Category: History

Senator J. William Fulbright Was a Complicated Contradiction in Ideals

Senator J. William Fulbright Was a Complicated Contradiction in Ideals

FAYETTEVILLE- Slavery is America's original sin, and ever since 1776, race has consequentially been the most divisive issue in the nation. As one might expect, even the greatest of American heroes have found themselves on the wrong side of history when it comes to issues of race.

The late Senator J. William Fulbright is no exception. His legacy is one just as complicated as those belonging to the slave-owning founding fathers. He was every bit as paradoxical as Thomas Jefferson, an individual who coined the phrase "all men are created equal" while also having a slave as his mistress.

This past weekend, as a Fulbright alumnus, I attended the Fulbright Program's conference "Building Bridges Through Exchange" at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. During the event, I led a world cafe (audio here) on the current state of journalism.

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Meeting Gorbachev Paints Full Picture of Overlooked Former USSR Leader

Meeting Gorbachev Paints Full Picture of Overlooked Former USSR Leader

In "Meeting Gorbachev," co-directors Werner Herzog and André Singer created a gripping documentary that articulates how "from such a god-forsaken place in the middle of nowhere would emerge one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century."

Perhaps the major key to what made Mikhail Gorbachev such a generational success in his political life was his being a man of the people. He never forgot his humble beginnings and that ideal drove him to the two pillars of his reign at the top of the Soviet Union: perestroika ("restructuring") or glasnost "openness/transparency in government."

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Martellus Bennett Believes Athletes Still Fear Speaking Out on Issues (Exclusive)

Martellus Bennett Believes Athletes Still Fear Speaking Out on Issues (Exclusive)
While it's pretty clear now that Colin Kaepernick isn't coming back to the National Football League, the powerful impact that he made will be long-lasting. His decision to take a knee during the national anthem, as a gesture of protest against brutality and systemic racism within law enforcement, may ultimately pave the way for more football players to eventually speak out on the issues of the day while still active in their playing careers. Former Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett, in town this past week to do a public reading of his new children's book "Dear Black Boy," doesn't believe that day is here yet though. "No, that fear is still there," Bennett responded when we put this question to him during our exclusive conversation at Open Books, a literacy non-profit in the west loop...
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St. Valentine's Day Massacre Site is Totally Nothing Today and That's Complicated

St. Valentine's Day Massacre Site is Totally Nothing Today and That's Complicated

While my Grandma was alive she often told our family her story of passing by the St. Valentine's Day Massacre aftermath on her way to work the morning of February 14, 1929. Bessie Banks, 23 years old at the time, was on the Clark street bus to her job at the Palmer House when the vehicle rode past the scene of the grisly crime at 2122 N. Clark St. just a couple hours after it happened.

Every time she told the story she would mention that the gangster era of Chicago was very overblown, in regards to the level of danger to the average citizen. She would always say that they didn't bother anybody, and only fought amongst themselves.

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New Book Examines Earth Shattering Events Surrounding 1918 World Series

New Book Examines Earth Shattering Events Surrounding 1918 World Series
A new book by Skip Desjardins, entitled War, Plague, and the World Series, revisits the month of September 1918, and all the dramatic, history-altering events that occurred in Boston during this specific month. Exactly 100 years ago, the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox squared off in a World Series that was played a month earlier than usual due to World War I and amidst a backdrop of revolutionary changes in workers rights, women's rights and global alliances. It was also a society on the precipice of massive technological change which would bring rapid social change during the Roaring 20s...

The King: New Documentary Analogizes Decline of America, Elvis Presley

The King: New Documentary Analogizes Decline of America, Elvis Presley

The rise and fall of Elvis Presley more or less coincided with American middle class prosperity. He burst onto the scene into the 1950s, quickly rose to prominence, and by the 1970s he was gone forever.

That's pretty much the same life span, and time line of the so-called American Dream- the idea of self-determination and success achieved through hard work. This idea of Elvis Presley as a general metaphor for America at large is the central thesis of Eugene Jarecki’s new film "The King," which takes Elvis’ 1963 Rolls-Royce on a musical road trip across America.

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Trump Makes the USA a Russian Colony on Monday

Trump Makes the USA a Russian Colony on Monday

For most of our lifetimes, the President of the United States of America was considered the most powerful person in the world. Today that’s not the case, as the globe now belongs to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

Ever since the catch-phrase “leader of the free world” has been in common parlance, it has meant the POTUS. As it’s a phrase deeply rooted in NATO, the label no longer applies to our current President. Perhaps that honorable designation is more befitting German Chancellor Angela Merkel or United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May, or maybe there is no current leader of the free world. 

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Cinepocalypse at Music Box Provides Wonderful Escape from the News

Cinepocalypse at Music Box Provides Wonderful Escape from the News
Let's face it- watching the news and following current events in our country today is just plain torturous. It all starts at the very top, with our Federal leadership, their lackeys and acolytes, and of course the mainstream media that plays right into their hands. It's a very diabolical sociological cocktail, with social media the most potent and toxic ingredient of all. If you're sick and tired of hearing about who's trending online right now because of what deplorably offensive thing they said (and probably don't even actually believe his/herself) on cable news, then you should turn the TV off, put the phone down and go see a movie instead...

May Day Brings Heightened Awareness of Haymarket Memorial

May Day Brings Heightened Awareness of Haymarket Memorial

Today is May Day, or International Workers Day, and with that we remember the Haymarket Affair on the evening of May 4 1886. May 1 is the date on the calendar that honors and remembers labor, so thus the Haymarket martyrs, who died in the cause of eventually giving us an eight hour workday, are top of mind.

"The day will come when our silence is more powerful than the voices you are throttling today.”...
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Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Have No Hope of Image Rehabilitation

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Have No Hope of Image Rehabilitation
Today saw Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg begin a week in Washington, D.C. that will see him under intense scrutiny. No matter how this ends, both his company and his individual brand are damaged to the point that is well beyond repair. Facebook has been declared "over" many times previously, but this time the stakes are a whole lot higher than just something once very trendy being mainstreamed and then co-opted by bored housewives stalking their children...