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My History With History

I am a certified history nerd. I take all history classes, read history blogs, go on long Wikipedia adventures, and even regale people I have barely met with random historical facts. I have not always been this way, however; in fact, there was a time that for me the word "history" was synonymous with the most painful extremes of boredom.

What's changed?



Did We Cause the Flood?

Heavy snow and rain this past winter and spring have led to massive flooding of the Mississippi River Valley in 2011, devastating populated areas along the river's path and causing millions of dollars in damage. Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Tennessee are just a few states that have been affected by the flooding, displacing thousands of people across the South and Midwest. Over the past several weeks, the Army Corps of Engineers has destroyed levees along the Mississippi River to direct excess water away from more densely populated areas and into flood lands.


Discovering My Grandmother's Triangle Fire Story

Three years ago, my knowledge of my paternal grandmother, born Annie Sprinsock, was at best sketchy. A Russian-Jewish immigrant to New York City, she lived a tragically truncated life marked by recurrent bouts of melancholia until her death at the young age of 34 in 1929. My father, deeply pained by her untimely death, rarely spoke of her to my brother and me when we were children -- except to say that she had been at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory on the day of the infamous fire.

B’nai B’rith and the Triangle Fire

In the aftermath of the Triangle Fire the New York lodges of America’s oldest Jewish philanthropy, B’nai B’rith (Sons of the Covenant, now known as Children of the Covenant), swiftly raised over $1,200 (the equivalent of almost $18,000 today) for a victims’ fund organized by prominent philanthropist and B’nai B’rith lodge member Jacob Schiff.

By 1911, B’nai B’rith had been an internationally recognized charity for over 60 years. In an era marked by progressive social reform, it reached out with educational, legal and spiritual support to the immigrants of the Lower East Side and beyond.


Help Tell the Ongoing Story of the Gay Rights Movement

I am thrilled to join the WGBH Lab team and to work with AMERICAN EXPERIENCE to ask you, our audience, to help tell the story about the ongoing fight for gay civil rights.

In anticipation of the April 2011 PBS premiere of the film Stonewall Uprising, a recount of the New York City riots that sparked a gay rights movement forty years ago, the Lab is inviting anyone to send in a 3-minute short film about what they see happening today in the gay rights movement.