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Archive for Then & Now

American Safety Laws Test Amish Tradition


On November 18th, 2011, an Amish teenager in the farmlands of south-central Kentucky died after an SUV accidentally struck his horse-drawn buggy from behind. The buggy did not have an orange reflective safety triangle, which is mandated by Kentucky state law for any slow moving vehicle.


"Share Your Story" Prompt Leads to Historical Find


Walter J. Lord, a native of Irving, Texas, who will soon be celebrating his 82nd birthday, recently submitted to the AMERICAN EXPERIENCE "Share Your Story" feature. In response to the question "Who is the Greatest Civil War General?" he attached a scanned image of a yellowed piece of paper with Appomattox Court House, Va printed across the top and an official looking seal on the left. "What can you tell me about this pass?" Lord wrote. "Is it real?"

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Is History Always Worth Preserving?


While viewing a photography exhibit at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts last April, I came upon a photograph of a dilapidated building with a faded sign that read "Young's Grocery and Meat Market." Although the building didn't look like anything unique to a ghost town, it was the plaque next to the print that shed light on the disturbing past of the building: The former Bryant's Grocery, Money, Mississippi, June 1994


A Look Back at Apollo 8 and the Race to the Moon


Early this morning the American Space Shuttle program ended. When the Atlantis shuttle landed at Florida's Kennedy Space Center, it brought to a close 30 years of American innovation and leadership in space exploration. When I look back on the Space program, one particular initiative comes to mind -- the Apollo program. Apollo is known for its many success and failures, particularly Apollo 1 and Apollo 13 but it was Apollo 8 that instilled faith that the United States might actually reach the moon.

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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.

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How the Pride Parade Became Tradition


Over the past 42 years annual gay pride parades have become tradition in dozens of cities worldwide. They have evolved from radical marches into festive parades with elaborate floats and notable participants including politicians and well-known entertainers. In most cities, the parades are part of a larger celebration known as Pride week, typically filled with events celebrating the diversity of LGBT communities such as Pride Idol, film festivals, dance parties, and "best dressed in drag" contests. The annual celebrations have become a pivotal way of celebrating LGBT history and diversity. This year on June 26th, New York City will be celebrating its 42nd gay pride march with an estimated 500,000 participants.