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Do you know your George Washingtons from your Thomas Jeffersons? Do you know your British tyrants from your American Patriots? Test your knowledge of the American Revolution with this quiz, based on Robert J. Allison’s The American Revolution: A Very Short Introduction.
“GEORGE LOVED WORDS. But George was enslaved. Forced to work long hours, he wqas unable to attend school or learn how to read. GEORGE WAS DETERMINED. He listened to the white children’s lessons and learned the alphabet. Then he taught himself to read. He read everything he could find. GEORGE LIKED POETRY BEST. While he tended his master’s cattle, he composed verses in his head. He recited his poems as he sold the fruits and vegetables on a nearby college campus. News of the slave poet traveled quickly among the students. Soon, George had customers for his poems. But George was still enslaved. Would he ever be free?”[inside jacket]
Review Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton is indeed remarkable. Author and artist, Don Tate, has written an amazing story which he illustrated—with gouache, archival ink, and pencil—beautiful scenes of Chapel Hill, North Caroline, circa mid-1800’s. George Moses Horton is a real person. Young George’s desire to read and write were so strong that he listened in on the white children’s lessons while working long hours for his master. With diligence and hard work, George mastered the alphabet and learned to read and then write. He loved the inspirational prose he found in the Bible and his mother’s hymnal, but most of all, George loved poetry. He wrote poems while working those long hours in the field, but without paper or pen, he had to commit each poem to memory.
At age 17, George and his family were split up and George was given to the master’s son. George found the silver lining in his situation while selling fruit on the University of North Carolina’s campus(where he was teased by students). George distracted himself from his tormentors by reciting his poetry. It was not long before George was selling his poetry, sometimes for money—25c—other times for fine clothes and fancy shoes. A professor’s wife helped George put his poetry onto paper and get it published in newspapers, making him the first African-American to be published. George often wrote about slavery and some poems protested slavery, which made his work extremely dangerous in southern states—some states actually outlawed slavery poems, no matter the author’s skin color. The end of the Civil War officially made George a free man, yet his love of words and poetry had given George freedom since he learned to read,
“George’s love of words had taken him on great a journey. Words made him strong. Words allowed him to dream. Words loosened the chains of bondage long before his last day as a slave.”
Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton is one of those “hidden” gems the textbooks forget about, but history should not. Tate’s picture book portrays George’s life with the grim realities of the era, yet there are moments of hope when the sun literally shines upon a spread. This is more than a book about slavery or the Civil War. Those things are important, because they are the backdrop to George’s life, but Tate makes sure the positives in George’s life shine through, making the story motivational and awe-inspiring.
Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton is about following your dreams and then taking your dream and yourself as far as you can go, never giving up on yourself, regardless of negative influences. For those who dream of a better life, especially writers and poets, George Moses Horton’s story makes it clear that the only thing that can truly get in your way is yourself. Schools need to get this book into classrooms. Stories such as George Moses Horton’s should be taught right along with the stories American history textbooks do cover.
POET: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF GEORGE MOSES HORTON. Text and illustrations (C) 2015 by Don Tate. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Peachtree Publishers, Atlanta, GA.
.Full Disclosure: Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate, and received from Peachtree Publishers, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Set in the 1950s during the infamous days of Jim Crow, New Shoes is a story of an African American girl who comes up with a brilliant idea to remedy the far-too-often degrading experience of buying shoes, especially for back-to-school.
I love history, especially American history. I love reading about some interesting part of history I’ve never read about before, then researching primary documents to see if it’s true. So many fascinating facts never make the cut to be included in school textbooks. Perhaps if more of them were incorporated, a greater interest in American history would result. Is it important to teach the history of our country?
On the Fourth of July, Americans will celebrate Independence Day at picnics, concerts, fireworks displays, and gatherings of many kinds, and they almost always sing. “America the Beautiful” will be popular, and so will “Our County, ’Tis of Thee” and of course the national anthem, “Star-Spangled Banner” (despite its notoriously unsingable tune). The words are so familiar that, really, no one pays attention to their meaning. But read them closely and be surprised how the lyrics describe the meaning of America in three very different ways.
Over the past several decades, few fields of American history have grown as dramatically as women’s history. Today, courses in women’s history are standard in most colleges and universities, and historians regularly produce scholarship on women and gender. In 1981, historian Gerda Lerner provocatively challenged, “always ask what did the women do while the men were doing what the textbook tells us was important."
An effective counter-terrorism policy requires the identification of domestic or international threats to a government, its civil society, and its institutions. Enemies of the state can be internal or external. Communist regimes of the twentieth century, for example, focused on internal enemies.
