History from the Web

By | December 28, 2013
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History-from-the-WebPart of why I write at Hankering for History is that I love sharing. I don’t just like sharing what I’ve learned, but also what I run across on other websites. Whether it’s a video clip, an article, breaking-news, or someone selling history doodads online, I want you guys to know about it as well. It’s time, for History from the Web!

There is an old adage “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” While insulting to teaches, the following article might make teachers feel better. I ran across a story on History, 5 U.S. Presidents Who Taught School. I was surprised that there were multiple United States presidents who were educators before they were sworn into office. Perhaps the most surprising on the list was Grover Cleveland. Not only did Cleveland shape the minds of children, but he worked with the blind.

Grover-ClevelandWhen Grover Cleveland’s minister father died suddenly in 1853, the 16-year-old was forced to help support his mother and eight siblings. He abandoned his dream of attending college and took a post alongside his brother, a teacher at the New York Institute for the Blind in Manhattan. Cleveland served as secretary to the school’s president and as an assistant teacher of reading, writing, arithmetic and geography. Quaker philanthropist Samuel Wood had founded the institution in 1831, and it continues to operate today as the New York Institute for Special Education.

While teaching Cleveland met fellow instructor Fanny Crosby, a blind poet and hymn writer who would rise to national fame. She became a lifelong friend of the future president. The institute’s long hours and bleak atmosphere took a toll on young Cleveland, and he left after a year to work as a clerk and study law.

New Republic posted an article a few days ago entitled, Ten Books Any Student of American History Must Read. The list includes The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787, The Corporate Reconstruction of American Capitalism, 1890-1916, The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual, and much more. This list has some very interesting books that I plan on adding to my “To Read” list.

Blues-Hall-of-FameIn the Mid-south area there is a lot of excitement and historical preservation taking place in this–often untapped–historically-rich part of the nation. My hometown, Memphis, Tennessee, has numerous projects in the works. A new non-profit organization, the Association for the Preservation of African-American History and Culture in Tipton County (APAAHC-TC), has just started groundwork for the creation of an African-American history museum (just a short drive north of Memphis). Additionally, the city of Memphis is working on a heritage trail that “will capture some of the history and some of the contributions of women and African Americans in our city.” In the last bit of Memphis-history news, the International Blues Foundation (which is based in Memphis) has almost collected all the money it needs to create their first physical Blues Hall of Fame. I’m glad to see Memphis continuing to make efforts to restore and preserve important, local history.

Author: Grant Oster

"To know the truth of history is to realize its ultimate myth and its inevitable ambiguity." I love all history; however, my favorite areas are World War II, Civil Rights Movement, and U.S. Constitutional history.

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