Archive for the ‘history’ Category

Juneteenth

June 18, 2021
Juneteenth

(General Orders. Department of Texas June 19, 1865)

On June 19, 1865 Union general Gordon Granger sailed into Galveston and issued General Order Number 3, which began: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” This ended the legal institution of chattel slavery in the former Confederate States, two years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, 10 weeks after Appomattox.

Contrary to popular belief, Juneteenth didn’t end slavery in the United States. It still existed in northern border states which hadn’t seceded from the Union like Kentucky, New Jersey, and Delaware, until January 1, 1866, six months after the first Juneteenth, when the 13th Amendment became effective. Slavery among the tribes of Indian Territory (today’s Oklahoma) did not effectually end until August 1966.

More:

“Juneteenth: Our Other Independence Day,” Kenneth C. Davis, Smithsonian.com

“Juneteenth,” Teresa Palomo Acosta, Handbook of Texas Online

“Juneteenth,” Stephanie Hall, Folklife Today

“What Is Juneteenth?” Henry Louis Gates, Jr., PBS

“Juneteenth,” Teresa Palomo Acosta, Handbook of Texas History

“The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth,” NMAAHC

Related:

“Freedmen’s Bureau,” Cecil Harper, Jr., Handbook of Texas History

Updates:

“Juneteenth holiday marking the end of slavery becomes law after decades of inaction,” Seung Min Kim, Washington Post

“How the US Military Helped Create the Juneteenth Holiday,” Blake Stilwell, Military.com

“When Did Slavery Really End in the United States?” J. Gordon Hylton, Marquette University Law School Faculty Blog

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Biden Uproots Trump’s ‘Garden of Heroes’

May 18, 2021

Biden Uproots Trump's 'Garden of Heroes'

Disgraced ex-president Donald Trump once told the Times of London he had no heroes, but, nevertheless, he ordered erection of a National Garden of American Heroes before his Mar-a-Logo exile.

Nevermind that he had no location or budget. He wanted to honor the men and women who made America great, people like Daniel Boone, Kobe Bryant, William F. Buckley, Jr., Johnny Cash, Whittaker Chambers, Buffalo Bill Cody, Davy Crockett, Walt Disney, Milton Friedman, Lou Gehrig, Dr. Seuss, Barry Goldwater, Billy Graham, Charlton Heston, Bob Hope, Sam Houston, Whitney Houston, Steve Jobs, Vince Lombardi, Annie Oakley, Elvis Presley, Ronald Reagan, Babe Ruth, Antonin Scalia, Fulton Sheen, Shirley Temple, Alex Trebek, John Wayne, and Cy Young.

Historians think that’s a bad idea. So does current president Joe Biden, who rescinded the Dead Celebrity Garden order.

More:

“Biden kills Trump’s sculpture garden of ‘American heroes,’” Nick Niedzwiadek, Politico

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Image (alternate “Heroes Garden” concept) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

 

DC Emancipation Day, 1862: It Was Slaveowners Who Got Reparations.

April 16, 2021

DC Emancipation Day, 1862: It Was Slaveowners Who Got Reparations.

On April 16, 1862, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signed an act freeing the 3000 enslaved people in the District of Columbia. This was nine months before he signed the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves in the Confederate states, many of whom actually remained in bondage until the the war’s end in 1865, and 20 months before ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, which definitively outlawed slavery everywhere in the United States.

Understandably, April 16th is a holiday in the District of Columbia, District Emancipation Day, traditionally celebrated with speeches, concerts, fireworks and parades. There’s a bit of rain on that parade, though, if you take a closer look at history. That 1862 act was called the Compensated Emancipation Act, and it authorized payments to DC slaveowners rather than liberation of enslaved people on moral grounds. It even sought to promote emigration of former slaves outside the borders of the United States.

In any case, black Washingtonians had their freedom. That’s definitely worth celebrating.

More:

“When Slaveowners Got Reparations,” Tera W. Hunter, New York Times

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

 

Pope Gregory XIII: Father of April Fools’ Day?

April 1, 2021

Pope Gregory XIII: Father of April Fools’ Day?

In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII instituted the (you guessed it) Gregorian Calendar, which moved New Year’s Day from March 32nd (honest) to January 1st. People who didn’t know that March 32nd was now April 1st and were still celebrating the old New Year looked pretty foolish that day, hence April Fools’ Day.

Or maybe the story’s just a prank. Pretty good yarn, anyway.

More:

“A brief, totally sincere history of April Fools’ Day,” Sarah Caplan, Washington Post

“April Fools’ Day, explained earnestly,” Michelle Hackman, Vox

“April Fools: The Roots of an International Tradition,” Stephen Winick, Folklife Today

“April Fools International: World’s Best Pranks Ever?” Anne-Sophie Goninet, Worldcrunch

“No Kidding: We Have No Idea How April Fools’ Day Started,” Ashley Ross, TIME

“Stamos Documentary? Trader Joe’s Closing? Cornhub? Must Be April Fools’ Day,” NPR

(more…)

Rasputin

November 27, 2020

Who was Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin? Eden Girma explores the history of the “Mad Monk.” A TED-Ed video animated by Luisa Copetti.

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Armistice Day

November 11, 2020

Armistice Day

Today Veterans Day is observed in the United States. It was originally named Armistice Day and commemorated the time the agreement to stop The Great War was signed, at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. After World War I failed to be The War to End All Wars, the U.S. observance was officially renamed Veterans Day in 1954, probably because veterans of later wars vote and dead WWI soldiers don’t, and we already have Memorial Day. Britain still commemorates the WWI Armistice and those who died to achieve it, and today it is known as Remembrance Day in Commonwealth nations.

More:

“History of Veterans Day,” U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

“A day by many names, celebrated all the same,” Jason Duhr, Stars and Stripes

(more…)

George Washington, Mount Vernon Slaveowner

September 28, 2020

George Washington, Mount Vernon Slaveowner

“Brenda Parker’s job is to help shape the narrative of the enslaved people at Mount Vernon. Parker, the head of African American interpretation, says the plantation is now focused as much on the lives of the enslaved people as it is on the life of George Washington.”

“Parker feels a deep, emotional connection to Caroline Branham, the interpretive character she portrays as part of her job.”

“’You know like if your grandmother gave to you a dog, and that dog did have a litter of puppies. It would be your choice to keep one, sell one, and give one away as a gift. That’s how we’re thought about,’ says Parker, as Branham, recalling how she explains to children the way in which enslaved families were torn apart.”

–” George Washington’s Mount Vernon Highlights More Stories Of Enslaved People,” Esther Ciammachilli, WAMU 88.5

More:

“10 Facts About Washington & Slavery,” MountVernon.org

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Image (“George Washington Observes Black History Month”) by Mike Licht. Download a free copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

When German Spies Blew Up New Jersey

January 17, 2020

Before the U.S. entered World War I, German spies blew up the munitions works on Black Tom Island in New York Harbor. A Vox video.

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Ooops! There Goes the Berlin Wall.

November 15, 2019

November 9, 1989: one of the biggest moments in the Cold War started with a little confusion at Günter Schabowski‘s press conference. A Vox video.

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Operation Dragoon

August 29, 2019

Operation Dragoon was the Allied invasion of occupied Southern France during World War II. Troops from France’s African and Carribean colonial garrisons took part, and thousands of them died. Their contrubution has been largely ignored, until now.

More:

“France commemorates its ‘forgotten’ African veterans,” Christina Okello, RFI

“African leaders join Macron at commemoration of WWII landings in Provence,” France 24

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