history in the making
August 26, 2020

The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted women the right to vote. Well, at least white women.

That's a fact Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), the Democratic vice presidential nominee, made clear on Wednesday, the 100th anniversary of the amendment's ratification. And while it showed "extraordinary progress" toward ensuring all people are "equal participants in our democracy," "it is also a reminder that there has never truly been universal suffrage in America," Harris wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post.

"Courageous American women had been organizing and protesting for seven decades to be treated as equal participants in our democracy" before the 19th amendment was ratified, Harris wrote. But "it would be another 45 years until the Voting Rights Act protected the voting rights of millions more voters of color — and an additional 10 years until Latinas and Indigenous women were no longer subject to literacy tests," Harris continued. "In fact, if I had been alive in 1920, I might not have been allowed to cast a ballot alongside white women," Harris went on.

Even today, barriers remain that stop many people, mainly people of color, from voting. That's why "we need to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, support automatic and same-day voter registration and help fund secure state voting systems," Harris continued. She went on to spell out how "Republicans are also spending millions on every scare tactic and trick in the book" to stop that from happening and to slow voter turnout in this presidential election. Read more from Harris at The Washington Post. Kathryn Krawczyk

August 11, 2020

History has its eyes on Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) — in more ways than one.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, announced Harris as his pick to hold the position he once held under former president Barack Obama on Tuesday.

The former California attorney general is rightly being recognized as the first Black woman to sit on a major political party's national ticket, but the historic nature of Harris' position contains multitudes.

To start, Harris is the first person with Indian heritage to run on a national presidential ticket. Her late mother was born in India, and Harris has credited her maternal grandfather, a former Indian diplomat, with helping her to appreciate the "importance of democracy and a government that represents the people — all the people,” Politico reports.

Harris's nomination also marks the first time a major nominee has graduated from an HBCU, a.k.a Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Harris graduated from Howard University in 1986, receiving her B.A. after studying political science and economics.

Howard University president Wayne A.I. Frederick released a statement saying the senator's nomination "represents a milestone opportunity for our democracy to acknowledge the leadership Black women have always exhibited, but has too often been ignored.”

Harris went on to attend the University of California, Hastings where she received her J.D., making this the first time in over 35 years the Democratic ticket consists of two people who did not attend an Ivy League school.

If Harris and Biden succeed in ousting President Trump from office, Harris will also hold the honor of being the first female and the first Asian American to be elected to national office, but we'll save that conversation for another day. Marianne Dodson

December 18, 2018

Presidential historian Jon Meacham says former President Richard Nixon's Watergate scandal looks a bit like what's happening today.

Meacham, who has written biographies on Thomas Jefferson and eulogized former President George H. W. Bush earlier this month, brought some historical context to MSNBC's Morning Joe Tuesday morning. He described how Nixon's downfall coincided with an ongoing investigation and falling markets — much like what President Trump is seeing right now.

In the two-year fallout after 1972's Watergate break-in, Nixon started out claiming he was "not a crook" — something that "would've fit on Twitter," Meacham noted. From there, the economy began "souring," Meacham said, suggesting the markets could be a "barometer of what's going to happen to President Trump."

Then, Meacham brought the conversation into the present day by discussing Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election in favor of Trump. "If in fact Donald Trump knew about" these efforts, that raises the "live question" of whether these actions fit "the definition of treason in the Constitution," Meacham explained. It all makes for an "existential Constitutional crisis" in which a president could be an "agent of a foreign power," Meacham added.

Watch all of Meacham's conversation with MSNBC's Joe Scarborough below. Kathryn Krawczyk

May 6, 2016

London is poised to welcome its first-ever Muslim mayor to office Friday. While the votes are still being counted from England's "Super Thursday" races, Labour Party candidate Sadiq Khan is currently projected to win the contest. Khan, the son of a Pakistani bus driver and seamstress, has 44 percent of the vote, while the Conservative Party's Zac Goldsmith has 35 percent.

Khan's win would offer a powerful voice to Britain's Pakistani community, as well as a larger challenge to the increasingly prevalent anti-Muslim rhetoric in the West. Final results are expected to be announced later Friday. Becca Stanek

April 10, 2016

With a victory in San Antonio on Sunday night, the Golden State Warriors earned their 72nd win, tying the record held by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls for most wins in a season.

The Warriors defeated the Spurs 92-86, led by Stephen Curry with 37 points. The last time the Warriors beat the Spurs in San Antonio was Feb. 14, 1997, and before their loss on Sunday, the Spurs had won 48 consecutive regular season games at home. The Warriors will play the Memphis Grizzlies at home on Wednesday in their final game of the season. If the Warriors win, they'll finish 73-9, and break the Bulls' record. Catherine Garcia

March 22, 2016

The Tampa Bay Rays have become the first MLB team to travel to Cuba for an exhibition game since the Baltimore Orioles made the crossing in 1999. With Cuban President Raúl Castro and President Obama in attendance, the historic game against the Cuban National Team kicked off at the Estadio LatinoAmericano in Havana on Tuesday.

"During a time of historic change, we appreciate the constructive role afforded by our shared passion for the game, and we look forward to experiencing Cuba's storied baseball tradition and the passion of its many loyal fans," MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said earlier in March, SB Nation reports.

Take a look at history in the making below, or watch it unfold live over at ESPN. Jeva Lange

March 21, 2016

When Alfonso "Ponchie" Gonzales finishes his last credit at the University of Southern California, the 96-year-old World War II veteran will become the oldest graduate in school history.

Gonzales was born on Jan. 23, 1920, when USC had only been in existence for 40 years. After graduating from Redondo High School in 1939, he joined the military, serving in the Marines in Okinawa during World War II. In 1947, the Southern California native transferred from Compton Junior College to USC, and later went on to run his own successful landscaping business, using valuable skills he learned at the university.

Gonzales' family made a surprising discovery decades later when they looked into getting his diploma to frame on the wall. "I thought all I had to do was go over there and pick up my diploma," he told ABC 7. "But I was one unit short, they told me." Working with school officials, Gonzales got to work finishing up his final credit, joking, "I'll go through what they want me to. I'm only 96." It was fun to make history, Pinchas Cohen, the dean of USC's School of Gerontology, said. "We would do whatever it takes to reach this goal," he told ABC 7. "He is a special student and we are all delighted to have him here." Catherine Garcia

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