Tag Archives | American History
Mychal Denzel Smith writes for the Guardian:
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We need a White History Month.
For anyone who speaks on issues of race publicly, the idea has long been a joke – a retort thrown at you from frustrated white folks who believe they are being discriminated against because there doesn’t exist a special month set aside to celebrate their racial identity. They cry foul at the notion of Black History Month, Black Entertainment Television, Black Enterprise and everything else with “black” in the title – even, sometimes, going so far as to say these things are racist in nature because their names and missions are “discriminatory”. It’s preposterous, but they counter that they need a White History Month to provide balance and equality.
After laughing this off for years, I’m now on the same page.
I don’t mean White History in the same way we (attempt) to celebrate Black History during February, or Women’s History in March.
More than three centuries later, Connecticut is the last state refusing to issue apology or posthumous pardons for those put to death during the time when laws based on the Bible held sway in America, Religion News Service writes:
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At age 82, Bernice Mable Graham Telian doubts she’ll live long enough to see the name of her great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother and 10 others hanged in colonial Connecticut for witchcraft cleared.
Telian was researching her family tree when she discovered that her seventh grandmother, Mary Barnes of Farmington, Conn., was sent to the gallows at the site of the old State House in Hartford in 1663. “You won’t find Mary’s grave. She and all these people who were hanged were dumped in a hole. They wanted them to be forgotten,” said Telian, a retired university administrator.
Connecticut was executing suspected witches some 40 years before the infamous (and better known) trials in Salem, Mass.
While Europe was embroiled in the the Dark Ages, bustling Cahokia featured architectural marvels, and residents sipped a black coffee-like beverage and played a game similar to bocce ball. Via Live Science:
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Cahokia was a city that, at its peak from 1050-1200 A.D., was larger than many European cities, including London. Located across the Mississippi River from modern-day St. Louis, it was the largest pre-Columbian city north of Mexico. The inhabitants of Cahokia did not use a writing system, and researchers today rely heavily on archaeology to interpret it.
Cultural finds from the city include evidence of a popular game called “Chunkey” and a caffeine loaded drink. Artistic finds include stone tablets carved with images (such as a birdman) as well as evidence of sophisticated copper working, including jewelry and headdresses.
The city fell into decline after 1200 A.D., becoming abandoned by 1400. The name “Cahokia” is from an aboriginal people that lived in the area during the 17th century.
Happy Fourth of July! Native American Netroots provides some perspective on the meaning of ‘America':
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America was named on April 25, 1507 after the Florentine explorer Amerigo Vespucci. Vespucci made at least two voyages across the Atlantic… [the] first voyage was in 1499 when he sailed with Alonso de Hojeda.
While Columbus might be characterized as a religious fanatic who could hardly speak or write without invoking the Christian God and dwelling fervently on his personal relationship with this God, Vespucci almost never referred to God. Religion was never very high on the scale of values to which Vespucci had been exposed. While he undoubtedly learned a little about the Christian God as a child, he seems to have forgotten all of this by the time he was an adult.
Unlike Columbus, Vespucci never waged war on the natives, nor did he found any colonies. He never commanded a fleet or even led an expedition.
Lauren Davis on io9 discusses U.S. Capitol designer William Thornton’s half-baked plan to bring George Washington back from the dead. Thornton’s idea was not enacted, but who knows what the future holds — in the decades to come, George Washington’s cadaver and Hitler’s brain may yet sit in a cafe somewhere sharing a conversation:
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George Washington may have been America’s first president, but was he nearly America’s first zombie-in-chief? If William Thornton, physician and designer of the US Capitol, had had his way, Washington’s body would have been subjected a scientific experiment designed to bring the deceased former president back to life.
Washington’s body was not buried immediately after his death. The president may not have feared death, but he did fear being buried alive. Before he died, he commanded his secretary, Tobias Lear, to make sure that he would not be entombed less than three days after he died. In accordance with Washington’s wishes, his body was put on ice until it could be moved to the family vault.
Did Nixon make history as our second gay president (following Abraham Lincoln)? In other more minor news, he maybe was drunk during most of his presidency. Via the voice of authority on secret gay affairs, the Daily Mail:
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Given everything that Richard Nixon has been accused of, it’s difficult to believe there could be any more skeletons left in his cupboard. Yet the most extraordinary claim is that the homophobic Nixon may have been gay himself.
A new biography by Don Fulsom, a veteran Washington reporter who covered the Nixon years, suggests the 37th president had a serious drinking problem, beat his wife and — by the time he was inaugurated in 1969 — had links going back two decades to the Mafia, including with New Orleans godfather Carlos Marcello, then America’s most powerful mobster.
Fulsom argues that Nixon may have had an affair with his best friend and confidant, a Mafia‑connected Florida wheeler-dealer named Charles ‘Bebe’ Rebozo who was even more crooked than Nixon.
During Prohibition, crime syndicates were re-distilling industrial alcohol to supply their speakeasies. In an effort to “poison the well,” the federal government responded by requiring manufacturers to add new, deadly compounds to the industrial alcohol mix, leading to the deaths of thousands nationwide. In an article at Slate.com, Deborah Blum writes:
It was Christmas Eve 1926, the streets aglitter with snow and lights, when the man afraid of Santa Claus stumbled into the emergency room at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital. He was flushed, gasping with fear: Santa Claus, he kept telling the nurses, was just behind him, wielding a baseball bat.
Before hospital staff realized how sick he was — the alcohol-induced hallucination was just a symptom — the man died. So did another holiday party-goer. And another. As dusk fell on Christmas, the hospital staff tallied up more than 60 people made desperately ill by alcohol and eight dead from it.… Read the rest
Jazz singer Tony Bennett, a WWII veteran and pacifist, speaking about 9/11 and American militarism on the Howard Stern Show comments, “But who are the terrorists? Are we the terrorists or are they the terrorists? Two wrongs don’t make a right. They flew the plane in, but we caused it … Because we were bombing them and they told us to stop.”
Martin Luther King Jr. would have agreed with Tony exposing US history leading to 9/11.
As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in his world shaking sermon, “Beyond Vietnam — a Time to Break Silence”, recounted to us the history of the lies, from 1945 onward, used to trick Americans into supporting the Vietnam war, today he would be exposing the lies that have concealed secret arrangements for CIA covert crimes against humanity in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere in the world since 1953 — arrangements that always originate within a dominant financial element that rules our society through ownership and manipulation of 98% of all electronic and print media sources of information.… Read the rest