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

On October 16, 1916, Margaret Sanger opened her first birth control clinic in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. The clinic distributed birth control and advice and information on birth control and sexual health. Just ten days later, Sanger and her coworkers were arrested in violation of the federal Comstock Act and in defiance of Section 1142 of the New York Penal Code. Both of these laws classified birth control information as obscene and forbade distribution of information or birth control devices in person and through the mail.

On September 12, 1958, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld that states are bound by the court’s decisions and must enforce them, even if the states disagree. This decision in Cooper v. Aaron followed four years after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision that ordered public schools desegregated.

On July 24th 1959, U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev took the Cold War into the kitchen. Later referred to as the Kitchen Debate, the heated conversation took place in the American exhibition in Moscow, at the U.S.-Soviet Cultural Agreement, a program of mutual, cultural exchange meant to promote understanding and friendship between the two nations. 

Every June, I leave Wichita to score US AP History exams for seven days. In a digital age, this is a thoroughly analogue event. This year, more than 450,000 high school students took the four-hour exam and produced more than 2.5 million essays. These essays are handwritten, with words and phrases scratched out and arrows directing you to where the “real” second paragraph can found on page four.

This commentary originally aired on March 8, 2016.

On May 10, 1840, Elizabeth Cady married abolitionist Henry Stanton. For the presiding pastor, the unconventional wedding day, a Friday, was not the most shocking part of their wedding ceremony. Rejecting Protestant tradition, Elizabeth Cady omitted the vow binding her “to obey” her husband.

On April 17th 1905, the US Supreme Court held, in a 5-4 decision, that maximum hours laws violated the 14th Amendment and an individual’s right to contract. The New York state legislature had passed the Bakeshop Act in 1895 that restricted bakery employees to 10-hour workdays and 60-hour workweeks. 

March 8 is International Women’s Day, and this year’s theme is “The Time is Now.” First organized in the United States by the Socialist Party of America in 1909, International Women’s Day quickly grew into a truly international celebration of women’s activism toward equal rights and peace.

In 1973, the US Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade legalized abortion. However, the abortion laws that Roe negated were relatively new. 

ensh / Flickr / Creative Commons

This commentary originally aired on December 30, 2014.

The meaning of the words justice served relies on the social, political and legal contexts in which it is applied.

http://www.suffragewagonnewschannel.com/

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.

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