|Jockey for Position|
January 30, 2016, Snopes by Dan Evon
CLAIM: Black lawn jockey figures were used to aid escaping slaves on the Underground Railroad.
|Ron Chernow: What Would Have Happened If Alexander Hamilton Lived|
January 30, 2016, Time by Richard Zoglin
Historian Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton, which the New York Times called “by far the best biography ever written about the man,” was also the inspiration for the hit Broadway show. Biographer Richard Zoglin, author of Hope: Entertainer of the Century, talked with Chernow about Hamilton’s influence on modern America, his fascinating mind and the making of his life story into a hip-hop musical.
|‘Fujizuka’ mound in Shizuoka dates to Edo Period, survey shows|
January 29, 2016, The Asahi Shimbun (Japan) by Staff
Local officials here confirmed that a famed "fujizuka" (mound representing Mount Fuji) dates to at least the 18th century.
Located near Tagonoura beach in the Suzukawanishi-cho district in the city, Suzukawa no Fujizuka was originally considered for nomination as a UNESCO World Heritage site, but the plan was eventually dropped because little was known about the history and origins of the site. Mount Fuji was inscribed on the World Heritage list in 2013.
|Revolutionary War treasure unearthed by N.J. church|
January 26, 2016, USA Today by Jerry Carino
On Sundays, they worshiped together at church. On weekdays, they burned each other’s barns and stole each other’s livestock. There was looting, shooting and, occasionally, death.
This was the scene at Old First Church in May 1777, as Revolutionary War fervor rose toward a fever pitch. The oldest Baptist church in New Jersey, a congregation founded shortly after Middletown was settled in 1664, was splintering apart. So its elders took extraordinary measures: declaring allegiance with the patriots, censuring Tory sympathizers and excommunicating others, including some prominent local citizens.
|Amherst College Drops ‘Lord Jeff’ as Mascot|
January 26, 2016, The New York Times by Jess Bidgood
Lord Jeffery Amherst, the colonial-era military commander who gave this town its name, will no longer represent the prestigious liberal arts college here.
The trustees at Amherst College said on Tuesday that the institution would not use any references to Lord Jeffery, its unofficial mascot, in official communications or symbolism, and that it would find a new name for the Lord Jeffery Inn, a campus hotel owned by the college. In a statement, the trustees also said that a group made up mostly of alumni and students would consider whether the college should adopt a new, and official, mascot.
|500 years after reformation, Pope knocks on Lutherans' door|
January 25, 2016, AFP by Angus MacKinnon
Pope Francis will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation by attending an ecumenical service in Sweden as a guest of the Lutheran church, the Vatican said Monday.
In a highly symbolic act of reconciliation that would even recently have been unthinkable for a Catholic pontiff, Francis will visit the Swedish city of Lund on October 31 for a commemoration jointly organised by his own inter-faith agency and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).
|The long history of Muslims and Christians killing people together|
January 25, 2016, The Washington Post (DC) by Ishaan Tharoor
In 1683, a vast Ottoman army camped outside the gates of Vienna. For centuries thereafter, the siege and final decisive battle that took place would be cast as a defining moment in a clash of civilizations -- that time the forces of Islam were halted at the ramparts of Christendom.
Yet look just a little bit harder, and that tidy narrative falls apart. The Ottoman assault had been coordinated in league with French King Louis XIV. And perhaps more than half of the soldiers seeking to capture the Austrian capital were Christians themselves. There were Greeks, Armenians, Hungarians, Bulgarians, Romanians, Serbs, all fighting alongside Arabs, Turks, Kurds and others in the Ottoman ranks.
|Archaeologists uncover surprising secret in Bristol Cathedral’s first dig for more than 150 years|
January 24, 2016, Bristol Post (UK) by David_Clensy
I FIND Dr Kevin Blockley in Bristol Cathedral's north transept, kneeling in the shadow of the great wooden Bishop's throne. His head is lost inside a hole in the floor where a few of the Victorian flagstones have been lifted.
The trowel in his hand is brushing gently at a small stone vault that has been revealed beneath the red-brown earth.
At just a metre in length, it is clearly the grave of a child, but which young soul found his or her final resting place in this prestigious spot, a few yards from the high altar, is likely to forever remain a mystery.
|The hideout of the Black Death: Historical pathogens survived for more than 4 centuries in Europe|
January 22, 2016, Phys.org by Staff
Black Death, mid-fourteenth century plague, is undoubtedly the most famous historical pandemic. Within only five years it killed 30-50% of the European population. Unfortunately it didn't stop there. Plague resurged throughout Europe leading to continued high mortality and social unrest over the next three centuries.
