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The Community History Archives: This Week In History July 1st – July 7th

Discover History in The Community History Archives.
In honor of Independence Day, this week in history is all about groundbreaking moments in American history. Agreements and battles that shaped our country, the Civil Rights Act that brought liberty and justice to all Americans, and the united effort to find an American legend are all a part of this week’s window into the past.
(2000s – Present) In With The New: USMCA, 2020

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) went into force on July 1, 2020. The agreement was created to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with a newer, more updated version. By bringing the agreement into the 21st century, trade, labor, and other economic conditions would improve.

The agreement has various functions that mutually benefit all three countries involved. It sets rules about trade elements like tariffs and heavily focuses on protecting intellectual property. It also focuses heavily on improving workers’ rights and establishing an expectation of fair treatment for all workers. In addition to working conditions, the agreement helps to benefit environmental conditions, more specifically reducing pollution of water and airways. There are also procedures detailed in the agreement on how to resolve conflicts and disputes between the United States, Mexico, and Canada. 

The Community History Archives: This Week In History July 1st – July 7th

When looking for pieces about the USMCA, I found a lot of reports on the Iowa Farmer and their response to the agreement. A lot of them expressed support for the agreement and saw it as a good thing for agriculture in the United States. One example I found is in the Mitchell County Press News published in Osage, Iowa on January 28th, 2020. Chris Edginton, a member of the National Corn Growers Board, said that one of the board’s main focuses was getting the USMCA through the Senate. This goes to show that the legislation passed goes deeper than just the government, and affects Americans on a personal level. 

Because the new agreement was created as a way of modernizing the previous agreement, new categories were added to the agreement. There is now a digital trade chapter that sets rules for how e-commerce can work between the countries. 

While this agreement was not solely about the US, the US economy was going to gain a lot from this agreement. It helped to balance out trade and support better working conditions throughout the country. The economy in America has greatly improved since the implementation of this agreement. 

(1980s – 2000s) Threat Resolved: Warsaw Pact Dissolved, 1991

The Warsaw Pact was an agreement created by the Soviet Union to contrast NATO after West Germany joined. The Soviet Union and seven other countries were a part of the pact. They believed that NATO was a threat, and formed the pact to contrast against the perceived threat. The two pacts stood in opposition to each other throughout the Cold War. It stood from its establishment on May 14, 1955, until it was dissolved on July 1, 1991. The soviet union followed suit and dissolved shortly after. 

A really interesting piece I found was on Page 2 of the Le Mars Daily Sentinel published on August 16th, 1984. Titled “We’re Number One”, they printed off a list comparing the US to the Soviet Union to prove the superiority of America in the conflict. They told readers to clip the piece and save it for the next time they get anxious about the conflict with the soviet union so that they can remember the capability of the US and NATO. One of the categories included was comparing NATO to the Warsaw Pact, which showed that the US and NATO had a higher military balance. 

A newspaper article found on page 2 of Le Mars Daily Sentinel, published in Lemars, Iowa, on Thursday, August 16th, 1984
The front page of The Daily Gazette, published in Sterling, Illinois on Saturday, July 18th, 1964
(1945 – 1980s) Liberty and Justice for All: Civil Rights Act, 1964

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is one of the most important civil rights legislation in American History. In the 1960’s, segregation was at its peak. Everywhere from movie theaters to water fountains, there were designated “whites only” areas everywhere you went. Just because African Americans were no longer enslaved does not mean they were treated the same as everyone else, including in the eyes of the law until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed.

The Act was dreamed up by President John F Kennedy, who proposed that Congress should create legislation to address segregation in the United States. After his assassination in 1963, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson took his place in office and continued his work on civil rights legislation. Under his administration, Congress created the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which President Johnson signed into law on July 2nd, 1964. 

The Act made it illegal to discriminate against any American based on race. This effectively made segregation illegal in all aspects of American life. No longer could there be separate bathrooms for different races or any other segregated areas. Employers were no longer allowed to discriminate against employees and job candidates based on race. In the law, all Americans were recognized as having the same rights, regardless of their skin color.

Unfortunately, while the law prevented any segregation or race-based discrimination, African Americans still faced a lot of prejudice. The law didn’t stop all racism, but it meant that those who wanted to discriminate against race had to find loopholes.

One example is how redlining was used to discriminate against individuals who lived in poor neighborhoods, often which were predominantly black neighborhoods. While this didn’t directly violate the Civil Rights Act because it wasn’t based on race, it still made it difficult for Black Americans to access the same privileges as the rest of the country. Nonetheless, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made major progress in the civil rights movement. 

On the front page of The Daily Gazette published in Sterling, Illinois on July 18th, 1964 about a case that was taking place following the enactment of the Civil Rights Act. A motel owner in Atlanta, Georgia had complained about having to follow the new law and argued that Congress had no constitutional power to enforce the Civil Rights Act on his business. This is just one example of how the Civil Rights Act faced a lot of pushback from Americans who were opposed to integration. 

(1914 – 1945) One Final Flight: Amelia Earhart Disappears, 1937

Amelia Earhart was a groundbreaking woman in the world of aviation. A pilot, author, and lecturer, she was well known for her success. She became the first woman to fly around the world, but she is perhaps most famous for her mysterious disappearance in 1937. 

