Digital Summer School: Harlem Education History Project

All good things must come to an end, and this is especially true of summer school. Whether talking about the 1980s Mark Harmon feature or the classroom, digital and analog, it’s come time to shutter our doors for a couple weeks as The Metropole takes some time off. We’ll re-open after Labor Day with a month dedicated to our grad student blog contest, “Striking Gold.” However, before we depart, we have one more lesson: this time from one of the most famous black enclaves in America, the Harlem Education History Project (hit them up on “the twitter” at @EduHarlem).

From curating online exhibitions to enlisting youth historians to highlighting the work of local Harlem educational institutions and more, the project organizers, Teacher’s College Professor Ansley Erickson tells us, hope to convey “the multiplicity and importance of stories about education in Harlem schools across the twentieth century, including in periods in which this complexity is often reduced to labels of ‘crisis’ or ‘failure.'”

Why did you establish the Harlem Education History Project and who do you see as its audience?

My colleague Ernest Morrell and I started talking about what is now the Harlem Education History Project in the fall of 2012. We shared an interest in generating new scholarship on the history of education in Harlem – for Ernest, as a way to ensure that ongoing work of the Institute for Urban and Minority Education at Teachers College, which he then headed, was historically informed; and, for both of us, as a way to address the surprising lack of scholarly attention to education in this storied black urban community. We also wanted to bring the robust intersectional and critical scholarship in recent African American history to bear on this important educational case. Both of us were motivated, as well, by the sense that much contemporary education discourse about city schools, about schooling in black communities, is markedly ahistorical, trading in reductive notions of failure that obscure a reality of continued, creative, and varied struggles to secure quality education in an African American tradition.

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Harlem mass meeting re Hillburn [case] raised enough to buy school books, between 1945 and 1950, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
As we imagined embarking on this new scholarly enterprise, we shared commitments about how we wanted the work to develop. We sought a multi-generational community of knowledge production, by which we meant a space that included not only scholars at different career stages (who joined us as contributors to an edited volume that is now completed and under review at a university press), graduate students at Teachers College and in the field, and local high school students (who we connect to through an after-school program called Youth Historians in Harlem, initiated by graduate student Barry Goldenberg and sustained with our support). It became clear that digital work would be central to these multigenerational connections. We first conceptualized the digital iteration of the project as a meeting place and a site for collaboration and sharing for those connected to the project.[1]

We were also interested in how working digitally could allow us to work in public in ways that traditional publishing structures and timelines and traditional archive spaces prevented. This interest was motivated in part by the broad values of access and engagement that run through many public digital humanities efforts, but it was informed as well by the particular institutional and community context in which we were working. Urban historians know well the troubled history of Columbia in relation to Harlem, the most striking moment being the 1968 attempt by the university to build a private gymnasium in the public Morningside Park; questions about appropriation of land and colonial dynamics in relationship to the surrounding community continue in many ways today, including around the university’s expansion into a new area of West Harlem. In this context, committing university resources to new scholarship on Harlem was at once deeply necessary and very fraught. We hoped that working in public, emphasizing access not only to completed scholarship (as in the edited volume, which will be fully accessible online) but to the materials of our inquiry and our work in progress, would be one small part of trying to do this work well. Others, including various kinds of collaboration with community members, are discussed below.

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Three African American boys playing checkers in summer playschool, Harlem, New York, N.Y, between 1940 and 1960, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

As the project has developed – with our Omeka-based site now presenting a few collections of digitized primary source material, clips and complete oral histories, and digital exhibits – we’ve seen ways in which the site has supported the multigenerational engagement we were hoping for. A few chapters in our forthcoming edited volume cite oral history interviews conducted by students in my classes and housed on the site. A digital exhibit (in the pipeline, not yet published) created by a high school student links poetry as social critique across three generations: in the works of the Harlem Renaissance, in the writing of alumni from her school (as published in school yearbooks on our site), and in her own poetry. All of these connections are possible without a digital collection – but they have been facilitated by it.

The site’s audience has grown beyond those already connected to the project in two ways. First, our digital exhibits seem to draw the most traffic. This is in part via digital-only outreach, but also through the times they have been resources for authors’ and others’ presentations in various workshops, teacher professional development sessions, and the like. And second, as we’ve focused more intensively on “featured schools,” we’ve seen more use of the site by members of specific school communities, from people interested in accessing the material we’re sharing (much of it digitized at community members’ request) that is part of their own histories.

How did the Harlem Education History Project come into being? What kind of obstacles did you have to overcome to make it a reality?

This project has grown slowly, organically, based on relationships and based on pursuing new opportunities as they arose. And it is still in progress in every respect. In addition to the ideas and partnerships mentioned above, three key developments have made this work possible in our context.

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African American woman showing a sign for an outdoor rally to a boy in Harlem, New York; “Today is NAACP Day” is on a marquee near them, photography by Ed Bagwell, 1961, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

First, I was able to build the Harlem Education History Project into my teaching work. Doing so provided a structured space to explore this history and the challenges and opportunities of working digitally. I teach two courses that have a topical focus on the history of education in Harlem with different methodological angles – one on oral history, one on archival sources. (Starting in 2016, these classes became connected to the Harlem Semester initative at Barnard College, which cultivates a set of community-engaged and Harlem-focused classes). Students’ final projects in these classes take the form of digital exhibits. From this pool of student work, my graduate fellows and I invite some students to refine their exhibits and move them through our peer review and publication process. (We would welcome exhibits proposed and created by scholars elsewhere, as well).

Second, the idea of “featured schools” gave us a scale at which to work that made many things – from collaboration to cultivating audience – more possible. In 2013 we started working with current and alumni community members at Harlem’s Wadleigh school building (it has been at various times a high school, junior high school, and secondary school, and now houses three schools.) Our work started with oral history interviewing, expanded to digitization of material of value to the school community – particularly, the rich sources that are the schools’ yearbooks. Increasingly, via a continuing set of meetings and conversations over the last year, this partnership is evolving toward more collaboratively-constructed oral history.

Third, graduate student leadership has been crucial in this work. Teachers College’s doctoral fellowships require a research assistantship commitment, and I have asked my students to focus their work on this project. Esther Cyna has been a fellow on the project for three years, and she has taken the lead in several ways – including researching, designing, and implementing our digital peer review process for digital exhibits. Cyna has also presented on our work at OAH, AHA, and other conferences. Rachel Klepper and Cyna have been key facilitators in our growing collaboration with Wadleigh community members as well, especially this year when I was away on leave and unable to attend community meetings and workshops in person. Youth Historians has been led over the past year by Matthew Kautz, Yanella Blanco, and Rhonesha Blache, whose work was funded by institutional fellowships that link TC students to work with local schools and students.

It’s crucial also to recognize obstacles we did not have to overcome. From this project’s inception, we’ve benefited from a stable, high-quality, sustainability-focused partnership with the digital humanities team at Columbia Libraries from this project’s inception. Rebecca Kennison, Barbara Rockenbach, Mark Newton, Alex Gil, and many others have been willing to talk about our ideas, the tools that exist (and don’t exist) to realize them, and in some cases to ask their skilled developers to help modify these when we needed. They have also made the quotidian issues of working online – in terms of updates, security, and more – things that we did not have to worry about. Having this support available to us without external fundraising has been crucial in beginning the work. Thai Jones and colleagues at the Columbia Rare Book and Manuscript Library have been supportive partners as well.

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Attorney General Robert Kennedy surrounded by African American children at the Morningside Community Center in Harlem, 1963, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

What do you hope people take away from the Harlem Education History Project?

As the site continues to evolve, we hope it conveys the multiplicity and importance of stories about education in Harlem schools across the twentieth century, including in periods in which this complexity is often reduced to labels of “crisis” or “failure.” We hope that the potential of the digital – from listening to oral history clips to reading a digital exhibit organized around a map to moving back and forth between a chapter in a scholarly volume to related or divergent primary sources – make these stories more apparent and more engaging. And we hope that our exhibits (a small number now, but growing) attest to the range of analytical and interpretive approaches that these sources merit.

Although we continue to add to the project documentation on the site, I also hope that it conveys a sense of collaborations working to construct themselves, and reflects a humility about our work in this context. Looking back at our first conversations about the project, there are many things that we can imagine having done differently. We got started on this project via collaborative relationships within the university, building collaborative relationships with community members gradually along the way. At times this meant we needed to circle back to previous decisions and revise them, as in the case of our project name.

Each of the different collaborations on which this project depends has its own rhythm, character, and pressures – with Youth Historians and the schools and programs they attend, with the alumni and/or current communities at our featured schools, with scholars and community leaders who have been formal and informal advisors. Each is necessary as we seek not only to bring community knowledge to bear on university-based knowledge production, but to see university resources in the service of community knowledge-production.

What other projects or ideas most influenced this work?

Many projects and ideas circulating in digital humanities networks have been important provocations and, in some cases guides, for our work in progress. (This is not to claim that our work matches the aspirations or standards of these projects – but to recognize that we are learning from and thinking about their examples for our work, as others might want to as well).

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Bookstore in Harlem, New York, exterior, photograph by Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1962, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

These projects illustrate approaches to collaborative digital work in relationship both to the specific history involved and the contemporary landscape; some address the fundamental question that all digital historical work should consider: beyond what legally can be shared online as a matter of copyright law, what should be shared online and who decides?

