American History · Detroit/Michigan · history

New Decade, New Goals, and Anniversaries

2020! We have entered into a new decade and it feels like a clean slate. What will happen in the next ten years? How will we change in the next ten years and what will we accomplish? I find it interesting to ponder these questions.

In 2019, I am most proud of the amount of traveling I did. I traveled overseas to Europe for the first time and was able to experience much of the history I read about first hand. I traveled to the west coast of the United States for the first time as well. I already have booked a trip to Scotland with a friend for 2020 and hope to explore even more! The cover photo is a picture of me taken in Zurich, Switzerland.

Returning to the present, I am proud of the work I did on the historynavigator blog in 2019. My goal was to become more consistent and create a post every month. Though I missed two months (one of those months was consumed with my travels to Europe and the other was just laziness), I was still more consistent than 2018. This year I hope to do better and make all 12 months. It is definitely difficult to find the time to do the research and even just figure out topics with work, life, and changes happening. This year, I want to make time to think of these things in advance and start my reading in advance. Is there any topics that you would be interested in me researching ?

During my research for topics this month, I looked into what was turning 100 years old this year and how the world has changed since the previous ’20s. It is very interesting to see how the world has changed.

August 18,1920 is an important date in American history as this was the day the 19th amendment was finally passed. This amendment granted women the right to vote in elections. Protesters had been fighting for this right for a century. 1848 is the date that Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott started the Seneca Falls Convention and created a national movement for women’s suffrage, but prior to that date there had been separate local movements ran by women and allies. Without these strong women, we may not have the rights we enjoy today and they should not be taken for granted. I hope to write more about this story as the anniversary draws closer.

Image result for 19th amendment

Image result for 19th amendment

January 16, 1920 the League of Nations was formed. After the destruction of World War I, it was proposed by President Wilson (in his “Fourteen Points”) that an organization should be created to assist in negotiating and solving conflicts before they dissolved into warfare. 48 nations had joined by this time (it is interesting that despite this being Wilson’s idea, the United States never joined). As we know today, the League was not a success and World War II happened anyway. The League was weak and could not enforce its own mandates. Yet, I think it was important because of the steps it took to bring the world closer and to try and solve conflicts in a different way. It was a precursor to today’s United Nations.

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Despite the President being the biggest advocate of the League, this cartoon shows that the League was missing a vital piece with the USA not joining.

I knew about the previous two anniversaries, but this next one I had no idea about. I think it is extremely interesting that 1920 was the birth of mass media. Radio did exist prior to the 1920s, but it was not popular with the public. Those who used it were engineers, the military, and those who made it a hobby. The average person did not see its usefulness and thought the novelty would die out. This changed when on November 2, 1920 the radio station KDKA in Pittsburgh broadcast the results of the 1920 presidential election.  Listeners could hear live that Republican senator Warren G. Harding had beat the Democrat candidate, Governor James M. Cox in a landslide victory. They did not have to wait for their newspapers to come out the next day. After this broadcast, radio was no longer a “novelty”. Within four years, 600 commercial radio stations were formed nationwide. Radio sales exploded as everyone had to have one in their homes. With the creation of mass media, music, news, sports, celebrities, stories, etc could be transmitted to all parts of the nation. Everyone in the nation could be on the same page and share in the same things. Living in the 2020s, I could not imagine a world where information was not at your fingertips. This was revolutionary.

Image result for KDKA radio 1920

Image result for KDKA radio 1920

A bit of local history to add on to the previous paragraph, it was actually in August of 1920 that WWJ in Detroit, Michigan formed. It was the first government licensed radio station (different from commercial) and is believed to be the first radio station to broadcast news. They would not receive their commercial license until 1921. KDKA holds the honor of the first commercially licensed station. WWJ was not the first mass media example as it was listened to by a limited local audience, but it is still very interesting that another part of history began in Detroit.

I am keeping this one short and sweet while I prepare for more material! If there are any requests I am happy to look into them. I am looking forward to this new clean slate and for another year with historynavigator blog!



A Brief History Of WWJ,_1920



American History · biography · Detroit/Michigan · history

The Italian Hall Disaster and the Copper Strike of 1913

In this post I want to bring attention to the Christmas Eve Italian Hall Disaster. This event is a forgotten piece of history to those outside of the local area. This story takes place in the early 1900s during a time where big corporations were booming and there were essentially no restrictions on how an employer could choose to treat their work force. It begins with local workers who became fed up with the way they were being treated and realized that they should be worth more to their employers. With great sacrifice to many union families, a strike begins. Unfortunately, it will end in a Christmas tragedy, but there will be a legacy that these families left behind. It should not be forgotten.

