80th Anniversary of Kristallnacht: Ghosts and the Holocaust and the Suitcase of Documents

Over the weekend, the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht (Nov 9-10, 1938) was observed. This night 100s of people died as 1000s of Jews were put in concentration campus, businesses were burnt, and families were separated. This marked an escalation of the Holocaust which would not end until the end of World War II.

Here is a story from faculty member Craig Rosen where he talks about Kristallnacht and how his family lost their business. He shares his story of the Ghosts he’s carried with him in a leather brief case. He had explored the documents inside, but the documents found him. Craig shares his family’s story that brings to life voices of the holocaust’s victims and survivors.

Family Matters: Ghosts and the Holocaust and the Suitcase of Documents

The Fascinating History of Cemeteries

In the SW suburbs, we have some major cemeteries just down the road from our main campus! This TED Ed video seemed appropriate. It may be a week late given last week was Halloween!

“Spindly trees, rusted gates, crumbling stone, a solitary mourner: these things come to mind when we think of cemeteries. But not long ago, many burial grounds were lively places, with gardens and crowds of people — and for much of human history, we didn’t bury our dead at all. How did cemeteries become what they are today? Keith Eggener delves into our ever-evolving rituals for honoring the dead.”

The fascinating history of cemeteries – Keith Eggener

Pumpkin Contest Looking Back: Pumpkins of the Past Exhibit

While you’re getting your pumpkins ready for the 2018 Pumpkin Contest take a break by viewing the Pumpkins of the Past exhibit brought to you by the College Archives.  These pumpkins are from 2003, 2007, 2016, and 2017.

Pumpkins of the Past

Don’t forget to check out the Pumpkin Contest Information page for contest information.

200 Years of Illinois History in 75 Minutes (video)

Honest Abe, Prairie settlement, steel plows, Jane Adams, the blues, urbanization, labor riots, the Black Hawk War, protests, railroads, Barack Obama, and more! Faculty members discuss the history of Illinois to commemorate the Illinois bicentennial and sponsored by the Democracy Commitment.

200 Years of Illinois History in 75 Minutes

The audio of this discussion is available below:

Conflict, Assassination, & Assimilation on the Prairie: Nauvoo & Bishop Hill in Illinois History #IllinoisProud

The stories of Nauvoo & Bishop Hill both focus on religious settlements that struggled for survival. Both of these colonies flourished and also faced disaster. But, for all of the ways that their stories are similar, their outcomes couldn’t be more different. Learn about Illinois’ prairie life and the challenge of identity and Americanization in the mid-1800s. The event is part of our campus programming to commemorate the Illinois bicentennial.

Conflict, Assassination, & Assimilation on the Prairie: Nauvoo & Bishop Hill in Illinois History

The audio of this discussion is available below:

History vs. Augustus: Power Hungry Politicians

“His reign marked the beginning of one of history’s greatest empires … and the end of one of its first republics. Was Rome’s first emperor a visionary leader who guaranteed his civilization’s place in history, or a tyrant who destroyed its core values? Peta Greenfield and Alex Gendler put this controversial figure on trial in History vs. Augustus.” (From TED Ed Website)

History vs. Augustus – Peta Greenfield & Alex Gendler

Fast Food History

Most of us have eaten at McDonald’s. Do you know how the company started? Two brothers in California developed a system in the 1950s to serve just a few quality items quickly at their hamburger stand. They were the McDonald brothers and, at the time, they were pretty satisfied with their company and product. But a shake machine salesman from Illinois saw a big future in the business.

The Founder is a movie from 2017 that tells how Ray Kroc got into business with the brothers. At first, he had the job of setting up McDonald’s franchises around the country. After a few years, he took over the company. He then called himself the founder of the company. You can decide if you agree. Check out the DVD and see the performances by Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, and John Carroll Lynch.

