Here's a new book you'll want to put in the hands of young people you care about.
Guardians of Liberty: Freedom of the Press and the Nature of News takes an in-depth look at fake news.
Though it has been several decades since I officially worked as a journalist, freedom of the press is bone deep in my body. So, I've invited author Linda Barret Osborn here today to tell us about her new book, including the part about people living on the moon!
Praise for the book—
"Deeply researched and beautifully written, Guardians of Liberty enlightens and entertains readers of any age." — Michael Dirda, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic for the Washington Post
Welcome, Linda. Tell us how you came to write this book.
In 2017, I became alarmed at the way President Donald Trump was disparaging the press and questioning its validity.
I had some knowledge of the First Amendment, which reads, in part, “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom . . . of the press.”
But as with all my books for middle school and young adults, I learned a lot more about freedom of the press along the way than I knew at the beginning.
It seemed important that young people understand how today’s issues are connected to the beginning of our history as a country. Actually, I wish more grownups understood this history too.
One of the most delightful things I found in my research was that in 1835 the New York Sun reported that men were living on the moon.
These were no ordinary men.
“They averaged four feet in height, were covered . . . with short and glossy copper-colored hair, and had wings” like bats. Unicorns also roamed the moon. So did a strange kind of beaver that walked upright on two legs.
The Sun explained that a respected South African astronomer had made the discovery using a huge telescope. New Yorkers rushed to buy the newspaper and read each day’s installment. When the story was revealed as a hoax—a great entertainment—sales of the Sun continued to rise.
The Sun’s moon story was an example of actual fake news. The paper’s editor knew it was false when he published it.
Fake news is not, as President Trump sees it, press about himself that he just doesn’t like.
By attacking journalists, by undercutting the idea of factual reporting, it seems that President Trump was going against the intentions of the Founding Fathers who wrote that amendment.
Men like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison envisioned a press that would be a watchdog against government abuses of power.
Remember, they were reacting to the British royal government’s treatment of the colonies.
They also believed that a democracy needs an active, vital press representing all points of view: a press that would encourage debate and open discussion of ideas to create an informed citizenry.
Because Americans do hold widely differing points of view, no president can count on only “good” press.
So from the early days of our country, the First Amendment put the president—no matter what his political party—and the press at odds with each other. No president likes negative press.
Here was something else I wanted to explore and it soon became clear that combative, hurtful words about presidents are not new in our history. John Adams, Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Richard Nixon, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, as well as President Trump, have been ripped apart in the news.
Even George Washington got bad press. Benjamin Franklin’s grandson wrote that Washington had encouraged “political iniquity and . . . legalized corruption."
Sometimes the presidents remained silent. Sometimes they fought back against their critics. Sometimes they let partisan newspapers fight it out for them.
But by 2017, the “press” did not just include printed papers. Radio, television, the internet, and social media had all changed the way the news was delivered.
And because the technology had changed, President Trump could bypass the press, using social media directly to reach the public. He could continually attack the press as often as he wished, tweeting many times a day.
Since I wrote Guardians of Liberty, people have asked me why I think Trump is different from other presidents and their attitudes towards the press. Nixon, after all, called the press “the enemy.”
But only Trump has called the press “the enemy of the people." "Don’t believe the crap you see from these people—the fake news,” he said to a VFW convention, pointing to the reporters. “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”
I think all press, no matter what the medium, has its biases.
In addition, more Americans get their news from social media. Much of that “news” is opinion. Some of it is definitely fake, though not in the way President Trump defines it. So we all need to become better judges of the accuracy of what we are reading.
In many ways, professional journalists, who have a standard of accuracy, are our best bet. But there are fairly easy ways to check anyone’s sources and statements. Tweets, press briefings, and speeches are on record. They are filmed and recorded. The White House itself posts the transcripts of speeches, so you can see what the president actually said and if and when he said the opposite.
Since the mid-twentieth century, the Supreme Court cases on press freedom I covered in my book have tended to uphold the First Amendment. The need for national security during war has been the biggest challenge to this freedom.
New technology has changed the nature of news. It should not change our belief in the importance of free expression in a democracy, the same belief the Founding Fathers held. I think we are at a turning point.
We can agree that disparaging and attacking the foundations of one of our most precious freedoms is acceptable; or we can believe, as a society, that freedom of the press is a principle we need to defend, practice, and value.
