…in the Cheneys’ contorted diagram of history, going to war is itself a victory.
Foreign policy is being driven by two wings of interventionism: the human rights interventionists, largely Democratic, who wish to use military force to liberate oppressed people; and hegemonic interventionists, largely Republican, who wish to use military force to achieve political dominance in the Middle East, Asia, and elsewhere. The vast majority of Americans, however, are by nature cautious about sending troops and ships here and there willy-nilly. They are not isolationists. They are realists. They know the lessons of history more than right and left ideologues.
In 1942 a young African American Ph.D. in mathematics, David Blackwell, interviewed for a teaching job at Berkeley. He was hired, but not for many years.
When finally invited to join the statistics faculty in 1952, several of Blackwell’s new colleagues told him there was a backstory to his failed application a decade earlier. It had been decided to offer him a position in mathematics, they said, but the wife of the departmental chair, who sometimes invited the faculty to dinner, insisted she would not have a black person in her house — and the offer was squelched.
Blackwell, who eventually became the first tenured black professor in the University of California system, shares this vivid memory in a 10-hour interview with the Bancroft Library’s Regional Oral History Office (ROHO). His life history is part of a recently completed oral-history series on 18 pioneering African American faculty and senior administrators, hired before the advent of affirmative-action policies in the 1970s, who broke barriers and laid the groundwork for those who followed.
[look of the hour]
…achieved cult status as one of the few to portray the black power movement…from a militant’s point of view. Greenlee helped write the script, which, like the book, drew on his experiences working abroad for the State Department. In the story, Mr. Greenlee’s protagonist, Dan Freeman, endures a brief, demeaning career as the first African-American C.I.A. officer, a token position, just so he can learn the art of fomenting revolution from foreign rebellions and then bring the revolution home to Chicago.
collects…everything from presidential addresses and diplomatic cables to political cartoons and song lyrics. It encompasses various phases of American diplomatic history that are typically treated separately, such as the First World War, the Cold War, and 9/11. The book presents the perspectives of elite policymakers—presidents, secretaries of state, generals, and diplomats—alongside those of other kinds of Americans, such as newspaper columnists, clergymen, songwriters, poets, and novelists. It also features numerous documents from other countries…
"This is not a story of New York, where people come there from their hometown and use sexual identity to meet people in a new city…This is a place where your sexuality is operating amongst family relationships, ethnic relationships and neighborhood relationships. All of these things are very closely intertwined, and if you’re going to do anything in this city, it’s going to involve your family at some point. What we’re trying to do is to take a history that’s not just a gay history, but it’s a Pittsburgh history. It’s a Pittsburgh history of gayness; you just can’t separate the two."
In…Detroit in the 1940s, with its free-spending, predominantly white working class, and its bone-chilling winters, bowling provided a year-round getaway from war work, a way to recreate and socialize right in the neighborhood. But it was a segregated oasis, one that barred black Detroiters from almost all the best lanes. And with trainloads of black Southerners coming to town seeking newfound prosperity and social equality, the game of ten-pin began to symbolize equality in a way that’s hard to understand today.
His scores had earned him admission to the University of Virginia, but the school had politely offered to pay his tuition at Howard once it discovered he was black. He became the president of his engineering class at Howard and went on to succeed in his career. But the one thing I noticed very early on was that he didn’t have any white friends or colleagues. As far as I could tell, the only white people my father knew were the fathers and mothers of the kids on my sports teams. Early in my life he made it very clear in his words and actions that he wanted me to be able to navigate the white world seamlessly so that I could, as he always put it, write my own ticket.