History

Tuesday in Mooseville – Cheat, Fake, Fool, and Lie 8/20/19

Logo for New York Times 1619 Project

I wasn’t paying much attention to Twitter this past weekend, so I am grateful that Sis Dee’s Sunday post (1619. The 400th anniversary of the real founding of America.) brought the 1619 Project to my attention. I haven’t yet read all the articles, but what I have read reinforces the shameful truth in Dee’s comment, “Much of what is being presented in this series is information that is still not being taught in our schools.” It’s a simple, straightforward truth, and yet, as I peruse Twitter, I’m seeing reactions that range from outrage to even more outrage from too many White commenters. I was immediately reminded of Michael Eric Dyson’s statement in his powerful book, Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America:

You certainly have an insatiable thirst for history, but only if that history justifies whiteness. Most black folks can’t help but notice what many white rarely wish, or are compelled to see: you embrace history as your faithful flame when she kisses you, and yet you spurn her as a cheating mate when she nods or winks at others. (p. 65)

In fact, before I finish reading the articles in the 1619 Project, I’m going to reread Dyson’s book first, especially the chapter that contains the section on the five stages of white grief. The outrage being expressed about a telling of history that is not white-centered is predictable, and Dyson says there is only one way to overcome white defensiveness: to repent of whiteness. This post explores Dyson’s diagnosis and prescriptions for healing. Please be mindful that I write this through the racial lens of a white woman, but a white woman who sincerely wants to repent of her whiteness.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Six Minutes of History 8/13/19

Flag of the German American Bund (AV), or “German American Federation,” a pre-World War II American Nazi organization active in the United States between 1933-1941

Words are superfluous.

Field of Vision – A Night at the Garden from Field of Vision on Vimeo.

For those wanting more information, an interview with the filmmaker is here: A Night at the Garden.

Thursday in Mooseville – The Bisbee Deportation of 1917 8/1/19

Deportation of striking miners from Bisbee, Arizona, on July 12, 1917. Striking miners and others are marched from Warren Ballpark along railroad tracks toward cattle cars belonging to the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to watch an episode of POV on PBS (Bisbee 17). The film, Bisbee ‘17, is part documentary and part scripted community reenactment telling the story of the Bisbee Deportation of 1917. The documentary itself is worth watching if you have 111 minutes to spare, with the caveat that the artistic approach is different from most documentaries and may require an adjustment of expectations. But whether you watch the movie or not, the story of the Bisbee Deportation is another story mostly lost to time and unmentioned in history books. This is the story.

Tuesday in Mooseville – The Cruelty Is the Point 7/30/19

New York, New York, USA — 1/3/1920-New York, NY: Photo shows anarchists, reds, and radicals who were rounded up in NYC in last nights raids, arriving at Ellis Island. These undesirables will remain at Ellis Island until investigation and deportation proceedings have been completed. Many arrested in Newark and other nearby cities arrived at the Island during the afternoon. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that my internet connection issues are history, and I’m going to work the plan that I had last week…tidbits by tweet today and text on Thursday. While the Current Occupant has settled on a strategy of distraction by rallying his base through crass racism, the fact remains that families are still being separated; the international understanding of the rights of asylum seekers is being ignored and upended; and our own understanding of who we are is being challenged and redefined. The latter, of course, has the potential to be the silver lining for our future, but we have a long way to go before that potential is fulfilled. For now, we have to look at the evil of our past, of our present, and in all likelihood, of our future, and be prepared to eradicate it with truth and through reconciliation.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Love It or Leave It 7/23/19

“The First Step” — illustration depicting methods used to seduce young women into the “white slavery” of prostitution. So much for PizzaGate…all along it’s been ice cream parlors and fruit stores that are dens of iniquity!

When schools starts teaching American, I might even try to learn it.