Thanks so much, Linda!
I'm going to be giving away several copies of Linda's book to middle school teachers. Sign up for my weekly newsletter to stay in the loop and find out how you can win.
In the early 1900s, some American women campaigned for suffrage, picketed, went to jail...
Other women formed a massive movement to erect monuments glorifying the Confederacy, re-write the history of the Civil War and indoctrinate children using a Confederate Catechism. (Link to catechism below.)
These women wrote and controlled history textbooks in Alabama, Texas, Louisiana and other southern states for three generations.
Textbooks that described a close friendship between "old massa" and slaves, picnics and barbeques thrown where slaves had a "great frolic," and stated how enslaved people sang as they worked in the fields, "the beat of the music and richness of their voices made work seem light."
Is it any wonder the confederate flag means so much to so many people? That Robert E. Lee is such a vaunted hero? They learned it in catechism! (See video after feature story below)
Today, Brandon Marie Miller, author of Robert E. Lee, the Man, the Soldier, the Myth, is here to help us separate fact from fiction. Welcome, Brandon!
Breaking Down the Myths of Robert E. Lee
I never thought my YA biography of Robert E. Lee would be so timely. But one way to fight racism and white supremacy is by accepting truths about our past. 150 years after his death, Lee remains in history’s spotlight.
Some people today still claim Lee did not own slaves, he hated slavery, he favored emancipation, and he promoted reconciliation after the Civil War. Let’s take a closer look.
Lee and Slavery
“Slavery as an institution,” Lee wrote his wife in 1856, “is a moral & political evil in any country.” Sounds good, right? But a sentence down in this same letter Lee explains “I think it however a greater evil to the white than to the black race.”
Lee believed God approved slavery as a means to civilize Black people. Even the “painful discipline” inflicted was “necessary for their instruction as a race.” For Lee, Black people were morally unfit for freedom and not as capable of learning as whites.
Photo below: Selina Norris Gray, the enslaved housekeeper at Robert E. Lee's home, Arlington, shown with two of her daughters. (Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial.)
He felt slavery was messy, though, an inefficient system forcing “unwilling hands to work.” He disliked having to feed, clothe, and house people he found lazy and ungrateful.
Lee wrote his new bride about their household slaves, “you may do with them as you please…But do not trouble yourself about them, as they are not worth it.”
After his father-in-law’s death, Lee inherited around 200 enslaved people. They were to be freed within five years. But Lee petitioned a court to keep these men, women, and children in bondage while he made his father-in-law’s plantations profitable.
The enslaved sabotaged Lee’s efforts. They ran away, broke items, and stole things. Lee had people whipped or rid himself of troublemakers by hiring them out or sending slaves to Richmond to be “disposed of…to the best advantage.”
Although against secession, once war loomed, Robert Lee resigned the U. S. Army commission he’d held for nearly 35 years. Within days, he accepted a commission as major general of Virginia’s forces.
Lee knew the Confederacy existed to protect slavery and the right to expand slavery into the western territories. He had resented the North’s attempts to block the spread of slavery into the west which threatened, he wrote, the “equal rights of our [Southern] citizens.” “The South…has been aggrieved by the acts of the North” he told his son, “... I feel the aggression.”
Did Lee believe in emancipation for enslaved people?
Lee believed in gradual emancipation which would only come when God decided, maybe not for thousands of years in the future. Lee did not free his family’s enslaved property until a court ordered him to obey his father-in-law’s will in 1862. Does that make him an emancipator?
Lee did approve one method for freeing slaves. In January 1865, three months before he surrendered, Lee advocated using slaves to fight for the Confederate Army.
However, across the trenches, tens of thousands of former slaves wore Union blue uniforms.
Lee needed soldiers and proposed giving “our negroes” freedom upon enlisting and freedom for their families at the end of the war, though this came too late in the war to matter. Does this make Lee an emancipator?
Did Lee work for reconciliation after the war?
Lee urged fellow Southerners to “promote harmony and good feelings” as the quickest means to regain voting rights for white men and rebuild southern prosperity.
After the war Lee served as president of Washington College where he implemented rigorous programs to educate and uplift young men of the South.
But Lee’s words of reconciliation gave way to anger as the “evil legislation of Congress” granted civil rights to the former enslaved. Washington College students harassed African Americans, destroyed a Freedman’s Bureau school, and nearly lynched a man.
