Shortly after noon on August 26, 1961, Hollis Watkins and Curtis Elmer Hayes filled two vacant stools at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in McComb, Mississippi. When the two African American students were refused service at the segregated dining spot, police arrested the pair for failing to “disperse and move on” in violation of Jim Crow laws.…

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My monthly e-newsletter, The Throwback, is filled with history stories that will make you say “Wait? What?” Click here to read this month’s edition, in which I talk all things presidential. I talk about two of America’s greatest presidents along with one of the worst. Also, presidential drinking habits, a presidential podcast, and a new…

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“This is a government of the people, by the people and for the people no longer. It is a government by the corporations, of the corporations and for the corporations.” Rutherford B. Hayes, 1886. Gilded Age political corruption thrived because many public officials didn’t earn salaries but a cut of fees or taxes they collected,…

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It was a dark day for brewers 100 years ago today when Prohibition took effect. During the ensuing 13-year ban on beer production during Prohibition forced America’s biggest brewers to find creative ways to remain in business. Brewers produced soft drinks, malted milk and fruit juices but pinned their real hopes on non-intoxicating beers that…

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My monthly e-newsletter, The Throwback, is filled with history stories that will make you say “Wait? What?” Click here to read this month’s edition, in which I talk turkey about the time when Thanksgiving was more like Halloween and the origins of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Also some tips for fellow history geeks on…

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My monthly e-newsletter, The Throwback, is filled with history stories that will make you say “Wait? What?” Click here to read this month’s edition, in which I discuss the struggle for workers’ rights in America and how just days after President Grover Cleveland established Labor Day as a federal holiday, he sent federal troops to…

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Thanks to Damian Shiels of the excellent Irish in the American Civil War web site for running this piece I wrote about John O’Neill, who repeatedly led a series of Irish-American invasions of Canada known as the Fenian Raids. Canada was O’Neill’s “white whale.” I’m convinced that at the time of his death, O’Neill had…

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My monthly e-newsletter, The Throwback, is filled with history stories that will make you say “Wait? What?” Click here to read this month’s edition, in which I discuss the legacies of Andrew Carnegie and Napoleon Bonaparte, the buddy-buddy road trips of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, the first impeachment of an American president, and a…

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Fourteen tons of fireworks illuminated the New York night on May 24, 1883, to celebrate the completion of one of the greatest engineering feats of the Gilded Age—the Brooklyn Bridge. Billed as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” the longest suspension bridge ever built at the time spanned the East River to link the twin…

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My monthly e-newsletter, The Throwback, is filled with history stories that will make you say “Wait? What?” Click here to read this month’s edition, in which I discuss the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and the first men on the moon, including links to stories on how a virtual lighting model debunks conspiracy…

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