Plus: Hiroshima and Nagasaki |

August 06, 2020

By Lily Rothman

This coming Tuesday will mark 55 years since the Watts riots began in Los Angeles, but for many people the memory of those days is as fresh as it ever was. And even for those who did not live through the event, especially for Black Americans, the weight of that history can be felt no less heavily. That’s one of the takeaways from a striking excerpt we ran this week from Wandering in Strange Lands, a new book by Morgan Jerkins.

In reporting her book about the reasons behind and reverberations of Black migration around the United States, Jerkins interviewed the woman who happened to answer the first call into the police station on that night in 1965. And, as the author writes, that woman “has been dealing with the fallout ever since.” Click here to read more.

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

Why We Shouldn't Overlook Nagasaki's Atomic Bomb Story

Nagasaki survivors have struggled for more than seven decades to gain equal attention for the trauma and aftermath of their bombing

A New Generation Is Carrying the Legacy of Atomic Bombings

As survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki age, the question of who will voice their stories grows more urgent

Ban Ki-moon: 75 Years After Hiroshima, It's Time to Disarm

This should have been the year we made progress in giving up nuclear arms. It's not too late for the U.S. and Russia to take action

How Past Hurricanes Can Help Us Prepare for the Next One

How we respond to that history takes on an added level of urgency in light of the threats posed by global warming

The Bank Robbery That Gave the World Stockholm Syndrome

The popular conception of what Stockholm syndrome means was not even part of the original narrative


Aug. 6, 1973

Today in 1973: Watergate and the Constitution

“Watergate thereby became not only an epic whodunit of daytime television but a political and constitutional struggle of historic dimensions. At stake was nothing less than the definition of presidential powers and the President's relationship to the two other, nominally coequal branches of Government. Nixon's refusal to divulge the White House records raised a constitutional question never before resolved in the republic's 197 years, a decision that might affect the conduct of Presidents yet unborn: To what extent can the Executive Branch maintain strict privacy in defiance of the other branches even if that privacy may cloak a crime?” (Aug. 6, 1973)

Read the full story

Aug. 6, 1965

This Week in 1965: LBJ at Work

“Right or wrong, Lyndon Baines Johnson remains a man in motion. Last week, in the midst of his historic, decision-making sessions on Viet Nam, the President appointed a new Supreme Court Justice, a new Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, and a new director of the Voice of America. He signed a bill requiring warning labels on cigarette packages, met with a delegation from the A.M.A., discussed with former World Bank President Eugene Black the U.S.'s development program in Southeast Asia, cracked jokes about how he recently outbowled Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, had coffee with a group of newswomen, gave two background briefings to White House reporters, and warmly greeted an explorer scout who had bicycled 2,800 miles from Idaho to shake the presidential hand. Then he flew off to Harry Truman's library in Independence, Mo., to sign the medicare bill, and followed that with a week-end visit to his ranch in Texas." (Aug. 6, 1965)

Read the full story

Aug. 6, 1979

Today in 1979: Leadership in America

“In its Special Section on leadership five years ago, TIME said: ‘In the U.S. and round the world, there is a sense of diminished vision, of global problems that are overwhelming the capacity of leaders.’ It sometimes appears that Americans in the '70s have developed almost a psychological aversion to leading and to being led, even while they complain that no one seems in charge any more. Simultaneously, the very scarcity of leadership is used as an all-purpose excuse for lethargy and privatism. The problem is profound. It reaches from the presidency down through state and local governments to school boards and neighborhood associations.” (Aug. 6, 1979)

Read the full story


Masked History As masks remain a point of contention in the United States, despite public-health consensus in their favor, Christine Hauser at the New York Times explores how a similar dynamic played out in 1918.

Great Power At Stars and Stripes, Joseph Ditzler examines how historians are rethinking the old American story about the justification for use of atomic weapons in World War II.

First Down With pro and college sports struggling to relaunch amid the pandemic, two football historians spoke to Jeff Legwold at ESPN about how the sport weathered the flu of 1918.

In Conversation Columbia University’s history department is hosting a series of virtual conversations with the school’s scholars; this recent installment tackles the topic of racial injustice.

The Helpmate’s Tale Scholars Jennifer Forestal and Menaka Philips argue at the Washington Post that the character of Eliza in the Hamilton musical underscores a role that wives of famous men have often played throughout history.

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