Stephen Ramseur Witnesses the Death of the Wooden Navy

Lead: On two days in 1862, Steven Ramseur witnessed the death of the wooden Navy.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Ramseur was a 24-year-old major of artillery who in his service with the Confederacy rose to the rank of major general, the youngest West Pointer to receive that rank in Confederate service. He happened to be in Norfolk on court-martial duty in March 1862 on the day the CSS Virginia went out to attack the northern blockade fleet. Three days later he sat down to write his brother-in-law and describe the exciting battle. What he witnessed was no less than the transformation of naval warfare.

Read more →

U.S. Supreme Court Deals with School Prayer

Lead: In 1962, the Supreme Court of the United States ignited a firestorm of controversy when it abolished officially endorsed prayer in the public schools.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: The prayer in question was that sponsored by the New York Board of Regents. It was not mandated but made available to local school boards. Some required their teachers to use it, others did not. It read, "Almighty God, We acknowledge our dependence upon thee, and we beg thy blessing upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our country." The prayer itself was rather innocuous; little more than tipping one's hat in God's direction. Any religious sentiment expressed was only of the palest variety. It was a pretty artless attempt at compromise between those who would not imagine something as important as the public schools without a reference to the Deity on one hand and those who would insisted that the presence of such a prayer was an unconstitutional establishment of religion.

Read more →

Scopes Monkey Trial III

Lead: In the hot summer of 1925 the State of Tennessee prosecuted John Thomas Scopes for teaching the theory of evolution.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: While a believer in evolution, Scopes merely made his students aware of Darwin's theory in the run-up to their end-of-the-year examinations. At stake was the constitutionality of the Butler Act, Tennessee's statute outlawing teaching anything contrary to the Bible.

Scopes Monkey Trial II

Lead: In the summer of 1925, in Dayton, Tennessee, William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow met in legal conflict during the trial of John Thomas Scopes. Their clash was as much cultural as it was legal.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Scopes agreed to be the defendant in a case testing the constitutionality of the Butler Act which was Tennessee's attempt to prevent teaching of ideas in the public schools thought to be in conflict with the Bible. The prosecution invited William Jennings Bryan to lead its team. John Scopes accepted the help of Clarence Darrow in the defense.

Scopes Monkey Trial I

Lead: In the summer of 1925, in Dayton, a small mining town in Eastern Tennessee, a teacher of high school biology was brought to trial for teaching the theory of evolution.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: On a sunny May afternoon, John Thomas Scopes, a popular twenty-five year old biology teacher, was playing tennis with some of his students. At the end of the game he noticed a small boy obviously waiting for him at courtside. The youngster had a message. His presence was requested at Fred Robinson's drugstore. There he found several of the town's leading citizens and they had a proposition. A recent issue of the Chattanooga News contained an offer by the American Civil Liberties Union to pay the expenses of anyone willing to test the constitutionality of the Butler Act. Robinson and Sue Hicks wanted to know if Scopes would let himself become the legal guinea pig in a case testing the legality of the Act.

New York City’s First Subway

Lead: New York needed a subway. Alfred Beach was ready to supply it.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By 1870 the need to move people quickly around the City of New York was apparent to all. The streets were clogged with pedestrians and horse-drawn vehicles and the steam and smoke put out by locomotives. Alfred Ley Beach, editor of the Scientific American and an inventor in his own right, had been experimenting with pneumatic propul-sion, the use of air pressure to force a cylinder through a tightly sealed tube.

Malcolm MacLean: Container King

Lead: The Ideal X moved out into the current from its birth in Port Newark, New Jersey. For Malcom MacLean it was a dream realized.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Malcom MacLean was a trucker. His first truck went on the road in 1931. Years of hard work and innovation enlarged that truck into a fleet of many hundreds. As the decades passed, MacLean grew adept at devising ways of getting around transportation bottlenecks. One of the most severe impediments to the shipment of goods was at the point where products were changed from one mode of transportation to another: from wagon to railroad, from railroad to barge, from barge to truck, from truck to ship.

Read more →

American Revolution: Letters from a Pennsylvania Farmer III

Lead: In the 1700s the United States broke from England. No colony in history had done that before. This series examines America’s Revolution.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: In 1767 Philadelphia lawyer John Dickinson began a series of essays decrying the Townshend taxes on lead, glass, paper, and tea passed by Parliament not long after it repealed the Stamp Tax. The essays were published in serial form in newspapers all across America and were called Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania (1767-1768). He was clear that he opposed the tax scheme because of its violation of the British Constitution’s prohibition of taxing people not represented in Parliament, but he did it such a mild, gentle, submissive fashion that it failed to spark a plan of action though it did probably provide some level of satisfaction to Americans already weary of the continuing conflict between Britain and its North American colonies.

Read more →