Behind The Scenes

Remembering Keith Haring 25 Years Later

Monday, February 16, marked the 25th anniversary of Keith Haring’s death. To celebrate his life, Haring’s former studio manager and personal friend, Julia Gruen (who in 1989 Haring named Executive Director of the Keith Haring Foundation)offered us her thoughts on Haring’s lasting influence on the art world and popular culture. Today, his works live on as one of the most recognized visual languages of the 20th century. As you enter the New-York Historical Society, be sure to check out Haring’s black-and-white abstract ceiling mural from the Pop Shop hanging above the admissions desk.

“Regarding Haring’s continued popularity, I’d say it’s a result of his Foundation’s commitment to keeping his work, his activist ethos, sexual politics, and philanthropy in the public eye, via museum exhibitions, significant grant-making within the sectors established by Haring himself, and the global licensing of his imagery, which together continue to engage, educate,  and inspire the younger generation.

Keith Haring in thePop Shop. Photo by Charles Dolfi-Michels

Keith Haring in the Pop Shop. Photo by Charles Dolfi-Michels

That Haring’s sexual identity, imagery, activism and charitable efforts have always been part and parcel of his public profile go without saying.  But in the 25 years since his passing, the advent of the internet and social media have changed the world in ways even Haring himself could not have anticipated. The explosion of interest in both contemporary and street art, the changing face of the AIDS epidemic, marriage equality, LGBTQ rights, gender politics, racial tensions, climate change, environmental concerns, animal rights, poverty and inequality, to name but a few hot-button issues, keep relevant the Haring Foundation’s mission to deliver Haring’s messages of tolerance, generosity, accessibility and his unwavering belief in the artist as activist, to a global audience. For those who are intrigued by his art, the causes he believed in and supported (or fought against), the ability to reach this massive audience further cements Haring’s legacy as one of the most influential artists to emerge from the 1980s downtown communities of visual artists, musicians, designers, dancers and performers of all stripes.

Twenty-five years after his death at 31 from AIDS-related illnesses, the issues that plagued the world during his brief lifetime are, for the most part, and regrettably so, still with us.  Thus, his work remains of continued relevance and (we hope) continues to enlighten all audiences. And for the younger generations, it doesn’t hurt that certain contemporary public figures and celebrities collect his work, or are seen in films, or on video and TV wearing apparel bearing his imagery – including Madonna, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, and Beyoncé, to name just a few.

While always a bit startling, individuals often send messages and inquiries to us that open with, ‘Dear Mr. Haring…’ On innumerable occasions, our Twitter feed includes posts commenting, ‘I didn’t know Keith Haring was dead.’ Perhaps that is the greatest compliment of all.”

 

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Meet Our Resident Lion Dancer: Zhi hen Li

By day, Zhi hen Li is an Accountant here at the New-York Historical Society. But, by night, he’s a lion dancer. The Lion Dance is a Chinese tradition and a vital component of Chinese New Year celebrations. As a lion dancer, Zhi wears intricate and colorful lion costumes and mimic the majestic cat in movement. On February 16, Zhi will be performing two Lion Dances with the Chinatown Community Young Lions here at the New-York Historical Society at noon. The event is free with Museum admission, so come check it out!

Zhi in action.

Zhi in action.

“Ever since I was young, I have been fascinated by the Chinese Lunar New Year’s Parade,” said Zhi. He was born and raised in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, where the parade is an annual neighborhood tradition. Although he “desperately wanted to learn Lion Dance,” most community groups didn’t accept American-born Chinese like himself. It wasn’t until 2002, when Zhi was in high school that he joined the Chinatown Community Young Lions.

“Chinese New Year 2003 was my first celebration with the club, so naturally I was ecstatic. After months of practice, I was finally allowed to play the lion head. I was immediately taken by the role. I considered endless combinations of head, mouth, ear and eye movements and contemplated how I could stitch them together to make the lion come alive.” Zhi explained.

Getting in costume.

Zhi getting in costume.

The Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in New York City usually include two Lion Dances: on Chinese New Year’s Day and the following Saturday. Zhi was selected for the honor of opening the first procession and closing the second. “This was thrilling because I got to put my own touch on the performance. I gave it my all—using all the moves I’d learned over the last year in practice. The parades themselves were physically exhausting. I danced around nonstop—hustling from store to store, blessing each as we passed.

