MANSFIELD, PA – The “Tough Stuff” of American History: Interpreting Controversial History in America’s National Parks, will be presented on Wednesday, October 9, at 6:00 p.m. in Allen Hall. The event is free and open to the public. Todd Arrington ’94 , the Site Manager of James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor, Ohio, will deliver the presentation.
What jumps to mind when you hear the term “national park”? Beautiful scenery? Majestic wildlife? Wilderness camping and hiking? These are all quintessential national park experiences at places like Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon. But the National Park Service also administers many historic sites, and not all of them deal with triumphant stories of Founding Fathers and battlefield victories. Many of these sites interpret episodes in American history that are tragic, violent, controversial, and sometimes downright ugly. The presentation will delve into the stories behind some of the difficult history studied and interpreted in your national parks.
Todd Arrington is a Mansfield University graduate, earning his B.A. in History in 1994. He is a veteran of the United States Army and holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2012). He also has an M.A. in history from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania (1999). He is the Site Manager of James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor, Ohio, where he is responsible for all aspects of the National Park Service’s operation of the site. This includes interpretation, special events, partnerships, maintenance, budget, planning, and more. As a career National Park Service historian and park ranger, he has also worked at Homestead National Monument of America in Nebraska and Gettysburg National Military Park & Eisenhower National Historic Site, both in Pennsylvania.
Arrington has been published many times on subjects related to the American Civil War, the early Republican Party, the Reconstruction era, and America’s westward expansion. His essay “Industry and Economy during the Civil War” was published in The Civil War Remembered, the National Park Service’s official handbook commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. He writes for the popular history blogs We’re History and Emerging Civil War, and his book ‘The Triumphs of Liberty and Law’: The Presidential Election of 1880 will be published in 2020 by the University Press of Kansas. In discussing relevant history and National Park Service news and events, he has spoken at dozens of academic conferences and appeared on PBS, C-SPAN, numerous television and radio news programs, Radio Free Europe, and National Public Radio. He appeared in the PBS American Experience documentary Murder of a President about James A. Garfield. The film aired nationally in early 2016.
Arrington has taught history and humanities courses at several northeast Ohio colleges, including Lake Erie College, John Carroll University, Lorain County Community College, and Lakeland Community College. He is a member of the Organization of American Historians and the Northeast Ohio Civil War Round Table.
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