“Hitler’s Headquarters” in Labor Day Parade, 1942.

2 September 2013

During a 1942 Labor Day parade in Detroit, an outhouse and clown participate in a plea for war bonds. A sign at the top of the outhouse declare that it is “HITLER’S HDQTRS” while the signs on the side states: “The boys at the front are giving their lives. CAN YOU SPARE 10% for BONDS/WE ARE Buying 10% Are You?”

Captured Cannons, 1865

30 August 2013
Photo Credit: George Eastman House

Photo Credit: George Eastman House

View of park of artillery captured at the Battle of Chattanooga, November 24, 24, 25, & 26th, 1863. Photo taken around 1865.

Riding a Horse, Okinawa, 1945

29 August 2013

Marine Riding a Horse in Okinawa (April 1945) – This Texas Leatherneck lost no time in roping a bronc after his unit hit the beach at Okinawa. Astride this Japanese version of a Shetland pony, Marine Private First Class Grady C. Hogue, of Brounsboro, Texas, is ready for the push to the interior of that island on the doorstep of Japan.

March on Washington and “I Have a Dream”

28 August 2013
Hundreds of thousands descended on Washington, D.C.'s, Lincoln Memorial Aug. 28, 1963. It was from the steps of the memorial that King delivered his famous I Have a Dream speech. King's many speeches and nonviolent actions were instrumental in shaping the nation's outlook on equality. Photo Credit: Source

Hundreds of thousands descended on Washington, D.C.’s, Lincoln Memorial Aug. 28, 1963. It was from the steps of the memorial that King delivered his famous I Have a Dream speech. King’s many speeches and nonviolent actions were instrumental in shaping the nation’s outlook on equality. Photo Credit: Source

“The greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.”

– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his “I Have A Dream” speech

Today marks the 50th Anniversary of the famous March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s infamous “I Have A Dream” speech. On Wednesday, August 28, 1963, a quarter million civil rights activists marched down the National Mall lobbying for congressional passage of a civil rights bill. Considered to be the Civil Rights Movement’s high-water mark, the march was also to gain national attention to the issue of black unemployment.

In front of 170 W 130 St., March on Washington, l to r, Bayard Rustin, Deputy Director, and Cleveland Robinson, Chairman of Administrative Committee. Photo Credit: O. Fernandez/Library of Congress

In front of 170 W 130 St., March on Washington, l to r, Bayard Rustin, Deputy Director, and Cleveland Robinson, Chairman of Administrative Committee, August 7, 1963. Photo Credit: O. Fernandez/Library of Congress

The idea for the march was stemming from A. Philip Randolph’s 1941 suggestion of a huge rally in the nation’s capital. Randolph was a leading African-American civil rights activist and he organized and led the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (the first predominantly black labor union). Martin Luther King Jr. was interested in using a massive march to lobby congressional approval of President Kennedy’s civil rights bill. He went to Randolph. While King’s main objective was the bill, Randolph’s wanted to focus on black unemployment which was more than twice the rate of white unemployment. Wages for a black worker was about a half of what a white worker earned.

Randolph and King knew that if a march was going to take place, it was crucial to have a talented organizer. So they turned to Bayard Rustin. An openly gay man with an FBI file of over 10,000 pages and, he was active in the civil rights, gay rights and nonviolence movements. He was King’s key adviser since the late 1950s and was a strategist during the Montgomery bus boycott. Rustin agreed to help and became the chief organizer of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Not every civil rights leader agreed with the King’s idea. Roy Wilkins of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) had many concerns. The first was that the march would cost too much money and, he attested, it would not have any effect on legislation. He also believed that the march would be overshadowed by Rustin’s homosexuality, draft dodging (for the Korean War) and former political beliefs (membership with the Young Communist League). Whitney Young, the executive director of the National Urban League, was afraid that the political nature of the march would jeopardize his organization’s tax-exempt status.

