History

Women’s history is American history. Black history is American history. Asian history is American history. Native American history is undoubtedly American history. So what is this crap they are teaching in schools as American history? Read more here. What should be taught? Read what the American Historical Association thinks here.

PBS steps up for Women’s History Month.

Major League Baseball figures it out!

Did you know that in December 2020, Major League Baseball (MLB) took an important step by officially recognizing the Negro Leagues as major leagues? This recognition was long overdue and aimed to correct historical omissions. As a result, the records of players from the Negro Leagues are now listed alongside those of the National League and American League as major league records.

What’s the Difference Between General Order No. 3 (Juneteenth Order) and the 13th Amendment?

There are three documents related to the emancipation of millions of enslaved people in the United States–Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and General Order No. 3 (known as the Juneteenth General Order). General Order No. 3 (the Juneteenth Order) is a military order written in an informal style. The Emancipation Proclamation only applied to people enslaved in areas currently in rebellion and they are specifically listed in the proclamation. Once approved, the 13th Amendment applied to all enslaved people across the entire United States.

U.S. National Historic Landmarks You Should Visit

The Delta Queen – Houma, Louisiana

The Old Slave Mart Museum—Charleston, South Carolina

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site – Manteo, North Carolina

The Whitney Plantation—Wallace, Louisiana

Freedom House MuseumAlexandria, Virginia

Huffman Prairie Flying Field – Dayton, Ohio

John Muir National Historic Site – Martinez, California

Here’s the Civil War history they didn’t want you to know

By Howell Raines December 20, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. EST

Howell Raines, a former executive editor of the New York Times, is the author of “Silent Cavalry: How Union Soldiers from Alabama Helped Sherman Burn Atlanta — and Then Got Written Out of History.”

A new generation of Civil War scholars is filling in what one commentator calls the “skipped history” of White Southerners who fought for the Union Army. How did a regiment of 2,066 fighters and spies from the mountain South (the 1st Alabama Cavalry), chosen by Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman as his personal escort on the March to the Sea, get erased? Oddly, the explanation reaches back to Columbia University, whose pro-Confederate Dunning School of Reconstruction history at the start of the 20th century spread a false narrative of Lost Cause heroism and suffering among aristocratic plantation owners. (more)

Do you know what the “Lost Cause” interpretation of Civil War history is?

Lost Cause is an interpretation of the American Civil War viewed by most historians as a myth that attempts to preserve the honor of the South by casting the Confederate defeat in the best possible light. It attributes the loss to the overwhelming Union advantage in manpower and resources, nostalgically celebrates an antebellum South of supposedly benevolent slave owners and contented enslaved people, and downplays or altogether ignores slavery as the cause of war (more). The National Park Service has numerous resources available to help people learn more about the Civil War.

In an address at Franklin Female College in Holly Springs, Judge Jeremiah Watkins Clapp, a former plantation owner and Mississippi state senator, urged the students “to see to it that our children shall not, at school or at home, shape their ideas or acquire their information and impressions from books or other sources of character calculated to poison their minds and their hearts and teach them lessons of humiliation and shame.” (more) Sounds a lot like the issues being raised over teaching history in 2023 to me!  Many … writings are contained in the fourteen-volume series Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society (1898-1914).

More Hidden Figures In American History: Frank Mann

He was Howard Hughes’ top engineer and lifelong best friend. This is about Frank Mann, the hidden genius behind much of Howard Hughes’ success in the world of aviation and mechanics. Also, he was Black.  Imagine a man so curiously intelligent that he carried the titles of Aerospace Engineer, Award-Winning Sports Car Designer, Civilian Instructor at the Tuskegee Institute, World War II Officer and pilot, the first Black commercial airline pilot and the number one engineer for Howard Hughes.

Great Plains Black History Museum

On this day, November 15th, in African American Herstory

In 1859, Josephine Silone Yates was born. She was a Black chemist, journalist, and educator.

