Disney & collective historical memory; Toll booth worker archeologically strikes it rich; Hand grenade in the backyard; A lesson from suffragette failure in 1916

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Today Smithsonian has a post that considers the role that Disney has played in shaping America’s image of our past and its hope for the future. I’m surprised that the author did not mention Song of the South or some of the studio’s epic historical films, like Johnny Tremain. Still, the essay is an interesting discussion of America’s collective memory.

Did you hear the one about a toll booth worker who lived with his parents and spent all his life’s savings to buy 4 acres of land that he had a hunch contained “some secrets?” Well, it turns out that he now owns a very important archeological site. Check it out.

Oh, and then there’s a woman in South Carolina who dug up a hand grenade in her backyard.

New research reveals that the “potato blight” (that killed hundreds of thousands of people and caused the great wave of Irish immigration to North America in the 1840s) probably originated in South America. Which is fitting, considering the potato originated there too!

Remember right after Trump’s victory when I was trying to remind us all that the backlash to these kind of backward events can often inspire something greater? I brought up such things as Albany, Georgia during the Civil Rights movement, and the Dred Scott decision, as well as the reaction within the suffrage movement to Wilson’s reelection in 1916. Looks like I am not the only one that drew some inspiration from that last example. Take a look if you still need a pick-me-up from the election.

And then there is this much needed reminder: newly elected presidents have always found that getting things done their way is not an easy proposition and hardly ever works out as they planned and promised. Funny how our Constitution (and the contingency of events) works that way.

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