Additionally, our approach to work in public around recent social history, especially with the stories of people who were not public figures, is informed by oral history practice and ethics. (For example, students creating digital exhibits around recent oral histories have contributed to a developing practice that ensures that oral history narrators have opportunities for feedback and response to exhibits that center on their lives).

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Stokely Carmichael, LeRoi Jones, and H. Rap Brown in Michaux’s Bookstore, Harlem, New York, photograph by James E. Hinton, 1967, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Where do you hope the project goes in the future?

There are a few clear next steps, and other possibilities that may or may not come to fruition. First, once it is published, the full text of our edited volume will appear online as part of our site. We need next to decide what form this will take, but we have permission from the press that is now sending the volume for review to make the text fully available online with unfettered public access). We need to work especially to make the site not only include the book but have it feel a synergistic part of the work overall, connected to the primary source material and digital exhibits in the site.

Another next step is to build out the digital presence of our second featured school, The Modern School – which was an independent black progressive school that operated in Harlem from the 1930s through the 1990s. We partnered with a local history organization While We Are Still Here and The Modern School alumni community to host an event at which we collected several oral histories, and will continue to collect more. As these materials are processed, we look forward to building a collaboration that will determine how The Modern School’s history appears on our site.

Presenting any history digitally involves so many decisions – inclusion or exclusion, metadata, aesthetics, hierarchy – all of which involve choices. Who makes these choices, in a university-based and community-engaged project? In our earliest stages, university-based participants made many of these choices, in consultation with a few key community partners. Deeper collaboration going forward means navigating and recognizing the distinct positions that various participants occupy – people deeply invested in this history but less engaged in the digital; people for whom this is paid work, or those for whom it is volunteer work; volunteers who are retired, or are working full-time but still want to be involved, as a few examples among others.

Although connecting with local teachers has long been an ambition of ours, it is one that we haven’t yet seen realized. In the coming year, especially as one of our featured schools is undergoing a major regeneration and improvement, we are looking forward to connecting more with local teachers.

As a former teacher in a Harlem public high school, this is particularly important to me. I’ve been haunted by a bit of history that I had learned well after leaving high school teaching. I taught in the building that had been Junior High School 136. As Adina Back taught us in her work on the Harlem Nine, this very school was one of the hubs of mothers’ organizing against segregation in 1958. This concrete, geographically specific story raised questions for me that I should have thought more about as a teacher: was I connecting with my students’ parents as fierce advocates for their children? What would it have meant for my students to learn civil rights movement history with this example from their own school building, perhaps the same classroom where activists’ children attended and then boycotted? Whatever knowledge this project creates, it must be readily accessible to today’s teachers in Harlem.

Finally, in the next phase of this project we may return to a question we explored early on but then were pulled away from as other opportunities opened. What are the particular opportunities created for spatial thinking, analysis, representation in an intensively local digital project? What can you see, or what questions are raised, when various primary sources – from oral histories to archival documents – can be seen spatially, with metadata and an interface that allows for mapping as an exploratory process? Since we were asking this question in 2012, other projects have taken up this direction. We’ll be learning from their example.

EricksonAuthorPicAnsley T. Erickson, Associate Professor of History and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University; Affiliated faculty, Teachers College Institute for Urban and Minority Education; Affiliated faculty, Columbia University Department of History 

Ansley Erickson is a U.S. historian who focuses on educational inequality, segregation, and the interactions between schooling, urban and metropolitan space, and the economy. Her first book, Making the Unequal Metropolis: School Desegregation and Its Limits was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2016 and won the History of Education Society’s Outstanding Book Award in 2017. Her work has also been awarded the History of Education Society Prize (2016), the Bancroft Dissertation Prize (2010), and the Claude A. Eggertsen Dissertation Prize (2011). Her research has been supported by an NAE/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, an Eisenhower Institute fellowship, and a Spencer Dissertation Fellowship. 

Erickson co-directs the Harlem Education History Project with Ernest Morrell, Coyle Professor of Literacy Education at the University of Notre Dame. In 2017-18, she was a Scholar-in-Residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library.

[1] Initially we worked across various platforms – a WordPress blog for conference information and other events, a CommentPress site for contributors to our edited volume to share and comment on one anothers’ drafts, as well as an Omeka instance for digital versions of primary source materials. Gradually, we reconfigured our Omeka site to do the work the blog had been doing as well.

Featured image (at top): New York, New York. Phillipe Schuyler, child prodigy pianist, leading a group of children in the Harlem Center for Children in singing her arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner at the children’s benefit for a nursery in Harlem, Roger Smith, 1943, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Digital Summer School: Black Perspectives

In the era of Black Lives Matter and under a presidency that stokes racial division and traffics in lies, the website Black Perspectives feels all too relevant to our times. “[I]n order for Black lives to matter, we must engage the matters of Black thought,” Associate Editor J.T. Roane noted in an interview with The Metropole. Though not focusing solely on urban history, Black Perspectives nonetheless provides insight into cities around the globe and the people that inhabit them–particularly people of color. Executive Editor Keisha Blain, Associate Editor Ibram X. Kendi, and Roane have endeavored to create a “critical digital public” that will enable readers to slice through the “chicanery” of the modern news cycle and the layers of false historical discourse.

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Libertad para Angela Davis, New York Committee to Free Angela Davis, 1971, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

What was the impetus for creating Black Perspectives? Who do you see as your audience? 

Within far too many American mainstream institutions, including its academic ones, the communities of the African Diaspora are either ignored, labeled as incorrigible social problems, or marked as helpless victims. Black communities are rarely and inconsistently acknowledged as the progenitors of generative intellectual thought, as producers of information with meaningful bearing on the matters we face as a global society.

We understand that Black intellectuals, those formally trained and those practitioners invisible from the purview of formal academic acknowledgement, are important to historicize and recall collectively, especially given our great perils, including the realities of peak oil, the violent reterritorialization of our cities, the mounting immigration and refugee crises. I approach my writing and editing for the blog from the premise that Black intellectual histories contain insights about our present, ones that can help us shift the grounds of the perilously anti-Black world we inherited through slavery, colonialism, apartheid, and racial capitalism. I see this as critical in shaping and invigorating a critical digital public, such an important task in an era when inequality in information accessibility is sharpening and in which a faction of the country has embraced outright chicanery.

Black Perspectives combines original historical research and contemporary social analysis organized in part through the basic understanding that that in order for Black lives to matter, we must engage the matters of Black thought.

I’m proud to serve in the capacity as associate editor for a platform that can produce such stunning public commentary as the July 2018 forum organized by Keisha Blain and Phillip Luke Sinitiere to honor the life and work of Sandra Bland. Taken together the pieces charted Bland’s death three years ago within histories of state violence and resistance, honored Bland’s important social justice activism, and poetically mourned the premature snuffing of her flame.

What do you hope people take away from Black Perspectives

I hope that people come to view the matters of Black thought as myriad and complex engagements with social, economic, political, and intellectual problems as they emerged within the various historical contexts of the Diaspora. I hold these as a key roadmap to the Black Radical Tradition and as the intellectual seeds for unrealized but not unrealizable futures.

 

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Rosa Parks with Los Angeles Mayor, Tom Bradley, his wife Ethel Bradley (far left) and Congresswoman Maxine Waters (far right) at the Black Women’s Forum salute to Parks, Los Angeles, California, 1988, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

How did Black Perspectives come into being and what obstacles did you have to overcome? 

Black Perspectives was organized as an accessible digital platform in 2017. It is an outgrowth of the AAIHS blog, which was founded by Christopher Cameron in 2014. Under the sage leadership of chief editor Keisha Blain and associate editor Ibram X. Kendi the platform has become a recognized site for information about the histories and ongoing work of Black communities to make sense of, survive, thrive, and lay the groundwork for a different world. Some of the obstacles we face are unique to the particular precariousness of being junior Black faculty writing publicly in ways that the academy still doesn’t fully embrace as “the work”—i.e. the print form journal articles and books that guarantee tenure. Other obstacles are the speed and nature of online platforms like Twitter where people can use anonymity to be cruel and violent. We have had to learn to take real-time feedback in stride and to brace ourselves and ignore some of the vileness that comes with the territory.

Where do you hope Black Perspectives goes in the future? 

My hope is that Black Perspectives will continue to expand to include longer-format, more in-depth pieces within our repertoire as we transition to an online magazine format. My hope is also that we will continue to remain accessible—i.e. on the free side of a pay wall—as we also infuse public discussions with the critical insights derived from Black intellectual history.

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African American Children, Chicago, IL, photograph by Russell Lee,  April 1941, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

How does Black Perspectives speak to urban history and what does it tell us that other sites don’t or can’t?

