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Hanford gives Tri-Cities a history like nowhere else. New WSU book series tell the tales

A new series of Tri-City area history books has launched with the story of the people whose homes, land and businesses were seized for a secret wartime project in 1943.

The Hanford History Project at Washington State University Tri-Cities is using the oral histories it’s recorded as the basis of books that will tell the unusual history of the region as shaped by the Hanford nuclear reservation.

The first book—“Nowhere to Remember—Hanford, White Bluffs, and Richland to 1943”—will be featured at a launch party 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the visitor center for the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, 2000 Logston Blvd., Richland.

Robert Franklin.
Robert Bauman.

The book, edited by WSU history faculty members Robert Bauman and Robert Franklin, was written to academic standards but uses oral histories to make the history more accessible.

Franklin covers the tight bonds among early residents, and Bauman tells the story of the removal of those who lived on the land.

Other writers relate the experiences of women who lived in the region in the early 20th century and look at transportation to root the local history in the larger context of the American West at the time. » More …

Tri-Citians paid for a bomber in WWII. The pilot’s son has returned with his memories

Enthusiasm for buying war bonds at Hanford was flagging in 1944.

Workers had migrated from across the nation to the dust-blown, barren Eastern Washington desert for a World War II project so secret they didn’t know what they were building.

From the paychecks they earned for long days of work, they were urged to buy war bonds—another sacrifice for the war.

Robert Franklin.

Workers were still buying bonds, but sales were dropping, said Robert Franklin, history instructor and archivist with the Washington State Tri-Cities’ Hanford History Project.

A new campaign rekindled their enthusiasm.

“Give a day’s pay and send a bomber on its way,” they were urged.

The 44,300 workers at the Hanford Engineering Works donated enough of their pay to cover the $300,000 cost of a B-17 Flying Fortress.

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Historic find by WSU professor, students marks subject of new documentary

Recent discoveries by a Washington State University history professor and his students may hold the key to an ongoing American West conflict.

Orlan Svingen.

After nearly 10 years of research, Professor Orlan Svingen, along with students and colleagues in the WSU public history field schools, unearthed a U.S. government document from 1870 and several supporting records that shed new light on conflicting claims about historical use and ownership of large swaths of southwestern Montana and northwestern Wyoming.

The revelations contradict some long-standing assumptions about the land and its previous and current inhabitants, and could dramatically reshape not only the historical record but the future of the land itself.

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WSU Insider
Challis Messenger

Ten years of painstaking archival detective work

Sue Peabody.

The seventh book by Sue Peabody, Meyer Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and History at WSU Vancouver, has been called “a meticulous work of archival detective work” and “both biography and global history at their very best.”

It took 10 years of painstaking research for Peabody to earn that high praise. The result is “Madeleine’s Children: Family, Freedom, Secrets, and Lies in France’s Indian Ocean Colonies,” published in 2017 by Oxford University Press. It is the first full-length biography tracing the lives of slaves in the Indian Ocean world, and it affirms her reputation as the world’s foremost expert on the law of slavery and race in the French Empire.

The narrative brings many dramatic moments to life as Peabody uncovers intimate relationships and legal disputes between slaves and free people in the Indian Ocean world that have been hidden for two centuries.

Peabody calls the book a “microhistory.” That is, it follows one family’s story to paint a broader picture of society in their time. The individual histories of family members illuminate the types of labor slaves performed and the varying nature of their relationships with society and plantation owners.

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WSU Insider

Group: Many Native students not counted

Tribal organization says students missing out on funding for education

A new organization in Clark County is pressing area school districts to improve identification and counting of Native American students and to reinstate funding for their educational programs.

The Pacific Northwest Center for Cultural Education is a group of tribal members and educators pushing to improve educational opportunities for American Indians and Alaskan Native children. The recently founded organization is still in the process of securing 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, but hopes to make inroads with area school districts this summer.

Steven Fountain.Steven Fountain, a Washington State University Vancouver professor of history and coordinator of Native American programs for the campus, is among those working with the organization.

“There’s a whole lot of kids who aren’t being served,” Fountain said. “That’s where this larger issue of the under-counting for our Native American community comes in.”

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The Columbian