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Posts Tagged ‘American history’

Breaking News: Vice President Shoots Former Treasury Secretary!

Dueling Pistol

Dueling Pistol Photo via Pixabay [CCO Public Domain]

If you find yourself teaching U.S. History in summer school classes, you might want to rip a page from the headlines of July 11, 1804, and share it with your students. In what has to be one of the wackiest acts of political animosity in United States history, a sitting vice president fought a duel with and fatally wounded a hero of the Constitutional Convention and former Secretary of the Treasury. If it sounds convoluted, it is.

Your students are probably familiar with Alexander Hamilton either via textbooks or the wildly popular “Hamilton” Broadway musical. If not, here is a brief primer. Hamilton was born on Nevis, an island in the Caribbean. He arrived in the Colonies in the 1770s and joined the Continental Army during the American Revolution. He was noticed by General George Washington who used him as an aid. Fast-forward to the Constitutional Convention, where Hamilton was instrumental in winning ratification of the Constitution. He was appointed the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury by President George Washington. Hamilton developed a monetary policy that saved the young country from financial ruin. He later became leader of the political party known as the Federalists.

Aaron Burr may be the lesser known of the two figures, but he was an accomplished person in his own right. Burr, born in 1756, was from a wealthy New Jersey family. He graduated college at the age of 17. Like Hamilton, he joined the Continental Army and served for a while under General Washington. Burr was elected to the New State Assembly and later served as a state attorney. In 1790, he defeated Hamilton’s father in a bid for the U.S. Senate. Burr eventually became vice president under Thomas Jefferson in 1800.

Now, here is where things get a bit ugly.

Aaron Burr Research Topic

Aaron Burr Research Topic via ProQuest’s eLibrary

Alexander Hamilton Research Topic

Alexander Hamilton Research Topic via ProQuest’s eLibrary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long before the advent of social media, politicians were bad-mouthing each other either in a public forum or in print. Hamilton detested Burr. Hamilton once said of Burr: “I feel it is a religious duty to oppose his career.” Hamilton began his first series of public attacks on Burr when Burr first ran for the vice presidency in 1796. Hamilton considered Burr to be “dangerous” and an “opportunist” and spoke against him on many occasions. Burr later ran as an independent for governor of New York. During the election, his character was attacked so viciously by Hamilton that he challenged him to a duel, or an “Affair of Honor.”

These so-called affairs of honor were somewhat commonplace in the late 1700s and early 1800s, and they usually ended peacefully enough, but not this time. Burr demanded satisfaction. The combatants met at seven o’clock in the morning at a spot near Weehawken, New Jersey. There are conflicting reports about what happened next.

Even though some pundits say we live in the era of “Fake News,” we have nothing on the media of the time of the Burr/Hamilton duel. Hamilton’s assistant said that Hamilton decided that the duel was immoral and deliberately fired his pistol into the air. Burr’s assistant, however, claimed that Hamilton fired at Burr and missed. Many newspapers of the time tended to print the version of the story associated with the political party they supported. Some praised Hamilton and declared Burr to be a murderer. Burr’s supporters, however, attacked the newspaper campaigns aimed at him.

What is known for sure is that Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton in the stomach, and the bullet stopped near Hamilton’s spine. He died the next day.

Historical marker of Hamilton-Burr duel in Weehawken, NJ

Historical marker of Hamilton-Burr duel in Weehawken, NJ via Wikimedia Commons by Billy Hathorn (CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Burr was charged with murder, but because he was a sitting vice president living in Washington, D.C., he was immune from prosecution. His reputation, however, was forever tarnished. In 1805, Burr led a half-baked scheme to take over the Louisiana Territory and establish himself as the leader of a new empire. He even went so far as to lead armed citizens down to New Orleans, but he was captured and tried for treason. He, again, avoided prison and promptly left the country. In later life, he returned to the U.S. to practice law. He died in 1836.

This Summer, instead of challenging your students to a duel, challenge them to explore the many historical Research Topics available in eLibrary.

Dueling Trivia:

*The dueling ground in Weehawken, New Jersey, where Alexander Hamilton was fatally wounded was the same spot where Hamilton’s own son was killed in 1801 defending his father’s honor.