Much of my writing for the platform centers in the ways that urban Black communities from Philadelphia to Havana historically and in ongoing ways express alternative, often heterodox visions for cities and their futures. I hold these dissonant intellectual traditions about the urban form as the containers of epistemologies vital in the face of the radical criminalization and displacement that defines Black urban life from Detroit to Rio de Janeiro. They can help us to make sense of what is happening and also help us to draw forward out of latency processes and practices that resonate with and edify contemporary struggles to make the city livable for all.

headshotJ.T. Roane is assistant professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Cincinnati. He is also part of the University’s urban futures initiative. Roane is broadly concerned about matters of geography, sexuality, and religion in relation to Black communities. He is at work on a manuscript, Dark Agoras: Insurgent Black Social Life and the Politics of Place in Philadelphia, which historicizes multiple modes of insurgent spatial assemblage Black communities articulated in Philadelphia in the second half of the twentieth century. Follow him on Twitter @JTRoane.

Featured image (at top): African American school children holding signs of protest against Norfolk school board’s treatment of black teachers, Norfolk, Va., June 1939, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Digital Summer School: Renewing Inequality

Undoubtedly, one of the break out digital humanities projects of the last decade is Mapping Inequality: Redlining in America, the impressively ambitious and ultimately very successful work resulting from the collaboration of scholars at Virginia Tech, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Maryland including LaDale Winling, Nathan Connolly, Richard Marciano, Brent Cebul and directed by Robert K. Nelson out of the University of Richmond.

In 2016, Forbes ranked it as one of the five GIS projects changing the public’s conception of institutional racism. As University of Iowa’s Sarah Bond wrote of Mapping Inequality: “Such spatial analysis allows us not only to see how racism is instituted, but also to see how historical decisions continue to have an impact on the U.S. today.” Nelson, Cebul, and others have embarked on a new digital initiative on a topic close the hearts of urban historians, urban renewal, with Renewing Inequality: Urban Renewal, Family Displacements, and Race, 1955-1966. The two historians sat down with The Metropole to discuss the motivations behind Renewing Inequality, the complexity of mapping urban renewal projects, and the insights they hope to provide into the process of post-World War II economic development.

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Urban renewal demonstrators protesting plans to redevelopment Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn, (outside City Hall, NY), January 19, 1962, Prints and Photograhs Division, Library of Congress

What was the impetus behind Renewing Inequality and who do you envision as your audience?

Renewing Inequality is the sequel to Mapping Inequality, the earlier project we created around the maps produced by the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation in the 1930s. We were and continue to be pleased to see journalists and other users of Mapping Inequality make connections between the federal government’s urban policies in the 1930s and the landscape of inequality–particularly along the lines of race–in American cities today. That said, in no simple way did redlining cause or alone shape contemporary inequality. And it wasn’t the only federal policy or program that shaped that landscape.

The urban renewal projects that the federal government largely funded in the third quarter of the twentieth century were arguably just as, if not more impactful than, redlining – and in many cases renewal was the solution prescribed for neighborhoods whose decline was sparked or accelerated by redlining. Those renewal projects ended up displacing hundreds of thousands of families from their homes, they destroyed hundreds of communities, and in many cases they accelerated urban decline rather than abating it. And throughout, families of color disproportionately bore the highest costs of displacement, over-crowding, and entrenched urban decline.

In short, we created Renewing Inequality for much the same reason we created Mapping Inequality: we hope to make more people aware of how the brunt of federal urban policy refracted through local government priorities and elite leadership fell upon the poor and people of color, the impact of which continues to be felt today.
How did this Renewing Inequality come to fruition? Were there any obstacles did you had to overcome?

Urban renewal was obviously a very complicated program. One challenge we struggled with is how to offer an account–a history–of the program where the point was not obscured but instead revealed by the data. The students we worked with spent hundreds of hours entering and correcting data. We ended up being pretty aggressive in selecting the data we used and discarding much of it. We collected, for example, tens of thousands of individual pieces of data that categorized how much of each cleared project was re-zoned or re-purposed for commercial, industrial, residential, and public uses. None of that is visualized or shown in Renewing Inequality. In order to focus as much as we could on the enormous impact of the program on people we decided to foreground data about displacements and either bury pretty deep or entirely ignore other data we collected (which was painful!). We also developed a more qualitative section of the site devoted to the social and planning history of the program – its lived experience – which we call “The People and the Program.”

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Land development project (“Southwest Redevelopment A”), Washington, D.C. Map showing redevelopment and problem areas, architect Keyes, Smith, Satterlee & Lethbridge, between 1951 and 1955, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Another challenge that we faced, which is an ongoing struggle, is finding maps for individual projects. There were thousands of urban renewal projects funded by the federal government in hundreds of cities and towns. It has been surprisingly difficult to find maps for many of these projects, particularly in some of the smaller towns. We’re confident what we have in Renewing Inequality is the largest collection of urban renewal footprints created to date, but it’s still far from being comprehensive. Then again, we also learned that many urban renewal projects –the program funded local code enforcement initiatives, for instance–did not have officially defined project boundaries and therefore maps. But the qualitative historical record suggests that these sorts of programs were almost certainly targeted on specific neighborhoods and people and, in the case of code enforcement, could accelerate displacement by means other than condemnation, eminent domain, and razing homes.

What role do digital projects like Renewing Inequality play in the field of history? Where do you see this project and others like it going in the future?

In urban history, in particular, urban renewal has most often been studied at the scale of the largest cities. In terms of sheer number of people displaced, the Chicagos, Detroits, and New Yorks are clearly the most significant. But what our data also makes clear is that renewal was a program most often deployed in smaller cities of 50,000, 25,000, even 10,000 or fewer residents. If the twentieth century was a century of urbanization, many of these urbanizing cities participated in urban renewal, and often with devastating effects upon residents of color and their urban fabrics. So our hope is that this project joins more recent efforts by scholars such as Douglas Appler and James Connolly to encourage urban historians to broaden our conception of what counts as “urban” in urban history. In the case of urban renewal, a preponderance of programs were deployed in cities like Rome, Georgia or Easton, Pennsylvania. Being able to visualize this historical reality is one way to begin to broaden our field of view.

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Skyline Urban Renewal Area, Arapahoe & 17th Streets (Commercial Buildings), Arapahoe & Seventeenth Streets, Denver, Denver County, CO, photograph by William Edmund Barrett, after 1933, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

One of the next steps we’re taking is a partnership (still in its infancy) with MASS Design Group on an exhibit tailored to urban designers and planners that might alert them to the history of urban renewal in mid-sized and smaller cities. As with Mapping Inequality, our goal will be to explore the connections between past policies and present inequalities, and, in this case, help urban planners and designers to think more capaciously about the roles of history, enfranchisement, and scale when designing plans for cities across the spectrum of urban forms. This partnership should result in some new applications within Renewing Inequality, so stay tuned for updates to the site.

Urban renewal has been a very big topic among historians, what misperceptions or myths regarding it do you hope to correct?

We’ve mentioned the need to consider smaller and mid-sized cities, where the majority of renewal projects took place and which continue to be the preponderant but too often overlooked urban form in the United States. But another aspect of urban renewal that we visualize though perhaps we don’t emphasize enough is the evolving, surprisingly plastic goals of urban renewal. What began almost exclusively as a housing and development program came to encompass broader goals over time (often when planners and policymakers were faced with resident activism against the local plans). Urban renewal funds were used to advance the expansion of university and colleges by the late 1950s, to take the first steps toward hospital-based redevelopment of deindustrializing cities, and later to rebuild areas decimated by natural disasters. For instance, five of the six cities in Alaska that received “urban renewal” funding received it as disaster funding after the 1964 earthquake that caused a devastating tsunami. The “Valdez Area” project “displaced” the entirety of that small town as it was moved several miles west to a seismically stabler area. These were larger scale programs akin to the earlier uses of the program, but over the course of the 1960s, the program was amended to include much smaller scale interventions: programs for city beautification through tree planting, parks, and playgrounds; citizen outreach meetings and planning initiatives; and even grants directly to homeowners to rehabilitate their homes rather than raze them. Though the backlash to the program brought it to an end in 1974, for over a decade leading up to its demise the program was continuously amended to incorporate critiques of the mega-block style that dominated in the 1950s and early 1960s. We’ve tried to capture this evolution in our legislative history of the program.

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Transportation Center, Cincinnati, Ohio. Schematic section from A Revitalization Plan for the City Core of Cincinnati, Ohio ,planning, Victor Gruen Associates, 1962, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Considering the success of Mapping Inequality, how do your hopes or aspirations for Renewing Inequality compare? Similar? Different? Why? 

One of the tragic ironies at the heart of the success of Mapping Inequality is that it derives from the perverse beauty and clarity of the HOLC maps themselves as well as the ugliness and equally clear racism so often voiced in the accompanying area descriptions. The forcefulness and intelligibility of these materials has led to a great deal of visibility for our site. But those same qualities have also led some to point to redlining as a monocausal agent leading to all sorts of instances of urban inequality today. Renewing Inequality complicates those monocausal explanations of contemporary inequality. While complexity isn’t always the best route to attracting eyeballs, Renewing Inequality offers a very data-rich, comparative, and nuanced portrait of the ongoing effort to redevelop cities at midcentury that helps to explain not only ongoing forms of inequality but why it is that downtowns in places as seemingly distinct as Lawton, Oklahoma (population 61,700 in 1960) and Boston share characteristics like modernist, megablock, center city developments.