Josephine Silone was the second daughter of Alexander and Parthenia Reeve Silone and was born in Mattituck, NY. During her childhood, her family lived with her maternal grandfather, a freed slave, Lymas Reeves. Her mother taught her to read from the Bible. She started school at six and was rapidly advanced by her teachers. Josephine’s uncle, Rev. John Bunyan Reeve, was the Lombard Street Central Church pastor in Philadelphia. At the age of 11, she went to live with him so that she could attend the Institute for Colored Youth., later Cheyney State College. There, she was mentored by its director, Fanny Jackson Coppin.

The next year, Rev. Reeve moved to Howard University, and Josephine went to live with her maternal aunt, Francis I. Girard, in Newport, Rhode Island. There, she attended grammar school and later Rogers High School. She was the only black student at both but was respected and supported by her teachers. Her science teacher considered her his brightest pupil and enabled her to do additional laboratory work in chemistry. She graduated as valedictorian of the Rogers High School class of 1877 and received a medal for a scholarship. She was the first black student to graduate from Rogers High School.

Silone chose to attend the Rhode Island State Normal School in Providence to become a teacher rather than pursue a university career. She graduated in 1879 with honors, the only Black student in her class. She was the first Black certified to teach in the schools of Rhode Island. She later received a master’s degree from the National University of Illinois. Silone was among the first black teachers hired at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri.

President Inman Edward Page considered it essential to replace the previously white faculty with black teachers as role models for the school’s Black students. The teachers lived on campus in the dormitories with the students. She taught chemistry, elocution, and English literature. Upon her promotion to the natural science department head, she became the first Black woman to head a college science department and the first Black woman to hold a full professorship at any U.S. college or university.

Silone was clear about her purpose in teaching. In a 1904 essay, she wrote: “The aim of all true education is to give to body and soul all the beauty, strength, and perfection of which they are capable, to fit the individual for complete living.” In 1889, Josephine Silone married William Ward Yates. Many schools prohibited married women from teaching, and upon her marriage, Josephine Silone gave up her teaching position at Lincoln. She moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where her husband was the principal of Phillips School. Her daughter Josephine was born in 1890. Her son William Blyden Yates was born in 1895.

In Kansas City, Silone Yates became active in the black women’s club movement. She was a correspondent for the Woman’s Era (the first monthly magazine published by black women in the United States). She wrote for other magazines, sometimes using the pseudonym Mrs. R. K. Potter. Racial uplift was one of many topics Silone Yates spoke about and wrote about. She was identified as an exemplar of her race and included as one of 100 of “America’s greatest Negroes” in Twentieth-Century Negro Literature, or A Cyclopedia of Thought on the Vital Topics Relating to the American Negro in 1902. Her paper addressed the question, “Did the American Negro make, in the nineteenth century, achievements along the lines of wealth, morality, education, etc., commensurate with his opportunities? If so, what achievements did he make?”

She also published poetry, including “The Isles of Peace,” “The Zephyr,” and “Royal To-Day.” Silone Yates helped to organize the Women’s League of Kansas City, an organization for self-help and social betterment for black women, and became its first president in 1893. 1896, the Women’s League joined the National Association of Colored Women (NACW). Silone Yates served with the NACW for four years as the treasurer or vice-president (1897 to 1901) and four years as president (1901 to 1904).

A testament to Yates’ accomplishments and acclaim may be found in a speech by Anna Julia Cooper in 1893 at the World’s Congress of Representative Women in Chicago: “In organized efforts for self-help and benevolence also our women have been active. The Colored Women’s League, of which I am at the present corresponding secretary, has active, energetic branches in the South and West. The branch in Kansas City, with a membership of upward of one hundred and fifty, already has begun, under their vigorous president, Mrs. Yates, the erection of a building for friendless girls.”

