Author Archive

Mary Rizzo

NCPH so white?

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NCPH Diversity Task Force logo. Image credit: Kesha Bruce

NCPH Diversity Task Force logo. Image credit: Kesha Bruce.

2015 will be remembered by historians as the year of #BlackLivesMatter, an intersectional civil rights movement that merged direct action, political activity, and social media to force a national discussion around issues of police violence and institutional racism. Read More

Moms at the myth (Part 2)

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Wikipedia entry

The Wikipedia entry that started the authors’ search, captured on February 17, 2013. Screenshot by the authors.

Continued from Part 1

Our suspicions about the too-great-to-be-true Moms at the “Mich” album cover led us back to the Wikipedia entry that had started our quest for details about this little-known moment in LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) history. Read More

Moms at the myth (Part 1)

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album cover

Moms at the ‘Mich’: Cover of the mysterious “lost” Moms Mabley album. Photo credit:

There are layers of history contained in the album cover for Moms at the “Mich.” Jackie “Moms” Mabley’s career ran from the queer Harlem comedy clubs of the 1920s to early race films, from the mid-century “chitlin’ circuit” to the family-friendly late-career movie Amazing Grace (1974). Read More

Pulling back the curtain and starting a conversation

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Saint Jacques-sur-Coudenberg church and neighbor, Brussels, 2008.  Photo credit: Eddy Van 3000.

Saint Jacques-sur-Coudenberg church and neighbor, Brussels, 2008. Photo credit: Eddy Van 3000

At this spring’s National Council on Public History annual meeting in Monterey, California, outgoing NCPH President Bob Weyeneth proposed that it was time for historians to let the rest of the world in on our trade secret about history: that it isn’t a static set of facts, but a matter of “interpretive fluidity” that demands a continual reassessment of what we know about the past.   Read More

Tools for digital history: Google Map Engine Lite

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Google mapThe turn to spatial history has been aided by the explosion of digital mapping tools. While there are many options for mapping out there (including HistoryPin as described by Aaron Cowan in a [email protected] post earlier this year), one look at the projects being completed by leaders in the field like the Stanford Visualization Lab is both inspiring and terrifying. Read More

An invitation: Help us identify the top 15 articles on preservation in The Public Historian

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ship on lake bottom

The wreck of the wooden cargo ship Australasia on the bottom of Lake Michigan is one of the recent new listings in the National Register of Historic Places. (Image: National Register)

In the nomination form for the US National Register of Historic Places, one of the main criteria excludes “structures, sites and objects achieving historical importance within the past 50 years.” Using this criterion, if the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, which authorized the National Register, were a building, it would only become eligible for inclusion in 2016. Read More

Jon Stewart, public historian?

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jon-stewartThe New York Times blog recently posted a piece about the recent AHA conference in New Orleans. Touching briefly on panels about horses and trash in history, the author pauses momentarily to describe a discussion about “The Public Practice of History in a Digital Age.” While debate ensued over the status of narrative in the discipline, the academic monograph as “fetish object” in Claire Potter’s words, and how what counts for tenure may be hamstringing the profession, the panelists came to agree on one thing: Jon Stewart is a public historian. Read More