Plus: Mah-jongg and Queen Elizabeth II |

By Lily Rothman
Senior Editor

In the lead-up to Mother’s Day this year, historian Nina Ansary asks us to question the assumption that the parental quest to “have it all”—to be able to raise one’s children without sacrificing career ambition—is a modern phenomenon. As she writes for TIME History, the past is full of mothers who, sometimes by choice and sometimes not, shaped their children’s lives as well as the wider world. As Ansary explains, there can be real consequences to overlooking those stories. Click here to read more about why we should remember “the lost mothers of history.”

Here’s more of the history making news this week:

What the Surprising History of Mah-jongg Can Teach Us About America
By Cady Lang
And how it became one of the most beloved games in the world
Read More »
Uncovering the Daring Stories of Women Who Resisted the Nazis in Occupied France
By Gwen Strauss
Women had played a large role in the French Resistance during WWII, but after the war many kept quiet about what they had done
Read More »
Finding the Future Queen Elizabeth in the Pages of Her Friend’s Wartime Diary
By Isabella Naylor-Leyland
Newly published diaries offer insight into the world of a girl during WWII, as well as glimpses of the life the future Queen Elizabeth II
Read More »
Why the First Black Woman to Be a History Professor in the U.K. Sees Her New Book African Europeans as a ‘Call to Arms’
By Suyin Haynes
The book traces the presence of people of African descent in Europe from the Roman Empire up to the present day
Read More »
The Overlooked History of Angel Island, Where the U.S. Enforced Rules Designed to Keep Asian Immigrants Out
By Olivia B. Waxman and Video by Arpita Aneja
Angel Island can provide a better understanding of the long U.S. tradition of welcoming some immigrants and excluding others
Read More »
Today in 1974: Country Music

“Country-music fans can be found everywhere in the U.S. today. After half a century of condescension, neglect and even ridicule, country in all its guises—bluegrass, heart songs, western ballads, rural blues, delta white soul, Memphis honky-tonk and of course the familiar pop hybrid known as the Nashville Sound—is in the midst of an astronomic growth and gives no signs of stopping. In the record industry, it accounts for roughly one-fifth of the $2 billion in yearly sales.” (May 6, 1974)

Read More »
Today in 1966: Great Teachers

“The bets are down: the U.S. is relying more heavily than ever on college education to shape its destiny. To get into college, kids claw for high marks even in grade school. Parents scratch for dollars, plunge into debt. State taxes soar. Yet how the bet comes out depends on solitary teachers in secluded classrooms—and the number of bored, hostile and inadequate college teachers adds up to something between a serious concern and an outright scandal. Almost every college administrator is aware of what HEW Secretary John Gardner has termed ‘the flight from teaching.’ A massive drive is under way to ‘rediscover students’ and ‘bring back teaching’—academe's typically bland admission that many colleges have lost sight of all those young bodies bulging their buildings.” (May 6, 1966)

Read More »
Today in 1946: Elizabeth Arden at the Kentucky Derby

"Churchill Downs in the pre-Derby dawn is a heady place. Drifting wood smoke, dampened by morning dew, cuts the sharp, ammoniac smell of the stables. From the tarns, where skittish thoroughbreds are breakfasting, comes the metallic clank of feed tubs, or an occasional hoof thump. Sleepy-eyed grooms and exercise boys, clutching their mugs of coffee, shuffle through the shadows. Even at that hour, feed-box tips are in the air. This week those tips had more than the usual ring of authority. Nobody had to look far to find the favorites in this week's 72nd Kentucky Derby. They were two—Lord Boswell and Knockdown —and both belong to fluttery Cosmeti-queen Elizabeth Arden Graham, whose Maine Chance Farm Stable has the winningest ways in U.S. turfdom.” (May 6, 1946)

Read More »

A Seat at the Table At Slate, Rebecca Onion speaks to Art historian Kristina Wilson about the cultural context that surrounds midcentury modern furniture, and the troubling side of the era that produced it.

Stock-in-Trade In this Twitter thread, historian Brian Leech takes a look at what we can learn from stock imagery that’s meant to show “historians at work.”

Constitutional Controversy Rick Rojas at the New York Times has the story on the Tennessee state representative who drew criticism after he spoke up in defense of the Three-Fifths Compromise, the 1787 constitutional deal under which enslaved people were not counted as full human beings.

Napoleonic Wars In another piece at the Times, Roger Cohen looks at ongoing debates in France over “whether to cancel or celebrate Napoleon.”

On the March NPR’s Neda Ulaby dives into how one man in Indiana is using walking tours to illuminate Black history in his area.

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