Tag Archive | racist

Thanksgiving: A Day of Mourning 2017

Every Thanksgiving, I like to republish this post and add a few thoughts.

My thoughts surround the removal of Confederate statues. I am against the removal for the fact that the act is removing history from our memories, just as what happened to Thanksgiving. I know most folks think that these statues are tributes to these leaders that fought for things that us modern folks aren’t too proud of. Some folks think they are offensive. Contrary to what many people believe, slavery was not high on the list of reasons for the Civil War.

Although some people think that black Africans were the only slaves in written history, slavery goes back to the beginning of time,  and spans all cultures, nationalities and religions. I don’t understand why some folks think this statement is considered racist. It’s the truth! It may not be easy to find collaborating documents to prove the many different peoples that were used as slaves, as much of this history has been buried in history books, because countries don’t want to be remembered that way. That’s a problem, in my opinion. People will soon forget about why the Civil War was fought and the people that are claiming to be repressed because of it will loose their footing in their arguments.

‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ George Santayana

“There aren’t just bad people that commit genocide; we are all capable of it. It’s our evolutionary history.” James Lovelock

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‘History is written by the victors.’ Winston S. Churchill 

If you are interested in learning a different story of what happened after the pilgrims reached Plymouth Rock, please read on!

Those who are indigenous Indians to North America have been misrepresented and effectively banished in American history textbooks in favor of glorifying European colonialism. Why does democracy refuse to teach that thousands of American Native Indians were unjustifiably slaughtered in the name of conquest and imperialism?

From the book The American Tradition.

“After some exploring in 1620, the Pilgrims chose the land around Plymouth Harbor for their settlement. Unfortunately, they arrived in December and were not prepared for the New England weather. However, they were aided by friendly Indians, who gave them food and showed them how to grow corn. When warm weather came, the colonists planted, fished, hunted and prepared themselves for the next winter. After harvesting their first crop, they and their Indian friends celebrated the first Thanksgiving.”

This is what is taught here in the U.S. Some of it is the truth; the Pilgrims did come to America in 1620. Most didn’t survive the first winter because of their lack of stored food and supplies. They did meet Native American Indians. That’s pretty much where the truth ends.

The Wampanoag people did not truly trust whites, having dealt with European fishermen who had enslave or kill them for the past 100 years. However, because it was their culture and religion to help those in need, the Wampanoags took pity on the settlers and helped them. On March 16th, 1621, a Patuxet Indian (neighbors of the Wampanoag) named Samoset met the settlers for the first time. Samoset spoke excellent English, as did Squanto, another bilingual Patuxet because the British had taken them into slavery in the past. Squanto acted as an interpreter for the Wampanoag Indians, led by Chief Massasoit.

The next harvest season, the settlers and Native Tribes agreed to meet for a 3-day negotiation. As the meeting fell during the Wampanoag Harvest Festival, the Native Indian community agreed to bring most of the food for the event. The peace and land negotiations were successful and the Pilgrims acquired the rights of land for their people. This became the base for the Thanksgiving story.

In 1622 propaganda started to circulate about this “First Thanksgiving”. A book called, “Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims in Plymouth” publicized the greatness of Plymouth and told of the meeting as a friendly feast with the Native Indians. The Pilgrims glamorized the situation, possibly in an effort to encourage more Puritans to settle in their area. By stating that the Native Indian community was warm and open-armed, the newcomers would be more likely to feel secure in their journey to New England.

What started as a hope for peace between the settlers and the Wampanoag, ended in the most sad and tragic way. The Pilgrims, once few in number, had now grown to well over 40,000 and the Native American Indian strength had weakened to less than 3,000. Not only did the battles lower their numbers, contagious diseases never seen by the Native Indians were also to blame. By 1675, one generation later, tension had grown between the Europeans and the Native Indians. The Wampanoag called in reinforcements from other surrounding tribes.

Many Native Indian communities throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut rallied with the Wampanoags, but the power of the English was overpowering. After the war was over, the remaining Wampanoags and their allies, were either killed or deported as slaves for thirty shillings each. This slave trade was so successful that several Puritan ship owners began a slave-trading business by raiding the coast for Native American Indians and trading them for black slaves of Africa. The black slaves were then sold to colonists in the south. Hence, the Pilgrims were one of the founders of the American-based slave trading industry.

This is why I will not be celebrating Thanksgiving the same way as in the past. I will still be thankful for my friends and my family. However, I will also remember there’s more than one way to weave a story.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Savannah Proper (Georgia)

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We spent about two days in ‘downtown’ Savannah. It is a small town, however my idea of small may be skewed, as I’m from Chicago. We walked most of it in those two days also. There are lots of overpriced shops, slushy bars, awesome restaurants and tourist traps to see. Mingled among those places are some true, local places. We had a lot of fun finding the REAL places of Savannah!

