Government Boarding Schools Once Separated Native American Children From Families

21 Jun

Carlisle Indian School

In 1879, U.S. cavalry captain Richard Henry Pratt opened a boarding school in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. But it wasn’t the kind of boarding school that rich parents send their children to. Rather, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School was a government-backed institution that forcibly separated Native American children from their parents in order to, as Pratt put it, “kill the Indian in him, and save the man.”

Over the next several decades, Carlisle served as a model for nearly 150 such schools that opened around the country. Like the 1887 Dawes Act that reallotted Native American land, or the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ 1902 “haircut order”specifying that men with long hair couldn’t receive rations, Native American boarding schools were a method of forced assimilation. The end goal of these measures was to make Native people more like the white Anglo-Americans who had taken over their land.

So begins Becky Little’s concise historical reminder at History.com of Indian Boarding Schools. You may read her entire post here.

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Yes, your ancestors probably did come here legally — because ‘illegal’ immigration is less than a century old in the U.S.

21 Jun

Yes, your ancestors probably did come here legally — because 'illegal' immigration is less than a century old

When Nathalie Gumpertz arrived in New York in 1858, she was 22, single and ready to build a life in her new country. Without thinking twice about her legal status, she got off the boat, made her way to the Lower East Side (then known as Klein Deutschland, or “Little Germany,” due to the preponderance of German immigrants in the neighborhood) and eventually married, had four kids and settled at 97 Orchard St., the historic tenement house that is now the heart of the Tenement Museum, where I serve as president.

More than six decades later, in 1925, Rosaria Baldizzi arrived in New York to join her husband Adolfo at the same building, 97 Orchard. Baldizzi had a cloud hanging over her head that would remain there for the next two decades, one that Gumpertz never worried about: She had not entered the U.S. legally, and therefore had to worry about possible deportation.

What happened to make these two women’s experiences so different? In the years between their arrivals, “illegal” immigration was invented.

So begins Kevin Jennings’ brief history in the Los Angeles Times of U.S. immigration law. You may read the rest of his piece here.

The Redemption of Ulysses S. Grant

20 Jun

Every now and then a past American president undergoes a radical change in historical reputation. The starkest case was probably that of Harry Truman who was single-handedly rehabilitated twenty-five years ago by David McCullough’s Pulitzer-Prize-winning biography. By contrast, Thomas Jefferson has had rough innings recently at the hands of liberal historians who once lauded him but now focus on his long, profitable—and mealy-mouthed—entanglement with slavery.

The latest candidate for redemption is Ulysses S. Grant. The process has been underway for a couple decades already but surely has hit full stride now, courtesy of America’s favorite biographer, Ron Chernow. Also a Pulitzer winner for his work on George Washington and a prime source for the endlessly popular stage musical, Hamilton …

So begins historian James Bratt’s review of Chernow’s biography of U.S. Grant. You may read the rest of the review at the Twelve here.

Why We Don’t Read, Revisited

15 Jun

A little more than a decade ago, I wrote an article for The New Yorker about American reading habits, which a number of studies then indicated might be in decline. I was worried about what a shift to “secondary orality”—a sociological term for a post-literate culture—might do to America’s politics. “In a culture of secondary orality, we may be less likely to spend time with ideas we disagree with,” I wrote. I suspected that people might become less inclined to do fact checking on their own; “forced to choose between conflicting stories,” they would “fall back on hunches.”

I’ll go out on a limb and say that I don’t think that I got this part wrong. But I’ve often wondered whether I was right about the underlying trend, too. Were Americans in fact reading less back then? And are they reading even less today? Whenever I happen across a news article on the topic, I wonder if I’m about to find out whether I was Cassandra or Chicken Little.

Read the rest of Caleb Crain’s New Yorker essay here.

Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming

14 Jun

Neil Gaiman

A British author talks about why reading and libraries are important even in this Digital Age. Read The Guardian’s post of Neil Gaiman’s talk here.

Is Jerusalem embassy part of God’s grand plan? Why some evangelicals love Israel

16 May

(RNS) — On Monday (May 14), the Trump administration unveiled its new Jerusalem embassy. Many American evangelicals cheered because they understood the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as the “once and eternal” capital of Israel as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy.

Trump chose two evangelical ministers to offer prayers at the dedication of the embassy. Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, delivered the invocation. John Hagee, pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, gave the benediction.

Both clergymen adhere to dispensationalism, a theology informed by a literal reading of biblical prophecy. Most Americans have never heard the term “dispensationalism,” but they might have been exposed to this view of history through the popular “Left Behind” novels published in the 1990s and 2000s by Christian authors Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye.

So begins my friend John Fea’s post at Religion News Service. You may read his entire piece here.

Understanding nakba and the recent past for Palestinians: a history lesson

15 May

Hussein Ibish provides a concise historical account of Palestinian history in relation to nakba. You may read his entire post at The Atlantic here.

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