TIME Civil Rights

These Slain Civil Rights Workers Are Getting the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Civil Rights Workers Murdered
From left, Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman Underwood Archives / Getty Images

What happened to James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner?

On Monday, President Obama will award 19 people with the highest honor possible for an American civilian, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Though the majority of the honorees, like Tom Brokaw and Stephen Sondheim, are famous and living, one of the items on the list of recipients stands out: James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner.

Not only is theirs the only item on the list honoring a group rather than an individual, but their names may also be unfamiliar to most people, as well as the achievement, half a century ago, for which the three men are being honored — one that resulted in their deaths.

Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner were part of the “Freedom Summer” voter-registration drive that took place in Mississippi in 1964; they were killed that June. Their deaths, in the words of the White House, “shocked the nation and their efforts helped to inspire many of the landmark civil rights advancements that followed.”

Here’s what happened to them:

As TIME reported in its issue of July 3, 1964, Chaney and Schwerner were among the staffers at an “indoctrination course” in Ohio at which hundreds of Northern college students prepared to go to Mississippi to register voters. Schwerner, then 24, was a social worker from New York who had spent the previous two years, along with his wife Rita, working for civil rights with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Chaney was a high-school drop-out who had joined CORE and volunteered to be an instructor at the orientation for voter registration. Goodman was one of their students, a junior at Queens College who was relatively new to the civil-rights movement. They left the orientation, along with five other people, on June 20 and drove to Mississippi.

Freedom Summer map
From the July 3, 1964, issue of TIME

On the morning of June 21, they visited the office of the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO)—an advocacy group that was one of the organizers of the drive—in Meridian, Miss., before driving to see the site of a recently burned-down church in the area. They met with one of the church’s lay leaders, who described to them what had happened during the fire, and then set off to return to Meridian. Their car was stopped for speeding around 5:00 p.m. near Philadelphia, Miss. They were booked at the county jail, fined and told to leave.

Late that night, the police deputy escorted them to the edge of town. But they never returned to Meridian. COFO alerted the FBI and the highway patrol. Within three days, their car was found — gutted and stripped — and a full-scale search was underway (see map). It was slow going, according to TIME:

At week’s end, there was still no sign of the missing men. Some people shared the suspicion voiced by Neshoba County Sheriff L. A. Rainey: “They’re just hiding and trying to cause a lot of bad publicity for this part of the state.” But with each passing day, the possibility of a hoax seemed less and less likely. Whatever their fate, whether dead or alive, the case of the three young civil rights workers would reverberate around the U.S. for the rest of this summer and beyond.

Their bodies were found more than a month later. All three had been shot.

Three years later, the local Sheriff and his deputy were indicted by a federal grand jury on civil rights charges. Though the deaths of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner were considered, no murder charges could be bought. (Those would have had to have come from Mississippi, not the federal government.) When the related trial began that October, more than a dozen Mississippians faced charges.

During the trial, eyewitness accounts by paid informers revealed what had happened to the three men. As TIME reported:

Carlton Wallace Miller, 43, a Meridian police sergeant who received $2,400 from the FBI over a two-year period, testified that the Meridian chapter of the White Knights of the Klan had marked Schwerner for “elimination—the term for murdering someone.” To lure Schwerner from Meridian, where he and his wife Rita were operating a Negro community center, said Miller, Klansmen burned down the Mount Zion (Negro) Church at Longdale, outside Philadelphia. Five days later, Schwerner and two companions, Goodman, a white man, and Chancy, a Negro, drove 50 miles to Longdale to inspect the ruins of the church.

Near Philadelphia, the three men were arrested on a speeding charge by Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price, 29. Soon, said James E. Jordan, 41, who received $8,000 from the FBI and has been living safely in Georgia and Florida since turning informer nearly three years ago, the word went swiftly around Meridian that there were some “civil rights workers locked up and they need their rear ends torn up.”