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [Leaders of the march (from left to right) Mathew Ahmann, Executive Director of the National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice; (seated with glasses) Cleveland Robinson, Chairman of the Demonstration Committee; (standing behind the two chairs) Rabbi Joachim Prinz, President of the American Jewish Congress; (beside Robinson is) A. Philip Randolph, organizer of the demonstration, veteran labor leader who helped to found the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, American Federation of Labor (AFL), and a former vice president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO); (wearing a bow tie and standing beside Prinz is) Joseph Rauh, Jr, a Washington, DC attorney and civil rights, peace, and union activist; John Lewis, Chairman, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; and Floyd McKissick, National Chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality.]

Some of the leaders of the march (from left to right) Mathew Ahmann, Executive Director of the National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice; (seated with glasses) Cleveland Robinson, Chairman of the Demonstration Committee; (standing behind the two chairs) Rabbi Joachim Prinz, President of the American Jewish Congress; (beside Robinson is) A. Philip Randolph, organizer of the demonstration, veteran labor leader who helped to found the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, American Federation of Labor (AFL), and a former vice president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO); (wearing a bow tie and standing beside Prinz is) Joseph Rauh, Jr, a Washington, DC attorney and civil rights, peace, and union activist; John Lewis, Chairman, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; and Floyd McKissick, National Chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality. Photo Credit: National Archives

Regardless of the reservations, the major civil rights leaders signed on to support the march. However, the name “March on Washington” was changed to the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” Randolph was chosen as the event’s direction and he in turn named Rustin as the deputy director. In December 1962, they began to plan.

On June 22, the Big Six met with President Kennedy. [The Big Six were the prominent leaders of the various civil rights organizations. They included A. Philip Randolph (director of the march), Martin Luther King Jr. (president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference), Roy Wilkins (president of the NAACP), Whitney Young (executive director of the National Urban League), James Farmer (president of the Congress of Racial Equality) and John Lewis (chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee).] They notified him of their intentions and gave a list of specific objectives such as a comprehensive civil rights bill, voter rights, job program and school desegregation. Kennedy did not like the idea. Partly because his approval rating took a dip when he supported the civil rights movement. Kennedy was worried that the march would bring a large crowd to Washington and it would turn violent. A month later, he endorsed the march. Kennedy told his advisers, “Well, if we can’t stop it, we’ll run the damn thing.”

Now it was time for all the logistics. A Wednesday was chosen since it fell in the middle of the week and it would be less likely to encounter trouble. The demonstration site was changed to the Lincoln Memorial instead of the Capital. Chief organizer Rustin began booking thousands of buses and drilled hundreds of off-duty police officers and firefighters who had volunteered to act as marshals. He also rented portable toilets, organized food and water as well as chose speakers and wrote slogans. All in all, Rustin was the engine to the march’s success.

Dr. Martin Luther King giving his "I Have a Dream" speech during the March on Washington in Washington, D.C., on 28 August 1963. Photo Credit: National Archives

Dr. Martin Luther King giving his “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington in Washington, D.C., on 28 August 1963. Photo Credit: National Archives

On Wednesday, August 28, 1963, 21 special trains, 1,514 buses and countless car pools brought the quarter million people from all over the country to the Mall. Singing and clapping filled the air as the marchers sang freedom songs. Musicians such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Odetta, Josh White and Peter, Paul and Mary warmed up the crowd with two hours of music. The march to the Lincoln Memorial was led by the civil rights leaders along with religious leaders. A number of Hollywood stars and famous faces came out and marched – Ossie Davis, Marlon Brando, Sammy Davis, Jr., Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee, James Garner, Kick Gregory, Charlton Heston, Dennis Hopper, Lena Horne, Burt Lancaster, Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier and Jackie Robinson – to name a few.

The march had a number of notable speakers, including many of the Big Six. Josephine Baker was the only female speaker. She wore her Free French uniform with her medal of the Légion d’honneur upon it while introducing the “Negro Women for Civil Rights,” including Rosa Parks and Daisy Bates. The day was capped with King’s infamous “I Have a Dream” speech.

