Hillary Clinton’s Clarification: More Confusion?

Not a great week for Hillary Clinton.

Crossroads

As you might have expected, Hillary Clinton issued a clarification of her controversial remarks about Reconstruction, made in the context of her speculation on what might have happened had Abraham Lincoln not been assassinated:

HRC clarification

Nice try, but strike two.

Ms. Clinton’s statement now indicts the federal government, saying it gave up too soon, and its lack of persistence “led to a disgraceful era of Jim Crow.”

That this was due in part to the behavior of “defiant” white southerners, including terrorist activity, is a link she’s unwilling to make, although one can make it when she reminds us about “racist efforts against Reconstruction.” How exactly a president could achieve “equality, justice, and reconciliation” while protecting black rights — not exactly a good way to reconcile white southerners — remains unanswered. Nor does her response consider the role played by the racism of some white northerners, most of whom were Democrats…

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“The depths of human turbulence”

Muster, the excellent blog for the Journal of the Civil War Era, recently interviewed the historical adviser to the new Civil War drama Mercy Street

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Muster, the excellent blog for the Journal of the Civil War Era, recently interviewed Dr. Jane E. Schultz, professor of English at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and historical adviser to Mercy Street, the PBS drama about women in Civil War hospitals. She perceptively argues that the series “is trying to show the depths of human turbulence that lay beneath the surface of military etiquette.”

Read the entire interview here. It offers intellectual depth and understanding to the process of shaping the drama’s narrative, location, characters, and era.

National Archives Awards UTSA Libraries $146k to Support Major Research Collection on Latino Vote

Wonderful news. Congratulations.

The Top Shelf

In May 2015 we announced the acquisition of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project/William C. Velásquez Records. The collection–one of the largest archival acquisitions in UTSA Libraries’ history—consists of 500 linear feet of documents and 154 pieces of audiovisual material. The collection covers the organization’s first 20 years, from 1974 to 1994, and includes redistricting maps, voter exit surveys, GOTV campaign planning materials, pre-election surveys, office files, research files, research publications, and newsletters.

We are very excited to announce that The National Archives of the United States has awarded the UTSA Libraries a $145,650 grant to process the records and digitize the audiovisual material in the collection.

The grant is one of the largest awarded by the National Archives this year, and will cover the additional staff needed to process the collection so it can be used for research. The work is expected to take approximately two years.

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How Woody Allen Saved New York

Great commentary

American Rambler

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I recently finished watching Woody Allen’s most recent film, Irrational Man. The movie illustrates how far Allen has come from his earlier work. Irrational Man, which is a serious and heady, is neither funny nor set in New York. Maybe it’s time for Woody to return to the Big Apple.

Some people say that Rudy Giuliani, by implementing the so-called “Broken Window Theory” of police enforcement, cleaning up Times Square, and staying calm in the wake of the 9-11 catastrophe–saved New York City.

Actually, it was Woody Allen who saved New York. And he rescued the place long before anyone knew who Rudolph Giuliani was.

In the 1970s, movies exploited the darker aspects of New York. Films like Dog DayAfternoon, The French Connection, Taxi Driver, and Death Wish, depicted NYC as a gritty, tense, and violent place, where desperate men could do little…

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Looking Back: Work that mattered

Today in 1921, Carmen Romero Phillips was born. She fulfilled her dream of becoming a nurse, but war gave her work more significance than she ever imagined.

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Today in 1921, Carmen Romero Phillips was born. She fulfilled her dream of becoming a nurse, but war gave her work more significance than she ever imagined.

******

LOOKING BACK
A special series

During my time as a contributing editor to the magnificent Voces Oral History Project at the University of Texas at Austin, I came across some amazing stories. The project, which I celebrated in 2011, collects the stories of Latino veterans and civilians who saw and felt the effects of war, from World War II to Vietnam. This occasional series highlights a few of these fascinating lives.