Jordan and seven others, he said, armed themselves and drove to Philadelphia. There they parked by the courthouse where Ethel Glen (“Hop”) Barnett, 45, current Democratic nominee for sheriff of Neshoba County and one of the defendants, told them to wait. Two uniformed men in a city police car informed them that the prospective victims had been released. Later they were told by men in a highway patrol car that the victims would be stopped somewhere down the highway by Deputy Sheriff Price, who, along with Neshoba Sheriff Lawrence Rainey, is now on trial.

…They were driven into a deserted area, and Jordan got out to stand guard. “The cars then went on up the road,” testified Jordan. “I heard doors slam and loud talk. Then I heard several shots.”

Seven of the defendants in that trial were found guilty of conspiracy. In 2005, a former Klansman became the first person to face actual murder charges related to the case; he was convicted and sentenced, aged 80, to 60 years in jail.

President Obama mentioned each by name in his 2013 speech commemorating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr’s March on Washington. “To dismiss the magnitude of this progress — to suggest, as some sometimes do, that little has changed — that dishonors the courage and the sacrifice of those who paid the price to march in those years,” the President said. “Medgar Evers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, Martin Luther King Jr. — they did not die in vain. Their victory was great.”

Read TIME’s original 1964 report on the search for the missing men in the TIME Vault: The Grim Roster

TIME

On Evolution Day, Remember That Darwin Knew He’d Meet Resistance

127035224
A statue of Darwin in the Natural History Museum, London Philippe Lissac—Godong / Getty Images

Plus, TIME's original coverage of the anti-evolution arguments of the 1925 Scopes trial

Correction appended, Nov. 24, 2014, 5:49 p.m.

Time was, “Darwin” was just a guy’s name. It was not a noun (Darwinism) or an adjective (Darwinian). And it certainly wasn’t a flash point for debate between folks who prefer a Scriptural view of the history of life and those who take a more scientific approach. That started to change 155 years ago today, on Nov. 24, 1859, when Charles Darwin’s seminal work—On the Origin of Species—was published.

Darwin knew that by supporting an empirical theory of evolution as opposed to the Biblical account of Creation he was asking for trouble. Two weeks before the book’s publication, he sent letters to 11 prominent scientists of his day, asking for their support—or at least their forbearance—and acknowledging that for some of them, that would not be easy. To the celebrated French botanist Alphonse de Candolle he wrote:

Lord, how savage you will be, if you read it, and how you will long to crucify me alive! I fear it will produce no other effect on you; but if it should stagger you in ever so slight a degree, in this case, I am fully convinced that you will become, year after year, less fixed in your belief in the immutability of species.

And to American Asa Gray, another botanist, he conceded:

Let me add I fully admit that there are very many difficulties not satisfactorily explained by my theory of descent with modification, but I cannot possibly believe that a false theory would explain so many classes of facts as I think it certainly does explain.

But the whirlwind came anyway. Speaking of Darwin in 1860, the Bishop of Oxford asked: “Was it through his grandfather or his grandmother that he claimed his descent from a monkey?” The battle raged in the U.S. in the summer of 1925, with the trial of John Scopes, a substitute school teacher charged with violating a Tennessee statute forbidding the teaching of evolution in schools.

But Darwin and his theory of evolution endured, so much so that Nov. 24 is now recognized as Evolution Day. As if serendipity and circumstance were conspiring to validate that decision, it was on another Nov. 24, in 1974, that the fossilized remains of Lucy, the australopithecus who did so much to fill in a major gap in human evolution, were found in Ethiopia.

In honor of Lucy and Evolution Day and Darwin himself, check out TIME’s coverage of the florid anti-evolution closing argument of prosecuting attorney and three-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan during the Scopes trial, as quoted in the magazine’s Aug. 10, 1925 issue:

“Darwin suggested two laws, sexual selection and natural selection. Sexual selection has been laughed out of the class room, and natural selection is being abandoned, and no new explanation is satisfactory even to scientists. Some of the more rash advocates of Evolution are wont to say that Evolution is as firmly established as the law of gravitation or the Copernician theory.

“The absurdity of such a claim is apparent when we remember that any one can prove the law of gravitation by throwing a weight into the air and that any one can prove the roundness of the earth by going around it, while no one can prove Evolution to be true in any way whatever.”

