Lucy Stone was born in West Brookfield, Massachusetts, in 1818 and died in Boston in 1893. She was one of the most famous women of her day—as a lecturer for abolition and women’s suffrage and one of the most important leaders of the nineteenth-century women’s rights movement.
The move to suburban living and the development of active public health programs have reduced the burden of tuberculosis -- a serious, sometimes fatal infectious disease of the lungs -- in many affluent countries. Many of us, however are not so lucky and are still faced with the ugly specter of TB which was so eloquently portrayed in the recent American Experience documentary, The Forgotten Plague.
Never in recorded United States history has there been anything to match the fire of 1910. For its size, its ferocity, its impact, nothing comes close. Over the course of a weekend, 3 million acres were burned -- an area equal to the size of Connecticut. Several towns were leveled, and about 100 people were killed, as well.
But beyond the astonishing numbers about timber blown down in hurricane force winds, and temperatures at the peak of the firestorm touching 2,000 degrees, the fire stands out for another reason. As a nation, the United States had never tried to organize a large force to fight a wildfire. It was done in 1910, and the lessons, and consequences, are with us still.
Inventing a Light Bulb, Innovating an Electrical System: Thomas Edison and the Transformation of Invention
The name Thomas Edison has become synonymous with invention and his most famous invention, the electric light bulb, has become a familiar symbol for that flash of inspired genius traditionally associated with invention. In part the light bulb's symbolic value comes from its obvious role as a visual metaphor of the "bright idea." But this symbolism also arises from its association with Thomas Edison -- the electric light as the greatest invention of the world's greatest inventor. The "electric light," however, was no single invention emanating from an inspired genius. Instead it was a complex network of inventions produced by teams of researchers working under his direction in the world’s first true invention laboratory. As he invented the system of electric lighting, Edison simultaneously reinvented the system of invention.
On October 3rd, 2014, my children and I went to the Michigan Theater to watch Last Days In Vietnam, a film directed by Rory Kennedy, who is the youngest daughter of Robert Kennedy. This documentary meticulously covers the stressful events that led to the 1975 evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. Through never before seen footage of intense interviews with U.S. servicemen and Vietnamese civilians, Ms. Kennedy brings their story to life with unprecedented detail.
Binh attended a screening of Last Days in Vietnam in the fall of 2014. After seeing herself and her family in the documentary, she contacted American Experience to share her story. She asked that we only use her first name for this post.