I came across the coolest film clip ever yesterday when I was making the rounds on Facebook – this one from my friends at SoCal Historic Architecture. Head over and follow them if you are a fan of LA history. The clip in question features a few views around Los Angeles in 1912. Quite clearly, some things have not changed a bit: traffic is still terrible, pedestrians still wander out into the middle of the street, and bicyclists still disregard all rules of the road to their own peril. But some things have changed. For example, we no longer have an alligator farm, and as far as I know, ostriches are in short supply – at least within the city limits. As far a public transportation – the 1912 version was first-rate…today we are slowly reclaiming some of that nascent efficiency.
At any rate, I am certain my Angeleno friends will enjoy this film clip as will anyone who has an interest in early-twentieth century urban history.
Greetings all! I have been posting updates on Twitter of late chronicling the progress of my next web-course: The American Civil War. I am very pleased to announce that the launch date is May 14, 2016. The course includes nearly forty video lectures and other projects covering military, social, political, and economic aspects of the conflict.
I am most excited to offer this course to my founding web-students for a 50% discount off the already reasonable price. You won’t find this deal anywhere but through this site – and the offer goes away on launch day. So you had better get on the stick. Here’s what you need to do:
ONE – be a current student or enroll now in either my Gettysburg or Reconstruction Era web-course for the regular discounted price available only from Keith Harris History.
TWO – sign up to be part of the Keith Harris History CREW so I can be sure to get you the info you need.
Get that all squared away and on launch day you will receive your discount code via email. And that’s it. Easy right?
Today I am featuring these cool vintage postcards depicting some Gettysburg battlefield tourist hot-spots. And…to let you know, if you do not already, that I have put together what I think is a pretty chill web-course on the battle. I designed it especially for high school APUSH and college students who want to know the battle and the historical context in which it unfolded. I also think it is great for anyone with an interest (buffs…I love buffs) in Civil War history or for those planning a trip to the national battlefield park. It will certainly get you in the Gettysburg mood. You can access the course HERE.
And this is what the reviewers think:
Succinct but detailed presentation by an instructor with an engaging style. Nice visuals. Very good production values.
Super concise and thorough. Love how he makes learning history fun 🙂
Professor Harris delivered an engaging and interesting way of approaching history. Rather than lecture and expect his students to accept his words at face value, Professor Harris challenges the student to engage the material and question long standing beliefs held by many. His integration of social media as a way of communicating ideas and engaging the material is superb. As he lectured, Professor Harris would periodically pop up in a side window to ask thought provoking questions, or to emphasize a point he had just made. Suffice to say, Professor Harris had no trouble making history come alive.
And there are more courses in production right now. I am nearing completion of a comprehensive course on the Reconstruction Era, and naturally, there is a Civil War course under development too.
I am sure you have all by now seen West Point history professor Colonel Ty Seidule explain what caused the Civil War.
His answer: slavery. Unequivocally.
I think this is a first rate video because it takes on, in succinct fashion, the usual Confederate apologist arguments distancing their cause from the peculiar institution. I’ll admit that there were a couple of things I wish Colonel Seidule would have addressed, such as President Lincoln’s 1862 letter to Horace Greely explaining his official duty to save the Union (even if that meant leaving slavery intact) as well as the few slave states that remained loyal to the Union.
But these quibbles notwithstanding, I will still argue that the good professor executes his concise lesson in fine style. I suggest that we continue to spread his message. No doubt you have come across social media threads that descend into the usual Confederate flag flapping nonsense about slavery being incidental to the war. Why not attach this video – I mean…Colonel Seidule does not appear to be a proponent of the “revisionist liberal agenda,” so maybe folks who would generally dismiss tree-hugging Marxist members of academia such as myself will pay attention to an authoritative man in uniform.
Like many of you, I have been preoccupied with the recent murders in Charleston. At first, I thought about writing something that historicized modern racism through a reflection on the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and white resistance to the Civil Rights movement. But instead of commenting specifically as a historian, I would rather comment generally as a human being. If you want to get up to speed on the history – here’s a comprehensive syllabus that has been going around on the usual social media sites. Read these books. Repost the link. You need to.
The time has long past for all Americans to wake the fuck up and understand that racially motivated violence is a deep-seated part of our national culture. And it does not seem to be going anywhere. Some have noted over the last few days, including Jon Stewart and others, that many Americans pretend racism has almost entirely faded into the past, that we have overcome a troubling part of our history and have healed our racial wounds. As such, we interpret these events as isolated tragedies perpetrated by unstable individuals acting alone.
This self-congratulatory and self-inflicted ignorance must end. Now. Because you and I both know that it will not be long before we’re reading yet another story about yet another racially motivated murder.
I speak especially to silent white progressives. Stop pretending. Yes, your kids have black friends. Yes, you elected a black president. Good for you. But our nation’s murderous racist reality has not changed. And understand that nothing is ever going to happen to stop this despicable savagery until we can all have an open, honest, and very public conversation about race. Such a discussion is going to be unsettling. It is going to be uncomfortable. But it must take place. Your complacency is killing people.
I have had enough. And I suspect you have as well. So do something.