Bryan died mere days after the trial ended but, as the historical record shows, his strenuous efforts paid off—sort of. Scopes was duly convicted. His sentence for teaching what most of the world now accepts as science: $100.

Read the full text of that story, free of charge, here in the TIME archives, or in its original format, in the TIME Vault: Dixit

Correction: The original version of this article misstated the date of Darwin Day. Darwin Day is typically celebrated on February 12.

TIME movies

The Original Cowardly Lion Costume from The Wizard of Oz Is Up for Auction

Bert Lahr In 'The Wizard Of Oz' as the Cowardly Lion
Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion in a scene from the film 'The Wizard Of Oz', 1939. MGM Studios/Getty Images

Could fetch more than $1 million

The iconic Cowardly Lion costume donned by Bert Lahr in the Wizard of Oz is up for auction in New York.

The costume is one of many rare film relics being sold at the Bonhams auction house on Monday. The costume is fashioned from actual lion hide and was worn in over a dozen scenes in the 1939 film, Bonhams said. The costume is sure to go for a pretty penny, the Associated Press reports: A secondary version recently sold for almost $1 million.

The costume will appear alongside other film memorabilia including props from the Wizard of Oz and costumes from Gone with the Wind, Pretty Woman and Rosemary’s Baby as a part of “TCM Presents: There’s No Place like Hollywood.

TIME Media

How TIME Secured Its First Interview with Osama bin Laden

Osama Bin Laden
Osama bin Laden is shown in Afghanistan in this April 1998 file photo Anonymous—AP

In 1996, the magazine tracked him down

After the car carrying Sheik Abdullah Azzam hit a land mine, on this day 25 years ago — Nov. 24, 1989 — it took years for TIME to take note of what had come to pass: Azzam’s death meant that his number-two in the jihadi organization Azzam had founded would come to lead the movement.

That man was named Osama bin Laden. It was 25 years ago that he went from being a financier and deputy to the top global proponent of jihad.

Bin Laden received a small mention in TIME in 1993 in a list of figures related to the history of fighting in Afghanistan — but in 1996 the magazine’s Scott MacLeod secured an exclusive interview. Here’s how it happened, as he would describe in the May 6 issue of that year:

Osama bin Laden is a hard man to find. An exile from Saudi Arabia, he has lived in Sudan for five years, but he is a recluse, and his whereabouts are known only to his aides and a handful of Sudanese officials. To arrange to see him, I first had to track down one of bin Laden’s associates in London. Then, at a tearoom near Charing Cross Station, I made a request for a meeting. Several weeks later, bin Laden sent encouragement. I traveled to Khartoum, and waited for a few days at a hotel when a message came through the front desk, “The businessman will see you.”

A Toyota with black-tinted windows picked me up and drove me through Khartoum. Finally, after arriving at a building on the outskirts of the city, I was shown into a cramped office where several bodyguards stood watchfully. Tall, barefoot, smiling broadly, bin Laden greeted me in a gold-trimmed robe and red-checkered headdress.

The final story functions more as an introduction to extremism than as a profile of the man in question, but it nevertheless appears to hint at what the world now knows was the extent of his influence.

Read the full story here in the TIME Vault: The Palladin of Jihad

TIME World War II

Swiss Museum to Accept German Collector’s ‘Nazi Art’ Trove

File picture showing the facade of the Kunsmuseum Bern art museum in Bern
The facade of the Kunsmuseum Bern art museum is seen in the Swiss capital of Bern, on May 7, 2014. Arnd Wiegmann—Reuters

The museum will work with German officials to return pieces looted by the Nazis from Jewish owners

BERLIN — A Swiss museum agreed on Monday to accept a priceless collection of long-hidden art bequeathed to it by German collector Cornelius Gurlitt, but said it will work with German officials to ensure any pieces looted by the Nazis from Jewish owners are returned.

German authorities in 2012 seized 1,280 pieces from Gurlitt’s apartment while investigating a tax case, including works by Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall. Gurlitt died in May, designating Switzerland’s Kunstmuseum Bern as his sole heir.

