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On Fridays, we plan to share some of the past week’s great public history writing with you. Here’s what came through the tubes this week.

Robert Greene II helps us think about how challenging it’s been to “fight against oppression, in whatever form it appears” across the 20th century.

In the past few years, scholars of colonial and early  U.S. history have really dug into the idea that slavery drove not only the creation of the U.S. economy but the creation of a worldwide system of capitalism itself. If that’s interesting to you, get a taste (ha) with this examination of “Sugar’s Bitter History”

We often assume that broad availability and acceptance of both birth control and abortion are very recent developments. Lauren McIver Thompson’s piece on birth control in the antebellum period (the term historians use for the part of the 19th century before the Civil War in the 1860s) shows us that there’s a long history of this tension between idolizing motherhood and desperately trying to avoid it.

One nifty primary source from the hometown of one of our editors, posted by the first selectman: the official expenses of a small New England town in 1876. Schools, roads, smallpox cases, and a water closet for the town hall.

ETA: How could we have forgotten?! Check out this amazing set of hand-drawn infographics of black life in America created by W.E.B. DuBois and his students at Atlanta University.

ETA Part 2: This interesting post on Sacco and Vanzetti from an undergraduate at Utica College, who is blogging on free speech issues as part of a course on Civil Liberties taught by Dan Tagliarina, friend of The Daily Context.

We hope there’s something here that piques your interest. More context coming up next week! As usual, get in touch with us if you’d like to write something, or if there’s something happening in the news for which you’d like a little historical context.

 

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