Featured image (at top): Lower Manhattan Expressway, New York City. Model, wide view, architect Paul Rudolph, between 1967 and 1972, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

unnamed.jpgRobert K. Nelson is director of the Digital Scholarship Lab and affiliated faculty in the American Studies Program at the University of Richmond. He has authored, directed, or edited digital humanities projects such as American Panorama: An Atlas of United States History, “Mining the Dispatch,” and an enhanced edition of the Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States. He teaches and writes on antislavery and slavery in the nineteenth-century United States.

Cebul_BBrent Cebul is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania. His scholarship sits at the intersection of urban and political history with topical interests in federalism, inequality, and political and economic development. His first book is Illusions of Progress: Business, Poverty, and Development in the American Century (under contract with the University of Pennsylvania Press). It is a history of how and why 20th century liberals repeatedly convinced themselves that stimulating business growth might fight poverty. At Penn, Cebul is also a Mellon Research Fellow at the Price Lab for Digital Humanities.

Digital Summer School: Nursing Clio

While most of the projects highlighted by our Digital Summer School series have been place-based–such as the Encyclopedia of Milwaukee, Gotham, Chicago Elections Project, and even Tropics of Meta, though to a much lesser extent (somewhat Sunbelt, California leaning)–Nursing Clio represents a broader approach focusing on gender more than any one place or region. Launched in 2012, Nursing Clio has become one of the leading blogs in the academic universe and though not strictly urban in its orientation, cities and suburbs factor sharply in its coverage. One of its co-founders, Jacqueline Antonovich, sat down with The Metropole to explain how it came into being, where it’s going, and what insights she and her fellow co-editors have gleaned from the experience.

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The San Francisco Women’s Building is a landmark internationally recognized for its mural, MaestraPeace, which honors women’s contributions around the world, photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, 2012, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Why did you establish Nursing Clio and who do you see as your audience?

We started Nursing Clio back in 2012, right in the middle of an election year. If you remember, things like reproductive justice, affordable healthcare, and same-sex marriage dominated political debates and news headlines. In that one election cycle, the House passed a bill that weakened the Violence Against Women Act, the Senate blocked a measure to address sex-based wage discrimination, and several red states attempted to roll back access to abortion, repeal Obamacare, and increase efforts to discriminate against LGBTQ communitites. And of course, we had Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women,” Todd Akin’s definition of “legitimate rape,” and Foster Friess’ “aspirin between the knees” contraception advice. The media labeled it a “war on women”–and it was. In debating these issues, however, pundits, politicians, and reporters often failed to include any actual women. There was also a discernible absence of historical scholarship in these conversations that could have provided important context to these issues. Our goal, then, was to create a digital project that could amplify the voices of women by providing the space and scaffolding for both scholars and non-academic audiences to comment on these connections between past and present. We believed that a collaborative blog project was not only intellectually appealing but genuinely necessary.

What do you hope people take away from Nursing Clio?

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The San Francisco Women’s Building is a landmark internationally recognized for its mural, MaestraPeace, which honors women’s contributions around the world, photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, 2012, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Nursing Clio’s mission statement emphasizes the goal of connecting historical scholarship to contemporary issues related to gender, health, and medicine. Our tagline, “The Personal Is Historical,” adds an important dimension to the groundbreaking feminist claim that “the personal is political.” So I hope that the big takeaway for our readers is that “everything has a history,” as Jim Grossman says, including everything you think you know about medicine, health, and the body.

How did the Nursing Clio come to fruition? What obstacles did you have to overcome?

In 2012, I conceptualized Nursing Clio as a first-year doctoral student at the University of Michigan. The project was born from a public humanities graduate seminar taught by Matthew Countryman. The final project for the course was to create a project that would engage the public in some way. I contacted five other gender and medicine scholars across the country and asked them if they wanted to be co-founders of Nursing Clio, and from there we worked together on developing the theme, scope, and content of the blog.

In the six years since its founding, Nursing Clio has grown to a staff of eleven volunteer editors from various backgrounds. The editorial team includes tenured and tenure-track professors, public historians and museum educators, and historians working outside of academia. The contributor base is similarly diverse: Nursing Clio has published essays from over 150 writers, including academic historians, public historians, art historians, sociologists, anthropologists, K-12 teachers, community health activists, graduate students, and others.

Like many collaborative projects, we’ve faced our share of obstacles. About two years in, we took a hiatus to reconceptualize the back end of the project. A few of our co-founders left, we brought in new editors, and developed a new and more streamlined method for editing and publishing. The biggest lesson I’ve learned as an executive editor is that fostering a deliberate feminist space for collaboration means everyone on the editing team has an equal voice and decisions come through consensus. And although the blog is an important project, in the end, it’s just a blog. That means that sometimes life, jobs, or just self care comes before Nursing Clio and that’s totally ok. In fact, I think that’s been the key to our longevity.

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The San Francisco Women’s Building is a landmark internationally recognized for its mural, MaestraPeace, which honors women’s contributions around the world, photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, 2012, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Where do you hope Nursing Clio goes in the future?

Our goal for the upcoming year is to possibly create a funding mechanism for Nursing Clio. This is sort of a contentious topic among our editors. How do you ethically monetize a project like this? We would love to be able to pay our writers, and maybe ourselves one day. I’m also looking forward to establishing a paid internship program that will allow undergraduates and graduate students an opportunity to learn digital publishing skills.

So far, what moment or event related to Nursing Clio comes to mind when one ask’s about its greatest achievement or most unique insight?

I am incredibly proud of our Power of Protest series that we produced in 2017. Shortly after the election of Donald Trump, the editors held a Skype meeting to brainstorm ideas on how to effectively respond to our collective sense of despair and helplessness. We put out a call for writers to contribute to a series focused on historical protest movements across the world. We were not prepared for how many submissions we received. But the very act of protest has a long and complicated history, one that defies geographic or temporal boundaries, so I think we tapped into something very tangible and accessible for historians across subfields. We covered topics as varied as AIDS protest funerals, Bolivian housewife hunger strikes, squatter’s rights in the UK, disability sit-ins in San Francisco, and even children’s letters to US presidents.

The insight I gained from this series was twofold. First, blogs are a unique platform that can quickly respond to political and cultural moments in a way that journals and books cannot. Second, the informality of a blog allows for more flexibility in content. Many of the essays in our Power of Protest series were about health and medicine, but many were not. Collectively, however, they made a powerful statement on what protest could and could not achieve. For these reasons, I think scholarly blogs, podcasts, and even twitter threads are indispensable and important tools for historians.

More broadly, one important achievement of Nursing Clio is that we take a deliberately feminist approach to our peer-review process. Our process is not blind – our writers know exactly who is editing their piece – and this method allows for the editing process to be a friendly conversation, rather than a sterile (and sometime adversarial) process. As one of our editors, Cassia Roth, told me recently, our editing process could be a lesson for the rest of the profession. We are a public history blog. We have rigorous peer review, but we do so to help our writers flourish.

Antonovich grad photoJacqueline Antonovich is an Assistant Professor of History at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. Her current research focuses on women physicians, reproductive surveillance, and medical imperialism in the turn-of-the-century urban American West. She is also the creator, co-founder, and executive editor of Nursing Clio. Jacqueline received her PhD from the University of Michigan in 2018.

Featured image (at top): Mural: Women of the Wiregrass, 126 N. St. Andrews Street, Dothan, Alabama, photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, April 1, 2010, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Digital Summer School: Chicago Elections Project

After sojourning to the East Coast to visit the Gotham Center’s Gotham blog last week, we now travel to capital of the Midwest, Chicago, where LaDale Winling and others have embarked on an ambitious project that combines political science, history and GIS mapping to create the Chicago Elections Project (CEP). Winling, who has both a new book out, Building the Ivory Tower, and worked on the very successful Mapping Inequality project, sat down to discuss the roots of the CEP, the challenges faced in putting it together, and what makes Chicago such a worthwhile case study for urban political history.

This is the fourth in our Digital Summer School series, including the aforementioned Gotham blog, the Encyclopedia of Milwaukee, and Tropics of Meta.

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Harold Washington Library Center, Passing ‘El’ Train, Chicago, Illinois, photo by Carol M. Highsmith, between 1980 and 2006, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Why did you establish this digital project and who is your audience?

In the summer of 2017, I was doing some research on Oscar DePriest and Arthur Mitchell, the first two black Congressmen from a northern district, DePriest as a Republican and Mitchell, a Democrat. Devin Hunter, a fellow Chicago historian, told me that the Chicago Public Library held detailed election results for their two head-to-head elections in one of their collections, so I went to check it out.

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“The map captures the results of the 1936 election for Congress in IL-01 in Chicago, a rematch between Oscar DePriest and Arthur Mitchell.  Mitchell won re-election in 1936, but it was largely due to districts with white voters.” – LaDale Winling

The Harold Washington Library of the CPL has nearly a hundred thousand “aperture” microfilm cards of detailed election results, down to the precinct level, going back to 1886. They have data for municipal, state, and federal elections and primaries, as well as the precinct and ward boundary maps to go with them. It was exciting and nearly overwhelming to find such a treasure trove of material on urban political history. It was also extremely frustrating to wrestle with the microfilm reader and squint at the faint and grainy data in negative on the screen. Through social media inquiries, I heard from a few historians that they had used this collection before, with some of the same difficulties, and the wheels in my mind began to turn. Margaret Garb at Washington University had used this collection in her recent book Freedom’s Ballot on black politics in Chicago.  Also, Richard Anderson, who is just completing his PhD at Princeton University, had digitized some elections for his dissertation on post-WWII Chicago politics, called ‘The City That Worked.”