His 17-minute speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial became a defining moment of the civil rights movement. King called for an end to racism in the United States while invoking and citing parts of the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation and the United States Constitution. The eloquent words moved, and continue to move people into action against inequality. John Lewis later commented on how King’s speech moved him.

When I listen to the speech and remember that day, Dr. King had the power, the ability and the capacity to transform those steps on the Lincoln Memorial into a modern day pulpit. By speaking the way he did, he educated, he inspired, he informed the people there, but people throughout America and unborn generations.

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was the largest civil rights demonstration in Washington, D.C. and was also the first to be televised. Much of momentum of the civil rights movement was halted three months later when President Kennedy was assassinated. The effects the march on civil rights varies between scholars. However, the march is usually credited with propelling government action on civil rights. Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and President Johnson signed it into law.

 

Further Reading
Erik Bruun & Jay Crosby, eds. Our Nation’s Archive: The History of the United States in Documents, New York: Tess Press, 2009, 733-735.
Bruce J. Dierenfield, The Civil Rights Movement, Rev. ed. London: Pearson Education Limited, 2008.
Kevin S. Hile, ed. The Big Book of Answers, Canton: Michigan: Visible Ink Press, 2003, 166-167.
Martin Luther King III, “Still striving for MLK’s dream in the 21st century,” The Washington Post, August 25, 2010.
NPR, “‘A People’s History’ Of The March On Washington,” August 28, 2010.
Steve Hendrix, “Bayard Rustin, organizer of the March on Washington, was crucial to the movement,” The Washington Post, August 21, 2011.
Huffington Post, “March On Washington: 10 Facts About America’s Historical Demonstration,” August 24, 2013.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute (Stanford University)
Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have A Dream’ Remembered“, PBS, August 28, 2003.

In Their Words – Neil Armstrong

27 August 2013

Neil Armstrong Quote

Sharing a Meal with Fuzzy, 1951

26 August 2013
Photo Credit:

Photo Credit: AP Photo/James Martenhoff/Denver Post

Pvt. Dick L. Powell, of Findlay, Ohio, share a meal with his puppy friend, Fuzzy, near the front in 35th Reg, 25th Div area on March 12, 1951. Fuzzy first looks on hungrily before he digs in.

This photo may have been taken as the 25th Division participated in Operation Ripper from March 7–April 4, 1951. The operation’s goal was to drive Communist forces out of Hongch’on and Ch’unch’on and to reach “Idaho,” – just below the 38th parallel in South Korea.

Daniel Emmett & “Dixie”

25 August 2013
Sheet Music for "Dixie". Photo Credit: Library of Congress

Sheet Music for “Dixie”. Photo Credit: Library of Congress

“Dixie” was one of the most popular songs to have emerged in the United States during the 19th century. As all roads began leading to the Civil War, “Dixie” reinforced and strengthened the identity of the South. However, this was not intention of the song’s composer who was a loyal Unionist and, reportedly, disgusted by its southern popularity.

Photograph of Dan Emmett in blackface, probably early 1860s. Photo Credit: Source

Photograph of Dan Emmett in blackface, probably early 1860s. Photo Credit: Source

Daniel Emmett was born and raised in Mount Vernon, Ohio. Musically inclined, he taught himself to play the fiddle at a young age. After a brief stint in the Army (was discharged after they found out he had falsified his age to enlist), he traveled with circus bands. It was there he realized his knack of impersonations, especially of African-Americans. Emmett began performing in blackface with his fiddle in minstrels.

In 1859, Emmett composed “Dixie” while with the Bryant’s Minstrels. It was performed for the first time while touring the south. The song incorporated much of the traditions of African-American song and dance. As the Civil War approached, the South identified strongly with the tune. So much so that “Dixie” was used in the campaign against  Abraham Lincoln’s presidency run. Interestingly, Lincoln also used it during his own campaign and at his inauguration in 1861. “Dixie” was also played during Jefferson Davis’ inauguration as President of the Confederacy.