*Future president Andrew Jackson fought a duel with Charles Dickinson in 1806. Dickinson accused Jackson of cheating on a horse racing bet, so the two met near the Red River in Kentucky for a 19th-century throw-down. Dickinson fired first and hit Jackson in the ribs. Jackson returned fire, killing Dickinson. Doctors judged the musket ball lodged in Jackson’s chest to be too close to his heart to remove, so the bullet stayed in his body for the rest of his life.

*In 1826, Senator John Randolph accused Secretary of State Henry Clay of “crucifying the Constitution and cheating at cards.” Randolph, of course, found himself challenged to a duel. Randolph, a crack shot, decided that it would be unwise and unmanly to kill Clay, so he determined to aim high and let Clay live. When both men met for the duel, Randolph accidentally fired his gun into the ground. Clay, accepting that it was a misfire, allowed Randolph to reload his pistol. Randolph, still not wanting to kill Clay, fired first and nicked Henry Clay’s coat. Clay fired back and missed his target. They decided to have a do-over. This time, Clay fired first, missing his opponent yet again. Randolph then fired his weapon into the air. Moved by the gesture, Clay met Randolph at mid-field and shook his hand, thus ending the duel.

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100 Years Ago This Week: “It’s War!”

America in WWI Research Topic

America in World War I Research Topic via ProQuest’s eLibrary

Calling all History teachers!  Don’t let this week go by without talking to your students about World War I. This Thursday, April 6, marks the 100th anniversary of the United States’ declaration of war on Germany. On April 2nd, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson had asked Congress for the declaration, stating that it would be a “war to end all wars” and that it would “make the world safe for democracy.” All-out war had been raging in Europe since August 1914. Wilson had kept America out of the fighting, even after the sinking of the Lusitania in May 1915, which had 128 Americans on board. Germany had resumed unrestricted submarine (U-Boat) warfare on all commercial ships heading toward Britain.  In addition, British Intelligence intercepted a secret German diplomatic communication, called the Zimmermann Telegram, which proposed a military alliance between Germany and Mexico. These events, plus the fact that the United States had loaned massive amounts of money to the allies and feared it would not get that money back if the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria) won, tipped the scales in favor of war.

Tom Young Mason Draft Card

Thomas Young Mason Draft Registration Card [Ancestry Library via ProQuest]

The Selective Service Act was signed May 18, 1917. In the United States, over 9-and-a half million men, ages 21 to 31, signed up at their local draft boards. One of those men was my grandfather, Thomas Young Mason. Tom was a 30-year-old farmer from Logan County, Kentucky, when he signed his draft card on June 5, 1917. The reason I know this is because I found a copy of his draft card while searching AncestryLibrary.com, available via ProQuest. I was surprised at how easy it was to find information about my grandfather. I can’t say that I know a lot about his time during the Great War. He died years before I was born, and my family never was much for telling war stories. I do, however, have some nice photographs of him in his WWI uniform. I also have, at home in my basement, the very hat he was wearing in those photos.

Thomas Young Mason (1886-1953)

WWI Photo of Thomas Young Mason [Image Courtesy Blog Author]

Grandma & Grandpa Mason

Grandma & Grandpa Mason [Photo Courtesy Blog Author]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My grandfather was one of the lucky ones who made it home from the War. Europeans bore the brunt of the casualties with 9 million military men killed and over 30 million wounded. World War I was one of the most tragic events in modern world history, and the “peace” that was reached at its end led directly to the Second World War.

eLibrary has many resources teachers can use to explain this momentous time in world History. A really good high school lesson plan called “Wilson & American Entry into World War I” can be found at EDSITEment!, a National Endowment for the Humanities website.  While you and your students are conducting research on this topic, don’t forget to check out ProQuest’s awesome Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War, a digital collection of writings produced near the trenches and on the home front.  During this 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I, it might be a good idea to take some time out from your regular class assignments and get your students involved in a discussion on this timely topic. One idea would be to have your class watch the American Experience documentary The Great War,” which premieres on PBS April 10.

Factoids:

While Woodrow Wilson often gets credit for the phrase “the war to end all wars,” delivered during his April 1917 speech before Congress, many historians assume that he got the idea from a 1914 book by H.G. Wells entitled “The War That Will End War.”