After 12 years, Zhi is still a proud member of the club. Today, his role has evolved: the student has become the teacher. “I now teach new members of my distinct style of Lion Dance. It’s time for the next generation to take on and continue this tradition.”


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Stephen Somerstein on the Road to Montgomery

This year, we’ll be celebrating Black History Month with highlights from our photography and art collections. To kick-off this series, let’s take a look at our own on-going exhibition, Freedom Journey 1965, which features New Yorker Stephen Somerstein’s moving photographs of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March. The protest marked a watershed moment in civil rights history; it led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act just months later. During the five-day, 54-mile protest, 25,000 brave individuals risked their lives to participate in the march.

At the time, Somerstein was a 24-year-old Physics major and Photo Editor of the City College newspaper. As events unfolded, Somerstein dropped everything and arrived in Alabama on the last day of the demonstration. His images capture an often untold side of the Civil Rights Movement: the range of profound human emotions experienced by demonstrators and on-lookers, opponents and leaders alike. Alongside the photos below, the photographer describes the scene in Montgomery, Alabama, on March 25, 1965.

Stephen Somerstein, young civil rights marchers with American flags march in Montgomery, 1965. Courtesy of the photographer.

“This was an historic occasion. A civil rights march unlike any other march before or since. A mass gathering from across the country to march for voting rights for the disenfranchised. Once word had gone out from Dr. King for people to join the march I had less than a day to prepare my camera equipment, film and gear and join the buses heading for Alabama.”

 

 

Stephen Somerstein, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Looks out at crowd in Montgomery, 1965. Courtesy of the photographer

Stephen Somerstein, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Looks out at crowd in Montgomery, 1965. Courtesy of the photographer

“During Dr. King’s speech I had been photographing him from various angles from the Press area in front of the speaker’s platform. Yet I was unsatisfied with not being able to gather together in one photograph the powerful persona of Dr. King and his effect on the 25,000 people raptly listening to his words. Turning around and looking at the sea of onlookers, I could see that he had captured them in that moment. I realized that only a view from his perspective on the platform would give me an image that would combine the two concepts.”

 

 

Stephen Somerstein, hecklers yelling and gesturing at marchers, 1965. Courtesy of the photographer

Stephen Somerstein, hecklers yelling and gesturing at marchers, 1965. Courtesy of the photographer

“For most of the march, the on-lookers showed emotional restraint. But in the city, a few rowdy young white hecklers showed their disdain for the marchers and played to the camera with catcalls and obscene gestures.”

 

 

SOMERSTEIN_GIRLS - Selma to Montgomery, Alabama Civil Rights March, March 25, 1965:  Two negro women seated on porch with children drinking from milk bottles, one seated young girl, watching marchers.

Stephen Somerstein, two mothers with children watching marchers, 1965. Courtesy of the photographer

“I saw this scene with mothers and their children at a distance, but did not move in closer. I took the photograph with my 135 mm telephone lens so as to not disturb the arrangement or make them aware of the camera. After taking the photo, I thought for a moment that I’d hoped that the babies would grow up into a world far more open and receptive to them than the one that existed at that moment.”

 

 

Stephen Somerstein, man with American flag and marchers walking past federal troops guarding crossroads, 1965. Courtesy of the photographer

Stephen Somerstein, man with American flag and marchers walking past federal troops guarding crossroads, 1965. Courtesy of the photographer

“Several thousand U.S. Army troops were arrayed in a movable protective phalanx, tracking and moving parallel to the long line of marchers along Route 80, the road to the state capital in Montgomery, Alabama. At one of the road intersections, where the army had set up their jeeps to block cross traffic, I found a slight rise to position myself to sight down on the military, the shoulders of the onlookers, and the flag-bearing marchers.”

 


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The Men Who Lost America

British-born Saunders Director of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello, Professor of History at the University of Virginia, and 2014 recipient of the New-York Historical American History Book Prize Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy fearlessly tackles centuries-old stereotypes surrounding the American Revolution in his upcoming talk at the New-York Historical Society on February 21.

In your most recent book, The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire, you tackle the British perspective in the American Revolution. How did this alternative point of view first grab your attention?

It’s something I’ve long been aware of. My father taught at Columbia, so I visited New York from a young age. Sightseeing in the city as a child first stimulated my interest in U.S. history. But it was really when I began studying the Caribbean during the American Revolution—both as an undergraduate and for my doctorate—that I was tuned into the little-known international dimensions of the war.

Yale University Press

Yale University Press

In your comprehensive study of the American Revolution, what has surprised you the most about the war?

