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.

The Underground Church in North Korea: Life Across the 38th Parallel

Special guest Dr. Augustine Sohn, physician and associate professor at the University of Illinois, discusses his experience as a missionary in Korea. He will talk about the background, history, politics, religion, and the separation of North and South Korea. He will connect Christianity to the underground church, and talk about the connection with his church and North Korea. This event is organized by Moraine Valley’s Christian Fellowship.

The Underground Church in North Korea: Experiencing Life Across the 38th Parallel

The audio of this discussion is available below:

Sexual Violence in America’s 20th Century

Sexual violence has been an often present and yet often little recognized component of American history. Associate Professor Josh Fulton examines the role gender has played in the American story in the 20th century, and how prevalent sexual violence was throughout key periods in this time in America–from the ‘Jazz Age,’ the Jim Crow South, the Great Depression, World War II, and beyond. This event is part of our One Book, We Believe You program.

Sexual Violence in America’s 20th Century

The audio of this discussion is available below:

Presidential Portraits – Major Black History Moment during Black History Month 2018

Barack and Michelle Obama the first family of the 44th United States Presidency, assisted in the unveiling of their official President and First Lady portraits for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery on Monday February 12th. With President and Mrs. Obama, being the first African Heritage American occupants of the White House within itself makes for quite the noteworthy Black History Month moment. Taking note that African Heritage American artists created the Obamas’ portraits, another first in American History, adds even more transformative cultural relevance to the moment. Michelle Obama’s portrait was rendered by Amy Sherald, while Barack Obama’s portrait was painted by Kehinde Wiley.

More Resources Regarding Portrait

JFK Assassination Information

On October 26, the National Archives will release classified documents about the John F. Kennedy assassination. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas.

The library has these books and eBooks about the assassination.

The Assassination of John F. Kennedy: A Complete Book of Facts by James P. Duffy and Vincent L. Ricci (1992)

Bloody Treason: On Solving History’s Greatest Murder Mystery, the Assassination of John F. Kennedy by Noel Twyman (1997)

Where Were You? America Remembers the JFK Assassination compiled and edited by Gus Russo and Harry Moses; foreword by Tom Brokaw (2016)

“The President Has Been Shot!” The Assassination of John F. Kennedy by James L. Swanson (eBook and eAudiobook, 2016)

Remembering 9/11

Last year, for the 15th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, we held a panel discussion with members of the MVCC community to remember and share. Many of our students where very young when the attack happened, so they do not have first hand memories of this day. We thought it was important to share our memories.

How 9/11 Affected Me: A Panel Discussion

History of Labor Day

Many states celebrated a “labor day” in the late 1800s but Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894. One of the probable reasons for the federal holiday was that U.S. President Grover Cleveland was attempting to placate organized labor after the Pullman Strike, a nation-wide railroad strike that ended after many lives were lost and much property was destroyed. Workers began the strike at the Pullman Company in Chicago on May 11, 1894, as a reaction to wage cuts. You can visit the Pullman National Monument and Historic Pullman Foundation at 11141 S. Cottage Grove Ave. in Chicago.