Updates from the Past

Getting To The Ball Field, With A Detour Through Cuba
By Caitlin Antonios

On Nov. 20, 1946, a letter arrived at a modest middle-class home in Prichard, Alabama. It was addressed to Mrs. Brumfield, the mother of Delores Brumfield, who was 14 years old. The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) letterhead decorated the top of the letter. Max Carey, president of the three-year-old league, had a proposal for Delores, a promising young batter and utility infielder/outfielder […]

Intelligent People Know
By Anuja Jaiswal

In the 1950s, Robert Moses – immortalized as the notorious “master builder” of New York City in Robert Caro’s groundbreaking biography The Power Broker– was involved in multiple urban renewal schemes throughout Manhattan. One of his biggest projects entailed tearing down a neighborhood near Lincoln Square – affectionately called San Juan Hill by its residents – to build the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. At least 7,000 families were pushed out of their homes […]

If You Knew, You Would Know
By Xiaofei Xu

In 1973, New York City’s first gay synagogue began to hold weekly Friday services, at a time when the gay liberation movement was new. The idea of a gay synagogue was unheard of for many people in the mainstream society. In 1975, it settled on a name: Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST). Its membership grew rapidly and in 1976 CBST moved to a bigger location on Bethune Street, in West Village.

When David Spegal first came to CBST, he was a 19-year-old student at New York University. He and his first husband, Arthur Strickler, were both active members of CBST. The following is an excerpt from an interview with Spegal []

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From The Archives: Beyond His Vision
By Aliya Schneider

Richard Leitsch was the president of Mattachine Society of New York from 1965 to 1969, and often, when writing to the New York Civil Liberties Union about the right to post signs, or to the U.S. Army requesting its policies regarding homosexuals, he would address his letters to “Gentlemen” and close with “Dick Leitsch,” or a swoopy “DL.” []

Who Were The Corsicans Gangsters Importing Heroin Into The United States – As Remembered By Ex-DEA Special Agent John Coleman
By Kyra Alessandrini

For decades, from the 1930s until the 1970s, the biggest supplier of heroin to the United States was an intensely secretive crime organization based on a Mediterranean island near Italy. No, not Sicily. Corsica.

Though just 56 miles from northern Italy, Corsica belongs to France, nearly twice as far away. The 200,000 inhabitants are known for their ongoing desire for independence from “the continent,” as they call French rule. The clear-blue-water beaches and maquis-covered mountains draw tourists from all over Europe each summer. But Corsica has another, lesser known industry: organized crime []

“That Coup Attempt Had More To Do With Desperation Than Anything Else”
By James Courtright

Banka Manneh came to the United States from the small West African country of The Gambia in 1995 to pursue his bachelor’s degree. He later became a naturalized American citizen, but remained a tireless activist within the Gambian diaspora seeking to rid his homeland of then-President Yahya Jammeh, who had ruled the country with an iron fist since 1994 []

Joseph Pulitzer, Nellie Bly, And Changing Attitudes Toward Public Health In 19th Century New York
By Jackie Hajdenberg

They didn’t have what I was looking for, exactly. The Rare Books and Manuscripts Library at Columbia University’s Butler Library supposedly had a collection of Joseph Pulitzer’s private papers []