Plus: The Crusades and Fannie Lou Hamer |

October 10, 2019

By Lily Rothman

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard two cases that could potentially reshape the rights of LGBTQ Americans. That’s a position the court has been in many times before, playing a key role in expanding and restricting how laws are applied to matters of gender and sexuality. This week, as the justices consider whether a decades-old protection against workplace discrimination covers LGBTQ people, we took a look back at the nine landmark cases that got the matter where it is today. Click here to read all about them.

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

The History of Primary Challenges to Incumbent Presidents

Donald Trump has challengers in the 2020 Republican primary, from former Gov. Bill Weld, former Rep. Mark Sanford and former Rep. Joe Walsh

How the KGB Used Disinformation to Undermine Democracy

In one fell swoop, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower later said, Khrushchev had turned Berlin “into a tinderbox”

What the Far Right Gets Wrong About the Crusades

Historian Dan Jones breaks down how the extreme far right across the globe uses and misuses the history of the Crusades

America's Last Slave Ship Could Offer a Case for Reparations

The history of the slave ship Clotilda has identifiable perpetrators and victims

What Made Fannie Lou Hamer’s Civil Rights Message So Radical

Hamer’s bold message to “get up and try to do something” was one that all Americans committed to change needed to hear, argues historian Keisha N. Blain


 Oct. 10, 1977

Today in 1977: The Right Not to Retire

“It might as well have been a vote for motherhood or apple pie or sunshine. There were no opposing speeches, dissent was muttered only in the safety of the cloakroom, and the final floor vote was a whopping 359 to 4. Yet the bill that breezed through the U.S. House of Representatives may be the session's most important piece of legislation, with ramifications no one can foresee. It extends the mandatory retirement age from 65 to 70 in private industry and removes it altogether for federal employees. Said the bill's sponsor, Florida Democrat Claude Pepper, 77: ‘At long last, we will have eliminated ageism as we have previously eliminated sexism and racism as a basis for discrimination in this country, and we will be putting a new emphasis on human rights.’" (Oct. 10, 1977)

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Oct. 10, 1960

Today in 1960: The Kennedy Campaign

“Wherever Jack Kennedy and Dick Nixon went, they drew record crowds, roaring responses. In Cleveland last week 200,000 swarmed around Kennedy (and Senator Frank Lausche, habitually a loner, hastened to climb on the bandwagon). Roaring through Democratic Dixie, Nixon drew an astounding throng of 70,000 in Memphis. In their first joint television appearance, the two men seemed as evenly matched—though differing in style and pace—as a pair of Tiffany cuff links. Among independents and waverers, however, who had not felt the magic of personal contact, there remain lingering doubts and misgivings about both candidates. The candidates, with much more traveling ahead, and much more television, will do what they can to resolve doubts and arouse enthusiasm. But at least in the eyes of the pros, the main burden of getting out the vote now rests—as Adlai Stevenson learned, to his sorrow, in 1956 —on a fast-moving, hardworking, well-integrated political organization. And in Kennedy terms, that means Jack and Bobby, the most successful brother act in U.S. politics.” (Oct. 10, 1960)

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Oct. 10, 1932

Today in 1932: King George V

“To this day George V prefers his original role of ‘The Sea Prince.’ According to his valet the uniform His Majesty prefers to wear is that of Admiral of the Fleet, though he is compelled to dress oftener as a Field Marshal. Like most Navy men the King reads newspapers in preference to books, drinks standard whiskey & soda almost to the exclusion of vintage wines, takes Queen Mary to more musical comedies than operas, to more variety (vaudeville) shows than dramas. 'That man, Al Trahan the American comedian,’ His Majesty said after shedding tears of laughter at a zany whose act consists in getting chewing gum on his fingers and the seat of his trousers while playing a piano, ‘made me laugh very much.’" (Oct. 10, 1932)

Read the full story


The Ugly Truth New scholarship exposes the brutality experienced by enslaved people who worked at American colleges and universities, the Washington Post’s Hannah Natanson reports.

The Old Ball Game For, Anna Laymon has the story of how an important suffragist helped inspire the song “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” — and how that forgotten history was recently rediscovered.

Digging Up the Past Alastair Sooke at the BBC explains why a recent archaeological discovery is challenging the traditional understanding of ancient Chinese history.

Fish Tale Goldfish may not seem like the most interesting pets out there, but Cathy Newman’s interview with historian Anna Marie Roos for National Geographic shows the fishbowl stalwart has a story worth telling.

Bottoms Up Patrick J. Kiger at raises a glass to the history of whiskey in this exploration of how the liquor became an American institution.

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