One of my fundamental ideas as a digital historian is that there is value in providing access to data, something I saw, for example, when a group of my collaborators made the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation redlining maps available through Mapping Inequality. Since there was established demand for these election results, I thought there would be opportunities to broaden access and simply make it easier for people to conduct the research they were already doing.

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[Alderman Edward Vrdolyak (aka “Fast Eddie Vrdolyak”, standing, center) gesturing during a meeting of the Chicago City Council with Mayor Harold Washington, as Alderman Edward M. Burke stands behind him], photograph by Lee Balgemann, May 11, 1983, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
In addition, access to this data and digital mapping resources can help us think about urban political history in new ways—as diverse coalitions, independent individuals, and communities with shifting interests and alliances. We often use the metaphor of the political “machine” to describe urban politics. That image and concept can obscure the variety of political activities, patronage employees and power centers operating in cities. A political machine can be decentralized and some of the key connections may be between the ward offices, precinct captains, and the local voters, rather than through city hall. We know this, and some of the best urban political history accounts for this. However, the research burden of investigating the variety of neighborhoods and communities in a large city can be very challenging—that spade work often gets lost in favor of synthesis or providing context.

Finally, I want to emphasize that elections matter. Studying these popular expressions of political sentiment is an important way of understanding social change. My suspicion is that we often rely on qualitative explanations and narratives for political change without drawing on the messy data where voters express their actual choices.

In terms of audience, we want to provide for scholars, to reach journalists, and to connect with the public at large. Chicago historians and urban political historians who have already been using the microfilm will get better, easier access. Chicago journalists will be able to draw on this material for data visualization and to craft more detailed and meaningful stories about Chicago politics that go beyond the typical mayoral narratives. Chicagoans interested in the history of their city, their ward, their precinct, or their neighborhood will find something about the history of their communities. Chicago loves to talk politics and this will help us do it better.

Why Chicago?

Chicago has been a well-studied center of urban sociology and urban politics that, through the tradition of scholarship coming out of the many Chicago universities, has strongly shaped the way we think about urban history. By taking this new look at Chicago, we can enable an interesting set of inquiries about neighborhoods, political figures, and policymaking that can be a model for other cities around the country.

I also lived in metro Chicago (Evanston) for several years in graduate school and studied the University of Chicago and surrounding for a chapter in my book, Building the Ivory Tower. It is a place I return to for archival research each year, so Chicago also makes sense for me logistically.

How does GIS contribute to a data-rich effort like the Chicago Elections Project and what do you hope people will take away from this?

We’re in the early stages, but when we launch, I envision this project as a comprehensive data resource for Chicago political history – one where users can appreciate the multitude of Chicago political figures, the fine-grained geography of city neighborhoods, and the interaction between space and politics. We live our lives in space, build community in space, and spatial relations structure our politics, whether it be racial segregation, the provision of civic infrastructure, or other investments. So we’d like people to appreciate the historical importance of counting votes, getting out the vote, of targeting appeals to specific neighborhoods and demographics. We recognize all of these things in contemporary political campaigns and elections, but they are hard to reconstruct and do justice to in historical research. Digital data management and mapping technologies help us handle this type of research.

Through a project like this we can also teach history students and research assistants digital skills in the course of building the site and collections. History students learn GIS, HTML coding, image editing, digital archiving, and data management by working on some pieces of a larger digital project as part of their college or grad school experiences. They can go on and apply these skills to their own research or to their career work after graduation.

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The historic Chicago Theater, Chicago, Illinois, photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, between 1980 and 2006, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

This project is in its early stages. What obstacles do you face?

Building any new collaboration brings questions and challenges – how much time people can devote to the project, whether we have compatible interests and visions, how we can accumulate the resources to pull it off – and that takes time to negotiate and navigate. There is a set of supportive participants and advisors with interests in Chicago politics (Richard Anderson, Margaret Garb, Brad Hunt, Nora Krinitsky, Christopher Manning, and Christopher Reed, in addition to me), which has been a great help, and we would always welcome additional collaborators.

We next would like to find an institutional home for the project that is publicly engaged with the city of Chicago. Chicago Public Library administrators have not yet agreed to host this as a digital project. It takes a while to reorient institutional priorities and we’re working to get the library to take this project seriously. Some of the staff has been very cooperative in facilitating the digitization phase of the Chicago Elections Project, but we’re just at the start of a long process. Scanning; data entry, checking, and cleaning; creating relational databases; and drawing digital maps in ArcGIS all take a long time and a lot of labor.

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Chicago Federal Center, Chicago, Illinois, photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, July 27, 2007, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Where do you hope it goes in the future?

The ambition is to catalyze a data-enabled, spatially-informed way of approaching urban political history, so building relationships with scholars in other cities could help start that process and demonstrate the possibilities elsewhere. I have just started conversations with a library in New York City that also has a large collection of elections data somewhat like Chicago’s, which may be the first step.

 

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Chicago Merchandise Mart, the world’s largest wholesalers’ building. Chicago, Illinois, photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, between 1980 and 2006, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress 

The career of Barack Obama prompted several projects examining Chicago politics, from the Making Obama podcast to David Garrow’s book, Rising Star, and Gary Rivlin’s book on Harold Washington, Fire on the Prairie. What does this project have to contribute to our understanding of the already well-trod topic of Chicago politics?

All of those very good projects rely on narratives that are fairly triumphant about racial dynamics – either voters’ acceptance of African American candidates or black elected officials’ skillful navigation of racial politics.

David Axelrod, who worked for both Harold Washington and Barack Obama, tells a tale about how Harold Washington’s mayoral tenure helped pave the way for Barack Obama’s rise. It’s a neat story, and he illustrates it by saying on election night for the Senate primary in 2004, Axelrod checked a northwest side precinct where Washington had faced protests and white opposition. Washington lost the precinct, 10 to 1, but in 2004, Obama carried the precinct. Axelrod’s takeaway is that Chicago grew more tolerant, even in its most regressive neighborhoods, because of Harold Washington.

It’s not as tidy as that. Groups like the “lakefront liberals,” who were supposedly strong supporters of Washington, voted for his opponents, in many precincts, by large majorities. Northwest side precincts were changed as much by demographic transition as by any changes in hearts and minds, and this spatial and voting data helps us investigate that in detail.

So this project can help scholars bring together comprehensive data resources with excellent, synthetic scholarship. The combination of data and narrative can help us enrich the stories that we tell, improve our arguments, and help us appreciate both the optimism and the failures of our very messy democratic process.

Featured image (at top): Chicago silhouette, Chicago, Illinois, photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, between 1980 and 2006, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress 

Winling-Headshot2.jpgLaDale Winling is an associate professor of history at Virginia Tech, where he teaches U.S. urban history, digital history, and public history.  He is one of the co-creators of ‘Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America’ and a forthcoming project on U.S. Congressional elections, both part of the American Panorama digital atlas from the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond.  His book on universities and urban politics, Building the Ivory Tower: Universities and Metropolitan Development in the Twentieth Century, was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2017.

Grad Student Blog Contest Deadline Extended to August 1

We couldn’t resist extending the Second Annual UHA/Metropole Grad Student Blog Contest two more weeks! Why? Why not?! You know have until August 1 to enter the contest.

First prize claims $100 but as important is the value of contributing to a lively public discourse and active dialogue within the profession of urban history. It doesn’t hurt that a panel of distinguished, award-winning urban historians will judge it: UHA President Richard Harris, Pulitzer-prize winner and UHA President-elect Heather Ann Thompson, and standard-bearer in the field, Tom Sugrue, author of the foundational Origins of the Urban Crisis.

The rules are below, and there’s two weeks left before we reach the new deadline of August 1. We hope to read your submissions soon!

Striking Gold: The Metropole Grad Student Blog Contest

The Metropole/Urban History Association Graduate Student Blogging Contest exists to encourage and train graduate students to blog about history—as a way to teach beyond the classroom, market their scholarship, and promote the enduring value of the humanities.

The summer’s blogging contest theme is “Striking Gold.” With golden rays of summer sunshine in our near future, we invite graduate students to submit essays on lucre and archival treasures. Tell us how you found the linchpin of your dissertation argument hidden in a mislabeled folder, or share the history of an event or era characterized by newly-realized wealth.

All submissions that meet the guidelines outlined below will be accepted. The Metropole’s editors will work with contest contributors to refine their submissions and prepare them for publication.

In addition to getting great practice writing for the web and experience working with editors, the winner will receive a certificate and a $100 prize!

The contest will open on June 1 and will close on August 1. Entries must be submitted to uhacommunicationsteam@gmail.com. Posts will run on the blog in August and September, and we will announce the winners in late September. Finalists will have their papers reviewed by three award-winning historians: Heather Ann Thompson, Tom Sugrueand Richard Harris. The winning blog post will receive $100.