The museum’s president, Christoph Schaeublin, told reporters in Berlin that the Kunstmuseum Bern had decided to accept the collection after long, difficult deliberations.

“The ultimate aim was to clarify how the Kunstmuseum Bern could meet the responsibilities imposed upon them by the bequest,” Schaeublin said.

Shortly before he died, Gurlitt reached a deal with the German government to check whether hundreds of the works were looted from Jewish owners by the Nazis. Authorities have said that deal is binding on any heirs, and Schaeublin said the museum would undertake extensive research to determine the provenance of the works.

According to an agreement the museum worked out with German authorities, a task force set up by the government will also continue to investigate the background of the art to determine if it was looted, and whom it was looted from.

If no owner can be found for a looted piece, the agreement calls for the work to be exhibited in Germany with an explanation of its origins so the “rightful owners will have the opportunity to submit their claims.”

German officials said all works will remain in Germany until the task force finishes its work. An update on the research is expected “in the course of 2015.”

One of Gurlitt’s cousins has also filed claim, which a Munich court said Monday would have to be sorted out before the collection goes anywhere.

TIME Science

What You Didn’t Know About William Jennings Bryan. What You Should Know About Darwin

Bryan
William Jennings Bryan, center, arrives at Dayton, Tenn., in 1925. AP

Enthusiasm for improving the human race could have negative consequences

History News Network

This post is in partnership with the History News Network, the website that puts the news into historical perspective. The article below was originally published at HNN.

The action of the North Carolina legislature to pay compensation to victims of a forced sterilization program brings attention to an almost forgotten chapter of American history. It may also provide an opportunity to set the infamous Scopes trial in a broader light and do justice to the much-maligned William Jennings Bryan for his role in that case.

The sterilizations that were carried out in so many American states were a direct result of Charles Darwin’s writing on the theory of evolution, writings which alarmed William Jennings Bryan and led him to campaign against it being taught in American schools. Bryan was no theologian but an intensely practical man concerned with consequences. His goal in life was to make the world a better place and he believed that teaching evolution would not do that. In one area at least he was right.

Darwin followed up his publication of The Origin of Species in 1859 with a second book, The Descent of Man, published in 1871. Bryan had prepared a long statement for the Scopes trial but the trial came to an end before he could enter it in the record. In his statement, he quoted from The Descent of Man, in which Darwin had written:

With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick: we institute poor laws and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to smallpox. Thus the weak members of civilized society propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but, excepting in the case of man himself, hardly anyone is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.45

Bryan was appalled. Darwin, he wrote,

. . . reveals the barbarous sentiment that runs through evolution and dwarfs the moral nature of those who become obsessed with it. Let us analyze the quotation just given. Darwin speaks with approval of the savage custom of eliminating the weak so that only the strong will survive, and complains that “we civilized men do our utmost to check the process of elimination.” How inhuman such a doctrine as this! He thinks it injurious to “build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick” or to care for the poor. Even the medical men come in for criticism because they “exert their utmost skill to save the life of everyone to the last moment.” And then note his hostility to vaccination because it has “preserved thousands who, from a weak constitution would, but for vaccination, have succumbed to smallpox!” All of the sympathetic activities of civilized society are condemned because they enable “the weak members to propagate their kind.” . . . Could any doctrine be more destructive of civilization? And what a commentary on evolution! He wants us to believe that evolution develops a human sympathy that finally becomes so tender that it repudiates the law that created it and thus invites a return to a level where the extinguishing of pity and sympathy will permit the brutal instincts to again do their progressive (?) work! . . . Let no one think that this acceptance of barbarism as the basic principle of evolution died with Darwin. ( Memoirs, p. 550)

Bryan’s concern was with practical outcomes, not “What do Christians believe?” but “What difference does it make?” Evolution seemed to him to be making the wrong kind of difference, and in his time it often did. The development of what is now called “Social Darwinism” is far too complex to be dealt with fairly in this brief article, but German militarism in World War One seems to have been influenced by it and the Turkish genocide of Armenians was justified by some on the same grounds.