The United States officially declared war on Austria-Hungary on December 7, 1917. Twenty-four years later, on December 7, 1941, FDR asked Congress for a declaration of war against the Empire of Japan, marking America’s entry into World War II.

 

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Aces & Eights: The Death of “Wild Bill” Hickok

Wild Bill Hickok Research Topic

Wild Bill Hickok Research Topic via ProQuest’s eLibrary

Everyone loves a good Western. Whether it be a novel, TV show or movie, the Western is a uniquely American genre. How many times in countless films has the lone gunfighter faced seemingly insurmountable odds and come out victorious in the end? The hero (or anti-hero) of the Western has become so woven into the fabric of the lore of the United States that it is often hard to separate fact from fiction. While there are many false stories floating around about Wild Bill Hickok (many of them invented by Wild Bill himself), it appears that James Butler Hickock was the real deal. In fact, the image of the lean, tall laconic gunfighter comes mostly from contemporary accounts and descriptions of Hickok. Born in Illinois in 1837, Hickok moved to Kansas Territory in the 1850s. During the Civil War, he fought for the Union in a vigilante group known as the Jayhawkers. It was there he met William Cody, who would later become Buffalo Bill. It was also during the War that he began to call himself William Hickok (or Haycock) instead of James. After the war, his reputation as a scout, lawman, gunfighter and gambler began to grow. He became marshal of Abilene, known to be one of the toughest towns in the West. His fame was solidified after a shootout in Nebraska during which he shot three men. A story about the gunfight was printed in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine under the title “Wild Bill Hickok.” The name stuck.

Wild Bill, Texas Jack & Buffalo Bill

Wild Bill, Texas Jack & Buffalo Bill [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons

Wild Bill Hickok

Wild Bill HIckok [CC0 Public Domain] via Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hickok carried two Colt Model 1851 Navy revolvers in a red sash around his waist, their ivory handles turned forward for an underhand “twist draw.” His numerous shootouts in several western towns earned him the notoriety of being a man not to be trifled with. Wild Bill loved to gamble. It was also his habit to sit in a saloon with his back to the wall so that no one could sneak up on him from behind. On August 2, 1876, in Nuttal & Mann’s Saloon in Deadwood, Dakota Territory (now South Dakota), the only chair left at a table put Hickok’s back to the door. He asked Charles Rich to change seats with him. Rich refused, forcing Wild Bill to sit with his back exposed to the swinging doors of the bar. Not long afterwards, in walked Jack McCall who had lost heavily playing poker with Hickok the previous day. McCall pulled a pistol and shot Wild Bill in the head from just three feet away. The men were playing five-card draw at the time of the murder, and the cards that fell from Hickok’s hand were a pair of black aces and a pair of black eights, which have ever since been known as the “Dead Man’s Hand.”

Aces & Eights

Dead Man’s Hand via Tage Olsin C.C. 2.0 Wikimedia Commons

Many of the Old West legends are just that…folklore, fabrications, exaggerations and tall tales. Just like this blog, some parts may be true, some not so much. Why don’t you do some research in eLibrary in these waning days of summer and discover more about the myths and realities of the American West.

Calamity Jane (Research Topic)

eLibrary Basic Search

Famous Figures of the Old West (Topic Search)

ProQuest Research Topics

Westward Expansion (Topic Search)

Wild West (Magazine)

Wyatt Earp (Research Topic)

This Day in History–May 24, 1607: Welcome to Jamestown!

On May 24, 1607, about 100 men and boys disembarked their ships and established Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the New World.

By Source of picture not given, publisher is J. B. Lippincot Company, Philadelphia and London [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Founders of the Jamestown, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Okay, right off the bat we need a couple of explanations. First off, the date of the establishment of Jamestown is a bit confusing because of the differences between the Julian and Gregorian calendars. Many sources cite the date as May 14, and this is what the colonists recorded because they were using the Julian calendar. However, today we use the Gregorian calendar, which offsets the date by ten days, making the the date May 24 in today’s terms. (After much searching around online for a definitive answer to this question, it is still murky, with some actually going the other direction, placing the date at May 4. In his writings, George Percy wrote, “The fourteenth day [of May], we landed all our men …”. Since England did not adopt the new calendar until 1752, it makes sense to me that the corrected date is May 24. And, it looks like the Library of Congress agrees. (See note number 1.) Let this be a lesson that history is sometimes messy, and you should get your information from multiple and reliable sources.)