With its nearly worldwide distribution today, it's surprising that the once omnipresent threat of plague is all but absent in Western Europe. Plague's abrupt disappearance from Europe leaves us with many unanswered questions about the disease's history. Where did the outbreaks begin? Where was plague hiding between outbreaks? What would cause a resurgence of the dreaded plague?
|Whitesboro has decided to change 'racist' village seal, 'The Daily Show' claims|
January 22, 2016, The Syracuse Post-Standard (NY) by Geoff Herbert
After weeks of criticism in the national spotlight, an Upstate New York village has decided to change their official seal.
"The Daily Show" aired a segment Thursday night over the controversy in Whitesboro, N.Y., where residents recently debated whether or not to change the village seal. Officials say the image depicts a friendly wrestling match between Hugh White, the town's founder, and a member of the local Oneida tribe.
|Evidence of Burial Ground Is Discovered in East Harlem|
January 21, 2016, The New York Times by David W. Dunlap
For nearly a decade, keepers of Harlem’s historical flame have insisted — in the face of official skepticism — that a significant antebellum landmark lay beneath an enormous bus depot near the Harlem River.
They had plenty of documents to show that the 126th Street Bus Depot in Upper Manhattan occupied the site of a Reformed Dutch churchyard where New Yorkers of African descent had been buried from the 17th century through the 19th century. What they lacked were any remains.
Now, they have them.
January 21, 2016, Now I Know by Dan Lewis
François-Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire, was a French writer during the Enlightenment. Known for what would today be considered snark, he often made comments to which many would take offense. For example, in his 1764 treatise Dictionnaire Philosophique, Voltaire quipped that “common sense is not so common.” This smarter-than-thou attitude was a theme throughout his works, and, one would expect, his life as well. For example, if Voltaire were around today, he’d be one of those people who didn’t buy a ticket to the billion dollar Powerball drawing, as the lottery is a sucker’s bet. Instead, you’d expect him to be the guy who tweeted out that he didn’t lose because he didn’t play, and instead has $4 more than you do.
Well, unless the odds were in his favor. Which, when Voltaire was actually alive, they were. And it made him very rich.
|A Capital Idea- How A Pile Of Unpaid Bills Led To Washington, D.C.|
January 21, 2016, Today I Found Out by Staff
You probably know that the “D.C.” in Washington, D.C., stands for “District of Columbia” and that the district is not part of any state. But do you know why America’s Founding Fathers placed such importance on creating a capital outside of any state? We owe it all to piles of unpaid bills.
|After Outrage Publisher Pulls Happy-Slaves Children’s Book|
January 17, 2016, The Root by Demetria Lucas d’Oyley
I learned about Scholastic’s new children’s book, A Birthday Cake for George Washington, when a friend emailed me on Friday to ask, “Uh ... have you seen this [expletive]?” Her note was accompanied by the book’s back cover, which depicted an illustration of a smiling enslaved man and child, accompanied by their beaming master—America’s first president, George Washington. Washington had his arm around the enslaved man’s shoulder like they were bros instead of oppressor and oppressed.
My knee-jerk reaction was a string of expletives as I tried to process this level of disrespect. Can you imagine a modern-day American publisher pushing a book about a cheery Jewish father and daughter on a trivial mission to bake a cake for the birthday of, say, an SS guard at Auschwitz? Can you picture a children’s book depicting a Jewish dad and child at a concentration camp snuggled up and cozy with Hitler?
|Making Maps Under Fire During the Revolutionary War|
January 17, 2016, National Geographic by Simon Worrall
During the Revolutionary War, a good map could mean the difference between victory and defeat, especially for British troops facing guerrilla tactics for the first time. Few maps had been made of the interior of what would become the United States, and commanders often had to rely on maps drawn by soldiers in the midst of the fighting.
The new book Revolution: Mapping the Road to American Independence collects many such battle-tested maps, which give fresh perspectives on the period’s key conflicts. Speaking from Washington, D.C, authors Richard Brown and Paul Cohen explain what Harry Potter and maps have in common; why maps incite wars; and how some cartographers were badly wounded as they drew their maps.
|Revealed: Marie Antoinette’s Scandalous Secret Letters to Her Lover|
January 17, 2016, The Daily Beast by Erin Zaleski
In January of 1792, less than two years before she lost her head to the guillotine, Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna von Habsburg-Lothringen composed a secret letter.
“I love you madly,” the woman more commonly known as Marie Antoinette wrote from the Tuileries Palace, where she languished under house arrest. “There is never a moment in which I do not adore you.” (See the PDF)
The letter’s sentimental declarations were later blacked out, and for good reason. Its recipient was not her husband, King Louis XVI, but her alleged longtime lover, the Swedish Count Axel von Fersen.
|How Zildjian Cymbals Made It From the Ottoman Empire to Now|
January 15, 2016, Smithsonian Magazine by Staff
VIDEO: In 1622, Avedis Zildjian, an Armenian metalworker in Turkey, melted a top-secret combination of metals to create the perfect cymbal. Nearly 400 years later, Zildjian's descendants are one of the most well-known cymbal sellers in the world today.
|NZ's oldest shipyard unearthed in paddock|
January 15, 2016, The Northern Advocate (New Zealand) by Peter de Graaf
New Zealand's oldest shipyard is emerging, millimetre by millimetre, from the dirt of a Northland paddock.
