[Flash Forward] POWER: 1919 (Episode 100!)

POWER: 1919 (Episode 100!)

19/11/2019 by Rose Eveleth

Web player: https://podplayer.net/?id=87368947
Episode: https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/traffic.megaphone.fm/FLASH7519335046.mp3

It’s the 100th episode!!!!!! To mix things up, today we’re traveling to the 1919 to see how three different events shaped the last 100 years, and will continue to shape the future.
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Guests: Cathleen D. Cahill, professor of history at Penn State University Adam Green, professor of history at the University of Chicago Virginia Scharff, professor of history at the University of New Mexico
→ → → Further reading on today’s episode can be found here ← ← ← Actors: Monica Byrne (motor convoy) Tamara Krinsky (suffrage) James T. Green (prohibition) Michael Resweber (Chicago riot)
Content Notes: [27:00 – 38:53 ]: Discussion of racism and hate crimes
Music Notes: Swing Low, Sweet Chariot — Tuskegee Institute Singers Baby Won’t You Please Come Home — Ted Lewis Daughters of Freedom — Edwin Christie Every Day Will Be Sunday When the Town Goes Dry — Edward Meeker Steal Away — Tuskegee Institute Singers
Flash Forward is produced by me, Rose Eveleth. The intro music is by Asura and the outtro music is by Hussalonia. The episode art is by Matt Lubchansky. Special thanks to everybody who’s ever listened to the show! And extra special thanks to Annalee Newitz, Robert Brenner, Quinn Heraty and Amanda McLaughlin. Get in touch: Twitter // Facebook // Reddit // info@flashforwardpod.com Support the show: Patreon // Donorbox Subscribe: iTunes // Soundcloud // Spotify Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Listen Date: 2020-01-31


  • For the 100th episode, Flash Forward went into the past instead of the future. Well, why not.
  • It did three topics in the main episode: women’s suffrage in the USA, the Chicago race riots, and the Motor Transport Corps Convoy, and prohibition in the bonus Patreon episode.
  • It draws a line between the 1919 Chicago race riots and electric cars for women to suburbanisation and white flight; and I’m, eh, fair enough, but I dislike these monocausal narratives.
  • Heard the fascinating story of Mabel Lee, the Chinese woman who was placed at the head of the Suffragist Parade to shame people by pointing out that backwards China had women’s suffrage and the USA didn’t. Using racism for good instead of evil, how awesome. And towards the end of the episode, learned that it was pointless for Mabel Lee personally because she never got to become an American citizen.
  • And on the lines of using racism for good instead of evil, Hispanic women were fighting for suffrage and the rights of Hispanics in general by going ‘We’re the descendants of Spanish colonists, we are as entitled as you white folks.’ That’s very… Bhagat Singh Thind-ish.
  • Mabel Lee got an econ PhD from Columbia. I wonder if she was Dr BR Ambedkar’s contemporary.
  • Interesting learning: electric cars in the 1910s had extremely limited range and durability, so they were marketed to women drivers, with the pitch that they wouldn’t be leaving metalled roads or going further than the shops anyway.
  • And I learned about the Motor Transport Convoy – the US Army’s mission to do a transcontinental drive, that Eisenhower was a young soldier on the convoy, and this may have inspired him to build the Interstate Highway system. Woah.
  • The bonus episode talks about how the Prohibition movement is the spiritual (heh!) ancestor of the War on Drugs and the police state, so I’m adding this to my to-read list: The War on Alcohol.
  • As to the stories of Prohibition being a wacky experiment at best, Deborah Blum’s The Poisoner’s Handbook shows just how horrific it was in its impact.
  • I wonder if the whole Catholic / urban / rural / Protestant fights over Prohibition, and which side Al Smith was on, was touched upon in Blum’s book, or if I read it somewhere else. I need to refresh my memory for sure.


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