The American Historian

OAH News Items

Executive Board Action Items

The OAH Executive Board met on Thursday, April 15, 2021, during the 2021 Virtual Conference, and took the following actions: 

  • Approved all committee nominations.
  • Approved the reappointment of the Treasurer, Jay Goodgold, for another 5-year term.
  • Approved amending the By-Laws to include a Dissolution of Assets clause (see below).
  • Approved the Fiscal Year 2022 budget.
  • Approved the Fiscal Year 2021 Tax form 990.

Dissolution of Assets Clause

IV. Dissolution

Upon dissolution of the Organization, any assets remaining after payment of obligations shall be distributed to one or more nonprofit entities exempt from Federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and focused on charity and education in the field of history, as may be determined by the Executive Board.

New Episodes of Intervals Available

Intervals, OAH’s new podcast, has aired nine episodes since it began on April 1. Intervals explores the history of public health, illness, and disease in North America from colonial times to the present and was developed by the Marketing and Communications Committee. New episodes air on Wednesdays. Intervals is made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

Available episodes include:

  • “Public History is Public Health,” with host Christopher Brick
  • "A Haunted Land," with guest Josh Irvin
  • "'The Speckled Monster': Smallpox and Early America," with guest Shannon Duffy
  • "A Plague in New York City: A Young Doctor Confronts Yellow Fever in the Founding Era," with guest Carolyn Eastman
  • "Providence and Benevolence in Philadelphia's Yellow Fever of 1793," with guest Philippa Koch
  • "Which Public?: Race, Slavery, and Health in the Antebellum United States," with guest Christopher D. E. Willoughby
  • "Smallpox and Urban Nature in 1860s San Francisco," with guest Jennifer Seltz
  • "Midwestern Healthcare and Poor Farms in the Late 19th Century," with guest Megan Birk
  • “An Eruptive Fever Comes to Muncie,” with guest Kelly Hacker Jones


Featured Benefit - ACLS Humanities eBook Subscription

ACLS Humanities eBook has recently added over 180 new titles to their collection of foundational titles in the humanities and social sciences. An annual subscription to the collection costs $25 and provides you with unlimited access to around 5,500 full-text, cross-searchable titles across the humanities and social sciences from the 1880s through the present.

OAH members can purchase a 12-month subscription for $25 by calling the OAH national office at (812) 855-7311 between 8am and 4:30 pm ET, Monday thru Friday.

The American Historian Print Subscription

Do you prefer to read The American Historian in print? Add a print subscription when renewing your membership or by calling us at (812) 855-7311 between 8am and 4:30pm ET. The cost for a year subscription is only $18.00.

Volunteer for an OAH Committee or Board

We invite you to become actively involved in the OAH’s mission by volunteering to serve on a service or award committee. Appointments are made each summer by the OAH Committee on Committees. If you choose to volunteer, your information will be provided to the committee for consideration as they make appointments to replace committee members whose terms are expiring. To register, sign in to the user portal with your OAH username and password and click on “Volunteer.” 

OAH Advocacy Statements

Over the past few months, two OAH Committees—the Committee on the Status of LGBTQ Historians and Histories and the Committee on Academic Freedom—published two statements related to “Don’t Say Gay” Laws and the broader implications of the UNC decision to deny a tenured appointment to Nikole Hannah-Jones. The OAH also co-signed three statements on “Divisive Concepts” legislation, a Florida law allowing recording in the classroom, and a U.S. Senate resolution recognizing the centennial of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Below are excerpts from each statements. To read the full statements, please click on the link provided after each summary. 

OAH Committee on the Status of LGBTQ Historians and Histories Co-Issues Statement on “Don’t Say Gay” Laws

May 11, 2021

The professional U.S. organizations for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) history scholarship and teaching denounce a new wave of proposed “Don’t Say Gay” laws targeting K-12 schools and curriculum as profoundly harmful to accurate, inclusive, and relevant history education. The Organization of American Historians Committee on the Status of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Historians and Histories, and the Committee on LGBT History (an affiliate of the American Historical Association), reject such measures as based in historical erasure, anti-LGBTQ hostility, and ignorance regarding 40+ years of academic research in LGBTQ-inclusive history and social studies.