The President's House that Lee designed and built at Washington College. (Special Collections Department, Washington and Lee University)
Lee disciplined a few ring leaders but never spoke out publicly against the violence toward African Americans sweeping the South. His response emphasized instead how students disturbed “the public peace, or bring discredit upon themselves or the institution to which they belong.”
Lee rejected this new world where “the South is to be placed under the dominion of the negroes.” Publicly he claimed he wished the former enslaved well, but privately Lee wrote, “Remember, our material, social, and political interests are naturally with the whites.”
In 1868 Lee signed a political statement known as the White Sulphur Springs Manifesto. The signers pledged to treat Blacks with “kindness and humanity,” while opposing any “laws which will place the political power of the country in the hands of the negro race.”
This statement, and others, helped justify continued violence against African Americans for participating in the American political system.
How did the reality of Lee’s racism and white supremacy get turned around?
In June of 1870 Lee wrote a cousin he hoped to shape “the opinion which posterity may form of the motives which governed the South in their late struggle.”
He began reframing the war as a political quarrel-- the North strayed from the ideals of the Constitution while the South fought to maintain “those principles of American liberty.”
He’d fought for state’s rights, not the cause of protecting slavery, Lee claimed. He disregarded the fact that the state’s rights insisted upon in 1860 and 1861 had been the right to own slaves and spread slavery into the west.
In the decades after Lee’s death in October 1870, the handsome hero image of Lee grew to saint-like perfection. The ugliness of slavery could not tarnish this mythical man.
Over time, the myth that he didn’t own slaves and supported emancipation became truth in the South and the North. Lee became a symbol of a righteous South. For many white Americans the soothing myth of Lee as a kind, honorable, Christian Gentleman, was more important than the economic suppression, voting suppression, and murder of African Americans.
Groups like the United Confederate Veterans (founded 1889) and The United Daughters of the Confederacy (founded 1894), worked tirelessly to vindicate the Old South, intentionally rewriting history.
The UDC distributed a booklet nation-wide to control what appeared in textbooks, shaping our Civil War memory for generations.
Among the reasons listed to condemn a book: “Reject a book that says the South fought to hold her slaves. Reject a book that speaks of the slaveholder of the South as cruel and unjust to his slaves. Reject a text book that glorifies Abraham Lincoln and vilifies Jefferson Davis….”
Lee’s portrait graced thousands of Southern classrooms; many celebrated his birthday. Members of The Children of the Confederacy recited from A Confederate Catechism, first published in 1904.
It included lessons like this one: “What did the South fight for? It fought to repel invasion and for self-government, just as the fathers of the American Revolution had done.”
As Jim Crow laws stripped civil rights from African Americans and sharecropping became a new form of slavery, statues of Confederate heroes rose in cities across the South.
Dedication ceremonies included parades, speeches, and hundreds of children arranged into “living” Confederate battle flags. The monuments reinforced white Southerners’ pride in the past, romanticized the Old South and slavery, and warned African Americans to keep to their place.
I spent years researching and writing this book and have used Lee’s own words, and the words of his family and friends, to tell the story. I’m grateful ROBERT E. LEE, THE MAN, THE SOLDIER, THE MYTH was named a National Council of the Social Studies Notable Book and a Bank Street College Best Book of the Year. If you’d like to know more, order a copy from your favorite bookstore or online here...
Thank you, Brandon! I'm so appreciative of you taking time to tell us about your new book, and to help us understand more about the roots of racial injustice in our nation and the concerted efforts to re-write history.
Also thanks to author Claire Rudolf Murphy for alerting me to this video below about the women who helped distort the truth of the Civil War, construct a false legacy and indoctrinate children.
In California Dreamin', the Mamas and the Papas sang of their longing on a winter’s day, to be safe and warm in L.A.
The tune launched the group, which became a defining voice in 1960's counterculture. Say the Mamas and the Papas time-traveled to 2020 and joined #BlackLivesMatter. Might they sing a lament for California dreams dying this way?
Most recently, 18-year-old Andres Guardado, killed last week by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputies. He was running away when he was shot dead, the third and youngest of three Latinos shot by California law enforcement this month.
In the heart of sunny SoCal, a virulent history of racism casts a cold, dark shadow. Making lives matter today requires understanding this long road of injustice we've been walking.