In 1902, Lincoln University’s president recalled her to serve as the head of the Department of English and History. In 1908, she requested to resign due to illness, but the Board of Regents did not accept, and she stayed as the advisor to women at Lincoln. Her husband died in 1910, after which Josephine Silone Yates chose to return to Kansas City. She died on September 3, 1912. (African American Registry, 2023)

The Oldest Churches in the United States of America

By Jersey Griggs

  1. Cathedral of San Juan Bautista – San Juan, Puerto Rico: The oldest church in America was built in 1521, when Puerto Rico was still under Spanish rule — and a mere 28 years after Christopher Columbus landed on the island.
  2. San Miguel Mission – Santa Fe, New Mexico: According to oral history, San Miguel Mission — the oldest church in the contiguous U.S. — dates back to 1610, which was around the same time when Santa Fe was founded.
  3. more

Cathedral of San Juan Bautista By https://www.flickr.com/people/oquendo/ – https://www.flickr.com/photos/oquendo/3687484788/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15687347

San Miguel Mission By Shiny Things – originally posted to Flickr as San Miguel Chapel, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11012834

African-American History

 Lorenzo Dow Turner

Lorenzo Dow Turner (August 21, 1890 – February 10, 1972) was an African-American academic and linguist who did seminal research on the Gullah language of the Low Country of coastal South Carolina and Georgia. His studies included recordings of Gullah speakers in the 1930s. As head of the English departments at Howard University and Fisk University for a combined total of nearly 30 years, he strongly influenced their programs. He created the African Studies curriculum at Fisk, was chair of the African Studies Program at Roosevelt University, and in the early 1960s, cofounded a training program for Peace Corps volunteers going to Africa.

Lorenzo Dow Turner is best remembered as the father of Gullah studies. His interest in the Gullah people began in 1929 when he first heard Gullah speakers while teaching a summer class at South Carolina State College (now University). Although established scholars then viewed Gullah speech as a form of substandard English, Turner sensed that Gullah was strongly influenced by African languages. He set out to study the language. For the next 20 years, he made trips to the Gullah region in coastal South Carolina and Georgia, interviewing Gullahs (often in isolated locations) and making detailed notes on their language. He also made recordings in the 1930s of Gullah speakers talking about their culture, folk stories and other aspects of life.

As part of his studies, Turner traveled to several locations in Africa, specifically Sierra Leone, to learn about the development of Creole languages, as well as to Louisiana and Brazil, to study Creole and Portuguese, respectively. He did research at University of London School of Oriental and African Studies on various African language systems. He wanted to be able to provide context for the obvious “Africanisms” he discovered in his Sea Islands research. “Such depth and breadth allowed Turner to locate Gullah culture and language within the broader complexities of the African diaspora in the New World, … firmly outside the reductionist theoretical model of cultural assimilation.

When Turner finally published his classic work Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect in 1949, he made an immediate impact on established academic thinking. His study of the origin, development and structure of Gullah was so convincing that scholars quickly accepted his thesis that Gullah is strongly influenced by African languages. He showed the continuity of language and culture across the diaspora. Many scholars have followed Turner over the years in researching the African roots of Gullah language and culture. He created a new field of study by his work and an appreciation for a unique element of African-American culture.

Turner was strongly influenced by the American linguistic movement, which he joined at its inception. Through his Gullah research, he gave shape to several academic specialties: Gullah studies, dialect geography and creole linguistics, as well as being an important predecessor to the field of African American studies, which developed in the 1960s and ′70s.

Turner’s pioneering work, which academics credit for introducing African-American studies to U.S. curricula, was the subject of “Word, Shout, Song: Lorenzo Dow Turner Connecting Communities Through Language” at Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum in July, 2016. Exhibit curator Alcione Amos said the Washington, D.C., museum acquired many of Turner’s original notes, pictures and recordings from his widow, Lois Turner Williams, in 2003.

Turner died of heart failure at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, on February 10, 1972.

HOW THE FBI AIDED AND ABETTED THE RISE OF WHITE CHRISTIAN NATIONALISM — AN INTERVIEW

Bradley B. Onishi, PhD is faculty at the University of San Francisco. He is the author of the forthcoming book Preparing for War: The Extremist History of White Christian Nationalism – And What Comes Next (Broadleaf, 2023).

Earlier this year, on his Straight White American Jesus podcast, RD’s Bradley Onishi spoke with Dr. Lerone Martin about his latest book. In this edited and condensed version of their conversation, Martin, an associate professor of religious studies at Stanford, discusses J. Edgar Hoover’s contributions to leading evangelical magazine Christianity Today, the lengths he went to in his crusade against Martin Luther King Jr, and of course his pivotal role in the construction of White Christian nationalism in the US. – eds


From the Zinn Education Project

Black Veterans Killed in Fight for Democracy in U.S.

