Plus: Colin Kaepernick and Pearl Harbor |

September 22, 2016

By Lily Rothman

When LIFE Magazine was launched by Time Inc. in 1936, the name quickly came to mean cutting-edge photojournalism. This week, the brand continued that tradition with LIFE VR and the launch of its new virtual-reality platform.

I’m happy to say that one of the very first VR experiences presented by LIFE VR was a history piece: an exclusive companion to the new documentary ‘Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War,’ by Ken Burns and Artemis Joukowsky. It’s the surprising story of an American couple’s journey to Europe in 1939 to save refugees—including a ship full of children. To celebrate the launch, I talked to Ken Burns about how individuals can change history, and we also saw the reaction of one of those refugees to seeing her own journey in virtual reality. You can click here to learn more about the project and how to download the free LIFE VR app.

It’s so exciting to see how this futuristic technology can help us talk about the past in new ways. As Burns put it to me, VR is a great way to “invite people into the story” of history. I hope you’ll check it out.

Here’s more of the history that made news this week:

Now You Know: Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?

The famous question has thousands of years of history behind it

Why We Still Don’t Know the Whole Pearl Harbor Story

Author Craig Nelson talks to TIME about his new book Pearl Harbor: From Infamy to Greatness—and how that famous day remains a mystery

Colin Kaepernick, the Integrated NFL and When Protest Works

The decision by some football players to kneel during the National Anthem recalls a long history of social activism in professional football

How the Birther Thing Actually Started

The conspiracy theory that President Obama was not born in the United States started by email, but it got a boost from an unlikely source: a debunking section of Obama's own campaign website.

An Abbreviated History of School Lunch in America

Around the beginning of the 20th century, experts recognized that feeding students could be a crucial part of education reform


Sep. 22, 2003

Today in 2003: Remembering Johnny Cash

“John R. Cash (his first producer, Sun Records boss Sam Phillips, dubbed him Johnny) had every right to sing the country blues. Demons found him even when he wasn't looking for them. He dressed like a hip coroner and sang like a gunman turned Pentecostal preacher. His haunting songs perfectly matched his haunted voice. Rarely before Cash had a singer taken vocal pain—not the adolescent shriek of most rock singers but the abiding ache of a veteran victim—and made it so audible, so immediate, so dark and deep. Rarely, before or since, has a voice also shown the grit to express, endure and outlive that misery. His songs played like confessions on a deathbed or death row, but he delivered them with the plangent stoicism of a world-class poker player dealt a bum hand.” (Sept. 22, 2003)

Read the full story

Oct. 4, 1976

The Candidates Debate

“Just which man—Gerald Ford or Jimmy Carter—has the temper, courage, determination and cool to lead the nation? The answer was supposed to be forthcoming in the much-anticipated first presidential debate of 1976. It turned out to be an underwhelming event, the debate in which the power failed and in which neither man gained a decisive edge. The situation after the 90-minute confrontation—interrupted by a 27-minute audio blowout that was a testament to the fallibilities of television—was much the same as before. Carter was out front but slipping; Ford was coming up from behind, and the election had suddenly turned into a close race.” (Oct. 4, 1976)

Read the full story

Sep. 22, 1967

Today in 1967: The Beatles Evolve

“Rich and secure enough to go on repeating themselves —or to do nothing at all—they have exercised a compulsion for growth, change and experimentation. Messengers from beyond rock 'n' roll, they are creating the most original, expressive and musically interesting sounds being heard in pop music. They are leading an evolution in which the best of current post-rock sounds are becoming something that pop music has never been before: an art form. ‘Serious musicians’ are listening to them and marking their work as a historic departure in the progress of music—any music.” (Sept. 22, 1967)

Read the full story


A Diplomat’s Death An impressive Washington Post team effort created this multimedia examination of the assassination of Orlando Letelier, a former Chilean diplomat who was killed in Washington, D.C., in 1976. Leave yourself some time to take this one in.

It’s a Plane! Inspired by Donald Trump’s comment that Hillary Clinton stole his idea of giving a speech in front of a plane, Adrienne LaFrance of The Atlantic rounds up a whole history of campaigning in front of transportation.

Exit Interview Vanity Fair presents a fascinating and unique look at the presidency through historian Doris Kearns Goodwin's interview with President Obama.

A Mystery What happened to Velva Darling, a hugely successful 1920s columnist who disappeared from public view? Andrew Heisel, at Pictorial, tackles the question.

Business History In light of the news of a Monsanto and Bayer merger, Lydia Mulvany at Bloomberg looks at the pasts and futures of the companies.

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