DoReMI

Now a Michigander, by way of Ohio, Illinois, Scotland, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania. Gardener. Sewer. Democrat. Resister.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Slaveholders-in-Chief Cont’d 2/19/19

A former slave of U.S. President Andrew Jackson (probably Betty Jackson) and two of her great-grandchildren; 1867

After Denise’s tour-de-force of a post on Sunday (if you haven’t already, be sure to read it here: I refuse to honor George Washington, and ‘founders’ who enslaved and sold human beings ), my efforts seem meager by comparison. But that’s never stopped me before, and I think it’s important to continue the litany of shame that is as much a part of our national heritage as all the mythology we’ve created about the Founders and their successors. Here then are the final six slaveholding presidents.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Slaveholders-in-Chief 2/12/19

First paragraph of James T. Callender’s newspaper editorial, titled “The President Again,” which first exposed the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, one of Jefferson’s teenaged slaves. (September 1, 1802)

Today’s post is prompted by Dee’s observation that we celebrate Presidents’ Day with no mention of the fact that twelve of them were slaveholders. It occurred to me that I wasn’t sure which twelve those were, beyond the Virginians, Washington and Jefferson. In a just world, we would know the names of those held in bondage and their stories and those of their descendants. With the exception of Sally Hemings and her children, those names are mostly lost, but we can name the presidents. And we can remember our history as it truly is. (Six presidents this week; the last six next week.)

Tuesday in Mooseville – The Many Tentacles of Christian Libertarianism, Part Two 2/5/19

Last week, I wrote about the early history of the Spiritual Mobilization organization, a group whose activities were largely limited to pamphleteering. Although Spiritual Mobilization at one point sent tracts to more than 70,000 pastors across the United States, in 1944, only 400 ministers were formally affiliated with the group. With the influx of corporate funding and the addition of staff with one foot in the corporate world, the focus would shift to actively enlisting spiritual leaders in communities (although Spiritual Mobilization was overwhelmingly Protestant Christian, Jewish and Catholic leaders were a small portion of their ranks) to join with the corporate financial backers in defeating the New Deal. (Source material is One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America by Kevin Kruse, unless otherwise stated.)

Tuesday in Mooseville – The Many Tentacles of Christian Libertarianism 1/29/19

 

From “The Common Objects of the Sea Shore, including hints for an aquarium,” 1860.  Nothing to do with the topic, but I needed an illustration with tentacles.

  Several months ago, I mentioned in a comment that the story about the addition of the words, “under God” to the pledge of allegiance was more nuanced and more detailed than most of us know; it’s a story that starts well before the Eisenhower years. I’ve been wanting to do a post about the topic ever since, but it’s a difficult topic to write about, because it’s so far-ranging and over so many decades. In his book, One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America, author Kevin Kruse spends the first 64 pages laying out the groundwork before even getting to the 1950s, so I knew one post would be either too superficial or insufficient. I needed to find the right “hook”; today this tweet gave me the impetus to start:


When Individual 1 tweets about religion in America, it’s obvious that it doesn’t come from a deep, faith-based place, and that’s true of so much of the public religiosity in our country…and has been for decades. Today I’m writing about one of the groups that masked their politics with religion and helped bring about the rise of the “Religious” Right and the myth of the Christian nation.

Tuesday in Mooseville – A Rant and a Reminder 1/22/19

Yelling at a young black family moving into an all-white development near Philadelphia; 1963.

This isn’t what I planned to write about, but I remain distressed and disgusted by the actions of the Covington Catholic group, especially as directed at Nathan Phillips. I typically don’t write about Native issues, because I know enough to know that I don’t know enough. But I do know about Whiteness, and the Covington Catholic students gave us a full display of its ugly side…and maybe its only side.

I’ve seen the first video that went viral and viewed a good portion of the longer one that some are claiming (unbelievably, to me) is exculpatory. I’ve seen the argument being made that Mr. Phillips was the aggressor; that by virtue of being an adult, he was perceived as threatening and the smirk was really a smile, being used to “diffuse” the situation. I’ve read that yes, the boys were in the wrong, and they just need to spend some time with Native Americans; maybe a mission trip to a reservation could be arranged? I’ve seen comments that it’s really the adults who are to blame: the parents; the chaperones; the teachers; the priests; the school administrators. I’ve noticed some touting the viewpoint that it was just a moment in time, and we (adults) don’t want to do anything too harsh that may ruin his (Nicholas Sandmann’s) life forever.

And all I can say is, “Bullshit.”

Tuesday in Mooseville – Steve King (R[acist]) IA-04 Answers His Own Question and Doesn’t Even Know It 1/15/19

White fragility on display.

 

Iowa Rep. Steve King is facing criticism after he defended white nationalism and white supremacy in an interview. “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King said to The New York Times. “Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?” (bolding mine) Iowa Rep. Steve King under fire for remark on white nationalism and white supremacy

I haven’t read the full NYT interview, because I avoid the NYT like the plague. So when the news of Rep. King’s abhorrent comments came out, I initially only heard about the first part of his comment and not about the second half, bolded above. When I finally did, it was a full-blown smack-my-head moment. It is obvious to me, and to anyone not invested in white nationalism, that the reason he (and most of us) learned about the merits of “our” history in the classroom is because our country is built on the existence and promotion of white supremacy. In previous years (especially pre-2008), much of the language and goals were coded, but it wasn’t always that way any more than it is now. Perhaps Rep. King would have benefited from reading some of the primary sources which make explicit the embrace of white supremacy as a guiding principle. I doubt knowing history — unprotected, unhidden, and unvarnished — would stop Rep. King from being an out-and-proud racist at this point, but one can hope for others.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Eight Maids A-Milking 1/1/19

 

The Milk Maid (Winslow Homer, 1878

In my tradition, today is the eighth day of Christmastide; in some churches, it is also recognized as the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ and a day of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. But for most of us, it’s just the eighth day of Christmas, and that means eight maids a-milking. When WYgal at the Orange jokingly mentioned that we could all write posts based on the theme of “our” day, I decided to take up the challenge (while ever so grateful that I didn’t have seven swans a-swimming). What follows is my attempt to write a post that combines a bit of history, something light for a day of vacation/recovery/just-another-Tuesday, and addresses the theme of eight maids a-milking (in this case, milking us of our dollars). Bonus inclusion for those who asked: my aunt’s recipe for Aunt Gussie’s Cloud.

Tuesday in Moosevillle – Memories, Meals, Traditions, and Gifts 12/25/18

I’m looking for the pickle…

I’m sure some of you were opening this post with some trepidation, wondering if I was going to cover some depressing aspect of our history. Surprise! Even though I recognize that Christmas is not a holiday or holy day for all of us, it is part of my tradition. Taking a break from our seamier side is the least I can do; there’s enough ugliness in our current reality without piling on for one day. But history is all about stories, so today, I’m sharing some of my holiday stories and ask you to feel free to do the same. If Christmas isn’t part of your tradition, I’m sure you still have holiday stories, so don’t feel limited. But most of all, enjoy…and Merry Christmas!

Tuesday in Mooseville – Benjamin Tillman (1847-1918) in Pictures and Words 12/18/18

 

Benjamin Tillman, 1910

Last week, one of the correct answers in the game version of Primary Sources was Benjamin Tillman. His name was familiar to me as “some late 1800s politician dude,” but beyond that, I remembered very little. Working on the assumption that I was not alone in a vague remembrance, I decided to shine the spotlight on him this week. I’m not going to provide his overall biography; Wikipedia has a very detailed rundown for those who are interested (Benjamin Tillman). Instead, I’m going to provide pictures of his legacy, interspersed with his own words and words of academics.