Resources on History – Political

Booknote: “Working” by Robert A. Caro

By Charlie Wingard · August 20, 2019 · 0 Comments
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Biographer and journalist Robert A. Caro shares glimpses of his life and writing subjects in Working: Researching, Interviewing, Writing. Since the 1960s, his professional career has been devoted to biographies of two twentieth century giants: New York City infrastructure planner Robert Moses (though never elected to public office, he became one of the most powerful men in his state for forty years), and Lyndon Baines Johnson, who as president, reshaped American society. Johnson’s accomplishments were breathtaking. Working with Congress, he secured the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the 1965 Immigration Act, Medicaid, Medicare, Head Start, education bills, and War on Poverty legislation. He dramatically increased the scope of the conflict in Vietnam. Four of the projected…

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75 Years Ago Today: D-Day – June 6, 1944

By Charlie Wingard · June 6, 2019 · 0 Comments
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  Today is the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the commencement of the Allied invasion of continental Europe. Within a year, Hitler was dead and the Nazi reign of terror over. President Ronald Reagan’s 1984 speech at Normandy marked the 40th anniversary of the invasion. Reagan used the opportunity not only to honor the allied soldiers who fought their way ashore, but also to strengthen NATO’s resolve in the face of  threatened Soviet nuclear missile deployments to Eastern Europe. I introduced my high school rhetoric and debate students to this speech as one of the great presidential addresses of the 20th century. I recommend listening to the entire  13-minute speech. My father, George Thomas Wingard, Jr., fought in Europe later in…

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Remembering a Seminarian’s Courage

By Charlie Wingard · August 20, 2015 · 0 Comments
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Fifty years ago today VMI graduate and Episcopal theological student Jon Daniels was murdered in Hayneville, Alabama. A New Hampshire native, Daniels spent much of the spring and summer of 1965 working in Selma, Alabama’s voter registration campaign. While picketing racially discriminatory businesses in Ft. Deposit on August 14, he was one of a group of  protestors arrested and transported to the county jail in nearby Hayneville. In wretched living conditions, Daniels labored for the better part of a week to keep up the group’s spirits, leading his fellow prisoners in prayer and hymn singing.  An Episcopal group offered to post bail for Daniels. He declined; there wasn’t enough money to free all the prisoners. He would remain with his colleagues. Unexpectedly and ominously,  the prisoners were…

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A Catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement

By Charlie Wingard · July 24, 2015 · 0 Comments
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Sixty years ago this summer, two men removed a seventy-four pound fan (used for ginning cotton) from this building. After torturing and murdering fourteen-year-old Emmett Till, they wrapped barbed wire around his neck and the fan, and dumped them into Tallahatchie River. The young black teenager’s alleged whistling at a white woman at Bryant Grocery and Meat Market in nearby Money, Mississippi set in motion the events that led to his abduction and death. The cotton gin, located in Glendora, Mississippi, now houses the The Emmett Till Museum. Lynne and I visited several years ago when the museum was closed. During our visit to the Delta yesterday, we were able to return and view its sobering exhibits. In August 1955 Mamie Till put her happy son on a train bound from Chicago to visit…

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“I Am Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired”

By Charlie Wingard · July 24, 2015 · 0 Comments
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Indomitable physical courage, moral strength, and Christian conviction marked the life of Fannie Lou Hamer. Yesterday Lynne and I visited her gravesite at Ruleville in the Mississippi Delta. Mrs. Hamer came to national prominence when she addressed the 1964 Democratic National Convention Credentials Committee. She described the imprisonment and brutal beating she endured during the 1963 summer voter registration drive. Watch a brief  historical introduction and then listen to her eight minute speech. The youngest of twenty children, her family were sharecroppers. Her attempt to register to vote in 1962 led to the firing of her and her husband from the plantation where she had worked for eighteen years. Her gravesite is located in the Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Garden. A few hundred yards to the west is the Fannie…

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The Logic of State-Sponsored Terrorism

By Charlie Wingard · January 29, 2015 · 0 Comments
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In Modern Times Paul Johnson chronicles the rise of the Soviet terror state. “The arbitrary nature of the arrests was essential to create the climate of fear which, next to the need for labour, was the chief motive for the non-party terror. An OGPU [the Soviet secret police from 1922-34] man admitted to the Manchester Guardian Moscow correspondent that innocent people were arrested: naturally – otherwise no one would be frightened. If people, he said, were arrested only for specific misdemeanours, all the others would feel safe and so become ripe for treason.” (Harperrenial, 2001), 274-275 State-sponsored terrorism and mass murder will be Communism’s enduring legacy. With one of my book clubs, I shared my fear that many Americans are forgetting how…

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