I originally intended to argue that the major factor in the British defeat had been that they were engaged in this global war that over-stretched their resources. Even before the French formally entered the war, the British were stretched throughout the world in expectation of war. But I think the importance of public opinion became more and more apparent. In fact, there was a British general who even used the phrase, ‘hearts and minds.’ He said the British needed to ‘win the hearts and subdue the minds of America.’ The British had an army of conquest, not an army of occupation. They occupied every American city at some point during the war but were never able to conquer territories. Probably the greatest example is in the South, where the British largely defeated the Continental Army. In 1780, they took Charleston, which was the largest city in the South. Two weeks later, General Cornwallis defeated the victor of Saratoga, Horatio Gates at the Battle of Camden. The British had really captured or killed most of the Continental Army. Yet, they then faced—what we would call today—insurgences fought by people who have become modern-day folk heroes like Frances Marion, the ‘Swamp Fox,’ and Thomas Sumter, the ‘Gamecock.’ There were so many more of these people, many whose names are no longer so familiar. Partisan bands were very effective in disrupting British supply lines. In the end, my argument focuses on public opinion and the failure of the British to win American support. Part of their dilemma was that the very presence of their army in America alienated Americans because the two sides increasingly thought of each other as foreign.

How do the British and American accounts of the American Revolution differ?

They surprisingly differ very little. The reason for this is the government which waged the war, and the war itself was discredited in England. The opponents of the government eventually came to power and they became the heroes of the story. Whig history, or the history of progress, became the dominant pedagogy in the 19th century and so anyone opposed to this movement toward democracy, including King George III and his administration, were demonized. To some extent, we’ll never dispense of this mode of thinking. I realized when I wrote the book that the values of the British leaders are not ones we would identify with by any means, but there’s very little difference between the versions on either side of the Atlantic.

How does your text combat popular misconceptions surrounding the American Revolution?

I argue that these misconceptions are deeply woven into the American popular psyche. I often use movie clips to illustrate how we have caricatured the British leadership as aristocratic buffoons. You get it both in popular history and across academia. Even in scholarly texts, you’ll find words like ‘hidebound’ and ‘incompetent’ to describe the British politicians and generals. However, nobody is losing sleep in Britain about how these men are caricatured—nor am I.  I only use them to argue that this phenomenon is a distraction. I wrote this book to emphasize the real lessons of this war and illuminate the British leadership’s policymaking and the central role of popular opinion. I use the multi-biographical approach to dramatize these themes. By looking at the ten key decision-makers—both political and military—it’s possible to make clear the difficulties they were up against and the extent to which the conditions almost guaranteed their failure.

Do you think there was a moment when historians began attributing Britain’s defeat to its leaders’ arrogance? Was this a conscious effort?

This started very early. It was as strong among the British as it was among the Americans. Part of the problem was that commanders and politicians blamed one another. It is very popular when things go wrong to hold individuals responsible. And they were caricatured brilliantly at the time in cartoons, poetry, and the newspapers. They had some of the most brilliant opposition speakers against them like Edmund Burke and Charles James Fox. Obviously, there are a lot of decisions that, with the value of hindsight, the British would have reversed. But I argue that their decisions were often based on the limited information they had available at the time. They were defensible decisions. Not always the best decisions, but defensible.

It is also true that for national histories there’s always going to be a certain, narrow perspective, looking from the view of the nation. There’s also the difficulty of the revolution itself. It is so much part of the American identity that it’s very difficult to overcome the myths, which are an important bond in the country, and to look at the revolution from an analytical perspective.

What do you hope the public takes away from your upcoming talk?

It will help people make sense of the American Revolution and give them a real insight into why the British lost. Including more detail and exploring the British leadership will contribute to a much better understanding of the war. We have a lot of studies of the Confederates during the Civil War. So it’s surprising that there’s not more literature on the British side of the American Revolution. After all, it was their policies that provoked the war and their strategic initiatives that decided where it was fought. So it’s very important to understand the British perspective in order of fully comprehend the American Revolution.


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The Celestials: An Interview with Author Karen Shepard

A factory owner’s wife ignites a scandalous love affair with a Chinese worker in Karen Shepard’s newest novel, The Celestials. A bi-racial love child follows. In conjunction with the New-York Historical Society’s ongoing exhibition Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion, we sat down with Chinese-American author Karen Shepard who teaches writing and literature at Williams College to discuss her work of historical fiction, her source of inspiration, and the lives of her characters. She sets the scene for her oeuvre in a 19th-century Massachusetts industrial city amid a divisive union labor strike. Scores of Chinese strikebreakers arrive to fill the emptied assembly line at a local shoe manufacturer. But their entrance does more than maintaining the status quo.