Contest Guidelines

  1. Contest entrants must be enrolled in a graduate program.
  2. Contest entrants must be members of the UHA. A one-year membership for graduate students costs only $25 and includes free online access to the Journal of Urban History.
  3. Contest submissions must be original posts not published elsewhere on the web.
  4. Contest submissions must be in the form of an essay related to the theme of “Striking Gold.” Essays can be about current research, historiography (but not book reviews), or methodology. Essays that stick to the following criteria will be most successful:
    1. Written for a non-academic audience and assume no prior knowledge.
    2. Focused on one argument, intervention, or event, and not trying to do too much.
    3. Spend more time showing than telling.
  5. Posts must be received by the editors (uhacommunicationsteam@gmail.com) by August 1 at 11:59 PM EST to be eligible for the contest.
  6. Posts should be at least 700 words, but not exceed 2000 words.
  7. Links or footnotes must be used to properly attribute others’ scholarship and reporting. The Metropole follows the Chicago Manual of Style for citation formatting.

Digital Summer School: Gotham

Digital Summer School began with Tropics of Meta where co-editors Romeo Guzman and Alex Sayf Cummings talked about the old and new initiatives at the academic/cultural website. We then moved the classroom to the Midwestern metropolis of Milwaukee as Amanda Seligman discussed the Encyclopedia of Milwaukee. Today, we travel to New York City and The Gotham Center. Peter-Christian Aigner explains how Gotham: A Blog for Scholars of New York City came into being and where it hopes to be going in the future.

Why did you establish this digital project and who is your audience? ​

I started Gotham three years ago, for a simple reason—it didn’t exist. New York City has an unrivaled number of libraries, museums, universities, and buildings dedicated in one respect or another to its history, of course, and some of them have blogs that occasionally spotlight the many treasures in their archives or the many wonderful programs they do. But there was no regular digital space, and certainly no obvious place, no headquarters online for all the scholars who do research on New York City history. And that just seemed insane.

There are hundreds of academics, in so many disciplines, who have done research on New York City history, so many every year. Thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of books, articles, etc., have been published on the subject, much of it recently. And that’s because New York City is, and has long been, America’s unofficial capital. People outside the five boroughs may dismiss that as egotism, and historians of different regions might cite their area’s significance, but the fact is that New York is this country’s most important city, historically speaking.

So, the goal was to provide a “blog” for scholars, like the Gotham masthead says. But I struggled a bit with that label, because the Gotham Center takes seriously the mission of NYC’s public university, our institutional sponsor: “knowledge for the public good.” We sometimes do programming strictly for scholars, but we are a public history organization, even if we are based in a university (CUNY’s Graduate Center). We’ve always sought to make scholarship accessible to non-academics, and have always included other professionals in the historical world (curators, educator, archivists, filmmakers, preservationists, independent scholars). So I did not want our digital publication to be exclusive. I wanted a broad range of contributors and followers.

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College of the City of New York (City College, City University), New York, N.Y., between 1900 and 1915, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

What do you hope people take away from it?

Well, in terms of professional value, I think Gotham provides a unique space for younger scholars in particular to engage with other professionals, share their research, and gain writing experience. Ideally, we can be a place that helps identify the next generation of New York City historians.

In terms of intellectual value, I think beyond that shared locus of conversation Gotham offers not only a place where one might apply the latest method or theory of urban history, but also perhaps a counterpoint to the pointillism of the field now, where the focus on a single place allows us to really dig deep and fill out collective understanding in a particular setting. Both approaches, the global and local, are obviously needed.

And generally, I feel there’s just a desperate need still for this kind of work, in public education. Mike Wallace established The Gotham Center at a time when New York seriously lagged behind other world cities in presenting its historical resources to locals and tourists. There was little collaboration between our great historical institutions, and the oldest, biggest one, New-York Historical Society, had in fact closed and nearly sold off its collections only a few years before. The idea was to establish a place that could network and support the many institutions and individuals who kept the history of this city alive, and make the public — including civic leaders — aware of New York’s rich history, and why it matters. Although in some ways the situation has improved, in others we are no better off, collectively, than all those years ago. New York History, for example, should be celebrating its hundredth anniversary next year. Instead, fifteen months after the Board of Regents dissolved the state’s 120-year-old historical association, it’s still very unclear whether—in addition to being the only state in the country now without an organization promoting and preserving its history— New York will lose the journal and conference that were attached to NYSHA. Ten years ago, Ken Jackson gave a wonderful speech before the state library, laying out the case for New York as the “most historical” state in the nation. Mike Wallace is finishing up the last volume in a brilliant trilogy making that argument for New York City, across the centuries and virtually every area of life. But there is still very little appreciation of these facts by the public, even locally. And there is little obvious collective power still among our historical organizations. So, I hope with Gotham, just like all the programming we’ve done at the Center, and the new programs I am working to establish, we are pushing back against this situation.

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College of the City of New York (City College, City University), New York, N.Y., between 1900 and 1915, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

How did the project come to fruition? What obstacles did you have to overcome?

It wasn’t hard, just time-consuming. Daniel Wortel-London (ed. note: his work has appeared here on The Metropole as well), the blog’s first associate editor, then at CUNY’s Graduate Center, provided crucial help. But the work itself has not been difficult. We benefited, I think, from our association with The Gotham Center, and the niche we filled. Traffic has grown steadily and handsomely. Conversation is now far less about how to fill our calendar and far more about how we can deliver the high-level content we present to new audiences.

Where do you hope it goes in the future?

We’ve got a few exciting new ideas we’re pursuing. I’ll leave it at that, but I’m very optimistic about Gotham‘s future. The potential has always been great. We mostly feature new original content, book reviews, interviews, etc., and obviously that is valuable. But we are looking to expand into different areas. It should be a place that discusses New York City history everywhere one finds it: in museums, libraries, schools, the arts, TV and film, memorials, tourism, etc. And I would like to see it become a place where experts regularly comment on social, cultural, political and economic debates in New York City, from that historical perspective. We recently doubled our editorial team, and have begun exploring new partnerships, with these long-term goals in mind​. But transforming into something larger (e.g., more than a semiweekly publication, like it is now) may ultimately require some kind of backing.

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College of City of New York, N.Y., circa 1908, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

In regard to the Gotham Center, New York City has been a subject of study by urban historians for decades, with so much already said about NYC, how does Gotham Center approach the Big Apple with fresh eyes?

In my younger days, I used to think “How much could there be to say about ___?” I don’t  often have such thoughts anymore. There are still many new frontiers in New York City history, as there are in U.S./world history generally. What hasn’t been researched—huge, important subjects—consistently astounds me. And so long as we have new theories, there can be hundreds of people writing about New York City every generation, and still  many mountains to cross. We could, for example, see a lot more research on “the outer boroughs.” There’s an over-focus on Manhattan, logical as that is. As on city limits. “Metropolitan history” is more or less the new consensus among suburban and urban historians, but I’m sympathetic to complaints that (as in other fields) practice hasn’t really kept pace with the professed methodology. Finally, I’d say the point we constantly make at the Gotham Center is that New York City is the best lens for learning about the history of the United States. So long as that is true — and it is —  learning about its past will always be vital.

unnamed_3_origPeter-Christian Aigner is the director of The Gotham Center for New York City History at CUNY’s Graduate Center, and the founding / managing editor of Gotham. He is currently writing a biography of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, contracted with Simon & Schuster. 

Featured image (at top): College of City of New York, N.Y., circa 1908, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Remember the Grad Student Blog Contest deadline is approaching July 15!

You’ve undoubtedly spent the past few days gorging yourselves with barbecued food, imbibing adult beverages, and semi-enjoying fireworks as you beat away thousands of swarming mosquitoes. But now it’s Monday and if you’re an intrepid, enterprising, UHA member and grad student, you have until this Sunday to enter our second annual competition.

First prize claims $100 but as important is the value of contributing to a lively public discourse and active dialogue within the profession of urban history. It doesn’t hurt that a panel of distinguished, award-winning urban historians will judge it: UHA President Richard Harris, Pulitzer-prize winner and UHA President-elect Heather Ann Thompson, and standard-bearer in the field, Tom Sugrue, author of the foundational Origins of the Urban Crisis.

The rules are below, and there’s less than one month left until the July 15 deadline. We hope to read your submissions soon!

Striking Gold: The Metropole Grad Student Blog Contest

The Metropole/Urban History Association Graduate Student Blogging Contest exists to encourage and train graduate students to blog about history—as a way to teach beyond the classroom, market their scholarship, and promote the enduring value of the humanities.

The summer’s blogging contest theme is “Striking Gold.” With golden rays of summer sunshine in our near future, we invite graduate students to submit essays on lucre and archival treasures. Tell us how you found the linchpin of your dissertation argument hidden in a mislabeled folder, or share the history of an event or era characterized by newly-realized wealth.

All submissions that meet the guidelines outlined below will be accepted. The Metropole’s editors will work with contest contributors to refine their submissions and prepare them for publication.

In addition to getting great practice writing for the web and experience working with editors, the winner will receive a certificate and a $100 prize!

The contest will open on June 1 and will close on July 15. Entries must be submitted to uhacommunicationsteam@gmail.com. Posts will run on the blog in July and August, and we will announce the winners in September. Finalists will have their papers reviewed by three award-winning historians: Heather Ann Thompson, Tom Sugrueand Richard Harris. The winning blog post will receive $100.

