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Author: TheGuardian

Pruitt-Igoe: The failed public housing project and symbol of a dysfunctional urban abyss

From its fanfare opening in 1954 to its live-on-TV demolition three decades later, the St. Louis public housing project remains a powerful symbol of the social, racial and architectural tensions that dogged America’s cities in the mid-20th century. If you propose a high-rise public housing project in America, your opponents will almost certainly use Pruitt-Igoe as a rhetorical weapon against you – and defeat you with it. The Captain WO Pruitt Homes and William L. Igoe Apartments, a racially segregated, middle-class complex of 33 11-story towers, opened to great fanfare on the north side of St. Louis between 1954...

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How America squandered the cold war victory and transformed its mythical status into pulp fiction

The United States believed that the American way of life was humankind’s ultimate destiny. But unrestrained greed has led to an era of injustice and division. By the 1980s, the Cold War had become more than a mere situation or circumstance. It was a state of mind. Most Americans had come to take its existence for granted, so its passing caught citizens unaware. Those charged with managing the Cold War were even more surprised. The enterprise to which they had devoted their professional lives had suddenly vanished. Here was a contingency that the sprawling U.S. national security apparatus, itself...

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Politician faces backlash over resolution to recognize whites for Wisconsin’s Black History Month

Wisconsin lawmakers are locked in a dispute over who qualifies to be honored during February’s Black History Month, after a senior Republican suggested a list where the majority of named picks were white. Republican state senator Scott Allen circulated a resolution recognizing 10 historical figures for celebration. But six of those who’d been active in Wisconsin’s Underground Railroad, helping southern slaves escape to freedom turned out to be white. The choice provoked a backlash from local black lawmakers, who said Allen circumvented the state’s legislature’s black caucus from choosing how to honor the contributions of black Americans. “If this...

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The Quiet Hero: How Japan’s Schindler Chiune Sugihara saved 6,000 Jews

Chiune Sugihara’s son tells how he learned of his father’s rescue mission in Lithuania, which commemorates his achievements this year. As a child in Japan in the 1950s and 60s, Nobuki Sugihara never knew his father had saved thousands of lives. Few did. His father, Chiune Sugihara, was a trader who lived in a small coastal town about 34 miles south of Tokyo. When not on business trips to Moscow, he coached his young son in mathematics and English. He made breakfast, spreading butter on the toast so thinly “nobody could compete.” His son had no idea his father...

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A Schism of Faith: Methodist Church plans split into opposition and LGBTQ-inclusion branches

There is at least one area of agreement among conservative, centrist, and liberal leaders in the United Methodist Church: America’s largest mainline Protestant denomination is on a path toward likely breakup over differences on same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBT pastors. The differences have simmered for years, and came to a head in February at a conference in St. Louis where delegates voted 438-384 for a proposal called the Traditional Plan, which strengthens bans on LGBT-inclusive practices. A majority of delegates based in America opposed that plan and favored LGBT-friendly options, but they were outvoted by U.S. conservatives teamed...

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The contradictions of 2010 to 2020: An era that began with Obama and ended with Trump

2010 to 2020 was a contradictory decade that will confound future historians with a simple question: how did America go from Obama to Trump? Lin-Manuel Miranda was touring his award-winning musical, In the Heights, to his parents’ homeland of Puerto Rico. Donald Trump was awarding first prize on his reality TV show, The Apprentice, to a corporate lawyer turned mobile cupcake entrepreneur. The year was 2010 and, in the decade that followed, these two hustlers from New York with fiercely devoted followings would come to represent the two faces of America. Miranda produced Hamilton, a musical mega-hit that used...

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