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Break’n News History Page. As an aggregate, blog and our own news, Break’n News presents information in photos, videos, and written.

History

What Made Lucretia Mott One of the Fiercest Opponents of Slavery and Sexism

Smithsonian
After the close of the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention in London, some 500 people gathered at the Crown & Anchor Meeting Hall in the city’s West End to drink tea and hear speeches from renowned abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison. Lucretia Mott, already the most famous white woman abolitionist......
History

When Senator Joe McCarthy Defended Nazis

Smithsonian
Annihilate the enemy. That was Adolf Hitler’s standing order to his elite Waffen-SS as the Wehrmacht sought to break the Allies’ tightening grip in late 1944 by crashing through enemy lines in an audacious counteroffensive that would become known as the Battle of the Bulge. The Führer’s edict was enforced......
History

The Accidental Invention of the Slip ‘N Slide

Smithsonian
It was August 2000, and I’d been picking noodles out of my hair for days. The seniors at my high school decided the incoming freshmen needed a bonding experience, and so they laid out at least a dozen bright yellow plastic slides across the soccer fields, dumped Kraft macaroni and......
History

Recreating a Suffragist’s Barnstorming Tour Through the American West

Smithsonian
On October 4, 1916, Inez Milholland Boissevain, a 30-year-old lawyer and suffragist, boarded a train in New York City, bound for Cheyenne, Wyoming. Capital of the first Western state to grant women the right to vote, it would be one stop in a whirlwind, month-long speaking tour scheduled to take......
History

Before Chain Letters Swept the Internet, They Raised Funds for Orphans and Sent Messages From God

Smithsonian
The 900-plus chain letters in folklorist Daniel VanArsdale’s digital archive range from the conventional—an 1896 fundraiser for a Louisville orphanage and a 1982 note urging recipients to relay the contents onward or suffer devastating consequences—to the unexpected, including a 1917 missive detailing how potential draftees could obtain conscientious objector status,......
History

Created 150 Years Ago, the Justice Department’s First Mission Was to Protect Black Rights

Smithsonian
Amos T. Akerman was an unlikely figure to head the newly formed Department of Justice. In 1870, the United States was still working to bind up the nation’s wounds torn open by the Civil War. During this period of Reconstruction, the federal government committed itself to guaranteeing full citizenship rights......
History

These Portraits Revisit the Legacies of Famous Americans

Smithsonian
For as long as he can remember, Kenneth Morris has been told he looks just like his great-great-great-grandfather, Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave, author, orator and social reformer. Morris has carried on his ancestor’s mission by fighting racial inequity and human trafficking through the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, which he......
History

What Frederick Douglass Had to Say About Monuments

Smithsonian
Frederick Douglass, with typical historical foresight, outlined a solution to the current impasse over a statue he dedicated in Washington, D.C., in 1876. Erected a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol, in a square called Lincoln Park, the so-called Emancipation Memorial depicts Abraham Lincoln standing beside a formerly enslaved African-American......
History

Charlotte Cushman Broke Barriers on Her Way to Becoming the A-List Actress of the 1800s

Smithsonian
“Stella!” cries Marlon Brando, his contorted face and bared chest an eloquent advertisement for thwarted love. We typically associate “method” acting with mid-20th-century names like Brando and Lee Strasberg or, if we are theater nerds, with Stanislavsky and the Moscow Art Theatre. But the seeds of this transformative approach to......
History

How Urban Design Can Make or Break a Protest

Smithsonian
SMITHSONIANMAG.COM | June 29, 2020, 9 a.m. If protesters could plan a perfect stage to voice their grievances, it might look a lot like Athens, Greece. Its broad, yet not overly long, central boulevards are almost tailor-made for parading. Its large parliament-facing square, Syntagma, forms a natural focal point for......
History

What the Protesters Tagging Historic Sites Get Right About the Past

Smithsonian
As protesters march in towns and cities across the country, denouncing racial injustice and police brutality, they have focused much of their animus on the monuments and statues that dot their local streets. Mostly memorials to members of the Confederacy, these monuments erected during the Jim Crow era were designed......
History

The Multiple Truths in the Works of the Enslaved Poet Phillis Wheatley

Smithsonian
I do not remember how old I was when my grandmother showed me Phillis Wheatley’s poetry. Ten, maybe 11? Young enough that my hands were open to everything she put in them—a crochet needle and thick hot pink yarn, a sewing needle, a gingham apron. Young enough that I obeyed,......
History

A Brief History of Anti-Fascism

Smithsonian
Eluard Luchell McDaniels traveled across the Atlantic in 1937 to fight fascists in the Spanish Civil War, where he became known as “El Fantastico” for his prowess with a grenade. As a platoon sergeant with the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion of the International Brigades, the 25-year-old African American from Mississippi commanded white......
History

COVID-19 Adds a New Snag to the 2020 Census Count of Native Americans

Smithsonian
Earlier this year, before the COVID-19 crisis hit the United States, Native American officials representing New Mexico’s 23 tribes in Albuquerque met to discuss how they could avoid a repeat of 2010, when that year’s census sorely undercounted the nation’s indigenous population. Because of the inaccurate calculation of their population—the......
History

When Henry VIII and Francis I Spent $19 Million on an 18-Day Party

Smithsonian
For two-and-a-half-weeks in June 1520, two of Renaissance Europe’s greatest monarchs—England’s Henry VIII and France’s Francis I—convened for a celebration of unmatched proportions. Named after the gold-embellished fabric used to craft the tents, costumes and decorations, the Field of Cloth of Gold cost the modern equivalent of some £15 million......
History

George Washington Was a Good Dad, Too

Smithsonian
George Washington is often described as childless, which is true, but only in the strictly biological definition. When I started digging into his archives, I was surprised to see that in reality, he was raising children from his late 20s until the day he died. When Washington met Martha Custis,......

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