The same enthusiasm for improving the human race called “eugenics” led a majority of the states to pass laws allowing the sterilizing and castrating of selected populations, typically prisoners and those with reduced mental abilities. California, in particular, carried out thousands of sterilizations. Unnoticed at the time of the Scopes trial was the publication in the same year, 1925, of Mein Kampf in which Adolf Hitler called for the improvement of the race by the elimination of inferior people: Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, the mentally retarded, and others. Once the full significance of that program became visible at the end of World War Two, eugenics and social Darwinism took on a different appearance and the interest in improving the human race by those methods withered away.

The ongoing struggle over the teaching of evolution in American classrooms and courthouses seems now to be confined to a conflict between what scientists believe and what some Christians believe but unfortunately William Jennings Bryan’s role in the Scopes trial is caricatured in those same terms. Undoubtedly Bryan had a simplistic view of the Bible, but the cause Bryan was championing was one with which most Americans today would probably agree: human beings are not to be treated as mere tools in some gigantic experiment. Human progress is created when societies find new and better ways to incorporate the weakest and most handicapped as fully as possible in the life of their community. The North Carolina legislature has taken an important step in recognizing a wrong turn in its past and has set an example for many other states to follow.

Perhaps it is time also to rescue William Jennings Bryan’s reputation from the stain of the Scopes trial. He was not a brilliant and original thinker but he was a man who consistently worked for the weaker members of society and set the Democratic party on the side of those who were being left behind in the free-for-all evolutionary struggle of the age of industrialization.

Christopher L. Webber is an Episcopal priest and author of some thirty books including “American to the Backbone,” the biography of the fugitive slave and abolition leader, James W.C. Pennington. He is a graduate of Princeton University and the General Theological Seminary who has served parishes in Tokyo, Japan, and the New York area and currently lives in San Francisco. The work of William Jennings Bryan is dealt with more fully in Christopher Webber’s book, “Give Me Liberty: Speeches and Speakers that Shaped America,” Pegasus, 2014.

TIME movies

Back to the Future II Turns 25 — Or, in Future Years, -1

'Back To The Future Part II'
'Back To The Future Part II' Universal Pictures

Read TIME's 1989 review of the futuristic favorite

When the first Back to the Future movie came out in 1985, it didn’t receive a review in TIME — but on the occasion of its release 25 years ago, on Nov. 22, 1989, Back to the Future, Part II provided a convincing argument for the magazine to want to go back in time and correct that oversight.

“Like its predecessor, Back to the Future, Part II does not merely warp time; it twists it, shakes it and stands it on its ear,” wrote critic Richard Schickel. “But as before, the film’s technical brilliance is the least of its appeals. Satirically acute, intricately structured and deftly paced, it is at heart stout, good and untainted by easy sentiment.”

In fact, he went on, in some ways Part II one-upped its predecessor: “…when [Marty] is reinserted into this moment in time and starts to meet himself and the situations of the previous movie, Back to the Future II ceases to be a sequel. It becomes instead a kind of fugue, brilliantly varying and expanding on previously stated themes.”

It also became known as the source of the world’s wish for a working hover board. In TIME’s original review of the movie, the accompanying photo is of Marty McFly in the year 2015 riding said mode of transport — which makes the movie’s 25th birthday a particularly exciting one. The year 2015 is fast approaching, no time machine required, and sure enough, here it is: a real-life hover board is featured on our annual list of the 25 best inventions of the year.

Read the full 1989 review, here in the TIME Vault: More Travels With Marty

TIME movies

The History Behind Benedict Cumberbatch’s The Imitation Game

Alan Turing wasn't the only one who suffered

The new movie The Imitation game is bringing fresh attention to a dark period in early 20th century, when homosexuals in the U.S. and the U.K. were criminally prosecuted because of their sexuality.

The movie, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, depicts the life of Alan Turing—a mathematician, computer scientist and code breaker known as a key architect of the modern computer and an instrumental figure whose skill for breaking Nazi codes helped the allies win World War II.

