There are some moments in history that become powerful touchstones, revisited to reflect and inform a better understanding of the present day. The Russell Library has developed a periodic exhibit series, Now and Then, to revisit pivotal years in modern American history.
1979 was the year of the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster and the controversial SALT-II treaty negotiations with the Soviet Union. President Jimmy Carter promised to bring the hostages home from Iran as the dramatic situation inside the American embassy unfolded before a national television audience. Americans confronted rising gas prices and, increasingly, gas shortages. The year 1979 witnessed Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian president Anwar Sadat sign the historic Egypt-Israeli Peace Treaty, Vietnamese refugees divide national opinion, and the states debate the ratification of a proposed Equal Rights Amendment.
Forty years later, take a look back at this pivotal year in American history and the lasting legacy of the events that filled the public mind for a moment in time.