Jake Lee, Laborers Working on Central Pacific Railroad, ca. 1950s. Watercolor on paper. Courtesy of Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA). © Chinese Historical Society of America.

During the 19th century, Chinese immigrants became a crucial source of labor on both American coasts. This watercolor is featured in our ongoing exhibition on the subject, Chinese-American: Exclusion/InclusionJake Lee, Laborers Working on Central Pacific Railroad, ca. 1950s. Watercolor on paper. Courtesy of Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA). © Chinese Historical Society of America.

Who are the Celestials? How can a contemporary audience relate to your 19th-century characters?

The Chinese in America in the 19th century were often referred to as Celestials. One of the translations of the word for “China” was “The Celestial Empire,” thus, “the Celestials,” but there was also the sense that these people were so foreign, so alien, it was as if they were literally other-worldly.  I was interested in how a word like that lumps a whole bunch of individuals together in a way that prevents them from being distinct, that allows their “viewers” to see them as one mass of something very, very different from anything we may have felt comfortable with.

Yes, the book is set in the 19th century, but the emotional desires and needs of any of us flawed humans don’t change all that much, I think. And, more specifically, I was struck, when working on the book, how many of the issues that were relevant then are relevant now: immigration, labor, interracial relations, etc.

Barry Goldstein

A photograph of the author by Barry Goldstein

Where did you first get the idea for this book?

I knew a little about the Chinese living as strikebreakers in North Adams, Massachusetts, but I didn’t know details until I went to a lecture by Anthony W. Lee, an art historian at Mt. Holyoke, who has a non-fiction book on the photograph of the workers that was taken when they first arrived in North Adams.  I didn’t go with the idea of writing a novel in mind, as evidenced by the fact that I didn’t have anything to take notes with in my bag. Lee showed slides of the photographs that the workers took of themselves, and they were really intriguing to me—a window into what these workers wanted, how they wanted to appear to the world, and to themselves. I came home from the lecture and did a couple of years of reading before admitting to myself that I wanted to write a novel based on the event.

The Celestials is a work of historical fiction, so where does the history end and the fiction begin? How do you straddle these two worlds in your text?

For me—and this might be different from project to project—I had to read enough of the history, the facts— to feel confident about making stuff up. I had to feel that I knew how people heated their homes, what time they went to church, what they ate for supper— so that I could imagine their interior emotional lives, and so that I could imagine exterior events that may not have happened, but could have happened. I think of the novel as an alternate universe, an alternate story of the factual event.

Do the struggles immigrants face today differ from those of the Celestials?

I would imagine the answer to this is yes and no. But I would also imagine that today’s immigrants are struggling with many of the same questions that Charlie Sing and the other workers were struggling with when they arrived in North Adams all those years ago: who will I be here in this new and alien place? How will I reinvent myself? What will that reinvention cost me? As many writers have said before me, fiction writers are interested in what their characters want and what they’re willing to do to get it—character and plot.


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“How Long, Not Long:” Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Today the New-York Historical Society’s newest exhibit, Freedom Journey 1965: Photographs of the Selma to Montgomery March by Stephen Somerstein opens to the public just in time for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 19. This exhibition features 46 stunning black and white and color photographs of the Selma to Montgomery March. In 1965, the photographer was a Physics major at City College who, on a whim, headed south to cover the protest for his school’s newspaper. But his images go beyond a comprehensive chronology of the march; they capture its soul, highlighting the people behind it.

Stephen Somerstein, young civil rights marchers with American flags march in Montgomery, 1965. Courtesy of the photographer.

Stephen Somerstein, young civil rights marchers with American flags march in Montgomery, 1965. Courtesy of the photographer.

During the five-day, 54-mile demonstration, tens of thousands of Americans risked their lives to fight for their right to vote. They remained peaceful in the face of horrific violence—residents, as well as local and state police turned out in droves to physically stop protesters. Somerstein arrived on the last day of the five-day demonstration: March 25, 1965, to capture King’s famous speech on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol Building at Montgomery, “How Long, Not Long.” The photographer gained access to King—hopping on stage to snap the iconic shot of a King’s blurred silhouette before a sea of protesters listening intently to his words.

