During her 1972 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American congresswoman, promises to tell the truth about sex and race.
Arlis Groves's insight:
Learning that Shirley Chisholm was one of the trail blazers laying the foundation for the men and women seeking the office of president some 44 years later is important. Students, look deeper, look back.
In June 1776, a little over a year after the start of the American Revolutionary War, the US Continental Congress huddled together in a hot room in Philadelphia to talk independence. Kenneth C. Davis dives into some of the lesser known facts about the process of writing the Declaration of Independence and questions one very controversial omission.
"The Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) was a US law that shut off all immigration from China to the US except for scholars, merchants, diplomats and professionals. It is where the American idea of “illegal aliens” comes from, the beginning of the country’s racist immigration policies.
At first immigration from China was limited, then Japan and Korea (1907), then the Asiatic Barred Zone (1917) and then southern and eastern Europe (1924). On top of that, Chinese and Mexicans were being driven out by violence and deportation.
That is why the US was so lily-white in the 1950s. Some think of that as the “natural” state of the country, but it was the creation of a set of racist policies that began with the Chinese Exclusion Act, policies that were not overturned till 1965."
Americans tend to think that only the South or only slave traders and slave owners benefited from slavery.
But it was not that simple. Slaves and land were the main forms of wealth in the US before 1860. Therefore slaves figured in insurance policies and bank loans. Therefore universities turned to slave owners and slave traders to raise money. Industry in the North and in Britain made money processing slave-grown tobacco, cotton and sugar from the South and the Caribbean. Railway companies used slave labour. The most profitable activity on Wall Street was – the slave trade.
I wanted to share part of Tim’s project, and lucky for you (!), he gave permission to do so. (Make sure to check out the blog he created for the class!) In the pictures below, you’ll see his replica of approximately how much space enslaved Blacks had on the Middle Passage. On ships using the “tight packing” method, each person had somewhere around 6′ by 16″ by 30″. Tim’s replica would be the amount of space for two or three people.
Space for Africans on slavers varied, but descriptions always horrify us. See the observations from PBS.org:
The slaves were branded with hot irons and restrained with shackles. Their "living quarters" was often a deck within the ship that had less than five feet of headroom -- and throughout a large portion of the deck, sleeping shelves cut this limited amount of headroom in half.4 Lack of standing headroom was the least of the slaves' problems, though. With 300 to 400 people packed in a tiny area5 -- an area with little ventilation and, in some cases, not even enough space to place buckets for human waste -- disease was prevalent. According to Equiano, "The closeness of the place, and the heat of the climate, added to the number in the ship, which was so crowded that each had scarcely room to turn himself, almost suffocated us. This produced copious perspirations, so that the air soon became unfit for respiration, from a variety of loathsome smells, and brought on a sickness among the slaves, of which many died."
Excerpted from Battle Lines: A Graphic History of the Civil War by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm and Ari Kelman. Out in May from Hill and Wang. A hundred and fifty years ago today, the Civil War ended. It ended quietly, in a farmhouse in Virginia, when Gen. Grant and Gen. Lee negotiated the terms...
Andrew Jackson was both beloved and loathed during his presidency. In this imaginary courtroom, you get to be the jury, considering and weighing Jackson’s part in the spoils system, economic depression, and the Indian Removal Act, as well as his patriotism and the pressures of the presidency. James Fester explores how time shapes our relationship to controversial historical figures.
The American flag at the Smithsonian has collected blue cotton fibers over the years, but not as many as popular legend says.
Arlis Groves's insight:
In the 1960s, the Smithsonian opted to put the flag in the only Smithsonian building that was air conditioned, thinking the cool temperature would help preserve the aging flag. But in the most extensive conservation project in the flag's history, conservationists like Thomassen-Krauss found that exhibits designed to protect the flag were in fact doing the opposite.
Between 1776 and 1887, the United States seized (stole) over 1.5 billion acres from America's indigenous people by treaty and executive order. The Invasion of America shows how by mapping every treaty and executive order during that period. It concludes with a map of present-day federal Indian reservations.
Westward Movement, or the growth of the United States, meant that the land was taken from Native Americans. This animated map helps us visualize the scope and sequence of the nation's growth and the decline of Native American lands between 1776 and 2010.
WHAT A FIND? A well-known underwater explorer believes he's found the HOLY GRAIL OF SHIPWRECKS. Sitting on the ocean floor for more than 500 years just off the coast of Haiti — possibly Christopher Columbus' Santa Maria.
Among the wreckage, Clifford says he found a cannon of 15th century design, making it difficult for the weapon to come from anything but Columbus' fleet. (WATCH)
Arlis Groves's insight:
Could it be? We'll all stay tuned to see what the experts decide.
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