Despite his genius, Turing was prosecuted in England in 1952 for engaging in a homosexual relationship with a man. In lieu of prison, he was sentenced to take estrogen treatments to reduce his libido, a practice dubbed “chemical castration.” In 1954, he killed himself by cyanide poisoning at the age of 41.

The film depicts the Turing’s unjust prosecution and punishment for homosexuality, though slightly inaccurately (for more information, the Guardian did a helpful analysis of the film’s facts).

What happened to Turing was not uncommon in the United Kingdom and the United States during his lifetime in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. In the U.S., it was “the worst time to be queer because you are not being ignored, you are actively searched for and persecuted,” said John D’Emilio, a professor of gay and lesbian studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “The nice thing about the movie is that it is calling attention to this bit of history that people don’t know anything about.”

MORE: The price of genius

In Britain—where America’s own sodomy laws originated—the story begins in 1533, during the reign of Henry the VIII. That year, the Buggery Act made male sex a capital offense in Britain, punishable by death, usually by hanging. That remained the law until 1861, when the sentence was changed from death to prison, usually with hard labor. In 1885, the law was broadened to criminalize “gross indecency” a vague, catch-all term used to prosecute anything considered to be deviant sexual behavior outside of sodomy, mostly between men. In 1895, the playwright Oscar Wilde was convicted of gross indecency and sentenced to two years of prison and hard labor, about which he penned a poem called “The Balad of Reading Gaol.”

During Alan Turing’s life, public concern over the possibility that homosexuals serving in the military or aiding in the war effort could be blackmailed by enemies intensified the stigma of homosexuality in Britain. After Turing was convicted in 1952, the British government took away his security clearance. Turing was exposed after he reported a petty theft to the police, involving his lover. Their relationship was discovered by the police through his reporting of the crime. He pleaded guilty and opted for hormone treatments, known as chemical castration, instead of prison time. He tragically killed himself with cyanide in 1954.

The 1950s, was the beginning of the end for Britain’s laws against homosexual sex, as the prosecution of prominent people stoked a public backlash against the laws. In 1954, a well known journalist, Peter Wildeblood was convicted of homosexual acts with two prominent and wealthy men, Lord Montagu and Michael Pitt-Rivers, in a public trial that resulted in prison time for all of the men and public opposition to laws against homosexual sex. The trial lead to the creation of the Wolfenden committee of government representatives, ministers, educators, and psychiatrists, which in 1957, published a report recommending the discontinuation of laws against homosexuality.

The report eventually led to the 1967 Sexual Offenses Act, which ended the criminalization of homosexual sex between consenting men over the age of 21 in Britain and Wales. In 1994, the age was lowered to 18, and in 2003, it was lowered to 16, the same age for consenting heterosexual sex.

The U.S. history is slightly different from Britain’s. The fervent prosecution of gay sex didn’t start to happen in earnest until the very period during which Turing lived. The U.S. had anti-sodomy laws inherited from the English settlers, but it wasn’t until the late 1930s, 40s and 50s, during a period coinciding with the World Wars and a strong strain of Christian morality, that police in the U.S. made it a priority to enforce laws against homosexuals.

As in England, concerns that homosexuals could be blackmailed by Communist spies—an idea popularized by Senator Joe McCarthy—drove some of the fervor against homosexuals during that period. In the U.S.—more so than in Britain, it seems—the period was marked by increased police enforcement of the laws. Police officers went undercover in public parks where homosexuals went to meet each other for sexual encounters, in order to uncover them. It was a period of fear for homosexuals in America unparalleled before or since. “This is the height of what I call the homosexual terror in America,” said William Eskridge, a professor at Yale Law School and the author of Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America.

MORE: TIME reviews The Imitation Game

During this same period, Eskridge said, states began to pass laws that allowed courts to institutionalize gay people indefinitely in mental institutions for having “psychotic personalities,” where were experimented on, lobotomized, and given shock therapy.