Twenty archaeologists are at work in Horeke, South Hokianga, where the Deptford Dockyard started business 190 years ago.
|Archaeologists believe they've found artifacts from Alaska's 'cursed' warship, the Neva|
January 14, 2016, Alaska Dispatch News by Mike Dunham
In January 1813, 26 men shivered on a cold beach in Southeast Alaska. They had scrambled from a wreck that claimed the lives of most of their shipmates, fighting waves and rocks that in some cases literally tore the shirts from their backs. The freezing rain mixed with snow. A constant wind blew off the North Pacific. They had no shelter, supplies or any hope of rescue. No one knew where they were.
Thus fate dealt with the survivors of the Neva, the famous and infamous Russian frigate that may be called the most important vessel in Alaska history.
|Plague may have persisted in Europe during 300-year period, including 'Black Death'|
January 13, 2016, ScienceDaily by Staff
The bacteria that causes plague, Y. pestis, may have persisted long-term in Europe from the 14th to 17th century in an unknown reservoir, according to a study published January 13, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Lisa Seifert from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany, and colleagues.
|Actual Site Of Salem Witch Hangings Discovered|
January 13, 2016, CBS News by Saff
After nearly three centuries of conflicting beliefs, the city of Salem confirms a team of scholars verified the site where 19 innocent people were hanged during the 1692 witch trials as Proctor’s Ledge. The historic site is an area located in between Proctor and Pope Streets in Salem, Massachusetts.
“We are happy to be able to bring years of debate to an end,” Salem State University Professor Emerson Baker told the city of Salem. “Our analysis draws upon multiple lines of research to confirm the location of the executions.”
|A Medical Pop-Up Book From the 17th Century|
January 11, 2016, Columbia University Medical Center by Staff
Archives & Special Collections at Columbia University’s Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library is pleased to announce the digitization of an important anatomical flap book – an early attempt to represent the three dimensionality of the human body in the two dimensional format of the book.
Kleiner welt Spiegel, das ist, Abbildung Göttlicher Schöpffung an dess Menschen Leib: mit beygesetzer Schrifftlicher Erklärung (Ulm, 1661) is a German translation of Johann Remmelin’s Catoptrum Microcosmicum originally published in Latin in 1613. Remmelin (1583-1632) designed male and female paper figures using a series of overlapping flaps to illustrate the successive layers of the human body. Intended more for the curious layperson than the medical student or physician, Remmelin’s work was a popular science best-seller of its day. It was reprinted numerous times throughout the 17th and 18th centuries and translated into Dutch, French, and German.
|Report assesses conditions of several S.C. slave dwellings|
January 10, 2016, The Post and Courier (SC) by Robert Behre
Historian and advocate Joseph McGill still has no estimate of how many slave dwellings survive in South Carolina, but he has a better idea of the condition of some that do.
McGill recently received the results of a structural assessment of 15 cabins at nine sites across the state, beyond the Lowcountry. The reports will be given to their owners as they weigh future repairs.
|Sweet deal: NY fort gets $10K grant from Mars candy company|
January 09, 2016, The Associated Press by Staff
The Mars candy company has awarded a $10,000 grant to Fort Ticonderoga for research into how chocolate was used by the armies that occupied the site during the Revolutionary War.
The historic site and tourist attraction in the southern Adirondacks announced this week that it was awarded the grant from Mars Chocolate North America. The funding will support upcoming programs, including a new exhibit highlighting how chocolate was an 18th-century commodity and key ingredient in a soldier’s diet.
|How a Nearly Successful Slave Revolt Was Intentionally Lost to History|
January 08, 2016, Smithsonian Institution by Marissa Fessenden
Two hundred and five years ago, on the night of January 8, 1811, more than 500 enslaved people took up arms in one of the largest slave rebellions in U.S. history. They carried cane knives (used to harvest sugar cane), hoes, clubs and some guns as they marched toward New Orleans chanting “Freedom or Death,” writes Leon A. Waters for the Zinn Education Project.
The uprising began on the grounds of a plantation owned by Manuel Andry on the east side of the Mississippi, in a region called the German Coast of Louisiana. There, a slave driver named Charles Deslondes of Haitian decscent, led a small band of slaves into the mansion of the plantation owners, where they wounded Andry and killed his son Gilbert. The group then armed themselves with muskets and ammunition from the plantation's basement. Some donned Andry’s militia uniforms.