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Carmen Romero Phillips, born on Jan. 19, 1921, was recruited as a military nurse even before she graduated from nursing school in 1943, and she was so good that her boss, an Air Force surgeon at her posting in California, requested her by name.

She served through 1945, caring mostly for wounded troops from the Pacific Theater. She also joined the Red Cross. In 1946, she moved to Corpus Christi to start a new nursing job, met her future husband, and settled in the Texas coastal city, eventually marrying and raising four children.

She never lost her determination to help wherever she could. On Sept. 11, 2001, when she was 83, she called the local Red Cross chapter and volunteered to help one more time.

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Visit the Voces website. Like them on Facebook. Follow them on Twitter.

San Antonio Celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr.

Fantastic presentation

The Top Shelf

Today over 200,000 residents of San Antonio and the region are expected to march side by side through the streets of the city’s East Side to commemorate and honor the memory of the civil rights leader, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The 29th annual MLK March will begin at 10 a.m. at the MLK Academy located in the 3500 block of MLK Drive and end at Pittman-Sullivan Park, 1101 Iowa (march route and info).

Although various civic and community organizations have been organizing memorial processions and ceremonies on Dr. King’s birthday in the 1970s, it was not until 1986 that the City officially recognized, sanctioned and supported the celebrations.

On April 3, 1986, the San Antonio City Council through City Resolution No. 86-15-19 under the leadership of then-Mayor Henry Cisneros established a volunteer organization “The MLK, Jr. Commission” to organize and oversee the march…

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Recommended reading / viewing / listening

This week: Bill Cosby / A historic mammoth / ISIS: The Magazine / Benefits of red wine / Cartels and Mexican politics

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This week: Bill Cosby / A historic mammoth / ISIS: The Magazine / Benefits of red wine / Cartels and Mexican politics

Most of these great items come from my social media networks. Follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Facebook for more fascinating videos, photos, articles, essays, and criticism.

1. Bill Cosby and His Enablers
By Ta-Nehisi Coates | The Atlantic | Jan. 12
“Even victims of discrimination can look away from — and thereby enable — other forms of violence.”

2. Gingerly, Donald Trump Tries Out Some Campaign Conventions
By Maggie Haberman and Patrick Healy | The New York Times | Jan. 15
“The risk for Mr. Trump is that too much baby-kissing, people-pleasing, Mr. Nice Guy politicking will come across as inauthentic to voters who like that he is, in their view, a tough-talking realist about perceived threats from Muslims, illegal immigrants, and budget-busting Democratic and Republican leaders in Washington.”

3. FDR’s Nate Silver
By David Greenberg | Politico Magazine | Jan. 16
“How a self-taught data whiz from Michigan became the first person ever to poll for an American president — and turned into a national sensation.”

4. A Mysterious Mammoth Carcass Could Change Human History
By Maddie Stone | Gizmodo | Jan. 14
“Its discovery … might push back the timeline for when humans entered the northernmost reaches of the world — including the first entries into North America.”

5. Why Cartels Are Killing Mexico’s Mayors
By Ioan Grillo | Sunday Review :: The New York Times | Jan. 15
“These new cartels continue to traffic drugs. … But they have also used their armies of assassins to move into new endeavors: rackets, extortion, oil theft, even wildcat iron mining. And they are now muscling in on one of Mexico’s most lucrative businesses of all: local politics.”

6. Republican warnings about an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) attack, explained
By Philip Bump | The Fix :: The Washington Post | Jan. 15
“An EMP requires a very specific combination of things coming together in order to be effective.”

7. Why the United States can’t make a magazine like ISIS
By William McCants and Clint Watts | Brookings and The Daily Beast | Jan. 13
“Can you name a single U.S. government publication or online platform devoted to the anti-ISIS fight that is as informative or as widely-read as Dabiq? … We couldn’t come up with one either.”