Somerstein photographing King from the CBS News Archives.

Somerstein photographing King from the CBS News Archives

In recent months, the image has even inspired the movie poster for Selma, a historical drama about the civil rights march.

Stephen Somerstein, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Looks out at crowd in Montgomery, 1965. Courtesy of the photographer

Stephen Somerstein, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Looks out at crowd in Montgomery, 1965. Courtesy of the photographer

The film’s poster similarly features King’s back, but the demonstrators in the foreground have been replaced by the march’s opposition: an all-white police force. While the movie focuses on the leader behind the protest, Somerstein’s images emphasize the people driving it. “Somerstein turned on his camera not only to the people marching but also to the people sitting quietly on the side of the road or on their porches watching history being made,” explained the exhibit’s curator Marilyn Kushner. So how are you celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? Come check out the people behind the protest in Freedom Journey 1965: Photographs of the Selma to Montgomery March by Stephen Somerstein.


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New Year’s Day Isn’t January 1st for Everyone: Celebrating Chinese New Year

This post was written by Chennie Huang

Traditionally, Chinese New Year (known as “Lunar New Year” in other Asian countries) is celebrated during the second new moon after the winter solstice.  This year Chinese New Year is on February 19, beginning the Year of the Sheep. Going by the lunar calendar, each month begins on the darkest day, and New Year starts on the first day of the month lasting until the 15th when the moon is brightest. According to a legend, in ancient times Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year and named a year after each of the twelve animals that came.

5_Dragon_LaFiesta_CalStateLIb-2003-0347

The Dragon’s Head, La Fiesta, Los Angeles, California, 1903. Courtesy of the California History Room, California State Library, Sacramento, California.

In the 1880s, a large community of Chinese residents in prosperous Marysville, California acquired an expensive, ceremonial dragon from China. The majestic “Moo Lung” (meaning dancing dragon) graced holiday festivities and civic parades in Marysville and other cities across the nation. Housed at the Bok Kai Temple, a historic Taoist temple in Marysville, the New-York Historical Society arranged for this magnificent piece to be restored. As part of the current exhibition, Chinese American: Exclusion / Inclusion (on view untilApril 19, 2015), visitors have the rare chance to get a close glimpse of this precious work of art and piece of  Chinese American history.

Early Chinese immigrants arrived in the United States during the 19th century, many without their families. For the New Year, they found community and solace through neighborhood associations instead. For years, Chinese American communities across the nation put on parades, often including a dragon dance. The dragon is animated by a team of dancers who mimic the movements of the dragon’s sinuous and undulating manner. The appearance of a dragon is both frightening and bold, but it is said to have a benevolent disposition. A Chinese New Year Parade takes place annually in New York’s Chinatowns. The festivities involve huge street parties, tantalizing treats, and performances for people of all ages to welcome the new year.

But you can certainly celebrate Chinese American culture any time of year. On January 10 at 7pm, join us here at the New-York Historical Society for “From China to America,” a musical journey with renowned composer/conductor Tan Dun and guests.


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Sly Santas and Toy Trains: Two Centuries of Holiday Celebrations at New-York Historical

Despite busy schedules, throngs of tourists and cold temperatures, you would be hard-pressed to find a New Yorker who doesn’t find joy in holiday traditions. How would we know it was December without the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, store windows on Fifth Avenue, street vendors selling chestnuts, and nostalgic subway trains and toy train exhibitions? Thousands have already visited our Holiday Express exhibition this season, and we look forward to sharing these newly-acquired toys and trains from the golden age of toy-making as an annual tradition for years to come.

As you may imagine, the New-York Historical Society has a long tradition of celebrating, collecting, and promoting the holiday spirit. John Pintard, the founder of the New-York Historical Society, took an active role in championing a family holiday, a domestic, cheerful celebration that would offer an alternative to the rowdy winter months (during which employment and spirits were low throughout the city) while also unifying a diverse and growing population.  In 1810, the New-York Historical Society met in Federal Hall to toast “Sancte Claus,” a giver of presents to good children, and to declare the traditional feast day of December 6, the date of their annual meeting.
1951_76_StNicholas_Weir

 Robert Walter Weir (1803 – 1889), St. Nicholas, 1837. Oil on wood panel. New-York Historical Society, Gift of George A. Zabriskie, 1951.76

