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Archive for August, 2010

‘Waist’ not, want not

“They say that in the Army, the chow is mighty fine,
A chicken jumped off the table and started marking time.
Oh Lord, I wanna go, Oh Lord I wanna go
Oh Lord I wanna go home.”

There’s talk in the news that the nation’s latest military recruits are wider than they were before.

While largess may be the challenge for today’s troops, during the world wars it was waste (not ‘waist’) that was the killer.

On the home front families rationed their food, so soldiers (and Europe) could have a meal. Click on over to our Facebook page to see posters from both sides of the ocean, reminding people to waste not.… [ Read all ]

Sex…and the Civil Rights Bill

Forty-seven years ago this past Saturday, Martin Luther King, Jr., touched a nation with his inspiring words. Just six months later in February of 1964, one small but powerful word was added to the House version of the divisive Civil Rights Act.

Representative Howard Smith of Virginia sponsored an amendment to the bill—he added the word “sex” to the list of categories such as race and religion that the employers couldn’t consider when hiring someone. He thought the addition was so ludicrous it would kill the bill on the floor.

Smith’s track record on civil rights was clear: he protested Brown v. Board of Education, and in 1957 when another civil rights bill (this one on voting) had come before his rules committee, he had said, “The Southern people have never accepted the colored race as a race of people who had equal intelligence . . . as the white people of the South.”

But in 1964—whatever his intent for including the word, whether to torpedo a bill he opposed or even to try to gain some benefit from a bill he knew would pass—the word “sex” stuck around in this civil rights bill.

The bill cleared the House and Senate and later, when a conference committee suggested removing the word, committee members Representative Martha Griffiths and Senator Margaret Chase Smith insisted it remain.

With or without “sex,” the bill was hugely contested. One out … [ Read all ]

Facial Hair Friday: In honor of MLK

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at center.
March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at center. (542015 / 306-SSM-4C(51)15)

This Saturday marks the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I have a dream” speech.

I was looking through ARC at the pictures of how many people participated, when I noticed something that had never registered before: Martin Luther King Jr. has a mustache.

But when you look at the picture above, you realize why I didn’t notice earlier. He is completely calm and collected, even as he is about to speak to thousands and thousands of people (see image below).  He is focused, in the moment, intense. He is making history. How could anyone watching in person or on film notice minor details then?

Thursday’s Photo Caption Contest

Rebecca, it may be time to quit your day job. You have wowed another one of our guest judges, Kathleen Williams, Executive Director of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

The actual caption for this fund-raising fanatic? “The ‘Human Squirrel’ who did many daring ‘stunts’ in climbing for benefit of War Relief Funds in New York City. He is shown here at a dizzy height in Times Square.” The photo was taken circa 1918, back when superheroes sported suits, not spandex.

Have you got what it takes to craft a caption that catches our eye, and tickles our funny bone? If you do, you could win 30% off at the Archives eStore.

Have a gander at this week’s photo and give us your best!

Here’s one to get you started:


[ Read all ]

Happy Birthday, National Park Service!

On this day in 1916, the National Park Service was formed within the Department of Interior.

[ Read all ]