When a group of young Black Americans, led by 16-year-old Barbara Johns, stood up for their right to an education, their action triggered a firestorm of White supremacist reaction and their lawsuit became part of Brown v Board of Education. They won in the landmark Supreme Court case that declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional, but the battle wasn't over. White leaders in Prince Edward County turned to massive resistance, and ultimately chose to end public education there rather than desegregate. Five years of school closings denied any education at all to the next generation of Prince Edward County’s Black and some White children. Despite the hardships thrown at them, these young people remained, and remain today, resilient, determined, and inspiring.
Watergate - the political scandal that shook the nation in 1972 - created the biggest constitutional crisis since the Civil War. President Richard Nixon and his closest aides committed hundreds of illegal acts, abused power, and violated their oaths to uphold the Constitution in order to maintain and expand Nixon's power and then hide what they had done. In the end, the American constitutional system worked and Richard Nixon resigned rather than face an impeachment trial and near-certain conviction. But that's only one part of the Watergate story. The system that brought Nixon and his men down did not work on its own. There's no magic in the US Constitution. Nixon might have gotten away with everything if not for the people who made the system work. Reporters, prosecutors, judges, justices, members of the House and Senate, civil servants, and ordinary Americans who worked to protect and defend the Constitution. This is their story.
When Franklin Roosevelt took office in March, 1933, the United States was on the brink of economic collapse and environmental disaster. Thirty-four days later, the first of some three million young men were building parks and reclaiming the nation’s forests and farmlands. The Civilian Conservation Corps—FDR’s favorite program—resulted in the building and/or improving of hundreds of state and national parks, the restoration of nearly 120 million acres of land, and the planting of over three billion tress—more than half of all the trees ever planted the United States. Fighting for the Forest tells the story of the CCC through the personal journeys of young men around the nation who helped lift the United States out of the Great Depression through their work in “Roosevelt’s Tree Army.”
At the height of World War II, the US Army Airforce faced a desperate need for skilled pilots, but only men were allowed in military airplanes—even if their expert pilot instructors were women. Through grit and determination, 1,100 of these female pilots—who had to prove themselves again and again—finally got permission to ferry planes from factories to bases, to tow targets for live ammunition artillery training, to test repaired planes and new equipment, and more. Though the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) lived on military bases, trained as military pilots, wore uniforms, and sometimes died violently in the line of duty, they were civilian employees, received less pay than men doing the same jobs, and had no military benefits, not even for burials. Their story is one of patriotism, the power of positive attitudes, the love of flying, and the willingness to do good with no concern for personal gain.
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