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Four hundred years ago this year, two momentous events happened in Britain’s fledgling colony in Virginia: the New World’s first democratic assembly convened, and an English privateer brought kidnapped Africans to sell as slaves. Such were the conflicted origins of modern America.

A preeminent author recalls his experience as one of America's first combat historians, among a handful of men who accompanied soldiers into the bloodiest battles to write history as it was being made

We've gotten one farce after another from the secretive judges at the Swedish Academy who confer the world's most prestigious prize for literature

For most of the 1800s, whites in blackface performed in widely popular minstrel shows, creating racist stereotypes that endured for more than a century.

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History around the web

The AP's Secret Deal with the Nazis, by Michael S. Rosenwald Did the Associated Press violate the "Trading with the Enemy Act" to profit from selling Nazi propaganda photos, or was this an authorized effort to gain images with legitimate news value?
Frederick Douglass, Refugee, by David Blight Millions forced to flee as refugees and beg for asylum have felt Douglass’s agony, and thought his thoughts.
Gwen Ifill’s Clear-eyed Coverage of Bill Clinton, by David W. Dunlap This past year we lost a legend in the field of journalism. A look back at her coverage of Bill Clinton and the 1992 election and the journalist with the ability to bridge many gaps between race, gender and generations.
What Abraham Lincoln Can Teach Us About Ugly Politics, by Mark Tooley We should recall Lincoln's confidence in American democracy despite the perceived failure of the Washington Peace Conference of 1861.
Roosevelt Was Hardly Naive About Stalin, by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. When they met at Yalta, Roosevelt and Stalin had corresponded in more than 300 letters.

    Today in History

  • Mormons settle Salt Lake Valley

    Brigham Young led his group of Mormon pioneers to settle in the Salt Lake Valley in Utah Territory, escaping religious and political persecution.

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  • Kitchen Debate

    Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev had their "kitchen debate" at the American National Exhibition in Moscow, discussing their countries' respective industrial accomplishments.
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  • Nixon v. Khrushchev kitchen debate

    Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev engage in the "Kitchen Debate," staged in an American-fashioned kitchen in Moscow. The two leaders argued over the differences in their national economies, but the debate did improve communication between Washington D.C. and Moscow.

  • Amelia Earhart born

    American aviator Amelia Earhart is born in Atchison, Kansas. Earhart inspired millions of Americans as she became the first female solo pilot to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, becoming a national celebrity during the Great Depression.