Plus: Naomi Osaka and the Mayflower |

By Lily Rothman
Senior Editor

In a speech today, President Trump took aim at history education. Giving particular attention to the New York Times’ 1619 Project, which looks at the country’s past through the lens of slavery, he argued that "patriotic education" is necessary to preserve a shared American identity. Not only was it not the first time that particular curriculum has received scrutiny, it’s also part of a much longer history of attempts to prevent history students from being taught about certain aspects of the nation’s development.

Looking into that past, Olivia B. Waxman found examples that run all the way from the Civil War to today—including one World War I-era conversation about potentially skipping the Declaration of Independence because it might diminish support for British allies. As historian Adam Laats told Olivia, these controversies keep arising because of the “unanswered question about what history class is supposed to be for.” Click here to read more.

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

Native Americans Were Long Left Out of the Mayflower Story
By Suyin Haynes
Now, historians are working to make sure the impact on the Wampanoag is included in the story of the ship's journey
Read More »
Naomi Osaka’s U.S. Open Masks Showcase One of an Athlete’s Most Powerful Tools for Protest
By Anna Purna Kambhampaty
By wearing masks that draw attention to racial inequity, tennis star Naomi Osaka is part of a history that dates back far beyond 2020
Read More »
The History Behind California's Battle Over Ethnic Studies
By Iris Kim
A bill making ethnic studies a graduation requirement for California public-school students is expected to be signed by Governor Newsom
Read More »
Column: How a Court Ruling that Rejected Trump's Immigrant Census Order Fits Into History
By David Litt
In rejecting President Trump’s Census count order, a court reasserted one of America’s most enduring and least-well known democratic values
Read More »
Column: America Denied Refugees After the End of World War II—Just as We Are Today
By David Nasaw
After World War II, the U.S. prevented many Jewish survivors from coming here due to prejudice. We are making the same mistakes today
Read More »
Today in 1973: The McDonald’s Empire

“McDonald's statistical accomplishments are staggering. To illustrate: if all the 12 billion McDonald's hamburgers sold to date were to be stacked into one pile, they would form a pyramid 783 times the size of the one erected by Snefru. If a man ate a McDonald's hamburger every five minutes, it would take him 114,000 years of nonstop munching to consume 12 billion burgers. If all the cattle that have ever laid down their lives for McDonald's were to be resurrected for a reunion, they would stand flank-by-jowl over an area larger than Greater London.” (Sept. 17, 1973)

Read More »
Today in 1965: War in Asia

“Yet despite the militant posture of both countries, and the lights burning late behind curtained windows in the war rooms of Rawalpindi and New Delhi, there are some curious inconsistencies in the conflict. Neither India nor Pakistan has yet declared war or even severed diplomatic relations. And the communiqués make it clear that none of the attacks represent a major effort; rarely is more than a brigade employed. So far, it has been a war of small battles between tanks, planes and artillery, with neither side trying for a quick knockout or decisive showdown." (Sept. 17, 1965)

Read More »
Today in 1928: First Lady Grace Coolidge

“The First Lady of the present case will be remembered as the cheerful, tactful, tasteful college woman who compensated for the President's solemnity by her own sparkle, spontaneity, friendliness. While he was nasal in his office, she was melodious at the East Room piano. While he made a name by the negative means of vetoes and economies, she knitted the name into a quilt which will be at the White House when the Coolidge Era is ancient history. Her quilt, finished long before ‘I do not choose’ was written, says: ‘Lincoln 1861-1865 Calvin Coolidge 1923-1929.’” (Sept. 17, 1928)

Read More »

Refugee Stories Oswego, N.Y., was the site of the U.S.’s only World War II refugee camp. For the New York Times, Keren Blankfeld tells the story of what it was like to be among the nearly 1,000 Jewish people who fled the Nazis and ended up there.

A Shocking Past In light of disturbing whistleblower allegations about detainees in ICE custody receiving hysterectomies without their consent, Catherine E. Shoichet at CNN examines the legacy of forced sterilization in U.S. history.

Beds and Budgets With research showing great disparities in how many ICU beds are available for COVID-19 patients in wealthy versus low-income communities, George Aumoithe writes at the Washington Post about how that situation came to be.

Who What Wear For Military Times, Sarah Sicard takes a quick look back at the history of one of the military’s more surprising contributions to civilian society: cargo pants.

Statue Stalemate This story by Candice Spector in the Easton, Md., Star Democrat sheds light on an often-overlooked side of the debate over Confederate monuments: Many people support moving monuments to museum spaces, but what happens if a museum doesn’t want them?

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