Both the North and the South viewed the meaning of the song differently. The North saw “Dixie” as anti-slavery song that prompted action against the system. Publishers in the North tried to rewrite some of the words in order to support its cause and gave it such titles as “Dixie Unionized.” However, the original tune withheld these changes and the new ones never caught on. The South used “Dixie” as its unofficial anthem and battle cry. The words, such as the chorus  (“In Dixie’s Land I’ll take my stand, to live and die in Dixie”), substantiated their feelings and the length they would go to protect their land and beliefs. The American Social History Project explains the possible reasons the South identified so strongly to “Dixie”:

Its text, like the closing “walk arounds” from other minstrel shows, pictured the South as a happy land bathed in rural nostalgia, an appealing contrast, perhaps, to the urban squalor of New York, not to mention its cold winter weather.

Photograph of Daniel Emmett. Photo Credit: Source

Photograph of Daniel Emmett. Photo Credit: Source

Some have stated that “Dixie” was played during General Pickett’s ill-fated charge at Gettysburg as well as when the South surrendered. It was one of Lincoln’s favorite tunes and he had the White House band play it to support the reunification of the country. A few days before his assassination, Lincoln said of the song, “I have always thought ‘Dixie’ one of the best tunes I have ever heard. Our adversaries over the way attempted to appropriate it, but I insisted yesterday that we fairly captured it. . . .”

Since the Civil War, “Dixie” has been synonymous to mean the South. Something Emmett, a staunch Unionist, would not have liked. Regardless, he created a song that withstood the years. However, he was never able to capitalized on it since he sold all rights to a publisher for $500. He was also late in copyrighting the song. Many other minstrel groups and performers used it without giving him the due credit as the creator. Many people have come forward, claiming they invented “Dixie” instead of Emmett. Four years after his death in 1904, over 37 people claimed “Dixie” was actually their own.

The video is of the 1916 rendition of Dixie by the Metropolitan Mixed Chorus with Ada Jones and Billy Murray.

Further Reading
Daniel Decatur Emmett,” Songwriters Hall of Fame
American Social History Project
Dan Emmett Music & Arts Festival

Four Women Posing Humorously, 1890

24 August 2013
Photo Credit: George Eastman House

Photo Credit: George Eastman House

This tintype is of four women posing humorously in a studio. Taken around 1890, it truly is a remarkable look at the relationship between these four women.

Ernest Hemingway & Cats

23 August 2013

Ernest Hemingway, one of America’s most influential 20th Century authors, perpetuated the idea of masculinity – both in his written work and in himself as an avid fisherman, hunter and boxer. Surprisingly, Hemingway also had a soft spot for cats.  His fondness for cats was widely photographed and he was quoted as saying that “[a] cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.”

While living in Key West, Florida, Hemingway was given a white six-toed cat by a ship’s captain. The cat was given the name “Snowball.” Eventually, after Hemingway’s suicide in 1961, the Key West house was turned into the Hemingway Home and Museum. Among the things the museum preserved were the cats that lived on the premise. It is now home to approximately 40-50 of the six-toed cats (also called polydactyl cats).  Reportedly, some of the current cats are descendants of Snowball. [The “Hemingway Cats” have also caused a recent legal battle.]

“Cat’s were put into the world to disprove the dogma that all things were created to serve man.” – Ernest Hemingway

Photos of Hemingway with cats…

American Author Ernest Hemingway with sons Patrick (left) and Gregory (right) with kittens in Finca Vigia, Cuba. Photo Credit: JFK Library

American Author Ernest Hemingway with sons Patrick (left) and Gregory (right) with kittens in Finca Vigia, Cuba. Photo Credit: JFK Library

Ernest Hemingway sitting on a deck chair with cat, Boise, at his home, Finca Vigia, San Francisco de Paula, Cuba. Photo Credit: JFK Library

Ernest Hemingway sitting on a deck chair with cat, Boise, at his home, Finca Vigia, San Francisco de Paula, Cuba. Photo Credit: JFK Library

