White History

Acknowledging the truth is our only hope.  As an elder of color it gives me comfort to know there are white truth tellers bringing home the light of reality that the atrocity of war was unable to blast out of them.~aw. 

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Cassius Marcellus Clay

None of us alive today will ponder this tidbit with the gusto our descendants will:  But.  What about Thomas Pryor Gore, blind grandfather of Gore Vidal, senator from Oklahoma though born in Mississippi.  A populist. Who studied law by having others read to him, including young, impressionable, Gore Vidal. Who stood up for the poor as well as for the Constitution.  Also the only poor member of the Senate, because he was, his grandson says, an honest man.  With a sense of humor.  Any relation to Richard Pryor, one wonders.

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And what about Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali and his white Kentucky namesake that he resembles so amazingly? And amusingly. I adore Muhammad Ali but I think he changed his name too soon.  He is so like his white namesake.  In both looks and behavior.  An anti-racist, anti-slavery, anti-ignorance politician of the first order. Who loved nothing better than to beat his opponents into the ground with his bare fists, when not shooting them dead in duels.  I often gather friends around YouTube ‘s Weird History Channel to witness Cassius Marcellus Clay, the elder, and Muhammad Ali similarities. One of these days, and we’ll not be around to witness it except in audiences of dinner party size, America will have a sense of humor about race and who belongs to whom. It would be wonderful to overhear the laughter.  But who really knows how this hereditary stuff works? And in which kingdom(s) we may eventually, though only for limited periods, reside? Maybe we will be, in some unusual form, chuckling right along!

As we must chuckle, overcoming our grief, when a great great grandson of Thomas Jefferson looks more like him than any of his white descendants . What do we learn?  Life does not forget.~aw

 

In 1896, a Norwegian immigrant and mother of eight children named Helga Estby was behind on taxes and the mortgage when she learned that a mysterious sponsor would pay $10,000 to a woman who walked across America.
Hoping to win the wager and save her family’s farm, Helga and her teenaged daughter Clara, armed with little more than a compass, red-pepper spray, a revolver, and Clara’s curling iron, set out on foot from Eastern Washington. Their route would pass through 14 states, but they were not allowed to carry more than five dollars each. As they visited Indian reservations, Western boomtowns, remote ranches and local civic leaders, they confronted snowstorms, hunger, thieves and mountain lions with equal aplomb.
Their treacherous and inspirational journey to New York challenged contemporary notions of femininity and captured the public imagination. But their trip had such devastating consequences that the Estby women’s achievement was blanketed in silence until, nearly a century later, Linda Lawrence Hunt encountered their extraordinary story. ~From the book jacket

This extraordinary true story is one upon which can be built a deeper understanding of our true history, as opposed to our fictional and fanciful, one.  For instance, did Norwegian and Scandinavian settlers  even grasp that the South (for instance) was part of the United States? What tales were they told about the Indians who, encountered by these absolute strangers to Turtle Island, thought the Indigenous people were the strangers. And what about life in those sod dwellings on the prairie and the unlimited number of children wives were forced to have to “protect” themselves from the “savages.”

Visiting early settler graveyards in New England and elsewhere it is appalling to recognize that countless young women died from too frequent childbearing and that they were replaced over and over again, by husbands desperate to survive and flourish in the “wilderness.”

This book is troubling for the light it sheds on the ease with which essential records of women’s lives- especially when their lives were filled with effort, daring, adventure, and yes, incredible sacrifice and love – can be blotted out, hidden, forbidden to be remembered, by the rules of a culture that was usually one big ball of misunderstanding and  perplexity to those most involved.~aw

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