(To read the full statement, visit here)

Statement from the OAH Academic Freedom Committee on the Broader Implications of the UNC Decision to Deny a Tenured Appointment to Nikole Hannah-Jones

May 27, 2021

On May 19, we learned of the extraordinary decision to rescind an offer of a tenured appointment at the University of North Carolina’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media to Nikole Hannah-Jones, the award-winning Black journalist who spearheaded the New York Times 1619 Project. Instead, the Pulitzer Prize winner and MacArthur Fellow was offered a five-year appointment without tenure. The decision came not from the faculty nor even the UNC administration, but from the UNC Board of Trustees. The dean of the Hussman School, Susan King, commented, “It’s disappointing, it’s not what we wanted and I am afraid it will have a chilling effect.”

As the Academic Freedom Committee of the Organization of American Historians, we see the refusal to hire Jones with tenure as one more public step in the undermining of academic freedom and faculty governance by conservative state legislatures seeking to control the content of the curriculum in American history at public universities and schools across the United States. It is also the kind of punishment that happens particularly to successful intellectuals and scholars of color.

(To read the full statement, visit here)

OAH Joins National Coalition for History Opposing Divisive Concepts Legislation

May 21

Legislation currently under consideration by numerous state legislatures around the country menaces the academic freedom essential to all classrooms, especially those where history is the focus of discussion and debate. The National Coalition for History opposes the passage of socalled “divisive concepts” legislation in these legislatures. Such bills have been introduced in eight states and are designed to limit discussion about racism, sexism, and discrimination in the classroom and/or the workplace. What is especially pernicious about these bills is that they masquerade as legislation defending free speech, but in fact have been purposely designed to curb consideration of subjects controversial and in any way critical of American society and culture.

A bill which recently passed the Iowa state legislature, for example, states that it does not “inhibit or violate the first amendment rights of students or faculty, or a school district’s duty to protect to the fullest degree intellectual freedom and free expression.” Yet, only a few sentences later it proposes prohibiting “discussing divisive concepts as part of a larger course of academic instruction.” It even goes so far as to censor what can be published in student newspapers.

(To read the full statement, visit here)

MESA Board Statement on Florida law (HB233) allowing recording in the classroom (OAH Co-signed)

Both houses of Florida’s state legislature have approved a bill that threatens to undermine the independence and academic freedom of faculty to teach and research at the state’s publicly funded institutions of higher learning. The bill, which awaits the governor’s signature, allows students to record in classrooms without the consent of their professors; it also mandates the State Board of Education and the Board of Governors to conduct an assessment of the “intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity” at every institution in the Florida College System, ostensibly to guarantee that a variety of political and ideological perspectives are represented on campuses.

The proposed law, supposedly designed to ensure transparency in the classroom and protect students’ free speech rights, instead constitutes a legislative intrusion that will have a chilling effect on the free exchange of opinions it claims to enhance. The law would have a particularly pernicious effect on students’ abilities to express their views freely in an open environment.

(To read the full statement, visit here

Warren, Jackson Lee, and 127 Members of Congress Unveil Resolution Recognizing the Forthcoming Centennial of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre (OAH Co-Signed)

United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) unveiled a resolution to mark the forthcoming 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. The resolution is a reminder that the fight to end racist violence against Black people in the United States -- often state-sanctioned and at the hands of the police -- continues. 

The resolution honors the lives and legacies of the estimated 300 Black individuals who were killed during the Massacre and the nearly 9,000 Black individuals who were left homeless and penniless -- and it condemns the white mob, including white municipal officials and law enforcement who directly aided and abetted the unlawful violence but were never held accountable. The resolution also encourages schools and colleges to teach the history of the Tulsa Race Massacre and recognizes the commitment of Congress to acknowledge and learn from the history of racism and racial violence in the United States, reverse the legacy of white supremacy, and continue the fight for racial justice.

(To read the full statement, visit here)