History

May 3 has been designated as World Press Freedom Day in recognition of a "free, pluralistic and independent press" and its essential part of a democratic society. Indeed, the purpose of journalism, said Chicago newspaper columnist and humorist Peter Finley Dunne in the early 1900s, is to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."  And in the words of President Barack Obama: "Journalists give all of us as citizens the chance to know the truth about our countries, ourselves, our governments. That makes us better, it makes us stronger, it gives voice to the voiceless,  it exposes injustice, and holds leaders like me accountable."

Former first lady, Barbara Bush, passed away this week at the age of 92. She, and Abigail Adams, were the only first ladies to be a wife and mother to a president of the United States. Mrs. Bush was very dedicated to public service and literacy projects. The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy provides access to and choice of educational opportunities to young children and their parents. Children and parents in all 50 states have benefited from these family literacy programs.

Fascism : a warning by Madeleine Korbel Albright

A brilliant reconsideration of the events and the political, social, and religious movements that led to France's embrace of Fascism and anti-Semitism. 

"Where is America's Rust Belt? It's not quite a geographic region but a linguistic one, first introduced as a concept in 1984 by Walter Mondale. In the modern vernacular, it's closely associated with the "Post-Industrial Midwest," and includes Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, as well as parts of Illinois, Wisconsin, and New York. The region reflects the country's manufacturing center, which, over the past forty years, has been in decline. The anthology is a collection of the best non-fiction essays published in Belt Magazine, a critically-acclaimed regional magazine, and has been artfully put together by publisher and founder Anne Trubek.

How Scott Pruitt went from fighting the EPA to running the agency and rolling back years of policy. An investigation into the conservative political forces and causes, like climate change skepticism, that propelled Pruitt's takeover of the EPA.

Examines possible motives behind the Russian government's interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

Examines dictator Kim Jong-un and North Korea through interviews with a defector, diplomats, experts, Kim's school friends, and a former North Korean secret agent.

Correspondent Martin Smith travels to Syria to report on the ongoing conflict, getting firsthand accounts from Syrians living in government-controlled areas.

In The Home that Was My Country, Syrian-American journalist Alia Malek chronicles her return to her family home in Damascus and the history of the Jabban apartment building. Here, generations of Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Armenians lived, worked, loved, and suffered in close quarters. In telling the story of her family over the course of the last century, Alia brings to light the triumphs and failures that have led Syria to where it is today. 

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968.

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was fatally shot as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. At the time of his murder, King was a polarizing figure -- scorned by many white Americans, worshipped by some African Americans and liberal whites, and deemed irrelevant by many black youth. In The Heavens Might Crack, historian Jason Sokol traces the diverse responses, both in America and throughout the world, to King's death. Whether celebrating or mourning, most agreed that the final flicker of hope for a multiracial America had been extinguished. A deeply moving account of a country coming to terms with an act of shocking violence.

April 2, 1513.  Spanish explorer Ponce De Leon sighted Florida and claimed it for Spain. His landing site is now present day St. Augustine -  the oldest city in the continental United States.

April 2, 1792.  Congress established the first U.S. Mint in the city of Philadelphia.

The Cold War : a new history by John Lewis Gaddis

April 4, 1949. NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) was created with the signing of a treaty by twelve nations united for common military defense against the threat of expansion by Soviet Russia into Western Europe.

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