Contest Guidelines

  1. Contest entrants must be enrolled in a graduate program.
  2. Contest entrants must be members of the UHA. A one-year membership for graduate students costs only $25 and includes free online access to the Journal of Urban History.
  3. Contest submissions must be original posts not published elsewhere on the web.
  4. Contest submissions must be in the form of an essay related to the theme of “Striking Gold.” Essays can be about current research, historiography (but not book reviews), or methodology. Essays that stick to the following criteria will be most successful:
    1. Written for a non-academic audience and assume no prior knowledge.
    2. Focused on one argument, intervention, or event, and not trying to do too much.
    3. Spend more time showing than telling.
  5. Posts must be received by the editors (uhacommunicationsteam@gmail.com) by July 1 at 11:59 PM EST to be eligible for the contest.
  6. Posts should be at least 700 words, but not exceed 2000 words.
  7. Links or footnotes must be used to properly attribute others’ scholarship and reporting. The Metropole follows the Chicago Manual of Style for citation formatting.

 

Digital Summer School: The Encyclopedia of Milwaukee

In our second installment of Digital Summer School, Amanda Seligman, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee historian and co-founder of the online project the Encyclopedia of Milwaukee (EMKE), discusses the challenges, triumphs, and goals of the EMKE.

Twitter handle for EMKE: @MkeEncyclopedia

Why did you establish this digital project and who is your audience?

Urban history encyclopedias have been around for two generations. The first major U.S. project, the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, started with a print edition and transitioned into the digital environment. Smaller Midwestern cities (Indianapolis, Louisville) and the largest cities in the US (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles) followed suit. Some projects were print-only (New York, Los Angeles), some were hybrid (Chicago), and some are born digital (Philadelphia). The two of us who are lead editors on the project (Margo Anderson and Amanda Seligman) both had previous experience with historical encyclopedias—Anderson on the US census and me with Chicago. As scholars, we know how convenient it is to have access to short, focused analyses of specific topics. It can be a big timesaver for researchers—but only if they are confident in the reliability of the encyclopedia. We also knew that Milwaukeeans are passionate about their history and believed that Milwaukee deserved an authoritative, scholarly encyclopedia of its own. We also hope that students and scholars who are researching Milwaukee will turn to the EMKE to support their projects.

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View of the Milwaukee River in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Carol M. Highsmith, August 22, 2016, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

What do you hope people take away from it?

We have three major goals for our readers. First, we want to be a starting point for research on the Milwaukee area. We have worked hard to unlock history from archives and libraries, which non-scholars may find intimidating or not even realize exist. But we don’t want to be an end point; we want to inspire our readers to go deeper. Our entries have “for further reading” suggestions and footnotes to guide readers to new sources. To that end, once we realized how much material has been produced on Milwaukee over the past century and a half, we also published a spin-off print project, a Bibliography of Metropolitan Milwaukee (Marquette University Press, 2014) based on the work of one of the first graduate students who came to work on the project.

Finally, we want our readers to leave the project with a stronger sense of how history is written. We developed what we call the “Underbook,” which readers can access by clicking on the “Explore More” button at the end of some entries. In addition to the footnotes and bonus images, right now the Underbook contains “Understories,” a genre we invented for this project. Understories narrate the process of research, so that readers learn about how historians know what we know. One of my favorites is underneath the “Borchert Field” entry. It was written by a student who went from my history methods class to being an undergraduate and then graduate fact-checker for the project. I like his piece, “How Microfilm and the Internet Get Along: A Demonstration,” so much that I assign it to new groups of history methods students. It helps them see that new information storage technologies do not necessarily undermine old ones. I was also really proud of the first undergraduate who did image research for the project. A few years after leaving us, she turned her Understory—about a mysterious postcard showing what she called “Baby Hammocks”—into her own digital history master’s project at George Mason University. To me, these two pieces illustrate exactly the kind of articulation of research and teaching that universities are meant to produce.

How did the project come to fruition? What obstacles did you have to overcome?

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Wisconsin St., Milwaukee, 1900, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

I’m not sure it has “come to fruition” quite yet. As of this interview in mid-June, we have 334 entries live, 105 entries scheduled for release, 115 entries waiting to be scheduled, and about 150 entries working their ways through our editorial process. We also have a Research Assistant hard at work identifying images to accompany the entries (a process that has completely changed since we first envisioned it, thanks to librarians digitizing their collections). The first phase of the project will feel more finished when we have gotten all those entries out and illustrated, and have cross-referenced all the content, loaded the maps, and made some technical tweaks to our platform (like fending off the increasing number Russian bots who keep registering as if they planned to leave comments for our site).

Obstacles? Even for experienced research-oriented scholars, putting together an enormous encyclopedia as a first digital history project has a lot in common with doing prelim exams and writing a dissertation—every aspect of this project has been a learning process, most of them with steep learning curves. First of all, there is simply a huge amount of new content to think about. But it also has involved coming to terms with work processes that ten years ago we were not only unfamiliar with but did not really know existed. When we started in 2008, I didn’t even know the terms “metadata” or “project management,” words that I throw around every day now. Nor did we have a clear path to raising the $3 million (a goal later lowered to $2 million) that we expected it would cost to build and staff the project. I’m so grateful to all the people and institutions who have shown their confidence in us by investing their time and money in the project.

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The Pabst Mansion, one of Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s most notable landmarks, Carol M. Highsmith, August 28, 2016, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

Where do you hope it goes in the future?

We hope that the project gets more deeply institutionalized in Milwaukee. When I talk to donors and public audiences, I tell them that having an urban history encyclopedia for our region is like having an art museum, an opera company, a zoo, or a baseball team (all of which Milwaukee has and of course are covered in the EMKE). We want to the EMKE to be a basic civic institution in the Milwaukee area.

To get to that point, there is a lot more work to do. We need to build our public relationships through in-person networking and social media; to build out our non-text content with more images, digitized primary sources, and static and GIS maps; and we need to solicit and consider a lot more feedback through our public comment capacity. Fortunately, we continue to find excellent students who see doing this work as a worthwhile part of their education.

When did you start to consider yourself a digital historian?

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The tower of City Hall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Carol M. Highsmith, August 22, 2016, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

I have struggled with a lot of imposter syndrome over accepting the label “digital historian.” One of the first times I asked myself whether I was a digital historian, I ran smack into a suggestion that I couldn’t possibly count unless I knew how to code. Several years into the project, my departmental colleagues and I decided it was unethical to fail to train our students in digital history, and I drew the straw that gave me the chance to teach the graduate seminar (at least until we hired someone I considered a real digital historian onto the faculty). Even when teaching that course, I blogged about it as “The Reluctant Digital Historian.”

But despite my self-doubt, “real” digital historians and Twitterstorians have consistently offered warm welcomes into the club and affirmation that my work matters. The beauty of digital history is that—like history in general and unlike, say, mathematics or language—none of us is born with an intuition about the contents or how to do it. Working on the project gives us a chance to learn a bit more than we already know. Where I have come to at this point is that anyone who uses any kind of digital tool to understand or create historical knowledge is standing under the digital history umbrella. This even includes some of the EMKE authors who aren’t particularly tech savvy. Some struggle with how to make their word processors create hanging indents so that bibliographic entries are properly formatted and some send their entries in by email because they don’t want to bother with the backend system our IT team built to organize our workflow (I have only dealt with one entirely non-digital author, whom I located by phone and who sent in a typescript text). It also includes me. By now I have learned enough code to fix—or at least diagnose—minor problems that crop up, and just this week I am trying to learn how to use WordPress to format our tables. There are so many different kinds of digital history skills and platforms that no one person is going to master them all, just like no one historian can know the history of the whole world in real depth. What makes a project like ours functional is bringing together people with complementary skills, each of us knowing or learning a couple of pieces, so that we can somehow manage to pull the whole thing off. History, and digital history, are collective projects.

amanda-seligman.jpgAmanda Seligman (@AmandaISeligmanis Professor of History and Urban Studies and Chair of the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she has taught since 1999. She holds an AB in Classics from Princeton University and a PhD in History from Northwestern University. She is author or coauthor of four books, most recently of Chicago’s Block Clubs: How Neighbors Shape the City (2016). She is also a co-editor of the Historical Studies of Urban America series published by the University of Chicago Press. 

Featured image (at top): Sign for the Milwaukee Public Market, a popular shopping venue and gathering place in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin neighborhood called the Historic Third Ward, Carol M. Highsmith, August 28, 2016, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

Fighting for Clearance: SoCal, the Military Industrial Complex, and Gay Liberation or Your Weekly Reminder to enter The Grad Student Blog Contest

Security clearances have been a topic of great controversy in recent months. The process of issuing access to government secrets has always been opaque, but for decades it was also discriminatory. In 1953, President Dwight Eisenhower issued executive order #10450, which banned homosexuals from government employment and labeled them a threat to national security. “Throughout the 1950s and 1960s the term ‘security risk’ in fact functioned largely as a euphemism for homosexual,” notes historian David K. Johnson. For gay and lesbian Americans, gaining a clearance proved nearly impossible.

Thousands of employees lost their jobs due to their sexual orientation. Tens of thousands more abandoned any hopes of working for the federal government in policy positions and elsewhere, to say nothing of how private business followed suit.