As was the case with Turing, the prosecution of gays also denied the U.S. some very bright minds who, but for their homosexuality, might have been allowed to contribute more to society. In the late 1950’s, Frank Kameny, an astronomer with a Ph.D. from Harvard, was kicked out of the Army Map Service and barred from serving in theUS government because he was a homosexual.

“One of geniuses of 20th century, the father of modern computers who helped win World War II, who was a lovely person, was destroyed by the anti homosexual terror,” Eskridge said of Turing.

TIME movies

The Real-Life Hunger Games: Meet the Ancient Women Who Lived Like Katniss

Hunger Games Mockingjay
Murray Close—Lionsgate

Women may have battled in the Roman arena, too, according to some evidence

Katniss Everdeen returns to the big screen Friday in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, and though she left the arena behind at the end of Catching Fire, she’s still a gladiator at heart.

Or rather, a gladiatrix.

It turns out there is some historical evidence that women may indeed have fought in the Roman games—though not necessarily alongside their male peers, as Katniss does in the Hunger Games, and likely not with such high stakes.

Kathleen M. Coleman, Professor of Classics at Harvard University, says there are accounts of the emperors staging gladiatorial spectacles in which women also participated, and that a decree of the Senate from A.D. 19 forbade both male and female descendants of the upper class from participating in such spectacles. “This doesn’t prove that women were fighting as gladiators,” she says, “but it suggests that the society was afraid that they might want to.”

More famously, a marble bas relief sculpture from between the first and second century A.D. depicts two gladiatrices in battle, with an inscription saying they fought to a draw. They are named Achillia, the feminine form of Achilles, and Amazon, the name of a group of mythical female fighters. It was common for gladiators to adopt epic stage names after their favorite heroes.

Roman civilization, Relief portraying fight between female gladiators
Dea / A. Dagliorti—De Agostini/Getty Images

Since neither woman died in the fight, the sculpture is clearly not an epitaph, so Coleman says it might have been “something put up in a gladiatorial barracks,” where the fighters lived separately from civilians, “commemorating the sort of greatest hits of that barracks.”

Like Katniss, gladiatrices likely had humble beginnings. While some gladiators did choose of their own volition to take on the profession and thus enter the lowest rung of the social ladder, the majority were slaves. Those who did volunteer were likely in it either for the valor or to escape debts—after all, as Coleman says, “if you can’t own, then you can’t owe.”

Is that really so different from the Girl on Fire, the volunteer from District 12 who sacrifices herself to pay her sister’s debt?

There were many types of gladiators, and each type came with its own weapons, armor and moves. You sometimes might see two styles pitted against each other, Coleman says. “So the one style might be very heavily armed and protected, and will therefore be relatively impregnable—but slow. The opponent might be very scantily armed, and therefore very fast and unencumbered, but vulnerable. These kinds of pairings seem to have interested Romans.”

Katniss might have been at ease in the arena with her weapon of choice: the Sagittarius gladiator was known for using a bow and arrow.

Unlike the young combattants in the Hunger Games, the gladiators didn’t usually fight to the death. Though “occasionally a very poor performance might result in the gladiator losing his life,” Coleman says, losers would often be sent back for more training, and might even have the option to retire.

The odds may not have been ever in their favor, but they sure got a better deal than Rue.

TIME Opinion

Is Obama Overreaching on Immigration? Lincoln and FDR Would Say ‘No’

Barack Obama
President Barack Obama announces executive actions on immigration during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 20, 2014 Jim Bourg—AP

Like Lincoln and Roosevelt before him, Obama occupies the White House in a time of great crisis

Last night, President Obama announced new steps that will allow about five million undocumented immigrants to obtain work permits and feel free of imminent deportation. Given that we now have an estimated 10–11 million such people within our nation and that many of them clearly will never leave, this seems a reasonable first step towards giving them all some kind of legal status. But, because of the anti-immigration stance of the Republican Party, which will entirely control Congress starting on Jan. 3, the President will have to base this step solely on executive power. And even before the President spoke, various Republicans had accused him of acting like an emperor or a monarch and warning of anarchy and violence if he goes through with his plans.

