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My Lai Massacre

Blueprints of a Coverup
Army Second Lieutenant William Calley, convicted for the killing of 22 civilians during the infamous My Lai Massacre, defended his actions in court saying, 

My troops were getting massacred and mauled by an enemy I couldn’t see, I couldn’t feel and I couldn’t touch—that nobody in the military system ever described them as anything other than Communism. They didn’t give it a race, they didn’t give it a sex, they didn’t give it an age. They never let me believe it was just a philosophy in a man’s mind. That was my enemy out there.
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Blood of the Workers

Mother Jones
In the heat of a series of American coal strikes in the late 19th and early 20th century, one Irish-American woman rose to prominence, gaining the title of the most dangerous woman in America, as well as the equal parts intimate and indomitable moniker of Mother Jones

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Leading Ladies

Female Inventors
Although there have been many female scientists and inventors throughout history, a recent, major push for equality paves the way for more women to enter professions previously perceived as ideal for men.

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Street Style

Graffiti Meets Street Art
When we think of graffiti or street art, British artist Banksy or pop artist Keith Haring may come to mind, but graffiti’s history traces back to the days of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. 

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Design By Culture

Japan
Architecture, floor plans, colors, and styles of our homes reflect our cultures, lifestyles, and personal preferences. The Japanese have a history of using screens to separate interiors and create private spaces, while the Danish are renowned for hygge, a feeling of coziness and comfort in their homes. 

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Building Walls

History's Attempts
There’s been a lot of chatter worldwide about U.S. President Donald Trump’s demand for a wall to be erected along border between the USA shares and Mexico. U.S. Congress’s refusal to fund the wall resulted in a partial government shutdown. Although it ended on January 25, 2019, it marked the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. Casting political views aside, let’s explore the histories of other walls built in America and beyond. 

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An Unsung Heroine Becomes the Queen of Disco

Donna Summer
At the height of the United States’ counterculture, an era that coincided with the end of the Vietnam War, a wave of social inclusion and respect drew many young people. In the late 1960s and the early 1970s, the musical genre of disco emerged from the urban nightlife scene and spread throughout New York City and beyond. 

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A Gallant Tradition

Fencing
The sport of fencing is defined by a sense of daring elegance, as though members of the aristocracy learned and practiced it for generations. Its reactionary and precise movements, like chess, require a quick mind. Rooted in swordsmanship, which represents a broader spectrum of combat, fencing,  the sport of self -defense, originated in Spain. Between 1458 and 1471, Diego de Valera, a Spanish fencer wrote Treatise on Arms, the first fencing manual. After dueling was banned by the Catholic monarchs, Spanish forces carried the tradition to southern Italy and other places around the world.

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Something to be Said

Incorporating Women’s Voices
This month the world celebrates the continuous social, political, and artistic contributions women make while simultaneously calling attention to their imbalanced representation. In the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States, Women’s History Month corresponds with International Women’s Day, March 8, a renowned holiday in some places and a day of protest in others.

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When Chivalry Meets Military

Privatized Military
Throughout history and around the world, the powerful movers and shakers in every country took it upon themselves to form private armies. Those who wished to give their armies a higher purpose than merely self-aggrandizement formed their warriors into military orders, imbuing them with religious traditions and rites. The first secularized military order was the Order of Saint George, founded in 1326 by King Charles of Hungary. He used the order to compel Hungarian nobility to swear fealty to him. King Alfonso XI of Castile followed suit and for the same general purpose in 1332 with the establishment of the Knights of the Band.

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Warding Off Evil

Amulets
Amulets and talismans fall under a broad category of charms worn to ward off evil; however, they have separate functions. For those who believe, an amulet has the power to repel negative energy, malignant spirits, illness, and the like. A talisman bestows or  amplifies the positive power of the person wearing it to repel evil.

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A Scriptural Diet

Food and Religion
The ancients consumed a diet considerably different than the foods appearing on our modern tables. Although some ingredients may be familiar, the forms in which they appeared differ from current manifestations. For instance, bread two millennia ago did not resemble the soft, spongy white loaves we buy at the supermarket, and it certainly did not come pre-sliced.

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The Literature of Transition

Coming-of-Age Stories
The term “children’s literature” brings to mind those sweet, charming books for the elementary school crowd. However, the gap between toddler and 10 years old is no less wide than the gap between 10 and 18 years old. The advance into adolescence comes with increased self-awareness, increased social pressure, and a whole barrage of often embarrassing hormonal influences. Children seeking a shared voice, an imaginary friend’s commiseration, or even validation of their careening emotions find solace and validation among coming-of-age stories. These books help youth navigate their journey from childhood to adulthood.

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Illuminating the Darkness

Hannah Arendt
Writer, thinker, activist and political philosopher Hannah Arendt saw the rise and fall of totalitarianism in Europe. She saw the degradation of humanity at the hands of a few fearful ideologues and those who bolstered their heinous actions by standing idly by. After living through two world wars, fleeing from Nazi Germany to Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, France, then finally America, Hannah Arendt dedicated her time to the question of thinking itself, and subsequently revealed just what kind of world could allow this timeline.

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Speak in Poetry, Walk on Carpets

Early Persian Poetry
If grief had smoke, as hath the blazing fire. 
The world would be for aye in darkness blind ; 
Travel the world from end to end entire, 
A wise man wholly happy thou'lt not find.' 
-Shahid of Balkh (p. 25, Early Persian Poetry)
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The Quest for Happiness

Cultural Tradition
Citizens worldwide strive to achieve happiness. Every year, the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network releases its World Happiness Report, a ranking of national happiness and well-being. Its core questions relate to business and economics; health; law and order; religion and ethics; citizen engagement; communications and technology; diversity; education and families; emotions (well-being); the environment and energy; food and shelter; government and politics; transportation; and work.

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Let’s Celebrate!

Carnival
It’s time to celebrate Carnival and Mardi Gras! These colorful fetes are associated with Catholicism and the observance of Lent, a 40-day period that begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes at midnight on Easter Saturday. Carnival celebrations are all about the revelry and indulgence that precedes fasting (which includes abstaining from meat). It’s widely believed that the word “Carnival” comes from carne levare, which means “remove meat.”

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Minority Overwhelms

Minority Military Units
Throughout history, there have been many minority military units in America that willingly went to battle to defended their country. Despite facing discrimination and being assigned menial jobs, they defied expectations and achieved high honors. 

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On the Dark Side

Gothic Style
When we think of Gothic style in architecture, literature, or fashion, we envision darkness and a sense of mystery. The origins of this style trace back to Gothic architecture, a medieval approach to design, which originated in northern France during the 12th century. Pointed arches, rib vaults, flying buttresses, and stained glass mark this dramatic, distinctive style. France’s Notre-Dame Cathedral and Basilica of Saint Denis are both ideal examples of this style. 

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Groundhog Day

Holiday Superstition
Holidays generally commemorate significant historical events, although in ancient times astronomical occurrences formed the basis of celebrations. For instance, eight holidays are based on the winter solstice: Saturnalia, St. Lucia’s Day, Dong Zhi, Shab-e Yalda, Inti Raymi, Shalako, Soyal, and Toji. The summer solstice generally gives rise to festivals and celebrations of fertility and light. The spring and fall equinoxes also correlate to festive occasions that mark turning points in the seasons. However, only one holiday has no astronomical basis and focuses on weather prediction: Groundhog Day.

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