American History

It's hard to make time for history books when there is so much history crashing down on us every single day — and especially when that history is divisive, aggressive and seemingly never-ending.

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Miami Dade College's Freedom Tower, the so-called "Ellis Island of the South", has been selected for a chance to receive funding by the 2018 Partners in Preservation competition. 

Partners in Preservation is a national competition that aims to raise awareness of the importance of safeguarding historic places. This year, the topic is sites that celebrate diversity and fight for equality. The winner will receive up to $150,000.

Randy Carter is a member of the Director's Guild of America and has notched some significant credits during his Hollywood career. Administrative assistant on The Conversation. Part of the casting department for Apocalypse Now. Longtime first assistant director on Seinfeld. Work on The Blues Brothers, The Godfather II and more.

No president of the United States has ever been removed from office by impeachment. But it's hard to watch the news these days without hearing the word.

So, what does it actually take to impeach a president?

In this Ron's Office Hours, NPR's Ron Elving explains the procedure by which the House of Representative and the U.S. Senate remove a sitting president.

Pop quiz: What's a word you use a hundred times a day — that doesn't show up in the dictionary?

Give up? Mmhmm.

You got it! Mmhmm is a small word that's often used unconsciously. But it can actually tell us a lot about language, bias and the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Once upon a time, English speakers didn't say "mmhmm." But Africans did, according to Robert Thompson, an art history professor at Yale University who studies Africa's influence on the Americas.

When I was a high school junior in New Orleans taking AP American history, my teacher assigned us a paperback book. Slim in contrast to our hulking required textbook, it was a funny, compelling, even shocking read. Lies My Teacher Told Me, by James Loewen, explained how history textbooks got the story of America wrong, usually by soft-pedaling, oversimplifying and burying the thorny drama and uncertainties of the past under a blanket of dull, voice-of-God narration.

Van Turner has a secret: He knows the whereabouts of the controversial Confederate statues removed last year from two parks in Memphis, Tenn.

"They have to be kept in a secretive location," said Turner on a recent afternoon, standing in a park overlooking the Mississippi River where one of the statues — of Confederate President Jefferson Davis — once stood. "For fear of someone trying to go in and get them."

Decades before the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016 that claimed 49 lives, another deadly attack on LGBTQ Americans took place.

It was 45 years ago this Sunday that one of the worst attacks on the LGBTQ community left 32 people dead.

Courtesy of Lynn Lavner

Thanks to my father’s late-life nostalgia, last summer my family reconnected with a woman we’d known back in Brooklyn decades ago who’d gone on to live a remarkable life. Her name is Lynn Lavner, and it turns out, she’d been living under 10 miles away from my parents’ place in south Florida for years. It also turns out that in the decades since we’d seen her, she’d become a pioneering crusader in the movement for equal rights for the LGBTQ community.

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Florida was the first state to enact a "stand your ground" law. Under the law, a person is allowed to use lethal force — and has no duty to retreat — if they believe they are in danger.

Since it was enacted in 2005, the law has drawn high-profile controversies, including the shooting of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

Harvard professor Caroline Light was recently in Miami to talk about the law’s historical roots and her book “Stand Your Ground: A History of America's Love Affair with Lethal Self-Defense.”

OK, so you've just left the hospital with your newborn baby. You're relieved, because the baby is healthy, your heart overflows with love and you're excited to begin this new chapter in your life. Then, most parents will tell you, on the way home a strange feeling sets in.

It's as if you went to sleep in one world and woke up in another, a world that seems familiar but slightly off-key. As you gaze into the eyes of this fragile new being, it hits you: "What have I done?" And, more importantly, "What do I do now?"

Editor's note: This report contains language and an image some may find offensive or upsetting.

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice stands high on a hillside overlooking downtown Montgomery, Ala. Beyond the buildings you can see the winding Alabama River and hear the distant whistle of a train — the nexus that made the city a hub for the domestic slave trade.

Before he was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered what was to be the last public address of his life to a crowd of sanitation workers, who were about to strike for a living wage. On Wednesday — the 50th anniversary of King’s death — we discussed his legacy and economic justice.

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination on April 4, 1968 shook the nation. For me, it was a devastating re-awakening to changes that had taken place in America, in the years I had been away.

"The Second Amendment."

If you've lived in America, you've heard those words spoken with feeling.

The feeling may have been forceful, even vehement.

"Why? The Second Amendment, that's why."

The same words can be heard uttered in bitterness, as if in blame.

"Why? The Second Amendment, that's why."

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