Bringing the Present Up To the Past

At the annual membership meeting on September 29 (6:00 p.m. at the Browder Springs Hall) we are going to do more than  the usual ceremonial business meeting    We are going to have a great little history program as well, one that will “bring the present up to the past.”


Do you ever listen to BackStory with the American History Guys?  What I love about this show are the lively and accessible historical discussions that lend perspective to today’s issues.


At our annual meeting we will have our own version of BackStory.  We have lined up three  Dallas historians to discuss how Dallas has faced adversity in the past.   Specifically, I have asked them to address this topic:  given the economic and political turmoil that we have experienced in the past few years, many Americans are convinced that we have never experienced such terrible times before. But actually, we have— far worse.   Dallas, of course, has had its own periods of crisis, in addition to those affecting the rest of the nation.   Are there any historical parallels with our present dilemmas, anything that might help put our own troubles into perspective?


 I had lunch yesterday with our three historians, Mike Hazel, Darwin Payne, and Tom Smith, and I asked them to comment on my supposition.   Tom Smith has written about the effects of the Civil War and Reconstruction on Dallas; Mike Hazel has closely studied Dallas’s “Great Flood” and the City’s response to that devastation; and Darwin Payne actually covered the Kennedy Assassination as a young reporter.


Together these three historians represent well over a century of accumulated study and knowledge.  Want to know how they answered me?  Come next Thursday night at 6:00, enjoy some wine and appetizers, sit through a brief business meeting, and then hear what our panel has to say.

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