Barbara Watson paved the way for women and Black diplomats

By Noelani Kirschner Diplomat Barbara Watson achieved historic firsts during her time at the State Department. But firsts were familiar in her family. Watson was the child of New York’s first elected Black judge, James S. Watson, and Violet Lopez Watson, a founder of the National Council of Negro Women. Watson’s cousin Colin L. Powell ...
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Meet 6 women pioneers of American diplomacy

The United States has been sending diplomats around the world since the 18th century. For the last 100 years women diplomats have been among them. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has emphasized that diversity and inclusion is a priority of the Biden administration. “Diversity and inclusion make us stronger, smarter, more creative and more ...
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Black Americans elevated education, fought racism

Ted DeLaney arrived at Washington and Lee University as a janitor. By the time he left, he’d been chairman of its history department. DeLaney’s story is extraordinary, but his path is one shared by millions of Black Americans: Overcome prejudice, seize new opportunities, and contribute to your community and your nation. DeLaney was born and ...
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National Museum of African American Music debuts in Nashville

By Noelani KirschnerSherry L. Brukbacher The history of Black American music in the United States spans four centuries, and now there’s a museum to honor that legacy. The  National Museum of African American Music  (NMAAM), which opened January 30 in Nashville,  Tennessee , calls itself “the only museum dedicated to preserving and celebrating the many music genres created, influenced and inspired by African Americans.” Divided ...
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Percy Julian: Revolutionary inventor, grandchild of slaves

Where many saw a bean, Percy Julian saw an entire laboratory. A synthetic chemist, Julian derived medical compounds from substances in plants. From the Calabar bean, he obtained a treatment for glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness among the elderly. His work with soybeans supported everything from hydrocortisone shots to treat arthritis to fire retardant ...
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Honoring America’s ‘First Lady of Physics’

The U.S. Postal Service is honoring a Chinese-American scientist for her significant contributions to nuclear physics, a field largely dominated by men. Born in China in 1912, Chien-Shiung Wu immigrated to the United States and became “one of the most influential American nuclear physicists of the 20th century,” the post office said  in a November statement  announcing plans to ...
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U.S. memorials honor civil rights hero Rosa Parks

The U.S. Air Force on December 1, 2020, the 65th anniversary of Parks’ 1955 protest, unveiled a sculpture of her at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, adding to an array of memorials that honor the civil rights icon, who died in 2005 at the age of 92. This year ShareAmerica is highlighting some of ...
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Meet America’s new secretary of state: Antony Blinken

By Leigh Hartman For Antony Blinken, America’s new top diplomat, returning to the U.S. Department of State brings the opportunity to continue both professional and family traditions. Blinken, whom the U.S. Senate confirmed as secretary of state January 26, will lead the State Department, where he served during the Clinton and Obama administrations. His career in public ...
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Joe Biden: America’s next president

By Lenore T. Adkins Joseph R. Biden Jr., a former vice president and a longtime Capitol Hill lawmaker known for reaching across the political aisle to get things done, takes office on January 20 as the 46th president of the United States. Biden served eight years as former President Barack Obama’s vice president and defeated incumbent President Donald ...
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Meet Biden’s choice for secretary of state: Antony Blinken

By Leigh Hartman For Antony Blinken, the incoming administration’s pick for America’s top diplomat, returning to the U.S. State Department brings the opportunity to continue both professional and family traditions. If confirmed by the Senate, Blinken would resume a career at the State Department, where he served during the Clinton and Obama administrations. His career in public ...
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Why so much time from election to inauguration of a U.S. president?

While many democracies swap in new leaders in a sprint, the U.S. ambles along with a transition period of 11 weeks. But slow as that might seem, it’s shorter than the four months the Constitution originally left for the handoff of power from an incumbent to a new president. Picking up the pace The original ...
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Tour these American museums virtually during COVID-19 pandemic

By Noelani KirschnerSuzanne K. Mast While the pandemic has forced many to stay home, museums across the United States are bringing their world-famous collections online for anyone to view. The public response has been enormous. American tech company Google recently reported its most searched terms of 2020, and the second most popular search after the word “virtual” was ...
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U.S. copyright law makes thousands of classics free for all

Fans of old classics are now free to use and adapt stories, songs and films published in 1925 thanks to U.S. copyright laws’ protections for both the livelihoods of creators and the enjoyment of future generations. Among the thousands of works that entered the public domain January 1, 2021, are classic novels, such as F. ...
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How the Amistad helped America live up to its ideals

By Lenore T. Adkins In 1839, the Amistad cargo schooner sailed from Havana to Puerto Principe, Cuba, with 53 Africans bound for a life of slavery on the island. But while aboard the schooner, the Africans fought for their freedom. Their battle gained them a reprieve. And soon, American abolitionists would take up their fight in U.S. courts. The Africans ...
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What does January 1 signify in Lincoln’s legacy?

