President Woodrow Wilson attended a White House screening of D. W. Griffith’s new film, The Birth of a Nation. The film, based on the novel The Clansman by Thomas Dixon, celebrated the Ku Klux Klan and presented racist portrayals of African Americans. Wilson reportedly called the film “terribly true.” Fervor created by the film contributed to race riots and violence against African Americans throughout the nation, as well as the revival of the Ku Klux Klan.
President Herbert Hoover signed Public Law 823, declaring, “the composition consisting of the words and music known as ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ is designated the national anthem of the United States of America.”
The United States Committee on Public Information, also known as the Creel Committee, was an agency headed by progressive journalist George Creel during World War I. The committee directed the government’s propaganda effort, encouraging public support for the war through pro-war films and publications and the recruitment of volunteer patriotic speakers.
The Beats (beatniks) were a group of American writers and artists. In the 1950s they rejected conformity, materialism, and many traditional values in favor of expression and experimentation. Beats included writers and poets such as Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and William S. Burroughs.
Marc Dolan, an English and American Studies scholar at John Jay College, City University of New York (CUNY), discusses his new book, Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock ’n’ Roll (W.W. Norton, 2012).
After the Civil War, the United States government commissioned several surveys of the American West. Photography was widely used to document the region's unusual geography, and it was this visual evidence that spurred Congress to create the national park system.