Transatlantic Cable

Lead: The first transatlantic telegraph linked Europe with North America in 1858. It quickly failed, but the prospect of near instant intercontinental communication was an idea that would not be allowed to die.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: The problem was primitive technology: cable construction, transmission equipment and laying apparatus. After the brief exchange between Queen Victoria and U.S. President James Buchanan in 1858, massive celebrations on both sides of the Atlantic heralded a new day in communications. The new day lasted 271 messages before the 1858 submarine cable sputtered out. Suddenly the temporarily cowed skeptics were in full cry and potential investment began to dry up. This did not discourage cable advocates, Charles Bright, William Thompson Fleeming Jenkins and New York businessman Cyrus Field. For them the expeditions of the 1850s served as laboratories from which they learned things about the infant science of electricity, submarine cable design and cable laying. They went back to work and by 1861, the Atlantic Telegraph Company and the British Board of Trade had produced an analysis of previous failures and a plan that led to success. More importantly, experience had convinced the government in London that submarine telegraphy would smooth governance of a vast Empire.

Read more →

Spanish Cultural Diversity I

Lead: After the death of in 1975 Francisco Franco and the coming of democracy, Spain set out to deal with its rich cultural diversity. It was a complex task, centuries overdue.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: From the outside, a casual observer might be forgiven if they did not recognize that modern Spain is a rich tapestry of cultural variety. Spain’s geographical proximity to Africa, a scant 20 miles across the Straits of Gibraltar, and its long northern border with France and the rest of Europe, have made it an ethnic land bridge, a magnet for different cultures, religions and peoples since long before the Roman Empire. The Greeks came, Phoenicians and Carthaginians, Visigoths and other Germanic tribes swirled into the void left by a collapsing Rome and then in the eighth century, crusading Arabs and Berbers from Africa brought evangelical Islam at the point of a sword. Then, for over seven centuries, Spain became one of the violent frontiers between Christian Europe and the Islamic culture to the south.

Fulton’s Folly – Part II

Lead: On August 17, 1807, Robert Fulton, in a thirty-two-hour experimental excursion, ushered in of a new era of transportation. Steam power took to water.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: Fulton, artist, inventor and engineer, directed the construction of a steamboat he had conceived while previously living in Paris, working there on canal and submarine designs. It was in the French capital that Fulton met the American minister to Napoleon’s government, Robert Livingston a wealthy and aristocratic New York businessman. Livingston contracted with Fulton to design a commercial steamboat for use on the Hudson River. Although his was not the first steamboat, Fulton demonstrated conclusively this means of propulsion was a much needed and practical form of transportation.

Read more →

Fulton’s Folly – Part I

Lead: On August 17, 1807, from the shoreline of the Hudson River, spectators witnessed a shocking sight. There in the river was a mechanical monster spewing flames and smoke. It was Mr. Fulton’s Folly.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: Robert Fulton’s first steamboat ushered in a new era of transportation and industrialization. The North River Steamboat of Clermont, later simply referred to as Clermont, was named after the early Dutch name for the Hudson River. Clermont was the hometown of Fulton’s partner and financier, Robert Livingston, prominent New York lawyer, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and former minister to France.

Read more →

Luncheon Racism – Part I

Lead: In early February 1960, the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, became a powerful symbol the in the fight against racial segregation in the American south.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: Late in the afternoon on February 1st, four students from North Carolina Agriculture and Technical College – Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil, Ezell Blair and David Richmond - staged a “sit in.” Three of the four were freshmen, all still teenagers, were respectfully dressed in coats and ties, and one, ROTC student Franklin McCain, was still in uniform. Carrying their schoolbooks, the students entered the Woolworth’s on South Elm Street and purchased a few school supplies, and then proceeded to the “whites only” lunch counter where they sat down and politely asked for service which as they anticipated, was denied. One of the students later told the UPI, “We believe, since we buy books and papers in the other part of the store, we should get served in this part.”

Read more →

Western Virginia Secedes from Virginia – II

Lead: In June 1863, West Virginia, having seceded from Confederate Virginia, became the thirty-fifth state in the Federal Union of the United States of America.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: By the onset of the Civil War, major tension had developed between the eastern region of Virginia (east of the Alleghenies) and the west counties on the other side of the mountains. As sectionalism between the north and the south led to war, sectionalism in Virginia reached a crescendo. In the Commonwealth, before the Civil War, political and economic power lay in the east in the tidewater and piedmont regions where wealthy landowners had grown dependent on slave labor to work their plantations. In contrast, western Virginia was a land of frontiersmen and immigrants who cleared their own land and worked small farms.

Read more →

Western Virginia Secedes from Virginia- I

Lead: In 1863, during the Civil War, the western counties of Confederate Virginia, after decades of dissatisfaction, seceded from the Commonwealth to form a new state as part of the Federal Union.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: Following the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, eleven states, including Virginia, seceded from the Union. Most of the Virginia population west of the Appalachians opposed secession. Wealthy plantation owners, dependent on slave labor, dominated the eastern tidewater region and southside Virginia. The western part of the state, the trans-Allegheny region, was populated by frontiersmen and late-arriving immigrants from Scotland, Germany, Ireland and Wales. They raised their own livestock and farmed land they had cleared with their own hands. Comparatively few slaves or slaveholders could be found in the west.

Read more →

Food and Drug Administration

Lead: One important agent in America’s defense against contaminated food, ineffective or dangerous drugs or fraudulent product claims is the Food and Drug Administration.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: Until the 20th century, most people in the United States grew up on farms or in the small towns of rural America. Most of the food or medical remedies there consumed were prepared and concocted at home or bought close to home. If you did not make your own, you usually knew the person who did make it. Food was raised or cured fresh and either eaten on the spot, canned for the basement, or stored in the smokehouse. Home remedies were fashioned from herbs and roots from adjacent fields. Neighborliness, community discipline and face-to-face bargaining usually prevented outright fraud.

Read more →