U.S. History Events

Waking from the Dream: the Struggle for Civil Rights in the Shadow of Martin Luther King

December 01, 2014 // 2:28pm5:30pm
History and Public Policy Program
Exaggerated accounts of urban violence after Martin Luther King’s assassination, David Chappell will argue, have long obscured national reactions of far greater significance. Most important was the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which had been hopelessly stalled in Congress since 1966.

A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida

October 06, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
History and Public Policy Program
N. D. B. Connolly explores the history of real estate development and political power by offering an unprecedented look at the complexities of property ownership during the early and mid-twentieth century.

‘Take Your Choice!’: Historical Reflections on the Act of Voting

April 07, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
History and Public Policy Program
The secret ballot is now considered the gold standard for fair elections around the globe. However, in the aftermath of the American and French Revolutions, voting in secrecy held little immediate mass appeal in the US or Europe, and the secret ballot was used in combination with a wide variety of voting techniques. The history of the fraught introduction of the secret ballot on both sides of the Atlantic provides an opportunity to explore how conceptions of the business of choice-making have changed since the Age of Revolutions and also to reconsider how we vote today.

Why We Fight: The Politics of World War II

March 24, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
History and Public Policy Program
The conventional wisdom suggests that moderates matter little. In her new book, Why We Fight: Congress and the Politics of World War II, Nancy Beck Young proves otherwise. Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman faced a fractious Congress riven by hardcore ideologues, circumstances that empowered moderates—from both parties—to cut deals on economic but not social justice policies. The dominant patterns for postwar politics emerged with liberalism seeming less oriented toward the welfare state and more to the vital center warfare state.

CANCELLED - Waking from the Dream Part 1: Martin Luther King's Last Victory

March 17, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
History and Public Policy Program
Most Americans have a distorted memory of the decline and fall of the Civil Rights Movement, David Chappell will argue. Press coverage at the time, and retrospective accounts from academia and mass media, blew the riots that followed the King assassination out of proportion.

Racing Against Time: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America's Fight Over Saving Britain and Going to War

February 10, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
History and Public Policy Program
Today, we think of World War II as the "good war" – a necessary conflict to save Western civilization from the evil of Nazi Germany. But in the years leading up to Pearl Harbor, millions of Americans were swept up in a passionate, bitterly fought debate over what America's role should be in the war. At stake was the very shape and future of America.

People Out of Place: A Constitutional History of the Long 1960s

January 13, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
History and Public Policy Program
Vagrancy laws made it a crime to be idle and poor, or dissolute, or to wander about without any purpose. African Americans and other civil rights activists, communists, labor union activists, poor people, Beats and hippies, gay men and lesbians, women, Vietnam War protestors and student activists, and young, urban minority men all contested their constitutionality. In 1971 and 1972, the Supreme Court struck them down. Risa Goluboff shows how this changing constitutional status of vagrancy laws was part and parcel of the larger social transformations of the long 1960s.

The Myth of Race and Its Many Political Uses, from the Colonial Era to Obama’s America

December 09, 2013 // 4:00pm5:30pm
History and Public Policy Program
In this presentation, Jacqueline Jones will focus upon the different uses of the myth of race in specific times and places. The life-stories of a Maryland slave murdered by his master; a fugitive in Revolutionary South Carolina; a savvy businesswoman in antebellum Providence; a principled Republican in post-Civil War Savannah; a school principal in segregationist Mississippi; and a Marxist autoworker in industrial Detroit all suggest the shifting, contradictory nature of racial mythologies from the seventeenth century to the present.

The Other Welfare: Supplemental Security Income and U.S. Social Policy

November 04, 2013 // 4:00pm5:30pm
History and Public Policy Program
Supplemental Security Income, passed in 1972 during an innovative and expansive phase of the American welfare state, marked an effort to do welfare right. But economic and political circumstances, as well as the contingencies of the moment, all combined to turn the program into a source of controversy over such things as whether parents coached their children to act “crazy” in an effort to secure benefits or whether immigrants deserved benefits.

Housing Policies in the U.S. and Korea: Balancing Affordability with Financial Viability

July 24, 2013 // 2:00pm5:00pm
Urban Sustainability Laboratory
The Wilson Center is organizing this seminar in collaboration with the Land and Housing Institute (LHI), Korea Land and Housing Corporation, based in Seoul, Korea, as a part of a comprehensive study and exchange of affordable housing policies in the U.S. to inform Korean policies and programs. A panel of experts will examine best practices as well as limitations found in U.S. housing policies and will highlight patterns in programming.

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