We all know xenophobia and racism are not new in this country, despite the ongoing “this isn’t who we are” hand-wringing. It continues to astound me that each new expression of hate, ignorance, and ugliness that comes from 45* and his cult is so often met with shock and surprise, as if these are somehow new to him, to the Right, or to the country. I wish I knew what the formula was for breaking the desire for upholding and maintaining white supremacy. I wish I knew what it would take to wake up white voters in this country and convince them that it’s not our history that makes us great; it is in overcoming that white-centered history that our potential for greatness exists. And since I have no magic answers, I continue with what I know: sharing the history that is rarely found in our textbooks; highlighting the connections between then and now; challenging the assumptions I was raised with; and seeking, searching, and questioning. Today, because of the work schedule I’ve had over the past few days, just some glimpses of our history from period posters and illustrations; Thursday, a story of what happens when xenophobia, corporate greed, and willing puppets intersect.

Tuesday in Mooseville – “How Do You Spell Foreclose?”*** 7/16/19

President Roosevelt delivering his First Inaugural Address in Washington, DC. March 4, 1933.

After seeing the photos of the Waffen SS VPOTUS and Senate delegation observing the specimens people in the concentration camps, I was overwhelmed, saddened, angered, and fearful. To see the casual indifference displayed by our polo-shirt-and-khaki-wearing elected white supremacists disheartened me. I knew that my planned post was going to be impossible for me to write for this week, because diving into our history of white supremacy felt like piling on rather than enlightening. Usually I can move beyond that feeling; this week, it wasn’t happening and a dose of anti-fascism medicine seemed necessary.

Tuesday in Mooseville – The Six-Week Filibuster 6/18/19

Promotional still from the 1939 film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, published in National Board of Review Magazine; November 1939.

On December 20, 2018, the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act of 2018 passed the Senate by unanimous consent. After 200 attempts since 1882, this was the first federal anti-lynching legislation to pass in the Senate. It was passed again by unanimous consent in the 116th Congress in February 2019 and sent to the House, where it has been referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. (Justice for Victims of Lynching Act of 2019) If passed by the House and signed by the Current pResident, the legislation will be historic and unfortunately, still necessary:

Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., drafted the bipartisan legislation, which defines the crime as “the willful act of murder by a collection of people assembled with the intention of committing an act of violence upon any person.” It also classifies lynching as a hate crime that would warrant enhanced sentences.
“It’s a travesty that despite repeated attempts to do so, Congress still hasn’t put anti-lynching legislation on the books,” Booker said in a statement. “This bill will right historical wrongs by acknowledging our country’s stained past and codifying into law our commitment to abolishing this shameful practice.” African-American Senators Introduce Anti-Lynching Bill

I was reminded of this legislation when I was considering the lengths to which white supremacists will go to retain power, which in turn reminded me of a previous anti-lynching bill and the 6-week filibuster. That story follows.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Maybe It’s Time to Believe ‘Em 6/4/19

Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3: Personhood restrictions, exclusion of women and “Indians”…it’s all right there.

I think we all realize at this point that the phrase, “This is not who we are!” is more a statement of wishful thinking than objective reality. It’s a statement of privilege for those who have never had to confront oppression before; it’s a statement of disappointment for those who have been taught and believed in American exceptionalism; it’s even occasionally a statement of defiance from activists who are fighting for change. For the longest time, I would hear or see this phrase and react with a cynical, “It’s precisely who we are!” But time has shown me that, more often than not, the utterance of that phrase is also a turning point for an individual; it’s the point where a good many folks turn from a simplistic, disengaged understanding of issues to an attempt to understand; to change; and to engage. It’s also the point where a fair number start to recognize the truth in Dr. Maya Angelou’s words, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” We’ve had lots of first times in this country; maybe it’s time to believe ’em.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Unsung: Voices from the Margins 4/2/19

Historical marker for the Highlander Folk School

Note: I started this post in November 2017 but didn’t complete or publish it after deciding that it was a bit too obscure. But then I saw these tweets over the weekend; the devastating loss of archival material makes remembering the work of Highlander more important than ever.

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.