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This week our class focused on the Civil Rights Era. Our main discussion topic was “master narratives.” These are also known as “single stories” which is another term for stereotypes. When I was in grade school and middle school, we learned all about stereotypes. We learned it was wrong to think people of whatever groupings behaved in similar fashions. We were told to not “judge a book by its cover” and to get to know individuals. I suppose “stereotype” could pertain more to an individual rather than a topic. We tend to use the term “master narrative,” when we discuss…


This week our class discussed the end of WWII, post-WWII America, and the Cold War. We discussed the ethics and reasoning behind the decision to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The propaganda tells us the bombs had to be dropped to “save lives.” Landing on multiple beachheads and a mainland attack would cost hundreds of thousands of lives. Americans back home were growing war-weary and continued fighting was losing support.

Some claims reach ten million or more lives saved. To reach the ten million, there are a number scenarios that would have needed to play out, but hypothetically…


This week our class touched on The Great Depression. It was a worldwide depression that began in 1929 and lasted a decade. It is a well-documented part of worldwide history though what caused the depression is still debated today. It surely wasn’t just one event, person, or thing. It was a culmination of events that began a chain reaction, which led to a house of cards crashing down. Regardless of the causes, the effect was devastating to the world. America and the world give a large part of the credit of pulling out of the depression to their involvement of…


When I think of the roaring ’20s I thought of a booming economy and an America in rapid growth. Much of America benefitted from great prosperity. The rich got richer and many jobs were created. I believed it was a time when most people were happy or content with American way of life. The ’20s came on the heels of The Gilded Age, which was a golden age of invention and innovation. Items never thought to be of personal use were now available and were becoming more affordable each day. America had just participated in and helped win WWI. The…


This week our class learned a little bit about the flu pandemic of 1918, better known as the Spanish Flu. We then drew comparisons from that flu and COVID-19. Recalling what I had learned in previous years about the Spanish Flu, I remembered stories of rapid deaths. In one case a group of women played cards the night before, by morning three has died. Other cases had people collapsing in the streets, succumbing to the flu hours later. It is implied these were perfectly healthy people. Truly, these are terrifying stories.

These memories flooded back when the China Virus began…


This week the class covered the era pre-Jim Crow in America. Some historical scholars refer to it as the “nadir.” Nadir means a lowest point of fortune in a person or an organization. The term nadir is then referring to a low point in our country. This era was from the end of the Civil War to the beginning of Jim Crow. Our class focused on the lynchings, and black resistance to their unfair treatment during this era. It is important to note that not all lynchings were of black people, as white people were lynched as well. Usually those…


History is documented, researched, reviewed, revisioned by historians. An event or period can have a single story for decades. In many cases the story will persist unchanged through the eons due to a lack of primary and secondary sources. To add to documented history, often a researcher or historian will need to examine history via a different perspective than his or her predecessors. An American historian from the 1940s studying the Gilded Age may have been unlikely to consider how races, both migrant and native, other than whites were affected. …


Studying history is more than studying material and learning what happened in the past. The study of history is disseminating the who, what, where, why and when. What were the driving factors that led to the outcome? What was the motivation behind the choices of a person, people, country, etc.? Who could have influenced events and what was their motive? The when is more than just a date. The dates and time periods of historical events is remembered, but there is much more data that an in-depth analysis of events prior or coinciding along the same time frame, that caused…

Bill Thompson

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