Plus: Climate change and WWII-era diaries |

January 16, 2020

By Lily Rothman

One of the defining things about the past is that you can’t just go back and do it over again. Technology can’t change that fact, but these days it can help you imagine what it might have been like to witness some of history’s biggest moments — like, for example, Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the 1963 March on Washington.

That’s the idea behind an exciting new virtual reality experience from TIME, made in partnership with the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. and executive produced by Viola Davis. When The March premieres in Chicago next month, participants will get to experience that landmark day firsthand. Just in time for the federal MLK holiday here in the U.S., tickets are now available. You can click here for details, and stay tuned to this space for more information.

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

Hundreds of Britons Volunteered for a Diary Project in 1937

They ended up leaving an invaluable record of World War II

Archival Photos Reveal the Unlikely Beauty of Sewer Systems

In the 19th century, sewers were the only man-made things that existed below ground

NPR's Steve Inskeep Finds the American Present in the Past

The 'Morning Edition' host talks to TIME about his new book

What’s Wrong With Thinking War Is ‘Normal’ in the Middle East

It's an old trope to say that war is the default situation in the Middle East. History shows that idea doesn't make sense, argues historian Stephennie Mulder

Scientists Have Talked About Climate Change for Over a Century

Here's why it took so long for the world to listen


Jan. 16, 1956

Today in 1956: Israel’s Ben-Gurion

“Israel came into existence defiantly in 1948—by force of arms and by proclaiming its own independence, by defeating five encircling armies and forcing the signatures of neighboring Arab lands to a U.N.-sponsored armistice. Israel had won its first papers in nationality at the insistence of one uncompromising man, David Ben-Gurion.’” (Jan. 16, 1956)

Read the full story

Jan. 16, 1978

Today in 1978: Super Bowl XII

“It is Super Bowl time, and the tale of two cities, Denver and Dallas, is shouted antiphonally from towering stadium tiers: It is the best of times! It is the best of times! It is the season for bumper stickers and bunting and bragging in bars, for celebration and civic pride. Time for whimsy and WE'RE NO.1!, for good cheer and bad bets. It is a time warp, where the young dream of growing up and the old remember youth, and in the delirious identification with a winning football team, neither fantasy nor reminiscence seems foolish. The game becomes a bond strong enough to unite, however temporarily, the disparate elements of an urban society. In Dallas and in Denver, where football is a passion, not a fancy, the trip to the Super Bowl is a municipal journey." (Jan. 16 1978)

Read the full story

Jan. 16, 2006

Today in 2006: TIME investigates Jack Abramoff

“The stocky figure in the black fedora who left the federal courthouse after telling Judge Ellen Huvelle of his 'tremendous sadness and regret for my conduct' was barely recognizable as the flamboyant power broker who used to send lawmakers and their staffs on junkets around the world and entertain them back in Washington with golf outings, free meals at his expensive restaurant, and concerts and games enjoyed from the luxury skyboxes he maintained at nearly every arena and stadium in town.” (Jan. 16, 2006)

Read the full story


By the Books When people have different basic ideas about a moment in history, where does that difference come from? Dana Goldstein at the New York Times takes a deep look at one answer, comparing textbooks from California and Texas to find where the curricula diverge.

Fast Food Nation At Slate, Christina Cauterucci talks to historian Marcia Chatelain about how McDonald’s took on a special role in African-American life.

Facing the Past The University of Virginia has established special commissions for telling the “painful, but necessary” stories of its past, particularly when it comes to slavery. Here, professor P. Preston Reynolds explores the relationship between the University and the pseudoscience of eugenics.

New Lessons The Oregon Department of Education is introducing a new history curriculum about Native American life in the state, created with the input of indigenous leaders, and Jordyn Brown at the Eugene Register-Guard has the story.

Where Credit’s Due Jonathan M. Pitts at the Baltimore Sun marks this year’s 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the U.S. with a look at how African Americans in Maryland fought for the vote—and how their role is being recognized a century later.

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