history

Jan Wright

John Beeson benefitted from the removal of Native Americans from the Rogue Valley, like many white settlers in the mid-19th century. 

What he did next makes him a bit different: Beeson took up a second career as an advocate for Native Americans, leaving his Talent farm and family behind to push for better treatment for indigenous people. 

Historian Jan Wright is working on a book about Beeson and trying to crowdfund it

heatherannthompson.com

Three Exchange guests from the last couple of years turned up on the list of Pulitzer Prize winners recently announced. 

They include Heather Ann Thompson, who won the Pulitzer for history for her book  Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy

It's a powerful story of one of the country's best-known, and as it turns out, least understood prison uprisings. 

Public Domain/Wikimedia

Ronald Reagan's time as president has become truly legendary. 

EVERYONE seems to have a story about Reagan and his accomplishments, positive and negative. 

Craig Shirley has written several books about Reagan, including the recently published Reagan Rising, about the period from Reagan missing the Republican presidential nomination in 1976 to his victory four years later. 

publicceo.com

The State of Jefferson gets some recognition from the Oregon Historical Society in its latest publication. 

The Oregon Historical Quarterly's latest issue focuses on historical events and research in our corners of Oregon and California. 

The issue itself bears the one-time-only title of "Jefferson Historical Quarterly."  So we talk about some of the work to explore the region in this month's edition of "Underground History." 

In-house archaeologist Chelsea Rose from the Southern Oregon University Laboratory of Anthropology returns. 

HarperCollins

Politicians are fond of talking about our country's "founding fathers" and what they envisioned for the country. 

The women standing in the shadows of those men had dreams and visions, too.  And some of them even stepped out of the shadows to help guide the young country forward. 

Cokie Roberts of NPR fame wrote of them in the book Founding Mothers and followed that with a picture book for children, Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies. 

Fox Pictures

Movies about space flight always seem to be strong contenders for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. 

But a movie about math whizzes who made space flight possible?  That is the storyline of Hidden Figures, up for several Oscars on Sunday, February 26th. 

It is based on the true story of African American women whose calculation skills helped people fly into space, detailed in a book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly. 

She visited with us after the book was finished and as the movie neared completion. 

Writing A Memoir To Organize Your Life

Feb 20, 2017
Yann Dujardin, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28536452

If you sat down to begin writing your memoirs, which stories would you choose to tell the overall story of your life? 

It's an important question, and one Peter Gibb thinks about, deeply.  He wrote his own memoir, King of Doubt, and counsels other people on memoir writing, in a process called Memoir and Mindfulness (M&M--sorry, not the chocolate candy). 

Peter finds the process to a healing one, giving new perspective on life. 

Oregon State Archives

The federal constitution is on display at the National Archives in Washington for all to see. 

Oregon's first constitution, though younger by 70 years, is not healthy enough for public display.  Paper doesn't age well. 

The state just embarked on a crowdfunding campaign to raise $100,000 to restore and display the 1857 constitution. 

The First Lady And Her Lover, Remembered

Feb 13, 2017
National Archives

In a less candid age, the end of the phrase "Eleanor and..." was "Franklin."  Roosevelt, that is. 

The first lady and the president broke many barriers in their 12 years in the White House. 

But Eleanor Roosevelt's biggest barrier was broken out of the public eye, in her loving relationship with reporter Lorena Hickok.  "Hick" was Eleanor's constant companion for decades, a story told by Susan Quinn in her book Eleanor and Hick

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The Southern Oregon Historical Society is trying not to become history itself.

SOHS was once funded by property taxes, but a change in law allowed its levy money to be redirected, and it was. 

The organization has struggled since then, with programs and staff cut to a bare minimum. 

Staff is now all-volunteer.  And a tax levy to create a historic preservation district failed in the November election. 

Anna Geisslinger/hungercreek.com

The Meriwethers are not just singers and musicians, they are historians, in a sense. 

Their music tells the story of the Corps of Discovery led by Lewis and Clark, sent to explore the lands of the Louisiana Purchase more than 200 years ago. 

cUriOus: Weather And Ocean Explorers

Jan 6, 2017
Francis Sinclair/Public Domain

You have to admit, it took courage for our ancestors to get in rickety boats and travel across vast expanses of ocean to find lands new to them. 

It took luck, too... and ocean currents and a number of other factors. 

Archaeologist Scott Fitzpatrick at the University of Oregon studies the history of colonization in the Pacific and in the Caribbean.  And his studies take in weather patterns and other forces that may have forced choices on ancient explorers. 

What The Ancient World Teaches About Ours

Jan 3, 2017
NASA/Public Domain

Recent history shows how trends in human behavior produce similar movements in different places far apart. 

Example: the UK vote on "Brexit" and the American presidential election.  But that's to be expected in a modern, connected world, right? 

So how do we explain some of the human revolutions of antiquity?  Michael Scott takes on that project in his book Ancient Worlds: A Global History of Antiquity, showing how societal changes happened even among humans scattered far and wide. 

White House Photo Office/Wikimedia

Conservative giant William F. Buckley called his TV show "Firing Line" when it debuted in 1966. 

But despite the title, it was not a free-fire zone for people to yell at one another.  Debate and disagree, yes... but not like today's shouting matches on cable news channels. 

Buckley's show and his other work in media made him the prototype pundit, and that role allowed him to present his ideas to a broader audience.  Over time, they became mainstream. 

M.I.T. professor Heather Hendershot reconstructs the journey of conservatism from outcast to inner circle in her book Open to Debate

Best Of 2016: Coquille's Master Swordmakers

Dec 27, 2016

A samurai master from Japan from two centuries ago would probably appreciate the work coming out of Dragonfly Forge in Coquille. 

Michael Bell and son Gabriel turn out swords the old way, combining centuries-old practices with modern technology. 

Their work is highly regarded, and carries a high price. 

Amateur Pilots Take Wing In Rogue Valley

Dec 19, 2016
Rogue Valley Flying Club

You don't have to be "Sully" to fly a plane.  You don't even have to be a professional. 

Amateur pilots in the Rogue Valley have banded together to create the Rogue Valley Flying Club, offering benefits to members that include planes to rent. 

Wikimedia

It's hard to believe it was less than a century ago that women first gained the right to vote across the United States. 

And pay stubs and other indicators show that women have still not completely caught up to men.  That does not mean they have been devoid of influence, though. 

Sue Armitage reaches back in time for the stories of Shaping the Public Good: Women Making History in the Pacific Northwest, just out from Oregon State University Press.

Oral Historians Preserve Family Histories

Dec 16, 2016
Public Domain/Wikimedia

Unless your family is rich or famous or both, you will not be reading about ancestors in history books. 

But every family has a story to tell, and oral historians Daniel Alrick and Julie Kanta help them get told. 

They record interviews with people about their lives and families, a process that started with Julie's college capstone project a couple of years back. 

It's become a business, Living Legacy

Dorothea Lange shot some of the most memorable photographs in 20th-century America. 

But they were still photographs.  Now Lange is the subject of a documentary film called "Grab a Hunk of Lightning," a story in moving pictures about her work in still pictures. 

It's a labor of love, directed by Dyanna Taylor, who is Lange's granddaughter. 

Vietnam In The Present Tense

Nov 30, 2016
Wikimedia

For generations of Americans, it's pleasant to be able to talk about Vietnam without the word "war" behind it. 

That war cost 58,000 American lives and tore the social fabric of the country. 

Now historian Christopher Goscha presents Vietnam: A New History

The book teaches a great deal about a country with a rich history and many different ethnic groups and languages. 

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