[Five years ago this week, my first Saturday Evening Post Considering History column dropped. That space and work have become crucial components of my career over these years, so for this anniversary I wanted to reflect on a few particular, telling columns from my first year there. Leading up to a special weekend tribute and request!]
When I was initially recruited (by the wonderful editor Jen Bortel about whom I’ll write in the weekend post) to write a new column for the Saturday Evening Post online, I’m pretty sure we talked directly about the idea for a first column inspired by my Chinese Exclusion Act book. It made sense to start with something familiar, but I knew I wanted soon and consistently to expand into topics about which I hadn’t had as much of a chance to write (or even in some ways think) previously, and I was able to do so immediately with my second column on Rosa Parks and the women behind the Montgomery bus boycott (with a major hat-tip to Danielle McGuire’s book, which I insisted be mentioned as well as cited in the column). That goal meant that one of the main elements of this column would be finding those topics for each post, and the third and fourth reflected two such inspirations: the third on the occasion of Black History Month; and the fourth starting with a historical anniversary (the 50th of Walter Cronkite on the Vietnam War). That balance—of more and less familiar topics, and of different forms of inspiration—has very much continued for the five years since.
Next anniversary reflection tomorrow,
PS. Thoughts on these columns? Your own writing to share?