1968: Fifty years since King, Kennedy, Clash, and Classrooms

This year, 2018, marks fifty years since several watershed moments in American History. Senator, Presidential candidate, and former Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated on June 5, 1968. In August 1968, anti-Vietnam war protesters converged on the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Then Mayor, Richard J. Daley responded to protesters by summoning over ten-thousand police officers along with active U.S. Army Troops, U.S. National Guardsmen, and Secret Service Agents. The protest and riots lasted 5 days.

However, there were two other history changing moments in 1968. First, April 4, 2018 commemorates 50 years since the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Civil Rights Leader was slain in Memphis, Tennessee on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. The assassination sparked riots across the country including Chicago. In the midst of all the civil unrest and uprisings that began the night on April 4th and the morning of April 5th, another lesser known historical moment unfolded.

Jane Elliott, an Iowa school teacher, decided to use the solemn moment of King’s assassination to teach her 3rd grade class about racial prejudice and inequality. Elliott used eye color as a segregator with her students, giving blue-eyed students positions of privilege while relegating the brown-eyed student to experiences of exclusion and social subordination. By 1970, Elliott was using her Blue-Eye Brown-Eye experiment as the basis for pioneering Diversity and Inclusion training. Jane Elliot continues her social justice work to this day, well in to her 80s.

Here are additional resources for 1968: Fifty years since King, Kennedy, Clash, and Classrooms

Bland, K. (2017, November). Blue eyes, brown eyes: What Jane Elliott’s famous exercise says about race 50 years on. The Republic. azcentral.com.

Bloom, S. G. (2005, September). Lesson of a Lifetime: Her bold experiment to teach Iowa third graders about racial prejudice divided townspeople and thrust her onto the national stage. Smithsonian Magazine. Smithsonian.com.

Chicago Public Media. (2018, April). Sorrow, Then Rage. WBEZ.org

Corporation, C. F. (Producer), & Guru-Murthy, K. (Director). (2009). The Event: How Racist Are You? with Jane Elliott [Motion Picture]. You Tube.

Elliot, J. (2016, May). Jane Elliott on The Rock Newman Show. (R. Newman, Interviewer) YouTube. PBS: WHUT.

Elliott, J. (2017, September). Educator Jane Elliott Talks Trump, Kaepernick and Fixing Racism. (C. T. Whitfield, Interviewer) NBCNews.com.

Films, Y. U. (Producer), Peters, W. (Writer), & Peters, W. (Director). (1985). A Class Divided [Motion Picture]. Fontline.

George, A. (2018). When Robert Kennedy Delivered the News of Martin Luther King’s Assassination. Smithsonian Magazine. Smithsonian.com.

Gibson, C. (2016, July). What happened in Chicago in 1968, and why is everyone talking about it now? WashingtonPost.com:

Gitlin, T. (2018, January). Rage Against the Machine: A short story reimagines the riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago and the chaos that shocked the world. Smithsonin Magazine. illustrations by Shane L.: Smithsonian.com.

Johnson, H. (2008). 1968 Democratic Convention: The Boss Strikes back. Smithsonian Magazine. Smithsonian.com.

Katz, J. (2018, January). Where RFK Was Killed, a Diverse Student Body Fulfills His Vision for America. Smithsonian Magazine. photography by Gregg Segal: Smithsonian.com.

Museum, N. C. (2018, April). National Civil Rights Museum Home Page. National Civil Rights Museum Home Page at the Lorraine Motel

New York Times. (2018, April). 50 Years Later, Remembering King, and the Battles That Outlived Him. nytimes.com

Small, A. S. (2018, April). ‘This was like a war’: Witnesses remember day MLK was shot. foxnews.com:

Tillet, S. (2018, April). Seeing Martin Luther King Jr. in a New Light. nytimes.com:

Rating Biographies of the Presidents

There are many, many presidential biographies. Now someone is reading many of them for you, rating them, and providing reviews on his blog. Stephen Floyd is an investment banker and an “avid fan of American history.” He has merged his love of American history and great biographies to focus on finding the best biographies of each president. In 2012, he started with George Washington and is now working on biographies of Richard Nixon. See his blog for the list of biographies and his reviews.