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American History · biography · european history · history

Humboldt and the Natural World

“As our planet faces irreversible global heating, politicians and scientists are throwing statistics and numbers at us, but few dare to talk about our awe for nature, or the vulnerable beauty of our planet…”

-Andrea Wulf, author of The Invention of Nature, quote from “Alexander von Humboldt, an Intrepid Scientist who Re-imagined the Natural World” HistoryExtra magazine Sept 2019 edition

Climate change is an extremely important topic in our present-day world. Greta Thurnberg’s speech at the Climate Action Summit this year has inspired as she became a social media sensation. It has inspired people who may not have been as well informed, including myself.  Yet, did you know the dangers of human induced climate change were recognized by one of the worlds most famous scientists as far back as 1800? Continue reading “Humboldt and the Natural World”

American History · Detroit/Michigan · history

Woodward Avenue: The Backbone of Detroit

Woodward Avenue is one of America’s most iconic roads. The road 27 miles that connects Detroit River to Pontiac, Michigan and was once the main way to connect the suburbs to the main city. What makes it so special?

It is the home for many firsts in America: the first paved road, the first four way stoplight, possibly the first ice cream soda mixed by Sanders, and the first road where a ticket for street racing was written (March 1895). In 1963, thousands marched and listened to Martin Luther King, Jr gave a precursor to his “I have a Dream” speech. It is the home to the famous “Dream Cruise” where thousands of classic cars owners come to cruise, socialize, and show off their vehicles. It is also just an important part of Detroit culture; it is a landmark. The road was also important to the auto industry. The auto industry grew up and expanded on this road. It truly is the spine of Detroit.

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American History · Detroit/Michigan · history

Code Word: “Midnight”

“Midnight” was the code word for one of the final stops of the Underground Railroad. By the time the former slaves arrived at “Midnight” they must have been filled with a sense of relief after surviving miles and miles of dangerous travel. Dawn was right around the corner. At this time, the country was teeming slave catchers. After the 1793 Fugitive Slave Act, a new popular profession was created. This law gave the slaveholders the ability to seek out and have their runaways returned. The law of 1850 expanded this and allowed the capture of fugitives slaves anywhere in United States held territory. It did not matter if the fugitive was north of the Ohio River border (1787 Northwest Ordinance prohibited slavery north of the Ohio River), they could still be caught and returned. If they made it to Midnight (though not danger free) they were just a few miles and a ferry ride from freedom. Have you guessed where this was?

Image result for detroit underground railroad
Gateway to Freedom Monument, Detroit, Michigan

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American History · history

The Declaration of Independence and its Legacy

This week celebrated one of the most important events in American history. Wednesday, July 4, was the anniversary of the ratification of the Declaration of Independence and, after spending some of the week in Boston, I find myself full of the Revolutionary spirit! I wanted to create some blog posts this month that highlight some of the key events leading to the break of the American colonies from England.

I came to a realization while traveling in Boston that in current time we don’t truly realize how radical the events of the Revolution were. The rights to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” and having a government that is run by the consent of the people are just what is expected. That did no exist in the world that the Declaration of Independence was born into. The American colonies were there for the benefit of the parent country first and their own needs were secondary. These figures in our history were truly risking their lives for something they did not know would work at all and I admire that. At the time, Britain, and even the world, believed these “upstart colonists” were doomed to fail. Britain was the greatest power in existence and they had the advantage. When the British looked at the colonist they saw untrained and undisciplined farmers while they had a professional army. Some in Parliament even viewed the future Americans as “lazy”. The British also knew that the colonists could not finance a war as they had no navy and no way to manufacture supplies in large quantities.

Image result for american revolution

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American History · biography · history

Victoria Woodhull: First Female Presidential Candidate and Activist

Victoria Claflin was born on September 23, 1838 in Homer, Ohio. She was the seventh of ten children and was closest to her youngest sister, Tennessee. She grew up in a very rural area and her parents were considered “undesirable” in society. Her father was a con man and her mother a religious fanatic. Victoria would learn the valuable trade of fortune telling and how to be a medium through her mother. Victoria had to drop out of school after only three years of elementary school in order to earn income for her poor family. She earned this through fortune telling. The family was exiled from Homer after her father burned down their gristmill to try and cash in on the insurance policy. From this moment on Victoria spent much of her time traveling with her family attempting to earn money. Through her difficult childhood, Victoria learned to be independent and find strength within herself.

Image result for victoria woodhull

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