Saturday, February 28, 2015

Buffallo Soldiers

The big reason I love History, and the reason I am a History teacher is because of Grandpa.  He was a college History professor for many years.  Growing up he would always discuss History with us, and it must have stuck.  I love HISTORY!!!  I am so proud to post that my grandfather is the author of this book above.  He was inspired by this subjuect matter because he served in one of the last all black infantries during the Korean War.  This was before they desegragated the US Military.  Of course he served as a white officier, but he saw first hand how they were treated by the US and civilians.  So when he was done with his duty, he went back for his Phd.  He had to write about something, and he had the perfect topic!  Here is a review of his book:

The Black Infantry in the West, 1869-1891, by Arlen L. Fowler, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1996, $12.95 paperback.
Arlen Fowler's interest in the "buffalo soldiers" grew out of his 1952 assignment as a white officer in the 25th Armored Infantry Battalion, the last remnant of the all black 25th Infantry Regiment. Fowler became a firsthand witness to the prejudices and outright discrimination that still existed; his research showed that such attitudes and practices could be traced back to the organization of the first six black regiments (two cavalry and four infantry) between the summers of 1866 and 1867.
Fowler meticulously documents the black infantry's service through military records, personal letters and newspaper accounts from the 1860s through 1890s. Black regiments served in the harshest environments, fought Indians throughout the West and drew the most monotonous duties. Even so, their alcoholism and desertion rates ranked among the lowest. (At times white truancy reached 20 to 50 percent higher than black truancy.) Commanders, reporters and other eyewitnesses noted the black units' valor in battle, but most officers continued to consider it a blot on their record to serve with blacks or took a lower rank in order to serve in a white outfit, George Armstrong Custer among them.
This book offers fascinating insights into the struggles and pride of the black regiments. As William H. Leckie, author of The Buffalo Soldiers, states in the new foreword to this 1996 edition (hardcover edition printed by Greenwood Publishing Group, 1971), "Fowler's book is still essential reading for a comprehensive understanding of the role of the black infantry on the expanding western frontier."
Sierra Adare

Taken from:

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Average

I saw the video below yesterday on FB, and I knew I had to post this!  What this woman says is powerful and gave me goose bumps!  What really came to me was stereotypes, and how dangerous they are.  This young woman tackles African American women, the misconceptions, and weaves in history.  This is a must see!   

Monday, February 16, 2015

Red Tails

A great movie about African American History is Red Tails.  It is a movie about the Tuskegee Airmen during WW2.  They were African American fighter pilots who wanted to fight for the country.  Even though they were treated like 2nd class citizens - they wanted to fight for America and the idea of freedom.
The real Tuskegee Airmen
This movie is emotional and action packed!  You really see their struggle.  They had to prove themselves, and that is sad to me!  What a lesson to learn - patience and perseverance!  One of the most amazing facts about this movie is how it was made.  George Lucas creator of Star Wars heard the story about the Tuskegee Airmen, and had to tell their story.  For years he tried to get a green light, but every movie studio told him no.  So he funded it himself - $100 million!!!!  He believed in the story so much!  What he created was outstanding!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Political Courage

After my parents saw this we got into such a great discussion about the film!  I love that about my family!  We always have the BEST discussions!  What really stood out to me was what my Dad said about the film.  He talked about how the film was about Political Courage.  From President Johnson to Dr. King to the people in the march.
President Johnson
President Johnson was the President at the time of the Selma march.  He was aware of the situation, and was in constant communication with Dr. King.  They would discuss the Civil Rights Movement, and what needed to happen.  But as we know change is hard.  No politician wanted to tackle the issue.  There is a scene in the movie where President Johnson tells Dr. King you have one issue - I have 101.  President Johnson had to deal with the whole country, and honestly at this time it would be political suicide to tackle the issue of the Civil Rights and voting.
Finally he does because of what happened on that bridge in Selma.  It woke up the country!  Americans were horrified at what they saw!  That moment gave President Johnson the political courage to push and sign the Voting Rights Act of 1968.  I love the scene in the  movie when the President is talking to Governor George Wallace of Alabama, and they talk about how history will remember them.  Governor Wallace said he did not care.  The President then said we are different because I do care! 
President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1968

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Racisism Today

This weekend my parents wanted to know if Selma was good?  I just looked at them in disbelief, and asked is it good?  I declared of course!  I truly believe every American should see this film!!!!  I  saw my parents after the film, and they were so impressed!  My Mom was puddle - sobbing!  She got out, "I knew it was bad, but I had no idea how bad!"  Then we got into a great discussion, and I loved what my Mom said.  She said prejudice is a cancer eating at humanity.  I thought that was so powerful because we have not gotten the lesson! 
Prejudice still exists!  Minorities, Blacks, Handicapped, Gays, and so many more!  It just makes me so sad to see!  And if I witness prejudice I will speak up against it!  I wish we had a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today!  Our country has been missing a voice for a long time!  We need a single person to motivate and inspire us!
I cannot help but look at events like Ferguson and Treyvon Martin, and be sad!  They are horrible reminders that our country still has a long way to go in 2015.  Often I get so discouraged!  I feel so helpless!  Then I saw the interview below, and I found hope!  Remember this boy's name!  He is going to be someone BIG someday!  He went to a city counsel meeting and was so articulate about what is happening in Ferguson, MO!  It was scary, and he is only 11!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Voting is Power!

Once the slaves were freed - White Americans became nervous!  Because now the slaves were freedman - citizens of this country!  With that comes a lot of rights, freedom, benefits, and responsibility!  The biggest thing that scared Americans is the black man's ability to vote.  Before the Civil War ended the Repunlicans pushed through Congress the Civil War Amendments.  There big fear was once the Southern States were readmitted they would reinstitute slavery.  These Amendments would prevent that!
The 15th Amendment gave black men the right and power to vote.  Very quickly people became scared, and started to try to scare and intimated black men from voting!  They starting employing tactics to scare blacks away from the voting polls!  Two of those tactics were literacy tests and poll taxes.  It took the Civil Rights Movement to get rid of these two things.  They were employed for almost 100 years!
Of course white Americans were grandfathered in.  They said if your grandfather was not a slave then poll taxes and literacy tests did not apply to you.  Poll taxes were a fee you had to pay before you could vote.  This is mind boggling to me!? I cannot imagine having to pay before I voted!  This goes against very thing America stands for!  Literacy tests were American Government tests you had to pass by 100% before you could vote!  These tests were HARD!  In college I had a professor give the class a take home test.  It was so difficult!  I could only complete half the test, and I had access to any book and the internet.  I will never forget what happened the next day in class!
The professor asked how the test was?  We all started to complain!  The professor said don't worry about it!  This was an exercise, and the same test the state of Alabama used.  A black person in the 1950s would have to pass it by 100% before they could vote!  I will never forget that!   I got goose bumps!  I experienced first hand how unfair it was!  There is a scene in Selma that provides a great visual!
This is why voting became a landmark in the Civil Rights Movement!  The system became so unfair and cruel!  They finally get their victory in 1968 with The Voting Rights Act.  The American government cannot employ any tactics that would prevent anyone from voting for any reason!