Ever hear of the Murder at Sleepy Lagoon? The 1942 case of José Gallardo Díaz?
Detectives had scant evidence and the murder was never solved. But that didn't stop police from arresting nearly 600 Latino men, a jury from convicting 17 of them and a judge sentencing them to San Quentin.
Read on for that story below. But first, details on the heartbreaking death of Andres Guardado.
"He was a baby, he was a baby," Andres' cousin Celina Abarca told CNN through her tears.
"I feel like I'm dead inside," said
his mother Elisa Guardado.
People who gathered to protest the killing on Sunday were dispersed by police using pepper spray and rubber bullets.
Andres worked as a security guard at an auto body shop. Speaking to CBS LA, Andrew Heney, owner of the shop said: "We had a security guard that was out front, because we had just had certain issues with people tagging and stuff like that.
And then the police came up, and they pulled their guns on him and he ran because he was scared, and they shot and killed him. He's got a clean background and everything. There's no reason."
If police had bodycams running, the video has not been released. Andres' family alleges the deputy shot him in the back, but the sheriff refuses to release autopsy results for "security" reasons.
According to Lieutenant Charles Calderaro, here's how the shooting went down.
"Deputies observed the individual, at which point he observed the deputies. The individual then produced a handgun and began running southbound away from the deputies through businesses nearby. At some point, deputies contacted the suspect and that's when the deputy-involved shooting occurred."
Bullshit. Pardon my French.
Today the U.S. president uses various derogatory names for immigrants from south of the border.
In the 1940s, they were simply referred to as “the Mexican problem.”
But young Chicano men in the border states baptized themselves pachucos.
In Los Angeles they dressed to stand out, wearing zoot suits featuring wide lapels and baggy pants pegged at the ankles.
Pachucos rejected assimilation into Anglo-American culture speaking their own slang derived from the Calo gypsy language of El Paso. The resisted prejudice and inequality with their unique style of jazz and swing music.
Yes, they had attitude. The pachucos subculture defied American racism and oppression.
In 1942-43 some pachucos refused to yield to whites on the sidewalks and tried to bar them from their neighborhoods. Whites couldn't understand pachucos "secretive" language and grew suspicious because the pachucos didn't look and behave as they should. In the eyes of white citizens, they were trouble.
Police believed the zoot suiters were gang members and trouble-makers. L.A. officials believed the "Mexican problem" had to be solved.
The outbreak of WWII fired up fear and animosity that led Americans to distrust foreigners. Many experienced LA cops had gone off to war leaving locals uneasy about their safety.
In the fall of 1942, the “Mexican problem” appeared to be the only story newsworthy enough to make the front page alongside war updates in Los Angeles newspapers.
The death of a young Chicano man reported on August 2, 1942, in Commerce, California, created an opportunity for local law enforcement to crack down on the pachucos.
Apparently, a fight had broken out at a birthday celebration near a swimming hole known as Sleepy Lagoon.
A party guest José Gallardo Díaz was found unconscious along side the road near the reservoir and abandoned gravel pit near Slauson and Atlantic boulevards.
An ambulance rushed Díaz to hospital, but the 22-year-old died without regaining consciousness.
An autopsy showed that he had been drinking heavily and suffered a fracture at the base of his skull. There was no evidence that proved what caused the fracture, which could have been the result of Díaz falling and hitting his head, or an automobile accident.
Police swept through the Mexican American community, rounding up some 600 young men on charges related to Díaz' death. The way the newspapers told it, "the Mexican problem" had incited a juvenile gang war and the "Sleepy Lagoon Murder."
According to court records many of the pachucos taken into custody were severely beaten by police.
Los Angeles citizens and government officials wanted action to curb the alleged violence. A grand jury assembled to interview hundreds of Mexican-American teens and young adults, both witnesses and accused.
In addition, county sheriff’s officers defined the problem as they saw it, submitting a report to the Grand Jury titled "Statistics."
Capt. Edward Duran Ayres wrote the law enforcement document beginning with how Latino youth faced discrimination, lack of educational opportunity and poor job prospects.
But Ayres concluded his report with a nasty, racist attack on Chicano people in their entirety. Latinos were a different breed, he wrote, whose ancestors crossed the ice bridge from Asia to settle North America.
Ayres continued, “The Indian, from Alaska to Patagonia, is evidently Oriental in background – at least he shows many of the Oriental characteristics, especially so in his utter disregard for the value of life.”
Even so, police had to cut loose hundreds of the young men they had arrested. The County Grand Jury indicted 23 youths for the alleged gang murder of José Díaz.
Prosecutors charged 22 of the young men in the largest murder trial in California history. Presiding was Judge Charles Fricke, known as "San Quentin” Fricke, due to his propensity to sentence defendants to the state's high-security prison.
In the People v Zammora, part of the prosecution's case rested on the “distinctive appearance” of the accused, arguing that their fondness for fashion and taste for jazz proved their social deviancy.
After the four-month trial, the jury found 17 of the young men guilty: three of first degree murder, nine of second degree murder and five of assault with a deadly weapon. Their sentences ranged from life in prison to one year in the county jail. Five were found innocent.
The defendants appealed their verdicts and two years later the appellate court threw out all 17 of the convictions, citing lack of evidence, coerced testimony, deprivation of the right to counsel and judicial misconduct.
All accused were released.
Henry Leyvas, 21, and Gus Zammora, 22, two of the eight youths who were released from the County Jail, Monday, October 29, 1944 with all charges dismissed, after serving two years on conviction in the "Sleepy Lagoon" murder, are shown as they were greeted by relatives and friends. Left to right, Mrs. Lupe Leyvas, Seferino Leyvas, Henry Leyvas, Alice Greenfield, Gus Zammora and Ruth Amparay. LOS ANGELES PUBLIC LIBRARY HERALD-EXAMINER COLLECTION
Interesting to note, of the 10,000 people arrested across the nation during protests against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd's killing, Los Angeles led all cities in the number of people arrested. More than a quarter of the arrests came in the City of Angels, many for low-level offenses like curfew violations and failure to disperse.
Back to the police shooting of 18-year-old Andres Guardado. The Los Angeles County Sheriff promises "transparency". He invited California's attorney general to oversee the his department's internal investigation.
Nu-uh! says the LA County Supervisor, mentioning a "trend" in the sheriff's office not to cooperate with outsiders looking into its business. The case needs an independent inquiry into Guardado's death. Let's hope it happens.
Another Latino man shot by California police earlier this month was kneeling with his hands above his waist when he was killed.
An officer in Vallejo responding to a looting call shot 22-year-old Sean Monterrosa. He fired five times at Monterrosa through the windshield of his unmarked police car, saying he thought Monterrosa had a gun.
Family and supporters of Monterrosa have demanded
that authorities release body camera video of the shooting. They refuse. The police union has now filed for a restraining order to block release of the name of the officer who fired the shots.
Four days after Monterrosa died, California highway patrol officers opened fire on the car Erik Salgado was driving in east Oakland, killing the 23-year-old and injuring his pregnant girlfriend.
CHP says officers suspected a stolen vehicle and attempted to make a traffic stop, but that Salgado started ramming CHP vehicles. In response,
officers fired three shots. Salgado, who was unarmed, died at the scene. His pregnant girlfriend, shot in the stomach, was taken to the hospital. She survived, but miscarried the baby.
All three of these men killed by California law enforcement in the last four weeks were suspected of property crimes.
#Black, #Latino and #Native lives matter. These young men of color deserve to be safe in California and alive to pursue their dreams.
There's a book detailing the 1942 Sleepy Lagoon murder case. More than a courtroom drama, The Sleepy Lagoon Murder Case by Mark A. Weitz is a study of race discrimination and the Mexican American struggle for equal rights.
According to the publisher, as the case unfolded, the prosecution and local media drew ominous comparisons between the supposed dangers posed by the Mexican-American defendants and the threat allegedly posed by thousands of Japanese Americans, whose sympathies had been called into question after Pearl Harbor.
Weitz shows how Zammora demonstrates what it is like to literally be tried in the court of public opinion where the "opinion" has been shaped before the trial even begins.
They Called 1919 The Red Summer.
Much of the trouble in the summer of 1919 revolved around people trying to get decent work for a living wage. But underneath boiled and bubbled rampant white supremacist ideals and corporate greed.
Here's a look at conditions pervading the United States at the time.
Both black and white veterans went looking for jobs in a post-war economy. Employment couldn't be found in cities or rural America.