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Title page of Otis Tabler hearing, July 30, 1974, Frank Kameny Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

Circumstances began to change in 1975 when Otis Francis Tabler, a suburban Los Angeles resident and computer defense systems analyst, with the help of Washington, D.C. LGBT activist Frank Kameny, became the first openly gay individual to gain a security clearance from the United States government.

World War and the Post War Defense Industry

World War II and the postwar rise of the military industrial complex radically reshaped Southern California. Los Angeles and Orange County attracted new installations and defense industries, particularly in aerospace. By the early 1960s, 43 percent of manufacturing employment in the two counties was tied to government aerospace contracts. This process persisted into the 1970s by which time L.A and the “surrounding region had come to rely to an extraordinary degree upon the related industries of defense aircraft space and electronics,” notes historian Roger Lotchin.

Demographically, California and the West changed as the population boomed and diversity increased. San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego served as critical nodes in the mobilization for war. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers and others moved to the Golden State. The gender segregation of the military, as demonstrated by historian Allan Berube, provided the opportunity for same sex relationships while the unsupervised nature of urban living provided the means. “Because L.A. has a port and vast numbers of soldiers landed there, far from watchful eyes ‘back home’ and yearning for rest and recreation they enjoyed unprecedented opportunities for gay experiences,” add historians Lillian Faderman and Stuart Timmons. Military officials attempted to squash such developments. “The war mobilization laid the groundwork for a national effort to eliminate homosexuals from public life,” historian Daniel Hurewitz points out.

In the face of such hostility, Harry Hay and others formed the Mattachine Society in 1951. Through the organization Hay constructed what would become the homophile movement and the Los Angeles Mattachine emerged as its first real organization. It enabled gay men and women to form a community and present a collective identity to a hostile, questioning public.

Despite military policies and discriminatory public attitudes, gay men and women built lives for themselves in and around Los Angeles; when the war ended and the defense industry expanded in Southern California many sought new work opportunities. One such individual was Otis Francis Tabler, a computer scientist who studied missile defense systems at Logicon in San Pedro, California. According to his coworkers and supervisors, Tabler demonstrated considerable skill in carrying out his responsibilities, but due to his inability to secure the necessary security clearance, his talents were not being adequately utilized. His former supervisor Captain (USAF) Larry Wayne Kern believed Tabler to be honest, trustworthy, and reliable; Tabler had “a specific and unique contribution to make in the field,” he testified.16

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Picture of Frank Kameny between 1947 and 1960, Frank Kameny Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

Few understood the effects of the policy better than WWII veteran Frank Kameny, who in 1957 was fired from his job in the Army Map Service for homosexuality. By 1961, Kameny had established the Mattachine Society of Washington (MSW). From his leadership position in the MSW during the 1960s, Kameny criticized the government’s “war on gays and lesbians” at every opportunity, even picketing the White House, Pentagon, and Civil Service Commission Headquarters. Kameny and his fellow MSW members demanded that the government “cease noting that they are homosexuals and ignoring that they are also American citizens.”

No stranger to activism, Tabler, inspired by the Civil Rights, Black Power, Chicano, and Feminist movements then roiling the nation, took part in what is now known as the Gay Liberation Movement, the more militant successor to the post-WWII homophile movement. Due to generational and ideological differences, some homophile leaders and activists had trouble aligning with the newer movement’s more aggressive tactics. Kameny bridged these differences. Having distinguished himself through his work during the 1960s, Kameny drew plaudits from Los Angeles’s Gay Liberation Front (LAGLF). As a result of these connections, Tabler reached out to Kameny who then represented the computer scientist at the first-ever open hearing regarding a security clearance in 1974.

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Front Cover, The Ladder, October 1965, Lilli Vincenz Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

The hearing, held over four days in late July and early August of 1974 at the Federal Building on Wilshire Boulevard, revealed a clearance process beset with contradictions that reflected broader societal biases of the day.Throughout the hearing, the federal government focused on Tabler’s violation of California sodomy and perversion laws as reasons to deny him clearance. Two heterosexual witnesses for Tabler, both of which held security clearances, admitted to engaging in similar activities but had never been questioned about them. Even a government investigator testified that officials only inquired about an individual’s sexual history when they were a suspected or an admitted homosexual. “In my opinion, the sodomy laws are merely words written on statue books,” Tabler told officials. “I believe that they do not exist.” 23

Nor could the government say Tabler represented a blackmail risk. He was an open homosexual. His mother knew of his sexuality, as did all his coworkers. Kamney and Tabler submitted dozens of affidavits from neighbors and acquaintances testifying to his homosexuality.

Though not a lawyer, Kameny represented Tabler and employed an unorthodox approach. His opening statement lasted over ninety minutes. He called the security clearance program bigoted, politically corrupt, and vile. He accused the DOD and federal government of conducting a war on gays waged “relentlessly, remorselessly and mercilessly.” The homosexual community did not want to fight, but “if [the government] want[s] a war they will get it,” he told the government examiner.

Tabler’s mother also testified, making an impassioned plea to the government that her son was a loyal American and that, as the widow of a disabled U.S. Air Force veteran, she loved her country. “But I’m horrified to find out that the Defense Department does not honor the Constitution of the United States,” she said, then breaking down in tears.

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Matching Society of Washington newsletter, August 14, 1975, Frank Kameny papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

On December 17, 1974, government Examiner Richard S. Farr, who had supervised the hearing, ruled in Tabler’s favor, judging him worthy of a security clearance. The Department of Defense, however, appealed the decision and even attempted to disqualify Kameny as his counsel. Within a year, though, the DOD reversed course and dropped its appeal, notifying both Kameny and Tabler that it had changed its policies regarding homosexuals.

Tabler became the first openly homosexual person to gain a security clearance, though as Kameny noted in a Mattachine newsletter much work was left to be done, since now it needed to be determined that such policies would be followed; other branches of the government like the F.B.I. and C.I.A. conducted their own investigations and continued to discriminate against homosexuals.

Today, homosexuality is no longer an impediment to securing a clearance, opening up thousands of jobs to gay men and women. Undoubtedly, Otis Francis Tabler’s fight contributed to such developments.

The above post is based on some very fortunate archival discoveries in the Frank Kameny papers (and to a lesser extent the Lilli VincenzLilli Vincenz papers) located in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. Right now, I’m working on a longer article with greater analysis and stronger argumentation, however, crafting a short twelve hundred word summary of it has helped crystalize my thoughts on the subject. As I revise my longer article for publication, I now feel better prepared to explain the story and its significance to both fellow historians and the general public. In short, writing in public venues like The Metropole not only helps craft better public history but also sharpens one’s own writing clarity and precision. This is why we are holding our second annual Grad Student Blogging Contest. First prize claims $100 but as important is the value of contributing to a lively public discourse and active dialogue within the profession of urban history. It doesn’t hurt that a panel of distinguished, award-winning urban historians will judge it: UHA President Richard Harris, Pulitzer-prize winner and UHA President-elect Heather Ann Thompson, and standard-bearer in the field, Tom Sugrue, author of the foundational Origins of the Urban Crisis.

The rules are below, and there’s less than one month left until the July 15 deadline. We hope to read your submissions soon!

Striking Gold: The Metropole Grad Student Blog Contest

The Metropole/Urban History Association Graduate Student Blogging Contest exists to encourage and train graduate students to blog about history—as a way to teach beyond the classroom, market their scholarship, and promote the enduring value of the humanities.

The summer’s blogging contest theme is “Striking Gold.” With golden rays of summer sunshine in our near future, we invite graduate students to submit essays on lucre and archival treasures. Tell us how you found the linchpin of your dissertation argument hidden in a mislabeled folder, or share the history of an event or era characterized by newly-realized wealth.

 

All submissions that meet the guidelines outlined below will be accepted. The Metropole’s editors will work with contest contributors to refine their submissions and prepare them for publication.

In addition to getting great practice writing for the web and experience working with editors, the winner will receive a certificate and a $100 prize!

The contest will open on June 1 and will close on July 15. Entries must be submitted to uhacommunicationsteam@gmail.com. Posts will run on the blog in July and August, and we will announce the winners in September. Finalists will have their papers reviewed by three award-winning historians: Heather Ann Thompson, Tom Sugrue and Richard Harris. The winning blog post will receive $100.

Contest Guidelines

  1. Contest entrants must be enrolled in a graduate program.
  2. Contest entrants must be members of the UHA. A one-year membership for graduate students costs only $25 and includes free online access to the Journal of Urban History.
  3. Contest submissions must be original posts not published elsewhere on the web.
  4. Contest submissions must be in the form of an essay related to the theme of “Striking Gold.” Essays can be about current research, historiography (but not book reviews), or methodology. Essays that stick to the following criteria will be most successful:
    1. Written for a non-academic audience and assume no prior knowledge.
    2. Focused on one argument, intervention, or event, and not trying to do too much.
    3. Spend more time showing than telling.
  5. Posts must be received by the editors (uhacommunicationsteam@gmail.com) by July 1 at 11:59 PM EST to be eligible for the contest.
  6. Posts should be at least 700 words, but not exceed 2000 words.
  7. Links or footnotes must be used to properly attribute others’ scholarship and reporting. The Metropole follows the Chicago Manual of Style for citation formatting.

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