There are, in fact, substantial legal and historical precedents, including a recent Supreme Court decision, that suggest that Obama’s planned actions would be neither unprecedented nor illegal. This is of course the President’s own position, that no extraordinary explanation is needed—yet we can also put his plans in the broader context of emergency presidential powers, which in fact have a rich history in times of crisis in the United States. It is not accidental that this issue of Presidential power is arising now, because it will inevitably arise—as the founders anticipated—any time a crisis has made it unusually difficult to govern the United States. Like Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, Obama occupies the White House in a time of great crisis, and therefore finds it necessary to take controversial steps.

The Founding Fathers distrusted executive authority, of course, because they had fought a revolution in the previous decade against the arbitrary authority of King George III. But, on the other hand, they had come to Philadelphia in 1787 because their current government, the early version of the U.S. system established by the Articles of Confederation, was so weak that the new nation was sinking into anarchy. So they created a strong executive and a much more powerful central government than the Articles of Confederation had allowed for—and having lived through a revolution, they also understood that governments simply had to exercise exceptional powers in times of emergency.

They made one explicit reference to an emergency power, authorizing the federal government to suspend the right of habeas corpus—freedom from arbitrary arrest—”in cases of rebellion or invasion [when] the public safety may require it.” Nearly 80 years later, when the southern states had denied the authority of the federal government, Abraham Lincoln used this provision to lock up southern sympathizers in the North, and eventually secured the assent of Congress to this measure. He also used traditional powers of a government at war—including the confiscation of enemy property—to emancipate the slaves within the Confederacy in late 1862. With the help of these measures, the North won the war and the Union survived—apparently exactly what the Founders had intended.

When Franklin Roosevelt took the oath of office in the midst of a virtual economic collapse in March of 1933, he not only declared that the nation had “nothing to fear but fear itself,” but also made clear that he would take emergency measures on his own if Congress did not go along. That spring, the country was treated to a remarkable movie, Gabriel Over the White House, in which the President did exactly that—but as it turned out, the Congress was more than happy to go along with Roosevelt’s initial measures. It wasn’t until his second term that Congress turned against him; he, like Obama, used executive authority to find new means of fighting the Depression. In wartime he also claimed and exercised new emergency powers in several ways, including interning Japanese-Americans, this time without a formal suspension of habeas corpus. In retrospect both a majority of Americans and the courts have decided that some of these measures, especially the internment, were unjust and excessive, but the mass of the people accepted them in the midst of a great war as necessary to save the country, preferring to make amends later on. Though opponents continually characterized both Lincoln and FDR as monarchs and dictators trampling on the Constitution, those are judgments which history, for the most part, has not endorsed.

As the late William Strauss and Neil Howe first pointed out about 20 years ago in their remarkable books, Generations and The Fourth Turning, these first three great crises in our national life—the Revolutionary and Constitutional period, the Civil War, and the Depression and the Second World War—came at regular intervals of about 80 years. Sure enough, just as they had predicted, the fourth such great crisis came along in 2001 as a result of 9/11. President Bush immediately secured from Congress the sweeping authority to wage war almost anywhere, and claimed emergency powers to detain suspected terrorists at Guantanamo. (Some of those powers the Supreme Court eventually refused to recognize.) The war against terror was, however, only one aspect of this crisis. The other is the splintering of the nation, once again, into two camps with largely irreconcilable world views, a split that has paralyzed our government to an extent literally never before seen for such a long period. Immigration is only one of several problems—including climate change, inequality and employment—that the government has not been able to address by traditional means because the Republican Party has refused to accept anything President Obama wants to do.

The Founders evidently understood that when the survival of the state is threatened, emergency measures are called for. We are not yet so threatened as we were in the three earlier crises, but our government is effectively paralyzed. Under the circumstances it seems to me that the President has both a right and a duty to use whatever authority he can find to solve pressing national problems. Congressional obstructionism does not relieve him of his own responsibilities to the electorate.

David Kaiser, a historian, has taught at Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, Williams College, and the Naval War College. He is the author of seven books, including, most recently, No End Save Victory: How FDR Led the Nation into War. He lives in Watertown, Mass.

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