With support from the University of Richmond

History News Network

History News Network puts current events into historical perspective. Subscribe to our newsletter for new perspectives on the ways history continues to resonate in the present. Explore our archive of thousands of original op-eds and curated stories from around the web. Join us to learn more about the past, now.

The Roundup Top Ten for June 23, 2023

Daniel Ellsberg's Moral Courage Was Unsparing, Even of Himself

by Erik Baker

Turning against Vietnam wasn't Daniel Ellsberg's great moral achievement. That was his realization that he had to choose between moral conviction and maintaining his place in the ranks of elite decisionmakers. 

Juneteenth has Gone National—We Must Preserve its Local Meanings

by Tiya Miles

Juneteenth celebrations have long been couched in local Black communities' preserved rituals that express particular ideas about heritage and the meaning of freedom. While a national commemoration of emancipation is welcome, history will be lost if local observances are swamped by a national holiday.

The War on Black Studies Isn't "Culture War" – It's Part of a Long Political Fight

by Robin D.G. Kelley

"Who’s afraid of Black Studies? White supremacists, fascists, the ruling class, and even some liberals. As well they should be. Black Studies was born out of a struggle for freedom and a genuine quest to understand the world in order to change it."

Moms For Liberty Event at Museum of American Revolution is a Betrayal of Historians and Democracy

by Jen Manion

"The Museum of the American Revolution has a responsibility to defend the history and practice of American democracy, not harbor those who seek to destroy it."

Clarence Thomas Took a Swipe at My Dissertation Research in a Decision. Here's Why He's Wrong

by Gregory Ablavsky

Historians' work played a huge role in a recent decision affecting Native American children. But the dissent by Clarence Thomas showed an appalling willingness to cherry-pick from the past that undermines originalism's own claims to legitimacy. 

Cormac McCarthy's Brutal Allegories of the American Empire

by Greg Grandin

"McCarthy demonstrated how the frontier wasn’t an incubator of democratic equality but a place of unrelenting pain, cruelty, and suffering."

Access to Mifepristone Could Hinge on Whether Pregnancy is "Illness"—What History Says

by Kristi Upson-Saia

Although antiabortion judges have mocked the idea that pregnancy is an illness, medical thought back to the ancient Mediterranean world have recognized the sharp downturn in women's health when they become pregnant. 

The Dodgers Were Right to Honor the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

by Lily Lucas Hodges

Catholic groups charged that the LGBTQ group mocked their faith with their appropriation of nuns' dress. But the group more importantly defied Catholic teaching to promote life-saving health care and education about sexuality at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. 

Texas's History is Under Ideological Attack—from the Right

by John R. Lundberg

A retired oil billionaire is trying to wrest control of the Texas State Historical Association from professional historians because they no longer support a vision of the state's history that gives white Anglo settlers pride of place in a diverse state. 

Texas Politicians Want to Erase What Happened Between Juneteenth and Jim Crow

by Jeffrey L. Littlejohn and Zachary Montz

Joshua Houston, long enslaved by Sam Houston, recognized that the collective work of securing freedom only began with the announcement of emancipation, and that teaching the state's history honestly was part of the struggle for an egalitarian society against people determined to stand against it.