Labor strikes turned bloody when wartime price controls lifted and industrial companies tried to preserve wartime profit levels, often hiring blacks from the south to break strikes. You know that story if you've read my book Fannie Never Flinches.
At a time when most unions denied African Americans membership, Fannie was one of the few labor leaders to welcome blacks.
And she became one of the hundreds of Americans to die that bloody summer.
Fannie Sellins was shot to death late in the summer of 1919, when
Allegheny Coal and Coke hired armed guards to badger strikers and provoke violence.
This year, to mark the 100th Anniversary of Fannie Sellins' death, folks in Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia will gather to remember her love of working people, her courage and the ideals for which she gave her life. See News & Links below for my speaking schedule at these events.
Warning: Graphic images accompany the article below.
The Red Summer
There was no justice for Fannie's killing. Authorities and jurors agreed she died as a result of a "riot" perpetrated by union strikers.
Even more atrocious—hundreds of black Americans killed in cold blood that summer—their killers never facing charges or trial. Their deaths blamed on "race riots" supposedly started by the blacks themselves.
Major clashes between whites and blacks broke out in more than three dozen cities and towns across America, from Chicago to Washington D.C., from Bisbee, Arizona to Syracuse, New York. See a map of the deadly violence here...
In separate incidents, white supremacists lynched at least 100 African Americans. All this, with no repercussions for the killers, in fact they were sometimes aided in the murders by local law officers and U.S. Army troops called in to police the violence.
Civil rights activist and author James Weldon Johnson called the time period Red Summer but the wanton killing went on from early 1919, through the spring, summer, and early autumn of that year.
The episodes of deadly violence often lasted for days. In Chicago, the killing and destruction of property in black neighborhoods went on for a week, as mobs tried to drive African Americans from industrial jobs and white neighborhoods. Often the excuse was the need to “protect” white women against the alleged assaults of black men.
Denied protection of the law, African Americans took up arms to defend themselves. Especially in Chicago and Washington D.C., newly returned black veterans of World War I organized and carried out armed resistance against the white mobs.
This added fuel to the false accusations of "race riots" instigated by blacks.
The most heinous attacks, a racially-motivated massacre, took place over several days in Phillips County, Arkansas. In the area of cotton plantations, blacks, mostly sharecroppers, outnumbered whites ten to one.
African American sharecroppers attempted to unionize. When several whites showed up to harass a meeting of the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America.
Debate remains over who fired first, but a white man was killed and the deputy sheriff injured.
The next morning, a posse formed to arrest suspects in the shootings. Up to one-thousand white men from surrounding counties and as far away as Mississippi and Tennessee gathered in Elaine, Arkansas.
The armed force met little opposition from the blacks in the county, but hysteria and an imagined black insurrection swept through the group. The mob started indiscriminately killing black men, women and children, and ransacking their homes.
Federal troops were sent in to "put down the rebellion" and joined the killing spree.
An unknown number of African Americans were killed, though the black community estimated at least 240 dead in the largest known massacre of blacks in American history.
White newspapers reported the insurrection of blacks had been brought to heel with the deaths of five whites and approximately one-hundred blacks.
That's the way it happened with all the violence involving blacks and whites that year. White newspapers blamed the victims for starting the violence and reported false stories to justify the murders.
Image shows newspaper report following the massacre of blacks in Phillips County, Arkansas.
Similarly, 1919 headlines misrepresented legitimate labor strikes as crimes against society, conspiracies against the government and plots to establish Communism.
And so, history was written. The truth of what happened in Arkansas has only begun to be reported accurately in the last decade. And a look at most any U.S. history textbook, if it mentions the events of 1919 at all, calls the mob killings of blacks "race riots" and distorts the truth, giving short shrift to racism and efforts by African Americans to defend themselves, framing the violence as the fault of "both sides."
Looking clearly at our history is necessary to understand current events and to end the echoing of the dangerous words that twist the truth and manipulate us.
I'm fascinated to discover little-known stories from history. Stories of people and events that provide a new perspective on why and how things happened, new voices that haven't been heard, insight into how the past brought us here today, and how it might guide us to a better future.
I also post here about my books and feature other authors and their books on compelling and important historical topics.
Occasionally, I share what makes me happy, pictures of my garden, recipes I've made, events I've attended, people I've met. I'm always happy to hear from readers, in the blog comments, by email or social media.