I’m trying something new because I’m American and tradition is boring we are made to think/believe/made to think is make believe. Everyday on my Instagram (@amandarivkin) I am posting a new image from my archive that is paired with a bit of “on this day in world history”. It’s how I’m taking it to the streets, building the ol’ personal brand, sharing my love of history, and finding meaning in my own work. It’s only a few days old but already we’ve been to Davenport, Iowa; Baku, Azerbaijan; Reyhanli, Turkey and today Spotsylvania, Virginia. Czech it out!
In this image from my archive, witness Connie Fuller, 39, takes a picture of Rock Island, Illinois couple (l-r) Curtis Harris, 50, and Daren Adkisson, 39, after they picked up their marriage license first thing in the morning at the Scott County Recorder’s Office the first day same sex weddings are legal across Iowa in Davenport, Iowa on April 27, 2009. In the years since I took this picture, I’ve stayed in touch with the gentlemen and learned that after this picture of them appeared several times in @nytimes and hundreds of newspapers across America, Curtis became the first employee of the Kraft Food Company to receive health benefits for his same-sex partner after he was summoned to human resources at the plant where he worked and was informed Daren was eligible for coverage. At the time, Daren had cancer and is alive today thanks to the generous benefits and a chance reencounter with a cousin in another state who saw the picture and who connected him to one of the best cancer doctors for treatment.
On this day, May 10, Heydar Aliyev, the “national leader” of Azerbaijan and father of the current president, Ilham Aliyev, was born in 1923. If the old man were alive today, he would be 92, but he died in 2003 at the Cleveland Clinic, officially after his son was elected president. The day is commemorated in Azerbaijan as “Flower Day,” which was a tactic employed by the CHP, Turkey’s Republican People’s Party, following the death of Atatürk to bring Atatürk’s birthday gradually to the level of national holiday, which is celebrated May 19 as a commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day in Turkey.
A young girl touches a framed portrait of Heydar Aliyev made of carpet on display but not for sale at a concession stand during Novruz in the old city of Baku, Azerbaijan on March 20, 2012.
On May 11, 2013, two car bombs detonated in the town of Reyhanli on the Turkish-Syrian border, killing 43 in the town just a stones throw from the chaos of the Syrian civil war.
Pictured here, Syrian refugee children play in a junkyard of old, abandoned and destroyed vehicles at the entrance to the Reyhanli tent city in Reyhanli, Turkey on February 26, 2012.
On May 12, 1864, this was the site of some of the most intense fighting in the American Civil War during the Battle of Spotsylvania in Spotsylvania, Virginia, the second major battle in Lt Gen Ulysses S. Grant’s Overland Campaign. On May 12, Grant ordered 15,000 soldiers to attack the Confederates and the result involved almost 24 hours of intense combat with close contact and defeat.
Pictured here retired US Army General Montgomery Meigs indicates the physical structure of the trenches during what is known as a “Staff Ride” (a tour of former battle sites) when I was in graduate school for security studies at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service on September 26, 2009. Meigs is the great-great-great-grandnephew of Montgomery C. Meigs, a Quartermaster General who served the Union in the US Army during and after the American Civil War; Meigs served in Vietnam, during the Persian Gulf War and the US intervention in Bosnia.
And if you live a connected life, you know the routine by now: share, like, follow, eat, pray (or not), love.