The architecture is beautiful here as the Yankees didn’t burn it down during the Civil War, like so many other Southern towns. The mayor at the time just said, “We give up, don’t trash the town!” General Sherman actually liked the town so much, he agreed and then gave it to President Lincoln as a Christmas present.

There are something like 34 ‘squares’ (little parks) within the city. They all have their own theme and are decorated differently. When they were first built, the homes surrounding them were responsible for the upkeep. They are all very beautiful, have nice places to sit and all have a different history about them. Often, there are sculptures and fountains within them. I highly recommend a walk through as many as you can.

We loved the open drinking policy here. I think it helps merchants sell more stuff to ‘loosened-up’ tourists! Ha!! We had a few good laughs at a bar down by the river, that touted it was a ‘Green Bay Packers’ bar. Perfect! That means I’ll get a side car of beer with my Bloody Mary! Nope. I then asked the bartender if they played dice here. In Wisconsin, it is a common practice to play a dice game called ‘Ship, Captain, Crew’, where you play dice for your drinks. I think he knew where we were going with this or maybe it was our Midwestern accents, however he owned up to not really being from Wisconsin. He was from Denver, and had just bought the bar the previous week. They did have one really awesome thing going for them, they had dill pickle shots! Vodka, pickle juice and a secret ingredient…. OMG, were those good. -+–*

Driving was a bit frustrating. Many streets had large medians and actually had a stop between directions. The tree lined streets are gorgeous, however all the Spanish moss hanging from the trees prevented you from seeing the traffic signal until the last moment. Toss in drunk pedestrians and it’s a party!!  Extreme care is needed when driving here.

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The tree lined streets are to die for! Love this entrance.

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We did go to the beach, or Tybee Island. I did put the toes in for posterity, but that’s all that was going in! Brrrrr!

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Tybee Island Lighthouse

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Half Police car, half Taxi!

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We don’t like the mainstream bars or the ‘flavored slushy’ bars. Here we found places to go that normally would scare tourists away. When I asked this tattooed and pierced bartender for a Mimosa (Orange juice and champagne) and Yes, I clearly did not think before ordering it at a bar like this, it’s just that it was before noon, and I wanted to have my OJ….  😉 He told me he was out of champagne, however, he could make me a Mimosa lite. “What’s that?”, I asked. He said, “Bud Light’. Ha! Fine. Kamikaze Shot it is!

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We could not believe how dog friendly they are here also. There were dogs everywhere, in stores, cafes, art galleries, parks… There were dog water bowls and poop bag stations at every square. many places offered treats when you came in. Way to win over the doggy parents!

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We don’t like big, crowded tours. We did enjoy a private horse tour of the area with Jenna (human tour guide) and Fabio (Horse cutie)

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I can’t remember the significance of the first house, however the orange one here is The Mercer House.

The Mercer House was designed by a New York architect John S. Norris for General Hugh W. Mercer, the great grandfather of Johnny Mercer (singer). Construction of the house began in 1860, was interrupted by the Civil War and was later completed, circa 1868, by the new owner, John Wilder. In 1969, Jim Williams, one of Savannah’s earliest and most dedicated private restorationists, bought the then vacant house and began a two-year restoration. This house is one of the more than 50 houses Mr. Williams saved during his thirty-year career in historic restoration in Savannah and the Lowcountry.

Since we had a load of driving to do, we decided to listen to an audio book: Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil by John Berendt. The book takes place in Savannah and I’m pretty sure its required reading if you are to live here. Ha! They call it “THE BOOK” down here. All the events are true in the book, however they are a tad bit mixed-up, chronologically. Small spoiler… there is a murder in the middle of the book. The lower room on the left is the room it happened in. After having listened to the book, it was very cool to see the actual houses in relation to one another.

We actually just watched the movie and feel it kinda sucked. Maybe if we hadn’t read the book, it would have been better.

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Here’s a weird story; It was about 9 PM, well past dark, and we were walking back to our truck. After cutting through a cemetery, we emerged about 2 blocks from the truck. A black gentleman on a bike said hello, we reciprocated. He then stopped, motioned across the street and asked us if we knew the cemetery originally went another 10 feet over? We stopped and said no, that it was interesting there is now a road over it. He told us he was born here and then continued to tell us about how they moved bodies and why one of the headstones is oddly on part of the sidewalk. We thought it was fascinating and continued to listen. I’m not sure what went wrong, however after about 7-8 minutes of talking with him, he blurted, “Well, I can tell when someone from Chicago doesn’t want to be talking to a black man like me” (We never mentioned where we were from). He then told us to have a good evening and rode off. What the heck just happened? We looked at each other with our mouths open. Did he just call us racists??

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Johnson Square

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I think this is where Oglethorpe was originally buried. It is right in the middle of a right-of-way.

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Oglethorpe Square   ||   The signs read: Historical steps, use at own risk. They were all different sizes of steps, you had to look down. We saw a lot of folks that should have walked down to the ramp. Public drinking is somewhat entertaining for the sober folks also!!

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl