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History

  • “There were a lot of people who wanted to marry each other, wanted to define themselves by this commitment, and yet were blocked from doing so and there was no real alternative,” said Mary Bonauto, who represented the plaintiffs before the Supreme Judicial Court.
  • The landmark Supreme Court decision ended the "separate but equal" doctrine in American schools in 1954. We analyze Brown v. Board of Education's legacy in Boston and nationwide.
  • American Experience presents a virtual PAST FORWARD conversation exploring the harmful chemicals in the food, clothes, and other goods that Americans buy and use every day. This conversation is inspired in part by our new streaming film Poisoned Ground: The Tragedy at Love Canal.

    Panelists will examine how American consumer culture acts in conjunction with corporate negligence and government laxity to expose the public to chemical hazards. They will also explore how wealth can determine one's level of exposure, and the government’s regulatory approach to consumer protection over time. They will look forward by asking what actions consumers can take to protect themselves.

    Panelists:
    Dr. Jennifer Thomson is an associate professor of history at Bucknell University. Her current book project examines the effect of the Environmental Protection Agency's sewer grant construction program on racial residential segregation. Her first book, The Wild and the Toxic: American Environmentalism and the Politics of Health, explored the various discourses of health that environmentalists deployed in the late twentieth century.

    Dr. Bhavna Shamasunder is an associate professor and Chair of the Department of Urban & Environmental Policy at Occidental College. She teaches and conducts research at the intersection of environmental health & justice, with a focus on inequalities in chemical exposures faced by low-income communities and communities of color who live and work in urban and/or industrial environments.

    This conversation will be moderated by Tim Bartley. Tim teaches in the Department of Sociology and the Earth Commons Institute at Georgetown University. His work focuses on sustainability standards, environmental justice movements, and the regulation of global industries. More broadly, he is interested in political, organizational, and economic processes that shape environments, workplaces, and the expression of rights around the world.

    This event will be livestreamed on our YouTube and Facebook pages.

  • The fall of Saigon, 49 years ago, marked the end of the Vietnam War.
  • Virtual
    Delve into one of the darkest chapters in human history as Holocaust scholar Michael Berenbaum provides historical facts and answers your questions about Auschwitz, the largest and most lethal Nazi concentration and death camp. More than 1,100,000 people were killed behind its barbed wire fences.

    Michael Berenbaum is the Director of the Sigi Ziering Institute: Exploring the Ethical and Religious Implications of the Holocaust, and a Distinguished Professor of Jewish Studies at the American Jewish University. The author and editor of 24 books, he was also the Executive Editor of the Second Edition of the Encyclopaedia Judaica. He was Project Director overseeing the creation of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the first Director of its Research Institute, and later served as President and CEO of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, which took the testimony of 52,000 Holocaust survivors in 32 languages and 57 countries. His work in film has won Emmy Awards and Academy Awards. He has developed and curated museum exhibits in the United States, Mexico, North Macedonia, and Poland; and his award-winning exhibition Auschwitz. Not Long Ago. Not Far Away. has been seen in Madrid, Spain, Malmo, Sweden, New York, Kansas City, the Ronald Regan Library in California, and is now on view in Boston.

    GBH’s Ask the Expert is your chance to interact with specialists across various fields, offering opportunities to learn and explore new subjects. Hosted by GBH, this event encourages audience participation, allowing you to drive the conversation by posing questions directly to our expert. Best of all, it's free to attend!

    This event offers three ticket options:
    1) Attend the event: $0
    2) Attend the event + receive a copy of Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. book + GBH membership: $75
    3) Attend the event + receive a copy of the book (above) + a pair of tickets to view Auschwitz.  Not long ago. Not far away in Boston (until 9/3) + GBH membership: $90

    Please note that books will be shipped out following the event. Tickets will also be distributed following the event.

    This event is presented in partnership with the Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. exhibit on view now at The Castle at Park Plaza in Boston.

    Photos: (from top left clockwise to bottom left)
    -A transport of Jews from Hungary arrives at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Poland, May 1944
    -Main entrance to the Auschwitz-Birkenau killing center. This photograph was taken some time after the liberation of the camp in January 1945. Poland, date uncertain.
    -View of a section of the barbed-wire fence and barracks at Auschwitz at the time of the liberation of the camp. Auschwitz, Poland, January 1945.
    -A transport of Hungarian Jews lines up on the ramp for selection at the Auschwitz-Birkenau killing center in German-occupied Poland. May 1944.
    Images provided by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Join Revolutionary Spaces Associate Director of Collections Lori Erickson Fidler and acclaimed podcaster and New York Times best-selling author Mike Duncan (Hero of Two Worlds: The Marquis de Lafayette in the Age of Revolution) as they explore an iconic artifact from the Revolutionary Spaces collection, a sword brought to America by Lafayette.

    The program will examine Lafayette’s lifelong quest to defend the principles of liberty and equality on both sides of the Atlantic, the deep interconnections between the American and French Revolutions, and the impact of his legacy on our world today. A wealthy French aristocrat, the Marquis de Lafayette played a decisive role in the American Revolution while fighting alongside George Washington, eventually becoming a globally revered statesman, fierce advocate for liberty, and a passionate abolitionist. The program will conclude with an audience Q&A.
    Partner:
    Revolutionary Spaces
  • Celebrating women throughout our country’s diverse history, Tiya Miles, award-winning Harvard historian, converses with Pulitzer Prize winner Laurel Thatcher Ulrich about the natural world and the women who changed America. 

    Louisa May Alcott ran wild, eluding gendered expectations in New England. Harriet Tubman, forced to labor outdoors on a Maryland plantation, learned from the land a terrain for escape. The Indigenous women’s basketball team from Fort Shaw, Montana, recaptured a sense of pride in physical prowess as they trounced competitors at the 1904 World’s Fair. Spotlighting such women who acted on their confidence outdoors, Wild Girls brings new context to misunderstood icons like Sacagawea and Pocahontas, and to underappreciated figures like Native American activist writer Zitkála-Šá, also known as Gertrude Bonnin, farmworkers’ champion Dolores Huerta, and labor and Civil Rights organizer Grace Lee Boggs.

    For these trailblazing women of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, navigating the woods, following the stars, playing sports, and taking to the streets in peaceful protest were not only joyful pursuits; they were techniques to resist assimilation, racism, and sexism. Lyrically written and full of archival discoveries, this beautiful, meditative work of history puts girls of all races—and the landscapes they loved—at center stage, and reveals the impact of the outdoors on women’s independence, resourcefulness, and vision.
    Partner:
    American Ancestors
  • A major exhibition on the Holocaust and the infamous concentration camp is now open in Boston.
  • Under the Radar sits down with the author of “Becoming Ella Fitzgerald: The Jazz Singer Who Transformed American Song," a new biography detailing the life of jazz legend, Ella Fitzgerald.
  • Talks about the Garisson decision of the Supreme Court that ordered desegregation in Boston and the busing crisis that followed, studying what happened and its legacy.