Category Archives: History

Whose realism?

Wonder Woman, Black Panther, Superman, Spider-Man, Captain America.  Fantasy figures who face fictional challenges different from the ones we do as archivists, historians, librarians, records managers.  But whose mythical world sometimes connects to ours in unexpected ways, reminding us of … Continue reading

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Who’s in the picture?

Lin-Manuel Miranda made daring creative choices as he gave voice to the characters in Hamilton who sing about time, perspective, written words, and loss of agency in “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story?” After Aaron Burr kills Alexander … Continue reading

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Difficult conversations

Dr. Lonnie Bunch, the first African American to be named the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, explained as he took office his vision for its museums and archives. “I think the biggest goal of history at the Smithsonian ought to … Continue reading

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“What people need to hear”

February 12, 1946.  Sgt. Isaac Woodward, a decorated African American World War II veteran, asks the driver of a Greyhound bus travelling in South Carolina to stop the bus when able so he can relieve himself.  It’s customary for passengers … Continue reading

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Classroom to office: your leadership options

Who can lead?  Students, new professionals, designated leaders, appointed leaders, elected leaders, technical experts with durable (“soft”) skills, community activists.  People we don’t yet know about but who are out there listening, learning, talking, thinking.  Personal choices affect how and … Continue reading

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Making history

Two conferences in Washington (2011, 2013) on the Cold War and the Berlin Wall brought together historians, archivists, records experts, and past participants in events.  Newly declassified records provided additional insights.  The recollections of participants reminded listeners at the National … Continue reading

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“To talk to me in a different way”

In an essay about his decades of research on a multi-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson, Robert Caro described the moment when he realized why people who knew the former President as a young man weren’t talking to him. I began … Continue reading

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