British historians weigh in on Brexit; history of UK & the EU in 3 minutes; stumbling upon the Underground Railroad; big news from the NPS

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So yesterday I was ruminating (poorly) about how historic 2016 has been so far, and then BOOM, the UK votes to pull out of the EU (A product of nationalism, isolationism, and xenophobia? Make the UK Great Again!). And who knows, we may be seeing the beginning of the end of the UK, as Scotland and other pro-Europe parts may start to break away. How will all this shake out? No one really knows, and that uncertainty is dangerous on many levels. How do historians access the situation? Here four leading British historians weigh in on the vote, greatly disagreeing but providing excellent yet succinct historical context.

Meanwhile, BBC News has put together a short 3 minute history of the UK’s membership in the EU. Consider it a history lesson on fast-forward:

Now for something completely different:

Check out this story from Pennsylvania where some homeowners have discovered that their old house has a secret “basement under the basement” that was likely a stop on the Underground Railroad. They have owned the house for many years, and were unaware of the hidden chamber until they hired contractors to deal with some wall cracks in the basement. Be sure to watch the local news video.

Today the NPS officially gets a new site: Obama has announced that NYC’s Stonewall Inn (“the catalyst that launched the modern L.G.B.T. civil rights movement”) is now a national monument, creating the first National Park Service unit dedicated to the gay rights movement.

And speaking of NPS preservation: today the government agency announced $1.19 million in grants to be used to support 20 projects involving the preservation of battlefields on American soil. All Civil War? Nope, in fact most of them are not. The grants “provide funding for projects at endangered battlefields from the Hawaiian Civil Wars, Indian Wars, Revolutionary War, French and Indian War, World War II, War of 1812, and the Civil War.”

Ok, I am off to see Free State of Jones. I’ll have a post later dedicated exclusively to it (with my thoughts and those of others) . . . .


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