We return. We return from fighting. We return fighting. — W. E. B. Du Bois

Below is a collection of stories about African American veterans who fought in various wars and upon their return to the U.S., were murdered in the fight for democracy and human rights. As the Equal Justice Institute notes in the Introduction to their report on these atrocities,

Between the end of Reconstruction and the years following World War II, thousands of Black veterans were accosted, assaulted, and attacked, and many were lynched. Black veterans died at the hands of mobs and persons acting under the color of official authority; many survived near-lynchings; and countless others suffered severe assaults and social humiliation. Documenting these atrocities is vital to understanding the incongruity of our country’s professed ideals of freedom and democracy while tolerating ongoing violence against people of color within our own borders.The stories below are only a few of countless examples. Here are a few texts to learn more.

Lynching in America: Targeting Black Veterans by the Equal Justice Initiative

Fighting for Democracy: Black Veterans and the Struggle Against White Supremacy in the Postwar South by Christopher Parker. Introduction online

The Tragic and Ignored History of Black Veterans” by James Clark in Task and Purpose

We Return Fighting: World War I and the Shaping of Modern Black Identity” Introduction by  Lonnie G. Bunch III. Edited by Kinshasha Holman Conwill. Watch video of talk about the book and exhibit at NMAAHC.

In the mid-19th century a new political party, the Know Nothings, set the stage for xenophobia and nationalism to take root in American politics.
The Presidential Election of 1876 was considered a foregone conclusion, with Democrat Samuel J. Tilden sure to defeat Republican Rutherford B. Hayes, but disputed Southern electoral votes led to an outcome that nobody predicted.
The Presidential Election of 1860 proved the most divisive in U.S. history, with the election of Abraham Lincoln triggering the secession of Southern states. But how did it play out at the polls?
African Muslim Yarrow Mamout rose from a life of slavery to become a popular businessman in Washington, D.C. Artist Charles Willson Peale painted his portrait and discovered his incredible story.
In this video we hope you will learn more about the process of impeachment and the Watergate scandal by hearing House Representative Barbara Jordan delivering a speech to the House Judiciary Committee.

6888TH CENTRAL POSTAL DIRECTORY BATTALION

According to Kimberly Guise, the National WWII Museum senior curator, more than 3.3 billion pieces of mail went through military postal services to reach the front during 1945 alone. The sheer abundance of mail and a reported shortage of qualified postal officers to sort it led to a massive backlog of letters and packages, some of which were mailed up to three years prior. (more)

Captain Abbie N. Campbell and Major Charity Adams inspect the first contingent of African American WACs sent overseas shortly after their arrival in England, 15 February 1945. (National Archives)

An army unit known as the “Six Triple Eight” had a specific mission in World War II: to sort and clear a two-year backlog of mail for Americans stationed in Europe. Between the Army, Navy, Air Force, the Red Cross and uniformed civilian specialists, that amounted to seven million people waiting for mail. 

And the responsibility to deliver all of it fell on the shoulders of 855 African-American women.

(more)

The Codebreaker

Based on the book The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s EnemiesThe Codebreaker reveals the fascinating story of Elizebeth Smith Friedman, the groundbreaking cryptanalyst whose painstaking work to decode thousands of messages for the U.S. government would send infamous gangsters to prison in the 1930s and bring down a massive, near-invisible Nazi spy ring in WWII. 

https://youtu.be/JiQz58Y67To?feature=shared

A few historical events which might not be taught today:

The Final Fight for Black Sailors Known as the ‘Philadelphia 15’

Just over a year before the attack on Pearl Harbor, 15 sailors assigned to the U.S.S. Philadelphia wrote a letter to a Black newspaper detailing the abuse and indignities they had faced on the warship solely because of the color of their skin. or daring to speak out, a few of the men were jailed and all of them were kicked out of the Navy with discharges that forever labeled them as unfit to serve. The plight of the group, which became known as “the Philadelphia 15,” faded from public attention as World War II erupted. (more)

I love crosswords and usually do the Times puzzle most days. Then I found the Black Crossword.

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