Secondly, you’ll note that I said “permanent” settlement. There were a couple of settlements that predate Jamestown–the most famous being Roanoke–but they failed fairly quickly. So, Jamestown wasn’t the first, but it was the first to endure.

And now, back to our story.

Arriving under the charter of the Virginia Company of London, the colonists’ three ships had spent some time sailing up the James River (which they named after King James I) looking for a suitable location, and they chose a spot on a peninsula that they determined would be defendable against attack. Fortunately, it was not inhabited by natives; unfortunately, the swampy area was a terrible place to grow crops.

Jamestown Fort

Jamestown Fort, from the Jamestown Research Topic page, via ProQuest eLibrary

After building a fort, the colonists began suffering great losses due to disease and food shortages. The Powhatan Indians helped with gifts of food until a supply ship arrived in 1608. The settlement was nearly wiped out again in the 1609-1610 winter’s “starving time,” during which two-thirds of the colonists died from starvation and attacks by the Powhatan, whose relationship with the settlers had turned sour. It was during this period that, archaeologists say, some inhabitants of the fort resorted to cannibalism. Relief finally arrived in May of 1610, when a much-delayed ship brought more provisions. Later that year, the decision was made to give up on Jamestown, but the abandonment was short-lived, as a fleet of ships arrived, bringing more supplies and settlers.

A number of industries were attempted at Jamestown, including glassmaking and wood production, but fortunes improved only after John Rolfe began growing tobacco, which became America’s first cash crop.

Rolfe married the Chief Powhatan’s daughter, Pocahontas, bringing about a period of peace with the Indians. The relationship became strained once again after the deaths of both Pocahontas and her father and the continued encroachment of farms onto native land. Intending to undo the colonists once and for all, the natives attacked and killed more than 300 in what became known as the Indian Massacre of 1622.

In 1624, King James revoked the Virginia Company’s charter and made Virginia a royal colony. After Jamestown was burned down during Bacon’s Rebellion, the capital of the colony was moved from Jamestown to Williamsburg.

Efforts to preserve find and preserve aspects of Jamestown’s history began in the late 1800s, and in 1994 archaeologists began rediscovering the original settlement, which had been thought to have been claimed by the James River.

Follow the links in the text above, do your own searches in eLibrary and browse our massive list of Research Topics to discover more about Jamestown and other pieces of American history.

This Day in History: Stephen Decatur Burns the USS Philadelphia, 1804

The flames … ascending her rigging and masts, formed columns of fire, whilst the discharge of her guns gave an idea of some directing spirit within her.”

Burning of the Frigate 'Philadelphia'

Burning of the Frigate ‘Philadelphia’ via ProQuest eLibrary

This was the scene in Tripoli Harbor on February 16, 1804 as the USS Philadelphia burned during the first Barbary War. But it wasn’t the enemy who set her afire; it was an American party led by Lieutenant Stephen Decatur, Jr., the 24-year-old son of the very naval officer who commissioned the Philadelphia four years before.

The war against the Barbary states arose from President Thomas Jefferson‘s refusal to continue to pay tribute (payments) to those states for protection of American merchant ships from pirates. A number of prior attacks had meant ever-increasing ransoms demanded by the pirates. Years earlier, in a letter to John Adams, Jefferson had called for the use of naval forces to deal with the situation. In 1801 Jefferson sent ships to the area, and in 1802 Congress granted authorization to seize ships and protect American vessels, and the war was officially on.

The Philadelphia, commanded by William Bainbridge, ran aground on a reef in Tripoli Harbor and was eventually surrendered after Bainbridge attempted to make the ship unusable by the enemy. The Tripolians managed to get the ship afloat again, and Commodore Edward Preble ordered Decatur to try and repossess the ship or destroy it.

