Author Archives: Fred Zilian

Zora Neale Hurston: Harlem Renaissance Writer

(Note: This essay was originally published in the Newport Daily News on November 16, 2020, and at the History News Network on November 22, 2020.) Against the strong headwinds of racism and resistance against women’s rights, Zora Neale Hurston forged … Continue reading

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Battle of Salamis Opens Door for Ancient Greece’s Golden Age

(Note: This essay was originally published in the Newport Daily News on October 5, 2020, and at the History News Network on October 11, 2020.) Twenty-five hundred years ago in the Battle of Salamis, the ancient Greeks defeated the invading … Continue reading

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In Removing Confederate Symbols, US Military Follows German Military’s Example

(Note: This essay was originally published by the History News Network on August 23, 2020.) By moving to eliminate all Confederate names on military installations and banning the display of the Confederate flag, the U.S. military is following the example … Continue reading

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A Conversation with Carl Sagan, Part III: Disarmament

(Note: Forty years ago I exchanged letters with Carl Sagan. In his letter, he asked me two questions. The first focused on how we might move people to think more in terms of the interests of the “human species as … Continue reading

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Alice Paul and the Silent Sentinels Spearheaded Suffrage Campaign

(This essay is the first in a series on Famous Women. It was originally published by the Newport Daily News on August 29, 2020. ) I am always stunned by the fact that, until one hundred years ago and only … Continue reading

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World War Two Ends with Great Impacts on US

(This essay was originally published by the Newport Daily News on August 14, 2020.) Seventy-five years ago today, Japan surrendered unconditionally to the Allies, ending World War II. In 1984, historian, actor, and broadcaster Studs Terkel published an oral history … Continue reading

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A Conversation with Carl Sagan, Part II: Nationalism over Liberalism

(Note: Forty years ago this month, I finished reading Carl Sagan’s book, “The Dragons of Eden.” I wrote him a long letter. He wrote back and asked me two questions. The first: “What would be necessary to make the reader … Continue reading

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A Conversation with Carl Sagan, Part I: Wonder and Theory

(Note: This essay was originally published by the Newport Daily News on July 25, 2020.) Forty years ago this month, I had just finished reading Carl Sagan’s book, “The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence,” a … Continue reading

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Slavery Today

(Note: This essay was originally published on June 27, 2020, by the Newport Daily News. It is the 10th and final essay in the series: Slavery in Rhode Island. For the complete series, go to http://www.zilianblog.com) To many Americans the … Continue reading

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A Reflection on Marriage and the Family

(Note: An abridged version of this essay was published by the Newport Daily News on June 13, 2020.) Fifty years ago this weekend, my wife, Geri, and I were married on a sun-drenched day at the Catholic church at West … Continue reading

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