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Harriet Tubman: Escaped slave, underground railroad leader, abolitionist. But did you know she also helped win the Civil War?

As you may have heard, come 2020, the familiar stern image of President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill will be replaced with a new design featuring the face of escaped slave and courageous abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Tubman is best remembered for her work prior to the Civil War as she returned to the South to guide […]

The Rev. David McClure Finds Refuge with Joseph Mayo

When we left the Rev. David McClure on the afternoon of 19 Apr 1775, he had just managed to get out of Boston to Roxbury by the neck. Here’s what he witnessed the rest of that day.The sun was about half an hour above the western horizon. Show More Summary

4,500-year-old burial found in Peru fishing town

Archaeologists have discovered a 4,500-year-old burial at the archaeological site of Aspero, an ancient preceramic fishing town in northern Peru. Analysis of the bones revealed that the deceased was a woman about 40 to 50 years of age at the time of death. The burial was found in the Huaca of the Idols, one of [...]

The SPLC’s report… more “purposed” opinion than history?

I saw, today, that the Southern Poverty Law Center issued their “Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy” report, yesterday. Anyone who has watched the SPLC over the years knows how they are inspired and, to be clear, they simply don’t recognize complexities in the story of the anyone associated with the Southern Confederacy. Of course, […]

A Trove of Newly-Digitized Trademarks Offers A Capsule History of Late-19th-Century California

The California State Archives recently announced that it has digitized thousands of trademark applications filed with the state between 1861 and 1900. California passed a trademark law in 1863, years before the first federal trademark legislation. Show More Summary

SPLC Catalogs Confederate Iconography

Yesterday the Southern Poverty Law Center issued a report that catalogs examples of Confederate iconography across the United States. The report is well worth downloading and reading and includes a state-by-state list of monuments and a wide range of public sites named in honor of the Confederacy and its leaders. It is not comprehensive, but […]

John Howland and the Lexington Alarm in Providence

Yesterday I quoted Elkanah Watson’s description of how Providence, Rhode Island, responded to the Battle of Lexington and Concord. According to Watson, the news arrived on the afternoon of 19 Apr 1775, his militia unit spent the whole...Show More Summary

When Slaves Adorned American Currency

It’s been a few months since I published anything at The Daily Beast, but Wednesday’s announcement that Harriet Tubman will soon adorn the $20 bill prompted me to briefly reflect on African Americans that once adorned Confederate currency. I enjoy writing for TDB. For one it connects me to a much broader audience, but I […]

Dig at Malcolm X’s house finds 18th c. artifacts

An archaeological excavation at the house Malcolm X lived in during his teens and early 20s has surprisingly unearthed artifacts from the 18th century. Built in 1874, the house at 72 Dale Street in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood belonged to Ella Little-Collins, Malcolm’s half-sister who was his guardian after his mother was committed to a psychiatric [...]

Elkanah Watson and the Lexington Alarm in Providence

I previously quoted the part of Elkanah Watson’s Men and Times of the Revolution in which he described his military training as a schoolboy in Rhode Island. Watson, born in 1758, was still a teenager when the Battle of Lexington and Concord occurred. Show More Summary

Owner of Texel shipwreck gown identified

Historians Helmer Helmers from the University of Amsterdam and Nadine Akkerman from Leiden University have identified the owner of the silk gown found in the Wadden Sea off the island of Texel in North Holland. It belonged to Jean Kerr, Countess of Roxburghe, lady-in-waiting to Queen Henrietta Maria. There’s a portrait of her on Adel [...]

Isaac Royall and “the very Day the battle happen’d”

Like the Rev. David McClure, Isaac Royall of Medford was caught by surprise in Boston when the war began. Earlier this week on Facebook the Royall House and Slave Quarters quoted Royall’s 29 May 1779 letter to his former tutor, the Rev. Show More Summary

Abbeville Institute on Black Confederate Soldiers

Many of you are familiar with the Abbeville Institute. Among other things they offer an annual conference that brings together a short list of people, who push a decidedly Lost Cause interpretation of the Civil War and slavery under the guise of serious scholarship. Last year’s annual conference included a talk by Donald Livingston on […]

Watch a ghostly animated Titanic sink in real time

Fair warning: this video is two hours and forty minutes long and there are significant stretches where very little happens. I expected to give up on it 10 minutes in, but much to my amazement, it was weirdly riveting. It starts just before Titanic strikes the iceberg and ends when the last of the ship [...]

Former Student Petitions to Save Lee Monument

Last night’s meeting of the Charlottesville City Council on the future of its Confederate monuments was well worth watching in its entirety. A number of people spoke, expressing a wide range of perspectives on the history of these sites and what should, if anything, be done. One current and two former history professors from the […]

The Rev. David McClure’s 19th of April

The Rev. David McClure (1748-1820) was a native of Newport who grew up in Boston, a childhood friend of Henry Knox.McClure became a student and protégé of the Rev. Eleazar Wheelock, received a degree from Yale in 1769, and as a missionary...Show More Summary

15th c. art stolen from prince by Nazis found

Three 15th century paintings stolen from the Tuscan villa of the Prince of Luxembourg by the Nazis have been found after 72 years. The artworks were first targeted in 1940, under the extension of what had originally been anti-Semitic Italian Racial Laws instituted by Mussolini to kiss Hitler’s ass in 1938. The laws stripped Italian [...]

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