Sir, you are hereby ordered to take command of the prize ketch Intrepid. It is my order that you proceed to Tripoli, enter the harbor in the night, board the Philadelphia, burn her and make good your retreat … The destruction of the Philadelphia is an object of great importance. I rely with confidence on your intrepidity and enterprise to effect it.

The Intrepid, previously named Mastico, had been captured from the Tripolians, and Decatur disguised the ship as a merchant vessel run by a small Arab-speaking crew. Decatur and most of the men hid below deck. Under the ruse that the ship had lost its anchor, permission was sought to tie up to the Philadelphia. When the two ships were aside one another, Decatur and the other men burst out and onto the Philadelphia, easily overcoming the crew aboard. In a matter of minutes, 20 of the enemy were dead and others had jumped ship. The Americans then proceeded to send the ship up in flames and quickly retreat to the Intrepid.

The gun deck was all of a sudden beautifully illuminated by the numerous candles of the crew. The squads … repaired to their stations. After the lapse of a few minutes Captain D demanded at every hatchway, from forward to aft, whether they were ready, and-on being answered in the affirmative from below-returned to the hatchways as before, giving the word succinctly at each, “Fire!”-in order of insuring the simultaneousness of setting fire to every part of the ship alike.

Decatur was deemed a hero, with legendary Admiral Horatio Nelson reportedly declaring “his actions “the most bold and daring act of its age.” The young naval officer became a celebrity. Towns and ships were named after him, he was the subject of paintings and busts, and his image even appeared on household items like cups and pitchers. His career took off, and he took part in many other military engagements, including the Second Barbary War and the War of 1812.

Unfortunately, his distinguished career was cut short in 1820 when he died in a duel with Commodore James Barron, whom Decatur criticized over his conduct in an engagement with the British known as the ChesapeakeLeopard Affair.

The links in the text above provide a mere sample of all of the great information to be discovered in eLibrary. So, get searching in eLibrary and browsing in our ever-expanding list of Research Topics.

Presidents Day … or Whatever It’s Called

Washington's Birthday Research Topic via eLibrary

Washington’s Birthday Research Topic screencap via ProQuest eLibrary

No matter what your calendar says, there is no federal holiday called “Presidents Day.” It is still officially “Washington’s Birthday.” While many states have adopted their own holidays to honor various combinations of presidents, the third Monday in February, technically, honors our first president.

George Washington’s birthday is February 22, which was celebrated even when he was still alive, and in 1879 the date was made an official holiday by an act of Congress. This continued until the 1968 Uniform Monday Holiday Act shifted the holiday to its place on the third Monday of the month, consequently ensuring it would never fall on the actual date of Washington’s birth. The term “Presidents Day” (or “Presidents’ Day,” depending on where you are and how you feel about apostrophes) was first coined in the 1950s during an effort to create a holiday to honor all presidents, and it was considered in a rejected version of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act that would have changed the holiday to honor Abraham Lincoln as well. Over the years, many states began declaring their own Presidents Days to honor Washington, Lincoln and their own native sons, and in the 1980s advertisers began promoting the term “Presidents Day,” adding to the confusion about the holiday. There continue to be efforts to return to focus to George Washington and to move the date back to February 22, with many complaining that the holiday, which most associated with a day off of work and discount sales, has lost its effect as a way to honor Washington and Lincoln and as a tool to foster historical literacy.

However you feel about the name of the holiday and whom it should honor, eLibrary has all of the bases covered. First, we stuck to the federal designation when we created our Washington’s Birthday Research Topic page, which can give you the basics on the holiday itself. Then, there are RT pages on George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and all of the presidents (if you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings). Just type the name in the eLibrary search box. (You can watch for autocomplete drop-downs to aid you while typing.) We also have many RTs related to presidential elections, aspects of the presidency and even the often-forgotten vice presidents. Examples: U.S. Presidential Election, 1960, American Presidency, Vice Presidency, Charles Curtis.

Research Topics and other resources can be topics button smallfound by clicking the “Topics” button in the bar at the top of the page in eLibrary. Here, you can search for and click on underlined words to drill down into subject headings. You can always click on underlined words in the topic string at the top of the page to widen or narrow the scope. An item with a star next to it in the outline or in the topic string will display a Research Topic page directly related to it. Here are some headings to get you started on this topic: Presidents, Vice Presidents, First Ladies, Presidential Elections, Holidays.