You may have heard about the recent Pew Research Center study that shows millennials (born roughly between 1980 and 1995) fleeing Christian churches to occupy the ranks of the “nones,” those professing no religious affiliation. But how much do you know about the decade that gave birth to the millennial generation?
On 27 May 1692, Sir William Phips, the newly appointed royal governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, appointed nine of the colony’s leading magistrates to serve as judges for the newly created Court of Oyer and Terminer. When Phips sailed into Boston from London on 14 May, there were already 38 people in jail for witchcraft, and the accusations and arrests were growing daily.
Franklin D. Roosevelt broke the two-term precedent set by George Washington by running for and winning a third and fourth term. Pressure for limiting terms followed FDR’s remarkable record. In 1951 the Twenty-Second constitutional amendment was ratified stating: “No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice…” Accordingly, reelected Presidents must then govern knowing they cannot run again.
Many may already know that April marks the start of Confederate History Month, but another interesting fact is that this year marks the milestone of 150 years since the end of the Civil War. On April 9th and nationwide recognition of this event will take place in the form of ringing bells at 2:15. This time and date marks 150 years from when Union General Ulyses S. Grant met with Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, to set the terms of surrender of Lee’s army.
The American Civil War, also known as ‘The War Between the States’, was bloody and raged from 1861 to 1865. It was when 11 Southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America (“the Confederacy”). The Confederacy fought for its independence from the United States and opposed the end of slavery, which existed as a legal institution in North America for more than a century before the formation of the United States in 1776. -The Network Journal
Desperation set in among the Confederacy’s remaining troops throughout the final nine months of the Civil War, a state of despair that Union General Ulysses S. Grant manipulated to his advantage. From General William T. Sherman’s destructive “March to the Sea” that leveled Georgia to Phillip H. Sheridan’s bloody campaign in northern Virginia, the Union obliterated the Confederacy’s chance of recovery.
In mid-February the Public Broadcasting Service aired a four-hour documentary entitled The Italian Americans, an absorbing chronicle of one immigrant group’s struggles and successes in America. It has received rave reviews across the country. For all its virtues, however, the film falls short in at least one important respect.
The recent letter written by 47 Republican senators to the government of Iran about nuclear negotiations has revived talk about the classic phrase “politics stops at the water’s edge.” The tag line, arguing that partisanship should be put aside in foreign policy, is often attributed to Senator Arthur Vandenberg (R-Michigan) who used it in endorsing some of the diplomatic initiatives of the Democratic Truman administration at the start of the Cold War.
The book is a nonfiction picture book about Dr. Gordon Sato, whose mangrove tree-planting project transformed an impoverished village in Eritrea into a self-sufficient community. Dr. Sato named his project the Manzanar Project, partly inspired by the time he spent as a child in Manzanar, a Japanese Internment Camp in California.
A few weeks ago, Susan Roth, co-author and illustrator of the book, received this message from someone who had known Dr. Sato a very long time ago (reposted with permission):
A few years ago, Dr. Gordon Sato sent me a copy of your book, “Mangrove Tree” and I would like to share with you the Gordon Sato that I know. I too was imprisoned at Manzanar because I looked like the enemy. I took 24 units of UC educational courses to qualify as Provisional High School teacher at Manzanar. I was selected to teach high school Physics. Gordon Sato was a student in my Physics class. It was some forty years after Manzanar closed that Gordon Sato phoned me and said he wanted to come and see me. He told me that he had received as BS degree from USC 1951 and his Doctorate degree from Caltech in 1955. He said he was ready to go to Eritrea, Africa on scientific project to help Eritrea out of poverty. He said he called The Manzanar Project and handed me a copy of that project. I did not know of all of the scientific research he had done nor the scientific accomplishment he had achieved. While this Nisei who has dedicated his life for humanity, I want you to know the other Gordon Sato.
For a student to seek his former teacher is in itself a wonderful tribute to me. But then, at our meeting, Gordon Sato said he wanted to thank me for inspiring him to get a college education. Two little words, “Thank You” showed me a man who stands tall among all of us with courage and humility. I too had hoped that something good would come out of that place of injustice. Little did I know that I had planted a seed that would blossom into something beautiful for the world to see. That is the Gordon Sato that I know.
We love this reminder that behind every leader, innovator, scientist, and world changer, there’s a great teacher! Thank you, Gordon Sato, and thank you Tadashi Kishi!