By   Lauren Monsen The  Emancipation Proclamation  is arguably one of the most important documents in the history of the United States. Abraham Lincoln himself stated that he considered it to be his greatest legacy. “I never in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right than I do in signing this paper,” he said. “If my name ...
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Americans we lost in 2020

By   Lauren MonsenD. Thompson In recent days, many thousands of American families have faced holidays without loved ones who succumbed to COVID-19. Also in 2020 many notable Americans died — whether of COVID or another cause — who left an imprint on the world. David Dinkins — the first African-American mayor of New York City, who died ...
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Commemorating the United Nations Declaration

January 1, 1942, was a milestone in diplomatic history — a day when representatives of the “Big Four” Allied countries (the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and China) gathered in Washington to sign the  United Nations Declaration , formally pledging cooperation in defeating the forces of fascism. The following day, representatives of 22 other Allied ...
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U.S. Navy appoints first woman to command an aircraft carrier

Captain Amy Bauernschmidt will become the first woman in U.S. history to command a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier. In 2016 Bauernschmidt was the first woman to serve as executive officer of a nuclear aircraft carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln. Bauernschmidt  graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy  in 1994, the same year  women began to serve on combat ships  and planes. She logged more than 3,000 hours of flight ...
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Honoring U.S. military veterans each November

November 11 is Veterans Day in the United States. Americans usually plan parades, ceremonies and tributes to those who have served, and are currently serving, in the U.S. military. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans will observe Veterans Day 2020 somewhat differently. Edinburg, Texas, for example, is holding a virtual parade, with photos of veterans, ...
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U.S. campaign songs stir the public imagination [video]

Music and politics have been closely linked throughout U.S. history, with songs that promote candidates (or attack their rivals) dating back more than 200 years. Those songs have often reflected the bruising nature of  U.S. campaigns , which Stuart Eizenstat — a U.S. diplomat and former White House domestic affairs director for President Jimmy Carter — once ...
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Core U.S. values echo in Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The  Universal Declaration of Human Rights  (UDHR), ratified in 1948, for the first time articulated the rights and freedoms to which every person is entitled. Influenced by the core values at the heart of the U.S. Constitution, the UDHR affirmed “the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace ...
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The spirited history of presidential debates

American debates have changed much since the days when an Illinois lawyer held the nation spellbound with his moral arguments against slavery. That was 1858, and the arguments of Abraham Lincoln, who was debating Stephen Douglas, didn’t lead to Lincoln’s winning the Senate seat he sought. Nevertheless, transcripts were distributed throughout the country and became ...
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From civil rights activist to member of Congress: Remembering John Lewis (July 20)

From civil rights activist to member of Congress: Remembering John Lewis (July 20) Civil rights hero and U.S. Representative John Lewis died July 17 at the age of 80. He had been battling pancreatic cancer since he received the diagnosis in December. The son of Alabama sharecroppers, Lewis was a central figure in the U.S. civil ...
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The American Red Cross helps those who suffer (May 8)

The American Red Cross helps those who suffer (May 8) Exhausted in 1869 after nursing U.S. soldiers in the U.S. Civil War,  Clara Barton  followed her doctor’s advice and embarked on an extensive European vacation. But the nurse couldn’t stay away from helping people. A year into her vacation, Barton volunteered with the Switzerland-based  International Committee of the Red Cross  during the Franco-Prussian ...
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How Americans observed V-E Day during World War II (May 8)

How Americans observed V-E Day during World War II (May 8)   Victory in Europe (V-E) Day, when the Allied countries of World War II accepted the surrender of Nazi Germany, was celebrated as a festive holiday in many parts of the world. The occasion sparked unbridled, emotional public celebrations on May 8, 1945, in ...
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