July Erstwhile Eight Pack

Summertime means it’s time to kick back with what we like to call the Erstwhile Eight Pack, our idiosyncratic feature on the most intriguing American history news from around the interwebs.

In the days, months, years, and decades following the Civil War, freedmen and freedwomen struggled to find the family members that slavery forcibly took from them. Slate’s The Vault features a collection of newspaper ads placed by family members in search of lost spouses, children, and parents.

To contextualize the current debates about the Confederate flag flying in the wake of the Charleston massacres, Tera Hunter, Professor of History and African American Studies at Princeton, writes about the continuing legacies of the “unrepentant Confederacy.” 

One of the big announcements last month was Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew announcing that a woman will soon grace a ten dollar note. At the New Yorker, Amy Davidson has a terrific article on what twenty dollars meant to Harriet Tubman. Over at the Atlantic, Allison K. Lange puts the history of women on American currency into historical perspective.

The world’s first nuclear bomb exploded on July 16, 1945. Seventy years later, the repercussions of that day are still felt.

Epigenetics, the study of how environmental or external factors affects genetics, has become a white-hot field. Check out this article on Indian Country Today about how historical trauma and resilience may endure in the DNA of Native Americans.

While New York City’s Stonewall Inn is a historically preserved site, it still serves as a local watering hole.

On a lighter note, an anonymous Benjamin Franklin impersonator tells all about life as a faux-Founding Father.


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