Before she disappeared, she had various adventures that took her all over the world. She wrote a book about her life and journeys titled The Fun of It. She gave lectures and encouraged women to break out of social norms and pursue their passions. She even helped to create an organization of female pilots called the Ninety-Nines. 

In February of 1937, news was starting to spread about her plan to fly around the world. The East Moline Herald published a piece sharing her plans to world hop. An interesting detail I noticed in this report was that they said she was going to be accompanied by Captain Harry Manning, and that they were to take off from Oakland California. From what I have been able to find, it sounds like Manning was a member of her crew for part of her world trip, but left for unspecified reasons before her disappearance. However, Fred Noonan is credited in most places as being her navigator for the trip, and there are very few mentions of manning. 

In June of 1937, Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan set out to fly around the world. They went east from Oakland and made various stops to refuel the plane before setting back out. After traveling 22,000 miles, they made the last stop before their disappearance in New Guinea. They headed for Howard Island next, which was expected to be a difficult journey. Two US Ships lit the way for them to the island and Earhart was in frequent contact with the US Coast Guard via radio. After a while, Earhart radioed to the Coast Guard that they were running out of fuel, and an hour later made her last transmission. That was the last anyone heard from Amelia Earhart.

Page 5 of East Moline Herald, published in East Moline, Illinois on Friday, February 26th, 1937

The most common conclusion is that the plane crashed into the sea approximately 100 miles from the coast of Howard Island. Following the crash, a rescue expedition searched for them. The Port Byron Globe published on July 8th, 1937 that the search was continuing for the lost fliers. They shared the story of the last contact with Earhart, as well as expressed concerns and prayers for their safe recovery. Unfortunately, the search was unsuccessful and the two were declared lost at sea after a long recovery attempt. No trace of Earhart, Noonan, or their plane has ever been found. Their disappearance continues to be a subject of speculation and conspiracy but remains a mystery.

(1824 – 1914) Catchy Description: Battle of Gettysburg, 1863

The Battle of Gettysburg was a key battle in the American Civil War that took place from July 1st to July 3rd, 1863. Confederate and Union forces met in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and fought one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. 

With an estimated 50,000 casualties on both sides, the battle brought major changes in the tides of the Civil War. It was important because it ended the Confederacy’s invasion of the North and sent their armies back to Virginia. The battle later became the inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, where he dedicated the soldier’s national cemetery and promoted equality in the United States. 

Page 17 of The Daily Gazette, published in Sterling, Illinois on Monday, July 1st, 1963

This discovery inspired my search tip of the week. Don’t be afraid to look beyond one singular day. If you find coverage of an event, try looking at the next paper published. Often there will be a follow-up or more information in the days that follow! It is super easy to scroll between days, and you can get to the next day’s paper by simply clicking past the last page of that day. When you do so, it will automatically bring you to the next available publication, making it easy to follow up on the day before the paper.

On the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, The Daily Gazette in Sterling Illinois published a piece remembering the battle that changed the United States forever. They provided a detailed breakdown of the events of the battle, including illustrations and maps of the military movements. Over three days, the Daily Gazette published three lengthy pieces telling the story of each day of the battle. I found this interesting and a great way to learn more about the battle. 

Honorable Mention: Independence Day, 1776

One honorable mention for this week in history is something that happened outside of my latest time range, but it is still an incredibly important part of American History nonetheless. 

On July 4th, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was published, marking the beginning of the American Colonies’ journey to become an independent nation. Led by Thomas Jefferson, the document was created in just 17 days and declared that the American Colonies were separating from the control of Great Britain. They listed 27 grievances against the King and his government, including taxation without representation and denial of trial by jury.

The day July 4th was then marked as Independence Day, and started the journey to become the great nation of the United States of America that we know today. Join me again next week to discover more of history’s hidden gems and timeless tales!

Explore the “Read All About It” archives to read stories that spotlight our partners and their communities, announcements from our team, updates on current projects, and so much more. Discover articles about engagement, outreach, primary sources, community, digitization, education, and other topics of interest. Delve into the happenings in this week in history and take a deep dive into the events and people who helped shape our communities, our nation, and the world.

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, READ ALL ABOUT IT!

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Advantage Archives works to build strong, community-based partnerships to provide free online access to local history, making it discoverable and easily accessible to anyone, anywhere, at any time, on any device. This allows communities to understand and connect to their past in a meaningful way. Through the Community History Archive search platform, we provide the community with the means to explore, discover, learn from, connect with, and share the stories of the people, places, and events that shaped their community.

The Community History Archives are intended to serve as a “portal to the past”, allowing local primary source documents to give an accounting of history as told by the individuals that witnessed it. Advantage Archives guiding principals center around building strong community-based partnerships, which is why we enter into them with the intent of shouldering our fair share, and taking the burden off of the community for the ongoing costs associated with storage, hosting, development, and maintenance of the Community’s History Archive. We are an active participant in the community’s efforts to make their collective history more accessible. The Community History Archives are maintained for free by Advantage and do not require a subscription, seat license, annual support contract, or any other ongoing costs or expenses to the institution or members of the community.

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