The National History Center of the American Historical Association provides a venue in the nation's capital for all who care about the human past to make history an essential part of public conversations about current events and the shared futures of the United States and the wider world.

Congressional Briefing: Zika: Historic Parallels and Policy Responses

The National History Center of the American Historical Association will hold a Congressional briefing on the Zika virus: historic parallels, and policy responses.  J.R. McNeill of Georgetown University and Margaret Humphreys of Duke University will discuss  the history of Zika’s mosquito vectors and the complexity of planning public health programs to counter disease-bearing mosquitoes.  Alan Kraut of American University will moderate.

The briefing will be held on Monday, September 12, from 9:30 a.m to 10:30 a.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2103, Washington, DC.

For more information, visit the briefing website.

RSVPs are requested.  To RSVP, please email Amanda Perry at

7/16: DC-Area African American Studies Works-in-Progress Seminar

The next meeting of the DC-Area African American Studies Works-In-Progress Seminar is this Saturday, July 16, 2016.  The Seminar will meet from 2-3:15 pm at the Teamsters’ Archive in George Washington University’s Gelman Library, 7th floor.

The paper under discussion will be:

  • Jessica Levy (Johns Hopkins) – “Governing the ‘Black Power’ City: Leon H. Sullivan, Opportunities Industrialization Centers Inc., and the Rise of Black Empowerment”

For copies of the papers or more information, please contact Jay Driskell at

7/13: Research Forum: “Microscopic Foes of Mankind”: Understanding Tuberculosis in American History

This undergraduate research project explores the social experience of tuberculosis by engaging the public as an audience for a comprehensive effort to document the lives of Americans who died of this disease. This project engages the public’s interest in telling the stories of individuals and their communities in historical contexts. Researchers are now collecting information from obituaries and death notices published in American newspapers from 1870 to 1920, entering information into an online form that has both structured elements (name, date of death, and names of family members) and opportunities to add more information as relevant. These materials will be processed by the project team and made available to the public and scholars in forms familiar to historians and genealogists, such as mortality tables, analysis of age and race distribution, and discussion of illness narratives. The flexibility and ubiquity of digital medium are essential to this project. At a time of unprecedented interest in the nation’s past by genealogists and family historians, this project is a unique attempt to engage the public in creating, interpreting, and understanding the history of a deadly illness through the lives of Americans.

The forum will be held at the Wilson Center, Washington, DC, on July 13, from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

For the location and other details about the forum, please follow this link.

The project is currently in development. Viewers interested in learning more about this project can see the results of work done by Virginia Tech students who completed a history project on tuberculosis in Virginia in the spring 2015 semester. The results of their work can be seen at the Telling Victims’ Stories (link), the poster exhibit on display (link), and postings on Circulating Now, from the U S National Library of Medicine (link). For more information about this project, and future plans, please contact the project director, Tom Ewing.