(Image Credit: Jessica Lewis)

Monday, March 16, 2020, 2:20 p.m.

My 7th grade English students looked scared. Like most kids, they normally welcomed the end of the school day, but not today — not on the last day of in-person school until who knows when. Our self-appointed class clown asserted he was psyched about his coronavirus “Get Out of Jail Free” card, but his classmates responded not with validating laughter, but with the mute, big-eyed wariness of deer in headlights. Some of my colleagues confidently told kids they’d be back in two weeks, but my students wisely doubted them.

I had begun the period…


Thanks for writing. I've been teaching high school & college history to diverse students for more than 25 years now. My Black students have proven perfectly capable of developing fair, nuanced perspectives based on a full consideration of the evidence, weighing both the achievements & flaws of historical figures.

Wilson wasn't "as fundamentally racist as they come." He lived during the long nadir of US race relations, but despite that--& despite his southern heritage--Wilson proved *less racist* than most whites at the time. That's damning with faint praise, & so is this: No president between Grant & FDR did much…


Today — January 7, 2021 — serial loser Donald Trump finally finished first. His criminal mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic has now killed more Americans than any wartime enemy head of state in US history.

All-time top killers of Americans:

  1. US President Donald Trump, COVID-19: 371,278 US dead in 9 months
  2. Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Civil War: 370,000 US dead in 4 years
  3. Nazi Führer Adolf Hitler, World War II European Theater: 213,407 US dead in 4 years
  4. Japanese Emperor Hirohito, World War II Pacific Theater: 162,525 US dead in 4 years

FAQs

Is it fair to equate war deaths with…


Just after midnight on Monday morning, Twitter locked my account for spreading “misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.”


Detail from John Trumbull’s 1780 painting of General George Washington with an enslaved aide, Billy Lee (Image Credit: Wikimedia)

“Where am I?” George Washington sat up in his hospital bed, blinking.

“Good morning, Mr. President,” a young woman stepped forward. “It is an honor to meet you. You are in a time machine. We are scientists from the year 2241.”

“What is this?” Washington reached for the IV needle in his left arm.

“Please don’t touch that, Sir. That medicine is healing you.”

“I was dying…”

“Yes, Mr. President. Moments before your death, we brought you here.”

“But, why…?”

“We’re historians. Having learned all we could from documents, we now use time travel to bring major historical figures to…


A racist mob harasses Elizabeth Eckford at LRCHS (Image Credit: Wikimedia)

Today in 1957, President Eisenhower sent federal troops to support the integration of Little Rock Central High School.

Ike did his job even though he disagreed with the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Rather than give into racism, the former general upheld his vow to support and defend the US Constitution.

Woodrow Wilson Mann, the Mayor of Little Rock, also opposed the ruling, but he directed the school board to plan for gradual integration, beginning with nine black students at LRCHS in September 1957.

Governor Orval Faubus dispatched the Arkansas National Guard to stop the…


T. Dart Walker’s illustration shows Big Jim Parker moving to restrain the assassin, who conceals his pistol in a linen bandage while shooting William McKinley (Image Credit: Library of Congress)

On this day in 1901, President William McKinley stood in the Temple of Music at the Buffalo World’s Fair, gladhanding a series of well-wishers while an organist played a majestic Bach sonata.

To discourage assassination attempts, the Secret Service normally made sure everyone’s hands were empty before they approached the president. But on that hot summer afternoon, the president’s bodyguards let the crowd of overdressed Victorians clutch handkerchiefs and mop their perspiring faces.

So, few noticed when a man with “a short cropped heavy black moustache” stepped up to McKinley. …


Yesterday, Franklin Graham disingenously decried “the absence of God” at the Democratic National Convention.

This bizarre claim is easily falsifiable: In fact, many speakers paid eloquent tribute to the deep faith of Joe Biden, the party’s presidential nominee.

Graham can lie so audaciously because he knows most of his followers get information exclusively from hard right propaganda echo chambers — none of which dared question or complicate the multimillionaire evangelist’s false narrative.

Of course, Graham knows few in his docile flock will ever encounter contrary facts, and that even if they did, nearly all lack the courage, decency, and intellectual…


(Image Credit: August de Richelieu)

The virus is spreading; school will shut soon.
We’re teaching remotely, from March to June.
Old teachers scramble to learn online tools;
Younger peers help us avoid ridicule;
Virtual classrooms we build on the fly
And make kids log on before we say, “Bye!”

We send home school lunches, issue laptops;
Our district shines ‘gainst a gloomy backdrop.
State leaders promise a plan to provide
Some way to span the digital divide;
Too dumb to conceive something effective
They just say all spring learning’s elective!

Most of my kids have Internet at home;
I’m ready to teach about ancient Rome.
But teens…


This meme is mostly false.

Viral Truths

COVID-19 statistics are far from complete, but the best evidence in hand suggests a survival rate of about 99%.

So, the meme gets that one fact right.

But a virus that kills 1% of the folks it infects is, in fact, “evil.” So, the meme’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” public health advice clearly rings false.

If the Coronavirus killed “only” 1% of the country, that would add up to 3.3 million dead Americans. Such a staggering, tragic loss would make the pandemic 333 times more deadly to Americans than the War on Terror…

Brian Scott MacKenzie

History, politics, education, music, culture. Award-winning high school teacher, former principal. College instructor. Seahawks Diehard. Twitter: @brian_mrbmkz

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