Beacon Press

Beacon Press is an independent publisher of serious non-fiction and fiction. Our books often change the way readers think about fundamental issues; they promote such values as freedom of speech and thought; diversity, religious pluralism, and anti-racism; and respect for diversity in all areas of life. Visit our website at www.beacon.org.
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Appalled at the conditions of Massachusetts’ mental institutions Dix published “Memorial to the Legislature of Massachusetts” in 1843, listing the horrors of every asylum in the state. She went on to be one of the first to advocate for improved asylum conditions. To read about other advocates and a history of disability from pre-1492 to the present, check out Kim Nielsen’s A Disability History of the United States.

ReVisioning Black History Month: Linking African American and Latino Histories - Beacon Broadside

 The first martyr of the American Revolution wasCrispus Attucks, a sailor of African and Native American heritage who fell in the Boston Massacre. John Hancock honored Attuck’s memory by observing, “Who taught the British soldier that he might be defeated? Who dared look into his eyes? I place, therefore, this Crispus Attucks in the foremost rank of the men that dared.”

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Today jobs in the medical field are among America’s highest paid occupations. Not so in the 19th century. Not only was it a low-paying profession but it often garnered little popular respect (those leeches may have had something to do with it). Things got so desperate for one Victorian doctor that he took to robbing stagecoaches to make ends meet!

Learn more in Marketplace of the Marvelous by Erika Janik.

This Day in History

October 29, 1929: Stock Market Crashes

On this day in 1929, the New York Stock Exchange market collapsed and signaled the onset of the Great Depression (1929-39). Stock prices began to plummet in early September, triggering panic on Wall Street, after a steady decline since the market’s peak in August. 

By 1932, it was reported that stocks were only worth about 20 percent of their value compared to the summer of 1929.

To learn more, watch American Experience’s “The Crash of 1929” chronicle the country’s fate during the Great Depression era.

Photo: Crowd gathering on Wall Street after the stock market crash of October 1929 (Wikimedia Commons).

2014 marks the 185th anniversary of the incorporation of The Perkins School. The first school for the blind in the United States, Perkins’ early students included disability rights pioneers Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller.

Kim Nielsen recalls how “Perkins shone as one of Boston’s premier educational institutions the most well-known school for blind students in the United States, and perhaps the world.” To read more about the institution and its activist alumni, check out Nielsen’s Beyond the Miracle Worker: The Remarkable Life of Anne Sullivan Macy and Her Extraordinary Friendship with Helen Keller

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The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H. W. Bush. Kim Nielsen comments:

“When the ADA was first introduced in Congress in 1988, people with disabilities, advocates, and family members from all over the country shared their stories of discrimination, harassment, and inaccessibility. They also shared their dreams of what a truly accessible democracy could mean. Those with HIV/AIDS shared their stories of how homophobia and ableism often combined in fiercely destructive ways.… The ADA forbids employment, access, housing, and educational discrimination against people with disabilities.”

For more of Nielsen’s narrative, check out A Disability History of the United States.

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This is the third in an eight-part series of interviews with Michael Bronski about the A Queer History of the United States, this year’s Lambda Literary Award winner for LGBT Nonfiction. The interviews were conducted by Richard Voos. Listen or read below to learn about how Europeans applied their language and beliefs to the “Two-Spirt” Native Americans they encountered.

In honor of Juneteenth, enjoy a collection of recipes chosen to commemorate the date from The Historical Cookbook of the American Negro, first published in 1958, by The National Council of Negro Women.The Historical Cookbook of the American Negro is the classic yearlong celebration of black heritage from Emancipation Proclamation Breakfast Cake to Wandering Pilgrim’s Stew from the National Council of Negro Women. It is a unique collection of historical facts, photos, personal anecdotes, and of course a rich selection of seasonally-arranged recipes

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This is the second in an eight-part series of interviews with Michael Bronski about the A Queer History of the United States, this year’s Lambda Literary Award winner for LGBT Nonfiction. The interviews were conducted by Richard Voos. Listen or read below to learn about how Europeans applied their language and beliefs to the “Two-Spirit” Native Americans they encountered.

Two Beacon Press books are finalists in the LGBT nonfiction category:

gaywrites:

This week, the Lambda Literary Foundation announced the finalists for its 24th annual Lambda Literary Awards, recognizing excellence in LGBT literature.

The awards will honor the best books in categories like fiction, memoir, mystery, poetry, romance and erotica for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and general LGBT themes. There’s a full list of nominees at the link above.