Plus: FDR’s fortuneteller and ‘Close Encounters’ |

November 16, 2017

By Lily Rothman

There’s no denying that the version of history we all learn in school and the way we learn about it plays a major role in shaping how we see our past — and our present. It’s a lesson we were reminded of last week, in exploring the repercussions of the decades-long battle over how the Civil War is taught to American children, and this week we got some insight into one of this topic’s newest frontiers.

TIME’s San Francisco bureau chief Katy Steinmetz brought us a dispatch from California, the first state in the nation to mandate an LGBT-inclusive social studies curriculum. Though the requirement became law years ago, the state only just approved the first K-8 textbooks revised to meet the new standard. As one of the law’s advocates told her, the new history curriculum ensures that students learn that LGBT people “are part of our collective community, past and present.”

You can click here to read all about the story behind the news, and here’s more of the history that made news this week:

Rare Documents Show a Palm Reader's Take on Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt

The little-known memento is expected to fetch up to $20,000 at auction on Dec. 2

Close Encounters of the Third Kind at 40

Read TIME's review of the movie that proved 'Spielberg's reputation is no accident'

Historians Still Have a Lot to Learn About Hitler. Here’s Why

Even decades after Adolf Hitler's death, a high percentage (at least half, by some counts) of Nazi Germany’s crimes remain unrecorded

Young Holocaust Victim Left a Clue That Reunited Her Family

The finding of a pendant with a possible link to Anne Frank at the site of a concentration camp has led to an unlikely family reunion

How a TIME Story Exposed the Darkness of Western Nostalgia

A 1947 TIME article about a sheriff who killed seven made the man into a local legend. His legacy is still complicated


Nov. 16, 1960

Today in 1960: Kennedy’s Victory

“On election morning this week, the rising orange sun flashed on the Boston steeples and rooftops and glanced through the mist on the old streets as John Fitzgerald Kennedy and his expecting wife drove to the stately West End (Congregational) Church in the Sixth Ward to vote. It was, symbolically, Jack Kennedy's rising sun, heralding the greatest triumph of all for the Kennedy Clan, which first saw the light of political dawn two generations ago in that very city.” (Nov. 16, 1960)

Read the full story

Nov. 17, 1930

This Week in 1930: Football’s Fans

“If a stadium were built big enough to hold all the U. S. football public at one time, it would be big enough to hold the entire population of Chicago, Paris, or of Rome, Hamburg and Glasgow put together. Its breath rising in a vast faint mist, its shout like the roar of an earthquake, its tiered ranks veiled with the smoke of innumerable cigarets, its tremendous stare as heavy as sunlight, this crowd in its fabulous coliseum has no equal in the world. Once the crowd was one-quarter its present size. It was composed of undergraduates, parents, alumni, their wives, sweethearts, cousins. For years it has been growing until it has come to include every element in the country.” (Nov. 17, 1930)

Read the full story

Nov. 15, 1943

This Week in 1943: Pershing’s Legacy

“On the walks and lawns of Washington's Walter Reed Hospital the war-wounded push themselves around in wheel chairs or hobble among the reddening leaves. In the afternoon they see a spare old, straight-backed figure in dark civilian clothes who walks slowly to the drive and hoists himself into a limousine. Even the newest convalescent recognizes him. The face is chipped away by age, the eyes dim. But it is the face on monuments, and the bearing is still West Point. That's Black Jack Pershing, mister." (Nov. 15, 1943)

Read the full story


Hollywood crimes As the world continues to reckon with revelations about sexual harassment and assault within the entertainment industry, Stephen Galloway, for The Hollywood Reporter, tells the story of how a Hollywood studio covered up a 1937 rape case.

In his heart At the Washington Post, Travis M. Andrews tells the bizarre tale of what happened to composer Frederic Chopin’s heart after his death in 1849.

Defending their rights At the website Bunk, historian Edward Ayers presents an excerpt from his new book Thin Light of Freedom: The Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America.

“Sob sisters” Erin Blakemore gives the JStor Daily treatment to the history of how a few brave female journalists bucked societal expectations to cover a headline-making murder trial in the early 20th century.

Podcast tips As the world of history podcasts expands, the Organization of American Historians offers this helpful resource for those contemplating launching their own podcasts.

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