process that could
yield genuine peace and cooperation. As the president apparently
came to realize, what’s the rush? Hurrying won’t
help.

– North Korean nuclear weapons do not threaten America.
The North’s leaders are not—and never have
been—suicidal. They want their virgins in this world, not in
the next, and are not contemplating the virtues of exiting life …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Vandals Decapitate 800-Year-Old Irish Mummy and Steal His Head

February 27, 2019 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

For some 800 years, the man known as “The Crusader” had rested peacefully at St. Michan’s church in Dublin, Ireland, his body naturally mummified by the crypt’s limestone bricks and methane-rich soil.

Now, vandals have broken into the historic church, decapitated the 13th-century mummy and stolen his head, forcing St. Michan’s to close its vaults for the foreseeable future.

A guide at St. Michan’s discovered the crime on the morning of February 25, 2019, when he was preparing to open the church for visitors. The vandals, who likely used crowbars and other tools to pry away the heavy steel door of the crypt, had also smashed the mummy’s legs into his torso and moved his arms to the side, the New York Times reported.

The Crusades (TV-PG; 3:08)

Elsewhere in the vaults, they swiveled the head of a 300-year-old mummified nun some 180 degrees, turned yet another mummy on its side and damaged the family crypt of William Rowan Hamilton, an Irish mathematician who first described the number system known as quaternions.

“These are people who have been lying at rest for years and years and to have them desecrated in such a sacrilegious way is so distressing and disturbing,” the Rev. David Pierpoint, vicar of St. Michan’s and archdeacon of Dublin, told the Irish Times. “I’m quite disgusted. The likelihood is we’ll have to close these vaults and close our tourist facility.”

Founded in 1095, St. Michan’s has been open to the public since the 1930s, and welcomes some 28,000 visitors every year to view the contents of its vaults. Because the crypt’s walls are made of limestone, which absorbs moisture in the air, and the soil is rich in methane, which reduces oxygen, many of the bodies interred there have naturally mummified.

According to Pierpoint, the Crusader was likely a local parishioner who lived some 800 years ago. His name is unknown, but historians have determined he fought in the Crusades (probably the Fourth Crusade) because he was buried with his arms and legs crossed, as was traditional for soldiers in holy wars.

As he was nearly 6 ½ feet tall, unusual for the time, the Crusader’s legs had to be broken and folded up under him in order to fit in his small coffin, according to Atlas Obscura. Visitors were once encouraged to shake the mummy’s leathery hand, which protruded slightly …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Pandemics That Changed History

February 27, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

As human civilizations rose, these diseases struck them down.

In the realm of infectious diseases, a pandemic is the worst case scenario. When an epidemic spreads beyond a country’s borders, that’s when the disease officially becomes a pandemic.

Communicable diseases existed during humankind’s hunter-gatherer days, but the shift to agrarian life 10,000 years ago created communities that made epidemics more possible. Malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, influenza, smallpox and others first appeared during this period.

The more civilized humans became, building cities and forging trade routes to connect with other cities, and waging wars with them, the more likely pandemics became. See a timeline below of pandemics that, in ravaging human populations, changed history.

430 B.C.: Athens

The earliest recorded pandemic happened during the Peloponnesian War. After the disease passed through Libya, Ethiopia and Egypt, it crossed the Athenian walls as the Spartans laid siege. As much as two-thirds of the population died.

The symptoms included fever, thirst, bloody throat and tongue, red skin and lesions. The disease, suspected to have been typhoid fever, weakened the Athenians significantly and was a significant factor in their defeat by the Spartans.

165 A.D.: Antonine Plague

The Antonine plague was possibly an early appearance of smallpox that began with the Huns. The Huns then infected the Germans, who passed it to the Romans and then returning troops spread it throughout the Roman empire. Symptoms included fever, sore throat, diarrhea and, if the patient lived long enough, pus-filled sores. This plague continued until about 180 A.D., claiming Emperor Marcus Aurelius as one of its victims.

250 A.D.: Cyprian Plague

Named after the first known victim, the Christian bishop of Carthage, the Cyprian plague entailed diarrhea, vomiting, throat ulcers, fever and gangrenous hands and feet.

City dwellers fled to the country to escape infection but instead spread the disease further. Possibly starting in Ethiopia, it passed through Northern Africa, into Rome, then onto Egypt and northward.

There were recurring outbreaks over the next three centuries. In 444 A.D., it hit Britain and obstructed defense efforts against the Picts and the Scots, causing the British to seek help from the Saxons, who would soon control the island.

541 A.D.: Justinian Plague

First appearing in Egypt, the Justinian plague spread through Palestine and the Byzantine Empire, and then throughout the Mediterranean.

The plague changed the course of the empire, squelching Emperor Justinian’s plans to bring the Roman Empire back …read more

Source: HISTORY

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A Free-Market Agenda Maxine Waters Can Support

February 27, 2019 in Economics

By Diego Zuluaga

Diego Zuluaga

The American banking system is poised for a revolution —
one driven by technology and competition — but on Capitol
Hill, it’s facing a traffic jam. Maxine Waters, a progressive
firebrand, chairs the House Financial Services Committee. The
Senate remains under Republican control. The White House, for all
its deregulatory pronouncements, seems too busy with other issues
to devote much energy to major legislative changes to financial
regulation.

Is this a recipe for gridlock? Maybe. But inaction would hurt
millions of Americans who stand to benefit from greater access to
innovative financial services. Moreover, increasing financial
inclusion and lowering the regulatory burden on financial firms are
not incompatible goals. In fact, a free-market agenda can achieve
both. Despite the political conflict, there’s a clear route
for some much-needed reforms — places where both
conservatives and progressives like Waters can find some common
ground.

Waters wants to be a champion for those currently underserved by
the U.S. financial system. There are many of the so-called
unbanked: According to the Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation
, 6.5 percent of U.S. households (8.4 million
families) lack a bank account. For minorities and the poor, the
share is much higher: 16.9 percent of African-American households
and 14 percent of Hispanic ones lack a bank account, compared with
just 3 percent of white households.

Conservatives and
progressives have more in common on financial services than you
might think.

The persistently large number of unbanked Americans is
symptomatic of a major problem. Ownership of a bank account enables
people to build a credit history, making it easier to borrow in the
future. Banking relationships allow families to plan their
expenditures and investments, to safely store their savings and to
earn a return on them. Progressives worry that millions of
Americans might be held back if they lack a bank account.
Conservatives who support free enterprise should be concerned that
government over-regulation has raised the cost to banks of managing
accounts, pricing out lower-income people in particular.

Indeed, cost is a major reason why millions of families do not
use banks. A majority of the unbanked cite not having enough funds
as a reason to forgo an account, presumably because they would be
subject to fees for having a balance that is either too low or
negative. A further 20 percent mention high and unpredictable
account fees. Others find bank hours and locations inconvenient.
Worryingly, 59 percent of the unbanked say they’re “not
at all likely” to open a bank account in the next year.

This is true despite the fast pace of innovation in consumer
credit. Since 2007, there has been a rapid growth of
technology-enabled financial firms, so-called …read more

Source: OP-EDS