8. Moving beyond Obama: How a transformational president became an impediment to change
By Elia Isquith | Salon | Jan. 16
“His romantic vision of America was once his greatest asset. But now it’s holding Obama and his country back”

9. Health Benefits of Red Wine vs. Grape Juice
By Karen Weintraub | Ask Well :: The New York Times | Jan. 8
“We keep hearing about the benefits of drinking red wine. Why not grape juice instead? It has the same benefits, plus no alcohol.”

10. Why Ike Wouldn’t Celebrate the D-Day Anniversary
By Michael Beschloss | HistorySource :: The New York Times | May 2014
“Thus Ike spent the D-Day anniversary of Sunday, June 6, 1954, out of sight, with his family at Camp David.”

Looking Back: Proud to serve

Today in 1913, Joseph Ramirez was born. He faced down discrimination, became an engineer, fought in World War II, and took pride in his defense of his adopted county.

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Today in 1913, Joseph Ramirez was born. He faced down discrimination, became an engineer, fought in World War II, and took pride in his defense of his adopted county.

******

LOOKING BACK
A special series

During my time as a contributing editor to the magnificent Voces Oral History Project at the University of Texas at Austin, I came across some amazing stories. The project, which I celebrated in 2011, collects the stories of Latino veterans and civilians who saw and felt the effects of war, from World War II to Vietnam. This occasional series highlights a few of these fascinating lives.

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Joseph P. Ramirez, born on Jan. 12, 1913, built a fulfilling life despite the discrimination he faced from landlords, school officials, and potential employers. He worked his way through school to earn an engineering degree.

He joined the Army in 1942 and was part of a headquarters unit that landed in the Philippines shortly before Douglas MacArthur made his triumphant return.

Ramirez persevered after the war. He married and settled in Chicago, always proud of how he and other Mexicans fought for their adopted homeland in World War II.

Visit the Voces website. Like them on Facebook. Follow them on Twitter.

Looking Back: Virtue of the war

Today in 1922, Simon Duarte Botello was born in Central Texas. Botello and his four brothers fought in World War II, and their younger brother immortalized their experiences in a small book.

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Today in 1922, Simon Duarte Botello was born in Central Texas. Botello and his four brothers fought in World War II, and their younger brother immortalized their experiences in a small book.

*************

LOOKING BACK
A special series

During my time as a contributing editor to the magnificent Voces Oral History Project at the University of Texas at Austin, I came across some amazing stories. The project, which I celebrated in 2011, collects the stories of Latino veterans and civilians who saw and felt the effects of war, from World War II to Vietnam. This occasional series highlights a few of these fascinating lives.

Simon Duarte Botello, born on Jan. 5, 1922, and his four brothers helped their father on their family farm in Central Texas. When World War II began, the boys enlisted, leaving behind their parents and eight younger siblings. The family gave up farming when the boys — the farm’s labor force — departed for war.

Three brothers were wounded. All five brothers returned home once the war ended in 1945. A younger sibling, Thomas, immortalized most of their experiences and memories in a small book, based on interviews and wartime letters.

The war’s greatest legacy on the homefront, Thomas concluded, was that it led to educational opportunities for millions of children, including many of the younger Botello siblings.

Visit the Voces website. Like them on Facebook. Follow them on Twitter.

About: Tejanas of La Raza Unida Project

I’m proud to be a part of this fascinating project.

The Women Of La Raza Unida

Incredible Texas women worked tirelessly in the 1960s and 1970s to make our state a better, more equitable place. We want to celebrate these women, and their unique experiences as political and community activists, as told through their work with La Raza Unida.

It was important that they share their stories in their own words; we eventually hope to include the transcripts in a book. We aim to gain a new understanding of Texas history through the lens of some of its most stellar daughters, who found their way into activism vis-à-vis La Raza Unida.

We hope you enjoy their stories and learn from them — and please share with your friends and family.

  • Laura Varela is a filmmaker based in San Antonio, you can contact her here.
  • Andrew Gonzales is a filmmaker based in Austin, you can contact him here.
  • Fernando Ortiz is an historian based in…

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