Who here used to play the computer game “Oregon Trail” obsessively as a child? Let’s see a show of hands. Think back fondly on the days you used to carefully select your wagon train, hunt for buffalo, and decide whether you needed to ford the river or caulk your wagon. (Sometimes, when I am driving, I feel like I am rafting down the Columbia River and trying to avoid boulders and like driftwood and stuff. A fun fact about me, I know. If you would like to relive the magic, you can play the game here, btw. It’s not perfect but it sparked my interest in this period of American history as a kid.) Anyway. When I found out that Under the Painted Sky was about two young women – one Chinese-American, one African-American – who cross-dress as teenage boys in order to navigate the Oregon Trail – I was sold. If... Read more »
March is Women’s History Month and as the United States gears up for the 2016 election, I propose we salute a pathbreaking woman candidate for president. No, not Hillary Rodham Clinton, but Shirley Chisholm, who became the first woman and the first African American to seek the nomination of the Democratic Party for president. And yet far too often Shirley Chisholm is seen as just a footnote or a curiosity, rather than as a serious political contender who demonstrated that a candidate who was black or female or both belonged in the national spotlight.
Speaker of the House John Boehner is learning the enduring truth of Lyndon Johnson’s famous distinction between a cactus and a caucus. In a caucus, said LBJ, all the pricks are on the inside. Presumably Speaker Boehner seldom thinks about his Republican predecessors as leaders of the House.
In the 1960s, the South, was rife with racial tension. The Supreme Court had just declared, in its landmark case Brown vs. Board of Education, that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional, and the country was in the midst of a growing Civil Rights Movement. In response to these events, Ku Klux Klan activity boomed, reaching an intensity not seen since the 20s, when they boasted over four million members. Surprisingly, North Carolina, which had been one of the more progressive Southern states, had the largest and most active Klan membership — greater than the rest of the South combined — earning it the nickname “Klansville, USA”. This slideshow features images from the time of the Civil Rights-era Klan.
A rally against school integration, 1959
In the wake of the Brown vs. Board of Education decision, and in the midst of the growing Civil Rights Movement, Ku Klux Klan activity boomed, reaching an intensity not seen since the 1920s. (Image credit: United States Library of Congress via Wikimedia Commons)
United Klans of America Charter and Business Card
The UKA adopted the trappings of a bureaucratic organization. North Carolina Klan leader Bob Jones distributed business cards that announced him as Grand Dragon. (Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration)
Crowd at 1963 March on Washington
“We have the same right as the Negro to demonstrate,” Bob Jones told reporters, responding in part to the previous week’s March on Washington, which had attracted an estimated quarter-million Civil Rights supporters to the nation’s capital. (Image credit: National Archives and Records Administration via Wikimedia Commons)
United Klans of America Flyer
The UKA printed up to two thousand of these flyers to advertise each rally. Members passed them out to likely candidates at service stations, cafes, and other meeting spaces. (Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration)
UKA Membership Cards
UKA members stapling their membership cards to a cross burned at a rally in September 1969. With Bob Jones in prison on contempt of Congress charges, the group never recovered. (Image courtesy of Don Sturkey)
Be sure to check out the American Experience documentary Klansville U.S.A. airing Tuesday, 13 January on PBS.
Heading image: The Ku Klux Klan on parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, 1928. U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
These books, guides, and cards offer interesting trivia and facts, engaging formats, and lively illustrations; a perfect combination to pique interest for hours of casual reading, followed by days of reciting trivia, and hopefully, years of knowledge about these important people in American history.
On Valentine’s Day, we usually think of romance and great love stories. But there is another type of love we often overlook: love between friends, particularly between men and women in a platonic friendship. This is not a new phenomenon: loving friendships were possible and even fairly common among elite men and women in America’s founding era. These were affectionate relationships of mutual respect, emotional support, and love that had to carefully skirt the boundaries of romance. While extravagant declarations of love would have raised eyebrows, these friends found socially acceptable ways to express their affection for one another. Learn more about some special pairs of platonic friends from early America, including some very familiar names.
Eloise Payne and William Ellery Channing
William was best known as a Unitarian minister and early transcendentalist, but to a bright young teacher named Eloise he was “my dear friend.” Eloise looked to William, seven years her senior, for religious and professional advice, but she wasn’t afraid to rebuke him when he became too critical. When she worried that his affections were waning after he started courting the woman who would become his wife, he replied, “You hold the same place in my heart as ever, and I can now say to you with more propriety than before, that few hold a higher.” (Photo credit: Public Domain via The Frick Collection.)
George Washington and Elizabeth Powel
George and Elizabeth met while George was in Elizabeth’s hometown of Philadelphia for the Constitutional Convention. George often spent the evening with Elizabeth and she later visited him at Mount Vernon. They had frank political discussions and exchanged gifts for over a decade. For her fiftieth birthday, George sent her a poetic tribute written by a friend of Elizabeth’s, and he signed one of his last letters to her before his death, “I am truly yours.” (Photo credit: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.)
