Posts Tagged ‘history’

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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Baseball: Negro League Stars

June 14, 2021

Between 1920 and 1948, when baseball’s Major Leagues were segregated, some 3,400 players competed in the Negro Leagues. Neil Paine introduces some Negro League stars who should be household names.

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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

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Napoleon’s Hand

May 14, 2021

Why is Napoleon Bonaparte‘s hand always inside his shirt? Coleman Lowndes explains. A Vox video.

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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

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A History of Policing in America

April 15, 2021

 A quick overview of the history of policing in America through the lens of race, by Khalil Gibran Muhammad. A clip from an NPR podcast.

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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…)

Jacksonville Was Almost Hollywood

March 23, 2021

In the early 1900s, New York film companies searched for a warm-weather home, and they looked at Jacksonville, Florida, down the East Coast. J’ville’s town fathers recoiled at the thought of film actors running wild through Florida’s sunny streets, so the film folks decamped for far-off California. A Vox video by Phil Edwards.

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Why TV Sitcoms Stopped Using Laugh Tracks

March 22, 2021

When they filmed or taped TV situation comedies, producers found that studio audiences often didn’t laugh in the right places. Sound engineer Charley Douglass developed the Laff Box, and editors used it to “sweeten” sitcom soundtracks with “canned laughter.” Over the last 10 years, the laugh track has disappeared almost entirely. Cheddar explains why.

More:

“The invention of laughter: Charley Douglass and the laff box,” Valentina Palladino, The Verge

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Freedom Riders

February 25, 2021

A brief look at 1961’s Freedom Riders from Smithsonian Magazine. More here.

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