 

Veterans Day Origins

Veterans Day Research Topic

Veterans Day Research Topic Page screencap via ProQuest eLibrary

To many in the U.S., Veterans Day just means a day off of work or school, and while many may actually give some thought to the idea of honoring those who served in the military, do they know why and when the holiday came into existence?

The holiday has its roots in World War I. On November 11, 1918, the war ended with the signing of the armistice between the Allies and Germany, and the following year, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11, 1919 Armistice Day to pay homage to the heroism of those who died in the struggle.

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”

In 1926, Congress passed a resolution calling for another observance and ceremonies, and in 1938, it passed legislation making Armistice Day an annual U.S. holiday. Although World War I was called “the war to end all wars,” unfortunately, World War II proved that it wasn’t. So, in 1954, Congress decided it would be fitting to make November 11 a day to honor all veterans and changed the name to Veterans Day. The man who led the push for the change, Raymond Weeks, was given the Presidential Citizenship Medal by President Ronald Reagan and declared the “Father of Veterans Day.”

When the Uniform Monday Holiday legislation went into effect in 1971, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday in October. This proved to be an unpopular decision, and President Gerald Ford signed legislation to move it back to its original date, starting in 1978.

Today, Veterans Day is still celebrated on 11/11 with parades, services and proclamations of thanks to all of those who have served in our armed forces.

For lots of information on Veterans Day and just about any other topic, search in eLibrary, follow the links in the text above and see the resources below:

Research Topics:

Veterans Day, World War I, Armistice Day, Treaty of Versailles

Subject browse sections (Click on underlined words to widen or narrow the scope and click on “View Results” to see eLibrary resources. Items with stars next to them will display Research Topic pages.):

Holidays, World War I

Book:

World War I: A History in Documents

SIRS Discoverer Spotlight of the Month: Women’s History Month

Women's Basketball Team at Smith College <br \> Wikimedia Commons, via ProQuest SIRS Discoverer [Public Domain]

Women’s Basketball Team at Smith College
Wikimedia Commons, via ProQuest SIRS Discoverer [Public Domain]

The lives of American women are very different now than they were centuries, even decades, ago. Did you know that there was a time when women were not allowed to serve in the military? Or that it was illegal for a woman to vote? Or that wives were once considered their husband’s property? Because of the work and dedication of many strong women, those things have changed. Women have more rights than they had even fifty years ago, and women today keep striving for equality in every part of life. March is a great time of year to honor the many women who have furthered women’s rights by making important changes in our country.

Join SIRS Discoverer’s March Spotlight of the Month in honoring Women’s History Month. Learn about the women’s suffrage movement in the United States, meet African-American women who have changed history, read about early female politicians, follow women’s increasing role in the military , and celebrate women’s scientific achievements. Perhaps you will become inspired to thank a woman who has made a positive impact in your life!

SKS Spotlight of the Month: Black History Month

Eager African American Boy Scouts get ready to do their part by distributing posters in their neighborhoods <br \> 208-LU-13K-21, via ProQuest SIRS Renaissance [Public Domain]

Eager African American Boy Scouts get ready to do their part by distributing posters in their neighborhoods
208-LU-13K-21, via ProQuest SIRS Renaissance [Public Domain]

African-American history is integral to the history of the United States. Our nation and its ever-evolving notion of “freedom” rests on the backbone of the African-American experience. Stories of Black Americans overcoming great odds are interwoven into the fabric of the American experience. Consider the personal histories of such people as Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr.: the strength, resiliency, and wisdom of these individuals have inspired countless Americans and forever will be synonymous with the America’s heritage and culture. The American notion of “freedom”–what it stands for and what it means to society–reflects the struggles and triumphs of these and many more African Americans.

Join SKS during the month of February in celebrating Black History Month. Learn about and commemorate the achievements of African Americans throughout history and today.

Happy Fourth of July!

A Capital Fourth Site Screencap

Today in the United States, we commemorate the independence of the nation. On this day in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress. To celebrate, citizens will have family barbecues, listen to patriotic music, go to a parade, or watch fireworks. See patriotic websites in Featured Websites in SIRS Issues Researcher.