Thomas Jefferson and Abigail Adams
Abigail Adams called her friend Thomas Jefferson “one of the choice ones on earth,” and Thomas greatly admired the wife of his long-time friend John Adams. They both lived in Paris in the 1780’s and attended plays and other events together. Later, he jokingly referred to her as Venus; he wrote from Paris that while selecting Roman busts to send for the Adams’ London home, he passed over the figure of Venus because he “thought it out of taste to have two at table at the same time.” (Photo credit: Public Domain via Library of Congress.)
Margaret Bayard Smith and Anthony Bleecker
Margaret and Anthony first met as young adults in New York City as part of the same circle of writers and intellectuals. Some twenty-five years later, Margaret wrote a novel which Anthony helped to edit. The novel’s central love story was based upon her friendship with Anthony. “Has not friendship recollections as sweet and dear as those of love?” she wrote to him. Her answer: “Yes, indeed it has—at least in my heart.” (Photo credit: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.)
John Rodgers and Anne Pinkney
John Rodgers is best remembered as a navel hero who fought the Barbary pirates and fired the first shots of the War of 1812. But while he was across the Atlantic fighting pirates, he relied on his friend Ann Pinkney at home in Maryland to help further his courtship of a young woman named Minerva Denison. Ann reported back to John on his “goddess” and was pleased to extract a confession of Minerva’s love for John which she passed along. John and Minerva married, while John and Ann remained friends. (Photo credit: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.)
Benjamin Franklin and Georgiana Shipley
Benjamin Franklin was notorious for his flirtations with women, but it’s likely that most of his flirting was merely part of playful friendships. Such appears to be the case with a teenage girl he befriended in London in 1772, Georgiana Shipley. He gave her a pet squirrel named Mungo as well as a snuff box with his portrait painted on the lid. He declared himself “your affectionate friend” and she was even more effusive: “The love and respect I feel for my much-valued friend are sentiments so habitual to my heart that no time nor circumstance can lessen the affection.” (Photo credit: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.)
Gilbert Stuart and Sarah Wentworth Morton
Gilbert Stuart is best known for his portraits of presidents, but his friendship with Boston writer Sarah Wentworth Morton prompted his only known poetry. Gilbert created three portraits of Sarah, one of which he kept for himself. She published a poem praising his artistry, beginning with “Stuart, thy portraits speak with skill divine.” He replied that her poetry created “a cheering influence at my heart” and that ultimately poetry was superior to painting. This was a friendship between a very talented pair! (Photo credit: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.)
Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson and Benjamin Rush
The doctor and writer Benjamin Rush had a long friendship with one of Philadelphia’s smartest women, Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson. Elizabeth wrote Benjamin frequently from her country estate but sometimes worried she didn’t receive enough letters in return. As she wrote in a poem she sent him in 1793, “One Letter a week she surely might claim,/ To keep alive Friendship; and fan its pure Flame.” He may not have written as often as she would like, but he admired her greatly. She was, he said after her death, “a woman of uncommon talents and virtues” who was “beloved by a numerous circle of friends and acquaintances.” (Photo credit: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.)
Eliza Parke Custis and Marquis de Lafayette
The Marquis de Lafayette formed a lasting bond with George Washington during the American Revolution, and his affections later extended to Washington’s step-granddaughter Eliza Parke Custis. Lafayette was a father figure for Eliza, whose own father died when she was young. Eliza confided her troubles in him and he wrote long letters in reply offering advice and affection. The pair wrote each other for years, with Lafayette conveying his “paternal love” and “most affectionate respectful attachments.” (Photo credit: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.)
Featured image: Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, Howard Chandler Christy (1940). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
If it were not for his impeachment on 24 February 1868, and the subsequent trial in the Senate that led to his acquittal, Andrew Johnson would probably reside among the faded nineteenth century presidents that only historical specialists now remember. Succeeding to the White House after the murder of Abraham Lincoln in April 1865, Johnson proved to be a presidential failure [...]
Last week marked two important events in the unfinished story of southern racial violence. On February 10, the Alabama-based Equal Justice Initiative released Lynching in America, an unflinching report that documents 3,959 black victims of mob violence in twelve southern states between 1877 and 1950.
What do opera singer Leontyne Price, activist Victoria Gray Adams, civil rights organizer Bayard Rustin, and Harvard sociologist William Julius Wilson have in common? They all attended or graduated from Wilberforce University. Located outside of Dayton, Ohio, Wilberforce was the first institution of higher education to be owned and operated by African Americans.
Lucy Stone, a nineteenth-century abolitionist and suffragist, became by the 1850s one of the most famous women in America. She was a brilliant orator, played a leading role in organizing and participating in national women’s rights conventions, served as president of the American Equal Rights Association [...]