History

Tuesday in Mooseville – Unholy Alliances: NAM Discovers the Fledgling Public Relations Profession 3/12/19

Intro to anticommunist message about a strong dollar — the end of Industry on Parade episode; 11 August 1952

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is an “advocacy group” that was founded in 1895 and is still active and influential today. Almost from the beginning, they have been virulently anti-labor, and its member companies (representing the owners rather than workers) endorsed and used the “American Plan” in an effort to break the backs of unions.

Thursday in Mooseville – Unholy Alliances: DeMille and the Fraternal Order of Eagles 3/7/19

Ten Commandments Monument from the grounds of the Texas State Capitol. Austin, Texas. Photograph by J. Williams. (Aug. 26, 2002)

“How can ‘Christians’ support the current pResident?” is a question we’ve all heard over and over again. I, however, think it’s the wrong question, or at least a question that is asked without benefit of a particular type of historical background. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to provide some of that background through stories of past and current “unholy alliances” with the hope that they point to a path for recognizing the tactics used, re-centering conversations, and reclaiming our right to weigh in on issues of morality (whether defined as “Christian” or not).

Barbara Jordan: Sharing and shaping our future

Barbara Jordan was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the state of Texas and the first African-American elected to her state’s senate.

Rep. Barbara Jordan was not only a trailblazer but a great American and a great advocate for both small d and big D Democratic principles.

Speeches can contain words to live by, words that call us to action for an important cause and words that connect to our deepest feelings about fairness and compassion.

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 – 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 – 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.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Primary Sources The Game: Who Said It? 12/11/18

You may notice these next few weeks…I’m in holiday mode.

I’m leaving Friday morning for our long holiday weekend with The Kiddo and SIL, and that’s where my head is at (and has been for at least a week). So instead of doing a deep dive into some obscure historical figure or event, I thought I’d stick with history…but let the community do the work! I’ll provide the quotes, and you provide the answer (not to worry, I’m making this multiple choice). I have included the hyperlinks to the source of the quote, labeled “Answer found here”, so you can check your answer or, if you’re in a less playful mood, skip the guessing and go straight for the answer. Have fun, and may your curiosity be piqued!