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WSU-led Hanford history project reveals hardships in workers’ lives

Monte Stratton
Monte Stratton. Photo by Tri-City Herald.

Ask early Hanford workers what they remember about the 1940s, and you’re likely to hear a story about the wind and the dust it whipped up from a desert being scraped bare for new construction. Their stories are among several collected in recent months as part of the oral history project of the Hanford History Partnership, a community collaboration led by WSU Tri-Cities.

“There was a terminator wind, and there was probably 3 to 4 inches of sand blew into our front lawn,” remembered Harold Copeland, who started working at Hanford in 1947 and lived in worker housing in the government town of Richland. “The way they took care of it was the fire department came out with their tanker trucks and hoses and hosed it off our lawns.”

Read more about early Hanford workers

New insights into intelligence role in start of Pacific war

Recently uncovered documents about prewar Japanese intelligence that offer new insights to the World War II Pacific theater will be discussed in a free, public presentation on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at WSU Pullman. Tosh Minohara, professor in the Graduate School of Law at Kobe University, Japan, will present “Reconsidering the Road to Pearl Harbor: The Role of Intelligence in Decision Making,” noon-1:30 p.m., Sept. 25, in Bryan Hall 324.

His approach will be two-fold: first, to briefly overview the obscure history of the Japanese Black Chamber, a code breaking operation; and second, to examine the intelligence dimension of policy formulation in Tokyo. This will include the impact of signals intelligence on decision making, most notably at the critical juncture of November 1941 during U.S.-Japan negotiations. The talk is sponsored by the WSU Department of History, the George and Bernadine Converse Historical Endowment, and the WSU Asia Program.

Read more about the presentation

March changed lives of former WSU employees

We were there …

Elaine Zakarison, Pullman resident and daughter of Fred Yoder, founder of the sociology department, and LeRoy Ashby, retired history professor, are among members of the WSU community who have special memories of attending the March on Washington (D.C.) in 1963, when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.

Read the article and find related stories at WSUNews

Text corrected 9:35am 8/30/2013

Exhibit showcases key role of unions in shaping Clark County

Laurie Mercier
Laurie Mercier

History Professor Laurie Mercier (WSU Vancouver) specializes in labor issues and says the growing disconnect between unions and the public is apparent in her classrooms.

Working with students, she’s developed about a dozen narrative and photo panels displayed in a new exhibit at Clark County Historical Museum.

Read more and see historical photos

No Changes for King Richard III — for now

Do-gooder or scoundrel – in the wake of the early February announcement that the skeleton found beneath a parking lot in central England is that of King Richard III, how much does it matter? After all, he reigned for only two years and died more than a half-millennium ago at the age of 32.

There’s also the question of how much a long-buried skeleton can tell us about the person’s actions and behaviors back in the 15th century, said Jesse Spohnholz, associate professor of European history. “While the bones confirm that he suffered wounds in battle and also resolve the puzzle of where he was buried, they are silent when it comes to telling us how he reigned.”

Read more about the debate >>