Established in 1982 at LaGuardia Community College/ CUNY with a mission to collect, preserve, and make available primary materials documenting the social and political history of New York City. We hold nearly 5,000 cubic feet of archival records and 3,200 reels of microfilm with almost 100,000 photographs and 2,000,000 documents available on our website.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Season's Greeting from the La Guardia and Wagner Archives

Steven A. Levine
Coordinator for Educational Programs

Mayor Ed Koch with Patti Lupone, 1980

In 1980 Mayor Ed Koch and Patti Lupone (winner of a Tony Award that year for the title role in Evita) celebrated the holidays by kissing during a Christmas tree lighting.  (See above.)  This is one of my favorite holiday photos available on the La Guardia and Wagner Archives website. You can see more by searching for them at http://www.laguardiawagnerarchive.lagcc.cuny.edu/   I found this one using "Christmas" as a keyword in a photo search. 

Wishing you all a Happy New Year.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Stinging Critique of College Athletics by the Eminent Historian John Hope Franklin

Steven A. Levine
Coordinator for Educational Programs

More than 20 years before the accusations of sexual assault and rape in the athletics programs of Syracuse and Penn State Universities, the eminent historian John Hope Franklin delivered a stinging critique of college athletics and their deleterious effects on higher education in a LaGuardia Lecture hosted by La Guardia Community College at the CUNY Graduate Center in 1989.  It is now available on the Featured page of the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives Website http://www.laguardiawagnerarchive.lagcc.cuny.edu/featured.aspx  and on You Tube http://www.youtube.com/user/lagarchivist?feature=g-all#p/u/42/3_GeAo3WzXQ 

You can also learn more about intercollegiate athletics on the Archives' Investing in Futures: Public Higher Education in American website. 
http://www.cuny.edu/site/cc/higher-education/intercollegiate-athletics.html and in The Chronicle of Higher Education commentaries called, "What the Hell Has Happened to College Sports? And What We Should Do About It?"http://chronicle.com/article/What-the-Hell-Has-Happened-to/130071/?sid=wb&utm_source=wb&utm_medium=en

Professor Franklin's words felt prescient to me and I wanted to share them with you. I hope you will take the time to consider the role and meaning of athletics in higher education and send us your comments.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Photo of Fiorello La Guardia with Isoroku Yamamoto, Architect of the Pearl Harbor Attack

Steven A. Levine
Coordinator for Educational Programs

 Major La Guardia poses with two other early aviation enthusiasts, Captain Poggi of the 
Italian Army and Captain Isoroku Yamamoto of the Japanese Navy at the Austro-Italian Front, 1918.

During World War I, Fiorello La Guardia left his seat in Congress to serve in the Eighth Aviation Center in Foggia, Italy.  While in Italy he met officers from other countries interested in aviation, including Isoroku Yamamoto, a Japanese naval attaché and later the architect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 70 years ago today.  (See photo above and attached.)

Ironically, as Ian W. Toll recounts in today’s New York Times Op-Ed, “A Reluctant Enemy,” Yamamoto had been an opponent of attacking the United States.  (See http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/07/opinion/a-reluctant-enemy.html?_r=1&ref=opinion) Before Pearl Harbor, he had traveled widely in the U.S. and Europe and based on his observations of the U.S. and its industrial might concluded that “Japan lacks the national power for a naval race with America.”   

The photo captures the chance encounter of two young men on divergent paths.  La Guardia was on his way to becoming the United States’ greatest mayor, while Yamamoto would become infamous for the attack on Pearl Harbor.  While we do not know what conversations La Guardia and Yamamoto had, one wonders if Yamamoto’s impressions of the brash, outspoken congressman from New York City added to his reluctance to attack the United States.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

AIDS Awareness Day Classroom Materials

Tara Jean Hickman
Educational Associate

In honor of World AIDS Awareness Day tomorrow, I would like to share primary documents useful for the classroom that look at the early stages of AIDS in New York City. 
            The attached PDF highlights two of my favorite documents in the Selected Documents from the Collection of Mayor Edward Koch Volume I: AIDS e-publication.  The first document from 1982 highlights the early confusion in the Health Department of a new “group of diseases reaching serious proportions in the homosexual male population.”  By 1985, as the second document shows, the controversial needle exchange program was introduced to combat the growing AIDS epidemic.  Encourage your students to think critically about the effectiveness of this program, outlining the pros and cons. These documents can also be found on our website in the Koch Collection Highlights: http://www.laguardiawagnerarchive.lagcc.cuny.edu/COLLECTIONS.aspx?ViwType=1&ColID=8
These historical documents can also be paired with the latest report from the United Nations agency in charge of the global fight against AIDS, from a November 27, 2011, New York Times editorial, Still Fighting Against AIDS: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/28/opinion/still-fighting-against-aids.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Still%20fighting%20aganist%20AIDS&st=cse .
         In addition to these documents, the La Guardia and Wagner Archives has a rich array of primary documents on New York City cultural and social issues.  If you have any further questions or would like to conduct research at the La Guardia and Wagner Archives, please contact me at:  (718) 482-5065 or thickman@lagcc.cuny.edu.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mayor La Guardia, Thanksgiving, 1942

Steven A. Levine

Coordinator for Educational Programs

On November 29, 1942, Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia described a Daily News cartoon by George Clark over WNYC radio about the feelings of Americans whose loved ones were overseas during World War II on Thanksgiving. (See below)  La Guardia read the caption of the cartoon.  As the mother prepares the Thanksgiving meal, she says to her husband, "He's a thousand miles from us today, but I cooked his favorite desserts anyway.  An American soldier can turn up mighty sudden and unexpected nowadays."  La Guardia told his audience that "Those were the thoughts of hundreds of thousands of fathers and mothers in our country on Thanksgiving Day.  May the boys soon come home, safe and victorious."  More than 65 years later, the feelings are the same for families with service men and women overseas as they await their return home.
Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving.

Excerpt from La Guardia Radio Speech, November, 29, 1942

Friday, November 18, 2011

Terry Parker Talks About the Integration of His North Carolina School in 1969

Steven A. Levine
Coordinator for Educational Programs

Terry Parker, Coordinator of Media Services at the LaGuardia Community College Library, was a high school student when desegregation came to East Spencer, North Carolina in 1969.  In this video (part of a longer piece), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0zgrmWCbto   Terry tells the story of how desegregation took place in his hometown, in what he calls "exciting, but turbulent times." 
Echoes of Terry's story can be found today in the unification of the predominantly African-American and poor Memphis, Tennessee school district with the surrounding white majority and mostly middle class suburban school districts.  Thirty six years after desegregation and white flight to the suburbs, similar issues of race and class continue to be an issue for both Memphis and our nation. See The New York Times  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/education/merger-of-memphis-and-county-school-districts-revives-challenges.html?ref=education
The 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision declared that "separate but equal" was "inherently unequal," but resistance to segregation in the U.S. was strong and it was not until the late 1960s and early 1970s that desegregation began in earnest.  To provide more background on the civil rights movement you can also use a lesson the La Guardia and Wagner Archives (with The New York Times in College) developed on Freedom Summer in our Let Freedom Ring curriculum.  http://www1.cuny.edu/portal_ur/content/freedom_curriculum/PDFs/09-1697_Let_Freedom_Ring_Less6_HM3.pdf  
Please contact me at slevine@lagcc.cuny.edu  if you have any questions about the video or the curriculum.