This program examines the impact of the so-called Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918 on Delmarva and nearby points. The virus took a grim toll on the Delmarva region, and it overwhelmed the health care system, forcing the region to shut down for an extended period. Although they didn’t call it social distancing at the top of the twentieth century, the methods they used to quarantine the contagion are similar to what we practice today. Thus, as the world struggles with the novel COVID-19 contagion, we will take a relevant look at the past to see how people in the region 102-years ago managed a similar situation, at a time when medical science did not have a treatment for the pathogen.
Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd, who met in 1839 and married in 1842, seemed at first glance to have nothing in common. Yet, they made a marriage that was probably one of the most consequential in American history, as they came to the White House in the midst of the country’s greatest crisis. This talk will look back at this improbable pair, their four sons, and the heartbreaking series of tragedies that struck the family before, during, and after the Civil War.
“You’re so earnest about morality that I hate to think how essentially immoral you must be underneath.”
George F. Babbitt has it all–a perfect house, a nice car, a doting wife, three kids, a thriving business, and the admiration of his community. But Babbitt is unhappy. His discontent leads him to question everything he has been taught to believe is important and to rebel, without fully realizing what his rebellion may cost him. Taking place during the roaring 20s, Sinclair Lewis’ satirical Babbitt (1922), explores consumerism, conformity, politics, and what it means to be middle class in such a way that his almost 100 year old novel is still extremely relevant today.
Babbitt is now in the public domain and can be downloaded for free from Project Gutenberg.
Ancient principles, the modern concept of criminal justice and the theory of restorative justice will be discussed as an alternative to the current justice system from the perspective of a former lawyer. Ms. Calvachi-Mateyko, a restorative justice practitioner, gives a brief overview of the challenges presented by the current punitive system and invites the participants to consider a different way to handle crime today.
Since the end of WWII, the share of democracies among the world’s governments has been growing. Today, nearly half of all governments can be classified as some form of democracy. However, the past several years has brought concern for the future of democracy. Individual freedoms, economic inequality, and out-of-touch elites fuel much of these concerns as many people around the world are dissatisfied with how their respective democracies are functioning. Political freedom and human rights advocacy organizations like Freedom House have concluded that, while global democratic gains have not been completely reversed, democracy is in retreat. From long-standing democracies to authoritarian regimes, there is a decline in freedom globally.
Justin Collier will discuss this topic in his lecture entitled ‘Freedom Under Siege: The global retreat of democracy.’ Justin Collier is a PhD candidate from the Political Science and International Relations Department in the University of Delaware. His research interests include public diplomacy, nationalism, national identity, and ethnic conflict.
“Those who don’t build must burn.”
In a future society where reading books is illegal and firemen start fires instead of putting them out, fireman Guy Montag has a secret. After an evening when Montag’s duties do not go as planned, Montag must make a decision which will impact his life forever, and he must make it while he still has the ability to decide. Ray Bradbury’s banned classic Fahrenheit 451 (1953) is a book of warning, which discusses important topics that happen to be in focus currently–the quality of information, the ability to digest and analyze information, and the lengths people will go to defend what they believe to be right.
Join for a weekly reading of a chapter of Delaware Humanities “History’s Mysteries”. Follow Denisha, Titus, and Angelo as they travel through Delaware and through time, solving mysteries and learning about the First State along the way. Then ask the author, illustrators, and/or reader any questions you may have!
Miss a week? We will post the chapter text and video after each reading weekly. We will also do a quick recap at the start of each session.
All events take place Wednesdays at noon. Use the link to register for one event or all seven.
February 10: Prologue by David Teague, read by the author
February 17: Chapter 1 “WWII Watchtowers” by John Micklos, read by the author
February 24: Chapter 2 “On the Nanticoke River” by Mary Pauer, read by Beth Wasden (Nanticoke Watershed Alliance Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator)
March 3: Chapter 3 “Annie Jump Cannon” by Kari Ann Ebert, read by author; also meet illustrator Sidney Rae Moore
March 10: Chapter 4 “Private Horace Dickens” by Heather Janas, read by author
March 17: Chapter 5 “The Amstel House” by Mark Lowther, read by Karen Janus (New Castle Historical Society Public Programs Manager)
March 24: Chapter 6 “The Secret of the Helmet” by Billie Travalini, read by the author; also meet illustrator Sidney Rae Moore; “Conclusion” by David Teague, read by author
“Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”
Sethe was born a slave and through a perilous journey escaped to Ohio. Eighteen years later, living in her own home with her daughter Denver in a post-Civil War America, Sethe is still not free. She is haunted, figuratively and literally, by her past. Just when things begin to change, potentially for the better, a mysterious teenager shows up on Sethe’s porch, calling herself by the one word Sethe could afford to put on her dead daughter’s tombstone…Beloved. Toni Morrison’s banned magic realism classic, Beloved (1987), is a powerful look at love, loss, freedom, good, and evil.