National Archives Holds Book Talks On Jackie Robinson, Others In April

Book Talk – True: The Four Seasons of Jackie Robinson
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Photos: Smithsonian\Book Covers\YouTube

WASHINGTON, March 30, 2022–Join the National Archives for book talks in April on topics from the 1950 Census release to baseball great Jackie Robinson and the history of the conservation movement.

All programs are Eastern Time unless otherwise noted. These are free and open to the public and will be live streamed and archived on the National Archives YouTube Channel.

1950 Census Release/Book Talk – The Fifties: An Underground History

Tuesday, April 5, at 1 p.m. ET; Register in advance; watch live or later on YouTube.

Author James R. Gaines argues that the 1950s were not a decade of conformity but a time when individuals pioneered gay rights, feminist rights, civil rights, and environmental movements. The Fifties brings to life people who sparked movements for change in their time and our own, including Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Harry Hay, and Rachel Carson. Daily Beast journalist Margaret Carlson will join the author in conversation.

  • Related: The Story of the 1950 Census P8 Indian Reservation Schedule Wednesday, April 27, at 1 p.m. ET; Watch on YouTube As part of the 1950 population census, the Census Bureau used a special schedule on certain Native reservations nationwide. Archivist Cody White will explain the genesis, creation, and execution of the 1950 P8 Indian Reservation schedule. See also: 1950 Census Genealogy Series. Census programming is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of Denise Gwyn Ferguson.

Book Talk – True: The Four Seasons of Jackie Robinson

Tuesday, April 12, at 1 p.m. ET; Register in advance; watch on YouTube.

Kostya Kennedy’s unconventional biography of Jackie Robinson focuses on four transformative years in his athletic and public life: 1946, his first year playing in the essentially all-White minor leagues for the Montreal Royals; 1949, when he won the MVP in his third season as a Brooklyn Dodger; 1956, his final season in major league baseball; and 1972, the year of his untimely death. Joining Kennedy in conversation will be Raymond Doswell, Vice President, Curatorial Services for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Presented in conjunction with the Featured Document display: Jackie Robinson—Freedom Fighter. East Rotunda Gallery, National Archives Museum, Washington, DC, through April 20, 2022.

Young Learners Program – Meet Frederick Law Olmsted

Thursday, April 14, at 11 a.m. ET; Watch on YouTube

Join us to “meet” landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted (portrayed by Joseph Smith) and celebrate Olmsted’s 200th birthday (April 26). Olmsted is considered the father of American landscape architecture and is known for designing New York City’s Central Park and laying the foundation for the national park system. He was also an experimental farmer, author, and gold mine manager. Olmsted understood that parks build democracy as a space where all people are welcome, are connected to nature, and feel a sense of belonging and contentment.

Book Talk – Benjamin Franklin's Last Bet: The Favorite Founder’s Divisive Death, Enduring Afterlife, and Blueprint for American Prosperity

Thursday, April 14, at 1 p.m. ET; Register in advance; watch live or later on YouTube.

Author Michael Meyer discusses the incredible story of Benjamin Franklin’s parting gift to the working-class people of Boston and Philadelphia—a deathbed wager that captures the Founder’s American Dream and his lessons for our current, conflicted age. Franklin was not a gambling man. But at the end of his life, Franklin allowed himself a final wager on the survival of the United States: a gift of 2,000 pounds to Boston and Philadelphia, to be lent out to tradesmen over the next two centuries to jumpstart their careers. Each loan would be repaid with interest over 10 years. If all went according to Franklin’s inventive scheme, the accrued final payout in 1991 would be a windfall. Meyer traces the evolution of these twin funds as they bankrolled woodworkers and silversmiths, trade schools, and space races.

Book Talk – Making America’s Public Lands: The Contested History of Conservation on Federal Lands.

Tuesday, April 19, at 1 p.m. ET; Register in advance; watch live or later on YouTube.

Environmental historian Adam Sowards synthesizes public lands history from the beginning of the republic to recent controversies. Since public lands are located everywhere, including iconic national parks like Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon, Americans at large have a stake in these lands.This book will appeal to those who camp in the national forests, drive through the national parks, or admire distant wilderness landscapes. Joining the author in conversation will be science writer and author Michelle Nijhuis.

Book Talks – The Hudson Valley History Reading Festival

Saturday, April 23, at 10 a.m., 11 a.m, 1 p.m., and 2 p.m. ET

No registration required; Follow the FDR Library’s live stream on YouTube, Facebook & Twitter The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum and the Friends of the Poughkeepsie Public Library present the annual Hudson Valley History Reading Festival. This is a hybrid event, taking place in person at the Henry A. Wallace Center and streamed to the FDR Library’s social media accounts.

  • 10 a.m. ET - Patriots and Spies in Revolutionary New York by A.J. Schenkman
  • 11 a.m. ET - The Catskills in the Ice Age: Third Edition, Revised and Expanded by Robert and Johanna Titus
  • 1 p.m. ET - Paths to the Past: History Hikes through the Hudson River Valley, Catskills, Berkshires, Taconics, Saratoga & Capital Region by Russel Dunn and Barbara Delaney
  • 2 p.m. ET - Roosevelt Homes of the Hudson Valley: Hyde Park and Beyond by Shannon Butler

Book Talk – Incomparable Grace: JFK in the Presidency

Thursday, April 28, at 1 p.m. ET; Register in advance; watch on YouTube.

Historian Mark K. Updegrove’s Incomparable Grace compellingly reexamines the dramatic, consequential White House years of a flawed but gifted leader too often defined by the Camelot myth that came after his untimely death. Updegrove offers an illuminating account of John F. Kennedy’s brief but transformative tenure in the White House. Nearly 60 years after his death, JFK still holds an outsize place in the American imagination, yet his years in office were marked by more than his style and elegance. The author describes his Presidency as the story of a fledgling leader forced to meet unprecedented challenges and to rise above missteps to lead his nation into a new and hopeful era.

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