One of my favorite holiday treasures is hanging in our second floor gallery (The Works). This depiction of a rather naughty St. Nicholas was painted in 1837 by Robert Weir, an American painter and professor of drawing at West Point.  His beardless, gnome-like Santa Claus, dressed in boots and a cap decorated with a clay pipe, the traditional emblem of a saint, was based on an old Dutch convention. The image of Santa Claus varied and evolved considerably throughout the mid-nineteenth century. In Weir’s St. Nicholas, a modern Santa appears in adolescence, looking back at his religious origin, but also heavily influenced by the secular written depictions of New-York Historical Society members Washington Irving and Clement Clarke Moore (with “a broad face and a little round belly”). Santa’s secular makeover would become complete by the time of the Civil War, as seen in Thomas Nast’s illustrations for Harper’s Weekly.

On behalf of New-York Historical’s staff, happy holidays and best wishes in the coming year!


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Interview With Photographer Stephen Somerstein

Marchers on the way to Montgomery as families watch from their porches

Marchers on the way to Montgomery as families watch from their porches

On January 16, the New-York Historical Society will open Freedom Journey 1965: Stephen Somerstein Photographs from Selma to Montgomery. This exhibit features the stunning and historic photographs of Stephen Somerstein, documenting the Selma-to-Montgomery Civil Rights March in January 1965. We spoke to Mr. Somerstein about traveling to the march, the art of photography, and being present at a history-changing event.

What were your initial thoughts when you first became aware of the march?

I was editor of MAIN EVENTS, one of the City College of New York newspapers. Back in March 1965 everyone was watching the news programs on TV as this extraordinary tableau paraded across the screen, where I clearly remembered feeling outraged by the violent police response to the peaceful civil rights protest marchers in Selma, Alabama, who were attempting to march to the state capital in Montgomery. This unprovoked intimidation galvanized many students in our school to action. When Dr. King called on Americans to join him in a massive protest march to Montgomery, many students immediately organized to travel down to Alabama and join him. I knew that important, nation-changing history was unfolding and I wanted to capture its power and meaning with my camera. I immediately got in touch with the local organizers to determine the travel logistics, went home, packed an overnight bag, some sandwiches, my cameras, and all the film I could round up, then told my mother I was heading for a date with history in Alabama.

Are there any moments during the march that particularly stand out to you?

The first time I seriously reflected on the potential impact of the march was when I encountering the multi-generational family arrayed before the smiling lady of the “Things Go Better With Coke” sign, I realized what a beautiful image it was. Yet on seeing the family’s serious faces, in the midst of taking this iconic image, I knew that our march was terribly meaningful for their future and would have profound consequences. We would be gone in the next days, proud that we had come, yet all too safely home.  I worried and hoped that our efforts would bear good fruit and what we left behind would grow into something better for them.
One of the most moving moments etched into my memory was when I stood behind Dr. King to photograph him from the rear as he was speaking before 25,000 marchers. After carefully framing and capturing the image I looked beside him and into the sea of faces. As I concentrated on individuals, I saw how utterly transfixed the people were by his words. Some had put their hands over their eyes so as to focus solely on his message.

What do you feel you learned from participating in the march?

For someone, such as myself, who thoughtfully considers and weighs before committing to action – to have lept into the unknown for this worthy cause is a marvelous and cherished memory.

Why do you think the New-York Historical Society is a fitting venue for the work?

By virtue of its own name the museum is a venue to display the historical contributions of New Yorkers to the City and to the world, who have created works that have had a profound and enduring influence on the rest of the world. From its earliest founding as New Amsterdam, this city has been a constantly churning amalgam of creative, energetic “can-do” spirit, who see tolerance and acceptance as a necessary part of a successful and vibrant business and social culture.


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How Did FDR Serve Four Terms As President?

On November 7, 1944, Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to an unprecedented fourth term as president. Now we know that Presidents may not seek more than two terms, so what let FDR serve for 13 years before he died in office in 1945?

President George Washington famously refused to seek a third term in office. His Farewell Address states it was because of his age, but his successors saw it as a necessary defense against monarchy. However, there were no formal laws written about term limits, and thus when WWII broke out in Europe, Roosevelt agreed to run for a third and then fourth term. His race in 1944 earned him 53% of the vote and he carried 36 states.

Toward the end of the 1944 presidential race, New York Governor Thomas Dewey said “Four terms, or sixteen years, is the most dangerous threat to our freedom ever proposed,” and supported the passage of an amendment that would limit future Presidents to two terms. The 22nd Amendment was passed in 1947, and ratified in 1951.

 


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