I don’t know if anyone saw this hour-long special on CBS last night, but it was pretty interesting. They shed some new evidence into the light and used new animation techniques to show how Oswald killed Kennedy and how conspiracy theorists have played a role in (what CBS news believes) is the greatest conspiracy theory ever. It’s narrated and hosted by Bob Schieffer and has interviews and quotes form Dan Rather, Walter Cronkite and a host of other famous newscasters.
Where do most young people first “find” history? Well, their first formal encounter with history is in school, through textbooks. Textbooks are an exceptionally powerful way to take the temperature of changing historical reputations over time.
And here’s an especially timely article about how President Kennedy’s reputation has radically shifted over time in American textbooks.
‘Ask a Slave’ is a comedy web series by Azie Dungey, a former ‘living history actor’ at Mount Vernon just outside of Washington, D.C. The series is based on real questions she was asked by tourists while working at the site. ‘Ask a Slave’ is getting a lot of media attention – it makes fun of public ignorance about history and makes some subtle references to sociopolitical conversations about race and equality that are very relevant to today. In one episode her character, Lizzie Mae, makes an underhand connection between the legality of slave marriage to how gay marriage is viewed legally in several states today. In another episode she has an interview with an abolitionist that does not portray abolitionists favorably. It’s definitely worth watching an episode or two. Or six.
More “uses of the past”: a feature from the New York Times about beauty pageants — specifically, Miss America– and whether they are still relevant — or ever were “relevant”– for American women in 2013. The feature harkens back to the infamous 1968 protest by feminist activists on the Atlantic City boardwalk, outside the convention center where the Miss American pageant was going on. See the photo below: