Today is usually a solemn day where we remember the sacrifice of many to our country. Many of the men and women in this country give up their private lives and some times their lives altogether to defend the things that let our country aspire to become “a more perfect union” and to share our values of “liberty and justice for all”. Their personal sacrifices were made to make all of us better off.
We find many days in our national calendar to recognize their commitment to our country. Today is a big one. My Dad was a world war II bombardier in the US Army Air Corps. His uncle and namesake took mustard gas in his lungs in trenches in France during World War I. While Uncle Jack made it back home, he died quite young as the mustard gas eventually took his life. My family has served in every war since Revolution and we were always reminded to honor our legacy.
There are so many instances of all kinds of Americans stepping up to this duty that it’s not difficult to wonder why we don’t fully step up for all of them. Most Native Americans were not even considered citizens until 1924 but many fought in World War I. The Library of Congress has maps that show where their bodies were buried in the fields of such historic battles as Verdun. Many lie in the places where the current Placeholder in the Oval office skipped out on a service honoring them, because, well, rain.
While searching through our collections for maps to use for display in the exhibition Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I, I found one among our uncatalogued holdings that caught my attention. As the title states, it is a map presenting the role of North American Indians in the World War. The map was published by the Office of the Adjutant General of the Army in 1925. The North American Indian in the World War map documents the places where Native Americans fought with distinction during the First World War. Furthermore, it represents part of the broader social and political fight for Native American citizenship.
The map shows Native American participation, graves, notable battles, and military decorations awarded in France and Belgium.
The information for the map was taken from the work of Dr. Joseph Kossuth Dixon, a former Baptist preacher who became a photographer, author, and Native American rights advocate. Prior to the war, Dixon led three expeditions throughout the United States. Some of Dixon’s photographs can be found at the Library.
After World War I, Dixon traveled through Europe with the hope that documenting Native American service in the military would aid the struggle to obtain general U.S. citizenship. Forty percent of Native Americans were not citizens until 1924, though more than 12,000 served in the U.S. Army during World War I. As part of their service, many Native Americans of the 142nd Infantry, 36th Division became the nation’s first “Code Talkers.” Code Talkers sent messages encrypted in their native languages over radio, telephone, and telegraph lines which were never broken by Germany. On June 2, 1924, almost six years after the end of the war, Congress passed the Indian Citizenship Act granting citizenship to all Native Americans born in the United States.
African Americans also made a huge commitment of lives to the battlefields of World War I too which they too considered “the war to end all wars”. We focus a lot on the stories of World War II with its Navajo Codetalkers’ vital role in helping end the war in the Pacific theatre. We also talk a lot about the Tuskegee Airmen and their role in the fight in the European theatre of WWII. Black Americans were also present on the battle fields of WW1. This war not only shaped black lives in the countrry then, it shaped the lives of black Americans today. Do you know about the migration of southern blacks to the factories of the north?
World War I was a transformative moment in African-American history. What began as a seemingly distant European conflict soon became an event with revolutionary implications for the social, economic, and political future of black people. The war directly impacted all African Americans, male and female, northerner and southerner, soldier and civilian. Migration, military service, racial violence, and political protest combined to make the war years one of the most dynamic periods of the African-American experience. Black people contested the boundaries of American democracy, demanded their rights as American citizens, and asserted their very humanity in ways both subtle and dramatic. Recognizing the significance of World War I is essential to developing a full understanding of modern African-American history and the struggle for black freedom.
When war erupted in Europe in August 1914, most Americans, African Americans included, saw no reason for the United States to become involved. This sentiment strengthened as war between the German-led Central Powers and the Allied nations of France, Great Britain, and Russia ground to a stalemate and the death toll increased dramatically. The black press sided with France, because of its purported commitment to racial equality, and chronicled the exploits of colonial African soldiers serving in the French army. Nevertheless, African Americans viewed the bloodshed and destruction occurring overseas as far removed from the immediacies of their everyday lives.
The war did, however, have a significant impact on African Americans, particularly the majority who lived in the South. The war years coincided with the Great Migration, one of the largest internal movements of people in American history.
Between 1914 and 1920, roughly 500,000 black southerners packed their bags and headed to the North, fundamentally transforming the social, cultural, and political landscape of cities such as Chicago, New York, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Detroit. The Great Migration would reshape black America and the nation as a whole.
Black southerners faced a host of social, economic, and political challenges that prompted their migration to the North. The majority of black farmers labored as sharecroppers, remained in perpetual debt, and lived in dire poverty. Their condition worsened in 1915–16 as a result of a boll weevil infestation that ruined cotton crops throughout the South. These economic obstacles were made worse by social and political oppression. By the time of the war, most black people had been disfranchised, effectively stripped of their right to vote through both legal and extralegal means.
Jim Crow segregation, legitimized by the Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) Supreme Court ruling, forced black people to use separate and usually inferior facilities. The southern justice system systematically denied them equal protection under the law and condoned the practice of vigilante mob violence. As an aspiring migrant from Alabama wrote in a letter to the Chicago Defender, “[I] am in the darkness of the south and [I] am trying my best to get out.”
Wartime opportunities in the urban North gave hope to such individuals. The American industrial economy grew significantly during the war. However, the conflict also cut off European immigration and reduced the pool of available cheap labor. Unable to meet demand with existing European immigrants and white women alone, northern businesses increasingly looked to black southerners to fill the void. In turn, the prospect of higher wages and improved working conditions prompted thousands of black southerners to abandon their agricultural lives and start anew in major industrial centers. Black women remained by and large confined to domestic work, while men for the first time in significant numbers made entryways into the northern manufacturing, packinghouse, and automobile industries.
h/t to NW LUNA:
Aside from their mass involvement in these voluntary organizations and efforts, a key difference between women’s service during World War I and that of previous wars was the class of women involved. Typically women who followed armies were from the working classes of society, but during the Great War, women from all classes served in many different capacities. Upper class women were the primary founders and members of voluntary wartime organizations, particularly because they could afford to devote so much of their time and money to these efforts. Middle- and lower-class women also participated in these organizations and drives, although they were more likely to be serving as nurses with the military or replacing men in their jobs on the home front as the men went off to war. For the first time in American history, women from every part of the class spectrum were serving in the war in some capacity.
Another significant change to women’s service during the Great War is that American civilian women donned uniforms. The uniforms allowed women to look the part and claim credibility for their services, as well as to be taken seriously by others; many women saw their wartime service as a way to claim full citizenship, and the uniforms symbolized “their credentials as citizens engaged in wartime service.” 2
Other women donned uniforms because of their association with the military—World War I was the first time in American history in which women were officially attached to arms of the American military and government agencies. Yeomen (F) served with the Navy and the Marine Corps, while the Army Nurse Corps was attached to the Army. In France, 223 American women popularly known as “Hello Girls” served as long-distance switchboard operators for the U.S. Army Signal Corps.
And of course, those of us knowing the sacrfice of our military, well, we’re ashamed by these dreadful headlines this weekend: “Donald Trump jokes about ‘getting drenched’ during Armistice speech.”
‘You look so comfortable up there, under shelter,’ Donald Trump said while addressing second world war veterans at his armistice ceremony speech in Paris. ‘We are getting drenched, you’re very smart people,’ he said. The US president’s comments come a day after he cancelled a trip to a cemetery due to bad weather. Trump then went on to compliment the veterans: ‘You look like you’re in really good shape all of you. I hope I look like that someday, you look great’
And then, there’s this : “Macron reportedly asked Putin not to privately meet Trump during World War I commemorations — but they talked anyway.” Evidently, Putin ass kisisng was the Trump priority and not recoginzing the sacrfice of the millions of veterans of World War I lying dead in graveyards.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said France specifically asked him not to hold one-on-one meetings with US President Donald Trump during World War I commemorations in Paris this past weekend — but he ended up chatting with him anyway.
Putin on Sunday afternoon said he agreed to France’s request so as to “not violate” France’s planned events. “We will agree that we will not violate the schedule of the host party here: At their request, we will not organize any meetings here,” he told the Russian state-owned RT news channel, according to the state-run Interfax news agency.
Less than an hour later, however, Putin told reporters that he did end up having a brief conversation with Trump.
When asked by journalists whether he had a chance to talk to Trump, Putin said “yes,” Interfax and RT reported. According to RT, Putin added that the chat was “good.” Where and when that talk took place is unclear.
There are so many ways that KKKremlin Caligula is unfit for the job but the absolute lack of gravitas he brings to the world stage and to the rituals we set up to honor each other is perhaps the most mind boggling. The first lady was not much better. She showed up to the somber events dressed like an 8 year old ready for an Easter Egg Hunt and other rites of spring. Her tone deaf ensembles just about take the cake. From the “I don’t care do you?” jacket, to the colonial occupier costumes she wore to visit African nations, right to the fuck me pumps she always wears while tromping around national disaster sites, she’s got one hell of a display of really bad form.
While we wait for Mueller to dosey doe around the absolutely astounding appointment of a radical, radically unqualified Attorney General, I can only hope he’s as good as they say. The massively good news of the weekend was the apparent call to real hearings discussed by incoming Democratic Committee Chairs. Here’s a good list of who they are from WAPO.
I’ve picked the five that will upset the Trump family crime syndicate the most to highlight.
Schiff, 58, represents parts of Los Angeles, including Hollywood and Burbank. As the top Democrat on the intelligence panel, he has been one of Trump’s favorite foils in Congress. Schiff has repeatedly criticized the House’s Russia investigation, which his GOP colleagues conducted, saying it was inadequate.
Now Schiff will get his chance to conduct his own targeted investigation into Trump’s 2016 campaign and its ties to Russia. He has said that he wants to look at whether Russians used laundered money for transactions with the Trump Organization. He also wants more information about communications the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., had with his father and others about a June 2016 meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer.
Oversight and Government Reform Committee
Cummings, 67, will likely head the committee that could make life the toughest for the Trump White House because of its broad investigative powers.
Cummings would likely seek Trump’s business tax returns and other company-related financial records. He said he will work to make the president accountable, but will also challenge Republicans to uphold their oversight responsibilities, saying, “I think we as a body can do better.”
The Maryland Democrat, who represents parts of Baltimore city and most of Howard County, has said he would also like the committee to examine prescription drug prices and whether some states have engaged in voter suppression.
“We cannot have a country where it becomes normal to do everything in Trump’s power to stop people from voting,” Cummings said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
He would also seek to bring Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross before the committee to testify about the decision to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census.
Nadler, 71, has been in Congress since 1992 and has served on the Judiciary Committee for much of that time. He represents a large swath of Trump’s hometown of New York.
He is expected to make one of his first priorities as chairman protecting special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and requesting that Mueller’s materials are preserved in case he is fired. Nadler said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that Matthew Whitaker, whom Trump named acting attorney general last week, “should recuse himself” from Mueller probe because he “expressed total hostilities to the investigation” and “if necessary” the Judiciary Committee will “subpoena” him to appear before the committee
The Judiciary panel would also oversee impeachment proceedings, if Democrats decided to move in that direction. But Nadler has expressed caution about the idea, saying there would have to be “overwhelming evidence” from Mueller and some bipartisan support.
The panel is also expected to look into family separation at the border and the Trump administration’s management of the Affordable Care Act.
Financial Services Committee
Waters, 80, is expected to chair a committee with oversight of banks, insurers and investment firms. She has opposed Republican-led efforts to roll back the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and is promising colleagues that she will prioritize protecting consumers from abusive financial practices. The California lawmaker, whose district centers on south Los Angeles County, can also conduct aggressive oversight of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and steps it has taken to reduce enforcement actions against student lenders, pay-day lenders and others.
The president railed against Waters on the campaign trail this year, frequently mentioning her during his rallies. Waters accuses Republicans of serving as Trump’s “accomplices.
In other words, the cavalry is coming. This time it includes native americans, black americans, hispanic americans, women, the glbt community.
Have a peaceful day of remembrance!
What’s in your reading and blogging list today?