Jim Loewen Jim Loewen blog brought to you by History News Network. Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:38:06 +0000 Zend_Feed_Writer 2.1.3 (http://framework.zend.com) http://historynewsnetwork.org/blog/author/11 editor@hnn.us (History News Network) History News Network How Two Historians Responded to Racism in Mississippi Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:38:06 +0000 http://hnn.us/blog/153548 http://hnn.us/blog/153548 Jim Loewen Jim Loewen 0 Here We Go Again: Tests for the Common Core May Be Unfair to Some and Boring To All Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:38:06 +0000 http://hnn.us/blog/153543 http://hnn.us/blog/153543 Jim Loewen Jim Loewen 0 The Pentagon's Commemorating the Vietnam War. So Should We. Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:38:06 +0000 http://hnn.us/blog/153517 http://hnn.us/blog/153517 Jim Loewen Jim Loewen 0 More Bad History About Gay Marriage Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:38:06 +0000 http://hnn.us/blog/153512 http://hnn.us/blog/153512 Jim Loewen Jim Loewen 0 This is What Flip-Flopping on States' Rights Looks Like Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:38:06 +0000 http://hnn.us/blog/153511 http://hnn.us/blog/153511 Jim Loewen Jim Loewen 0 Let Our Seniors Go Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:38:06 +0000 http://hnn.us/blog/153506 http://hnn.us/blog/153506 Jim Loewen Jim Loewen 0 I Don’t Like It, So It Must Be Art Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:38:06 +0000 http://hnn.us/blog/153463 http://hnn.us/blog/153463 Jim Loewen Jim Loewen 0 The CIA Has a Museum? Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:38:06 +0000 http://hnn.us/blog/153419 http://hnn.us/blog/153419 Jim Loewen Jim Loewen 0 Here's What's Wrong with the Nixon Library and Museum Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:38:06 +0000 http://hnn.us/blog/153356 http://hnn.us/blog/153356 Jim Loewen Jim Loewen 0 Scalping Columbus Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:38:06 +0000 http://hnn.us/blog/153349 http://hnn.us/blog/153349 Jim Loewen Jim Loewen 0 Revising the SAT To Make It Even Worse Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:38:06 +0000 http://hnn.us/blog/153327 http://hnn.us/blog/153327 Jim Loewen Jim Loewen 0 History of Sundown Suburbs Threatens the Existence of Diverse Suburbs ]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:38:06 +0000 http://hnn.us/blog/153283 http://hnn.us/blog/153283 Jim Loewen Jim Loewen 0 The History of Composting in America ]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:38:06 +0000 http://hnn.us/blog/153202 http://hnn.us/blog/153202 Jim Loewen Jim Loewen 0 "'Confronting' Mitch Daniels at Purdue"
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Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:38:06 +0000 http://hnn.us/blog/153195 http://hnn.us/blog/153195 Jim Loewen Jim Loewen 0
Race Relations in Black and White, Color, and Digital ]]> Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:38:06 +0000 http://hnn.us/blog/153186 http://hnn.us/blog/153186 Jim Loewen Jim Loewen 0 George Zimmerman, Harmony Stair, and the Elephant in the Room
Credit: Wiki Commons.

After the Florida jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter for killing Trayvon Martin, everyone had an opinion about the verdict. Many people sought my opinion, including a major radio station in Jamaica and Al Jazeera. I knew that my own knowledge about the killing was no more than that of most of my listeners or readers. Hence I could not add to their knowledge base. I could only give them my opinion about the matter. So it would be about me and my opinion. What's the point of that?

I had expected the jury to find Zimmerman guilty of involuntary manslaughter. In my mind, I had compared his action to the fairly notorious 2011 case of Harmony Stair, a 33-year-old woman from Blacksburg, Virginia who was 7½ months pregnant. Stair had been making jello shots for a party and sampled her product. (Jello shots are small servings of jello made with vodka or grain alcohol.) She then drove drunk, causing a crash that fatally injured her fetus. Like Zimmerman, she was charged with manslaughter for his (her child's) death. Unlike Zimmerman, she was not charged with second-degree murder.

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Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:38:06 +0000 http://hnn.us/blog/152889 http://hnn.us/blog/152889 Jim Loewen Jim Loewen 0
Wabash Cannonball "Wabash Cannonball" is a light-hearted yet serious country-music song. It celebrates a train that went past my house at the southern edge of Decatur, Illinois, throughout my childhood. Maybe for that reason, my father bought Roy Acuff’s recording of it shortly after Columbia’s invention of the “LP” (long-playing record). I’ve heard this song since about 1950. I sang it myself – in public – in 2009. Now, I cannot get it out of my head.

Remembering Mark Twain’s famous short story "Punch, Brothers, Punch!", about the man who could not get a catchy jingle out of his head until he infected another person with it, in desperation, I turn to you. In the process of my passing the "Wabash Cannonball" on to you, we might enjoy a little railroad history together, perhaps a sort of baseball story, and even a bit of economic history from the 1890s.

Like several other railroads, the Wabash connected Chicago to St. Louis. It also went to Detroit and Kansas City. Perhaps its #2 claim to fame (after the song) was that its freight trains went fast, often averaging 55 and even 60 MPH. On many other railroads, then and now, freight trains trundle(d) along at 40 or even 20 MPH.

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Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:38:06 +0000 http://hnn.us/blog/152354 http://hnn.us/blog/152354 Jim Loewen Jim Loewen 0
The Nature (or is it Nurture) of Color Years ago, when I was teaching sociology at the University of Vermont, a colleague introduced me to a classroom exercise that he found useful for showing students gender differences. Eventually I wrote it up and Teaching Sociology published it.

The exercise had two parts. The first, labeled "Colors," listed eight colors -- not the easy ones like red, white, and blue, but puce, taupe, teal, mauve, magenta, chartreuse, ochre, and sienna. Students were to match each with one of ten definitions, such as "brilliant yellow" or "brownish gray."

The second half listed eight "Football terms": safety, screen, curl, trap, touchback, lateral, touchdown, and clip. Again we supplied ten definitions, such as "to block out a defensive player from the side after he has crossed the line of scrimmage."

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Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:38:06 +0000 http://hnn.us/blog/151776 http://hnn.us/blog/151776 Jim Loewen Jim Loewen 0
New Opposition to Old Sports Mascots On February 7, 2013, the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) hosted a day-long seminar, "Racist Stereotypes in American Sports." The handout they used to promote the show paired two graphic images:  a stereotypical black doll on a base saying "Not. Cool." paired with the stereotypical Cleveland Indian mascot on a base saying "Go Tribe!" It made a stunning impact. So did the symposium, getting considerable attention from the Washington Post, including the entire front page of its free "Express" edition the next morning.

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Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:38:06 +0000 http://hnn.us/blog/151462 http://hnn.us/blog/151462 Jim Loewen Jim Loewen 0
At War With Art “The Civil War and American Art,” the current exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, marks the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. After it closes in late April, the show will travel to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for most of the rest of 2013. To complement the show, the Smithsonian has published, in conjunction with Yale University Press, a beautiful companion volume that includes many images not on display in the galleries and several chapters of commentary. The exhibit and book are an occasion not only to showcase some fascinating art, but also to clear up the misconceptions that many Americans still hold about the period. Unfortunately, both squander that opportunity.

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Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:38:06 +0000 http://hnn.us/blog/151326 http://hnn.us/blog/151326 Jim Loewen Jim Loewen 0