photosetJun 19, 2013 11:07 am
Today is Juneteenth, which commemorates the ending of slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, it was not enforced in the state of Texas due to a lack of Union troop presence and enforcement in the confederate state.
However on June 19, 1865, Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger and his regiment entered Galveston, Texas to override the resistance to the law and to enforce the Executive Orders. Union Major-General Gordon Granger read General Orders, No.3 to the people of Galveston. It stated:
“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”
Since 1865 black Americans have regarded June 19th as the official emancipation day, and on January 1, 1980, the state of Texas proclaimed June 19 an official state holiday thanks to the African American state legislator Al Edwards.
photosetJun 18, 2013 4:38 pm
June 18, 1983: Sally Ride Becomes First American Woman in Space
On this day in 1983, at the age of 32, astronaut Sally Ride became the first American woman in space aboard the space shuttle Challenger. Her voyage came 20 years after Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space. After the voyage, Sally Ride received many honors for her contributions to the field of science and space exploration.
In May 2012, Sally Ride became the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.
On July 23, 2012, Sally Ride died at the age of 61 after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
Visit PBS NewsHour to learn more about Sally Ride.
Photo: Courtesy of NASA
quoteJun 12, 2013 8:27 pm
"It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart"
Anne Frank was born today in 1929. This quote is from her diary, “The Diary of a Young Girl” which was written while her family was in hiding during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. She died in 1945 and her diary was published in 1947 by her father, Otto Frank. You can get a copy of her diary at the library.
photosetJun 10, 2013 5:55 pm
Heracleion Photos: Lost Egyptian City Revealed After 1,200 Years Under Sea
It is a city shrouded in myth, swallowed by the Mediterranean Sea and buried in sand and mud for more than 1,200 years. But now archeologists are unearthing the mysteries of Heracleion, uncovering amazingly well-preserved artifacts that tell the story of a vibrant classical-era port.
Known as Heracleion to the ancient Greeks and Thonis to the ancient Eygptians, the city was rediscovered in 2000 by French underwater archaeologist Dr. Franck Goddio and a team from the European Institute for Underwater Acheology (IEASM) after a four-year geophysical survey. The ruins of the lost city were found 30 feet under the surface of the Mediterranean Sea in Aboukir Bay, near Alexandria.
A new documentary highlights the major discoveries that have been unearthed at Thonis-Heracleion during a 13-year excavation. Exciting archeological finds help describe an ancient city that was not only a vital international trade hub but possibly an important religious center. The television crew used archeological survey data to construct a computer model of the city (above, last image).
According to the Telegraph, leading research now suggests that Thonis-Heracleion served as a mandatory port of entry for trade between the Mediterranean and the Nile.
So far, 64 ancient shipwrecks and more than 700 anchors have been unearthed from the mud of the bay, the news outlet notes. Other findings include gold coins, weights from Athens (which have never before been found at an Egyptian site) and giant tablets inscribed in ancient Greek and ancient Egyptian. Researchers think that these artifacts point to the city’s prominence as a bustling trade hub.
Researchers have also uncovered a variety of religious artifacts in the sunken city, including 16-foot stone sculptures thought to have adorned the city’s central temple and limestone sarcophagi that are believed to have contained mummified animals.
For more photos, visit Goddio’s Heracleion website.
Experts have marveled at the variety of artifacts found and have been equally impressed by how well preserved they are.
“The archaeological evidence is simply overwhelming,” Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe, a University of Oxford archeologist taking part in the excavation, said in a press release obtained by The Huffington Post. “By lying untouched and protected by sand on the sea floor for centuries they are brilliantly preserved.”
A panel of experts presented their findings at an Oxford University conference on the Thonis-Heracleion excavation earlier this year.
But despite all the excitement over the excavation, one mystery about Thonis-Heracleion remains largely unsolved: Why exactly did it sink? Goddio’s team suggests the weight of large buildings on the region’s water-logged clay and sand soil may have caused the city to sink in the wake of an earthquake.
PHOTO GALLERY: Lost city of Heracleion
From Legend to Reality
Thonis-Heracleion (the Egyptian and Greek names of the city) is a city lost between legend and reality. Before the foundation of Alexandria in 331 BC, the city knew glorious times as the obligatory port of entry to Egypt for all ships coming from the Greek world. It had also a religious importance because of the temple of Amun, which played an important role in rites associated with dynasty continuity. The city was founded probably around the 8th century BC, underwent diverse natural catastrophes, and finally sunk entirely into the depths of the Mediterranean in the 8th century AD.