Ernest Hemingway with his cat, Cristobal, at his home, Finca Vigia, San Francisco de Paula, Cuba, ca. July 1942. Photo Credit: JFK Library

Ernest Hemingway with his cat, Cristobal, at his home, Finca Vigia, San Francisco de Paula, Cuba, ca. July 1942. Photo Credit: JFK Library

Ernest Hemingway sitting at a table feeding his cat Cristobal a corn cob at his home, Finca Vigia, San Francisco de Paula, Cuba. Photo Credit: JFK Library

Ernest Hemingway sitting at a table feeding his cat Cristobal a corn cob at his home, Finca Vigia, San Francisco de Paula, Cuba. Photo Credit: JFK Library

Further Reading
Hemingway Home and Museum
David Haglund, “When Ernest Hemingway Killed His Cat,” Slate, March 28, 2012.
Alison Flood, “Ernest Hemingway letters reveal painful late years of affection and loss,” The Guardian, March 30, 2012.
Jonah Goldberg, “Washington vs. Hemingway’s cats,” New York Post, December 30, 2012.
Ky Moshrefi, “Ernest Hemingway in Key West,” Huckleberry, Feburary 19, 2013.

Camp Fire Girls, 1918

20 August 2013

A troop of Camp Fire Girls dressed in Native American costume took part in the Grandview Parent Teacher Association (PTA) meeting at the Willits H. Sawyer residence at 1499 Roxbury Road on Wednesday, May 15, 1918. Until Upper Arlington [Ohio] opened its school system in October 1918, children in the community attended the Grandview schools.

Lucille Ball on “What’s My Line?” (1954)

18 August 2013

Actress Lucille Ball as the mystery guest on the February 21, 1954 episode of “What’s My Line?” in which she shows off her legendary comedy chops. The panelists are Dorothy Kilgallen, Steve Allen, Arlene Francis and Deborah Kerr with moderator John Charles Daly.

WWI Aero Ambulance

17 August 2013
Photo Credit: National Photo Company Collection (Library of Congress)

Photo Credit: National Photo Company Collection (Library of Congress)

The portion of the caption that can be seen states: “Demonstrating the use of Hospital plane in giving quick aid to wounded aviators. Ellington Field, Houston, Texas.”

Women Strike for Peace, 1962

16 August 2013
Photo Credit: Library of Congress

Photo Credit: Phil Stanziola/Library of Congress

About 800 women from Women Strike for Peace protested on 47 Street near the UN Building during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Women Strike for Peace (later known as Women for Peace) was founded in 1961 by Bella Abzug and Dagmar Wilson when they protested the use of above ground nuclear testing that occurred on November 1, 1961. From there the group expanded to advocating nuclear disarmament and promoting peace.  The University of Illinois at Chicago stated that their efforts led to the Partial Test Ban Treaty in 1963 “which ended atmospheric nuclear tests.”

University of Illinois at Chicago

In Their Words – Andy Rooney

15 August 2013

Andy Rooney

Mug shots: Lucy Parsons

14 August 2013

Mug shot: A photograph of someone’s face especially one made for police records. The word “mug shots” comes from the British slang word “mug” meaning “face.”

Lucy Parsons after her arrest for rioting during an unemployment protest at Hull House in Chicago, Illinois, 1915. Photo Credit: Chicago Historical Society

Lucy Parsons’s mug shot. Photo Credit: Chicago Historical Society

According to a website dedicated to Lucy Parsons:

For almost 70 years, Lucy Parsons fought for the rights of the poor and disenfranchised in the face of an increasingly oppressive industrial economic system. Lucy’s radical activism challenged the racist and sexist sentiment in a time when even radical Americans believed that a woman’s place was in the home.

She was a leading American radical labor organizer and activist with the Industrial Workers of the World (as well as other political organizations). Parsons’ mug shot was taken in Chicago after she was arrested for rioting during an unemployment protest at Hull House in 1915.

Lucy Parsons Center

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