Robin Henry

Volunteer History Commentator

Dr. Robin C. Henry holds a Ph.D. in U.S. history from Indiana University and is an associate professor in the history department at Wichita State University. Her research examines the intersections among sexuality, law, and regional identity in the 19th- and early 20th-century United States.

She is the author of the forthcoming book, Criminalizing Sex, Defining Sexuality: Sexual Regulation and Masculinity in the American West, 1850-1927, as well as numerous articles. Currently, she is working on her second book, The Progressives’ Lincoln: Reform and the Intellectual Life of Benjamin Barr Lindsey.

Ways to Connect

Seneca Falls.

New York.

July 1848.

Wesleyan Chapel.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Lucretia Mott.

"A convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of woman."

Quaker & Special Collections, Haverford College. Used with permission.

While most Americans place the abolitionist movement in the 19th century, the first North American protest against enslavement took place on February 18, 1688, in Germantown, Pennsylvania. 

Jimmy Emerson / Creative Commons

On Christmas Eve, 1913, striking families in Calumet, Michigan, gathered at the Italian Diner Hall for a party sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary of the Western Federation of Miners. 

http://www.suffragewagonnewschannel.com/

This commentary originally aired on November 28, 2017.  

On November 27th and 28th 1917, the federal government succumbed to public outcry and released the National Women’s Party picketers from the Occoquan Workhouse. The events leading up to this capitulation advanced discussion of women’s suffrage, but at great cost to members of the National Women’s Party.

dcwriterdawn / flickr Creative Commons

On Nov. 10, 1919, the U.S. Supreme Court decided its second First Amendment case in two weeks.

In Abrams v. U.S., the federal government asked the court to uphold the 1918 Amendment to Espionage Act of 1917, better known as the Sedition Act, which made it a criminal offense to suggest ending war-time production. In a 7-2 decision, the court upheld the Sedition Act, applied the two-week-old "clear and present danger" doctrine, and ignited a conversation on the limitations of free speech that extended through the rest of the 20th century.

pulitzercenter.org

In August, the United States observed the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved people kidnapped from West Africa and transported to the North America colonies. To observe this date, the New York Times, in partnership with the Pulitzer Center, published a 100-page edition of its Sunday magazine entitled “The 1619 Project.” 

This commentary originally aired on November 29, 2016.

The familiar verse “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” from Emma Lazarus’s 1883 poem “The New Colossus,” affirms many Americans’ belief that the United States is a nation of immigrants.

Win McNamee / Getty Images / npr.org

On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act. Considered one of the most effective pieces of federal legislation, this act secured nationwide minority voting rights. While previous legislation had attempted to do this, the sweeping infrastructure of federal oversight that developed through a series of “special provisions” differentiates this act.

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This month, we recognize the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. For many Americans, Stonewall is the beginning of the gay liberation and civil rights movements. But like many movements, the visible moments often rest on a foundation of small, but significant, social, political, and legal challenges.


On May 15, 1869, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton founded the National Woman Suffrage Association. While this would seem to have been cause for celebration, the NWSA resulted from a bitter divide between abolitionists and women’s rights activists over the 15th Amendment.

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