Prior to its discovery in 2000 by the IEASM, no trace of Thonis-Heracleion had been found. Its name was almost razed from the memory of mankind, only preserved in ancient classic texts and rare inscriptions found on land by archaeologists. The Greek historian Herodotus (5th century BC) tells us of a great temple that was built where the famous hero Herakles first set foot on to Egypt. He also reports of Helen’s visit to Heracleion with her lover Paris before the Trojan War. More than four centuries after Herodotus’ visit to Egypt, the geographer Strabo observed that the city of Heracleion, which possessed the temple of Herakles, is located straight to the east of Canopus at the mouth of the Canopic branch of the River Nile.
With his unique survey-based approach that utilises the most sophisticated technical equipment, Franck Goddio and his team from the IEASM, in cooperation with the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, were able to locate, map and excavate parts of the city of Thonis-Heracleion, which lies 6.5 kilometres off today’s coastline. The city is located within an overall research area of 11 by 15 kilometres in the western part of Aboukir Bay. Franck Goddio has found important information on the ancient landmarks of Thonis-Heracleion, such as the grand temple of Amun and his son Khonsou (Herakles for the Greeks), the harbours that once controlled all trade into Egypt, and the daily life of its inhabitants. He has also solved a historic enigma that has puzzled Egyptologists over the years: the archaeological material has revealed that Heracleion and Thonis were in fact one and the same city with two names; Heracleion being the name of the city for the Greeks and Thonis for the Egyptians.
The objects recovered from the excavations illustrate the cities’ beauty and glory, the magnificence of their grand temples and the abundance of historic evidence: colossal statues, inscriptions and architectural elements, jewellery and coins, ritual objects and ceramics - a civilization frozen in time.
The quantity and quality of the archaeological material excavated from the site of Thonis-Heracleion show that this city had known a time of opulence and a peak in its occupation from the 6th to the 4th century BC. This is readily seen in the large quantity of coins and ceramics dated to this period.
The port of Thonis-Heracleion had numerous large basins and functioned as a hub of international trade. The intense activity in the port fostered the city’s prosperity. More than seven hundred ancient anchors of various forms and over 60 wrecks dating from the 6th to the 2nd century BC are also an eloquent testimony to the intensity of maritime activity here.
The city extended all around the temple and a network of canals in and around the city must have given it a lake dwelling appearance. On the islands and islets dwellings and secondary sanctuaries were located. Excavations here have revealed beautiful archaeological material such as bronze statuettes. On the north side of the temple to Herakles, a grand canal flowed through the city from east to west and connected the port basins with a lake to the west.
This is absolutely breathtaking. I’m literally speechless with chills from this video footage and photos. If anyone can find the documentary on this (in English, please), send it my way because I’d love to immerse myself in this excavation. The documentary is titled ‘Egypt’s Sunken City: A Legend Is Revealed’. So far, this is all Franck Goddio’s team has published as far as I know; yet, the documentary was produced by the Discovery Channel, so it has to be out there somewhere. Science team…assemmmmmmble…
photoMay 17, 2013 12:22 pm
May 17, 1954: The Supreme Court Rules on Brown v. Board of Education
On this day in 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that racial segregation in public schools violated the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which says that no state may deny equal protection of the laws to any person within its jurisdiction.
Although the decision did not succeed in fully desegregating public education in the United States, it put the Constitution on the side of racial equality and galvanized the nascent civil rights movement into a full revolution.
Can you name all the key players behind Brown v. Board of Education? Revisit the landmark case with PBS’ The Supreme Court site.
School integration, Barnard School, Washington, D.C., 1955 (Library of Congress).
photoMay 16, 2013 5:55 pm
The first successful English colony in America was at Jamestown, Va., a swampy island in the Chesapeake Bay. The colony endured for almost a century, and remnants of the place still exist. You can go there and see the ruins. You can walk where Capt. John Smith and Pocahontas walked.
But Jamestown is now threatened by rising sea levels that scientists say could submerge the island by century’s end.
Well worth clicking through. I once argued with a history prof that thousands of historic sites were at risk from climate change. She thought it was too extreme…
photoApr 06, 2013 7:11 pm