Category: History

Let’s talk about Confederate monuments.

They’re going down. Some of them are, anyway. But they’re not going down without a fight from the heritage-not-hate devotees of the tributes to the fight to preserve slavery and white supremacy. New Orleans has taken down statues honoring Confederate generals and leaders, and Charlottesville has voted to do the same. But just as quickly as the statues are falling, city and state governments are proposing protections for such monuments as a matter of “heritage.” Alabama passed theirs on Friday, and Louisiana’s is in the works.

So what’s really behind this desperate protectiveness of Civil War participation trophies, and why do they have no place on taxpayer-owned land? Let’s talk.

Quick Hit(s): Indigenous Peoples Day

Not that it makes up for centuries of colonization and genocide, but more and U.S. cities are choosing each year to officially make the second Monday of October a celebration of the indigenous people of their region, and not of the deplorable individual credited with “discovering” them.

Women’s suffrage (on paper)

On this day in history, 95 years ago, Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed a proclamation amending the U.S. Constitution to guarantee a woman’s right to vote — after a fashion — with the signing of the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. But let’s not forget that Alice Paul’s statement that “all women must feel a great sense of triumph” wasn’t necessarily accurate.

Bartolome de las Casas Day, October 14

Christopher Columbus was a greedy, violent, colonizing monster and celebrating him with a national holiday in the same way we honor Martin Luther King, Jr., is ridiculously messed up. In anticipation of Monday’s U.S. Columbus Day observance, The Oatmeal lays out the true history of Columbus’s “explorations,” particularly his decimation of the Lucayan natives of the Bahamas, and suggests a better candidate for a national holiday.

Isn’t rape just so romantic?

[TW for sexual assault and racism]

When I started reading this article on the “yellow rose of Texas,” I thought the first line (“Her name was Emily Morgan, and she was the sweetest little rosebud that Texas ever knew”) was intentionally over-wrought to segue into sarcasm and criticism. But nope! Did you know that once upon a time there was a beautiful young indentured servant named Emily Morgan, and her beauty was so overwhelming that Gen. Santa Ana was “smitten” with her and, according to the Texas Monthly, “Whether the attraction was mutual we do not know, but the mulatto girl quickly became one of the spoils of Santa Anna’s campaign”? Did you know that she was a true Texan, and “certainly appears to have done her part in keeping her abductor occupied” so that “While the concupiscent commander and the fetching servant girl occupied themselves within the tent, the Texans charged across the plain and set upon the idle Mexican camp with the force of a crushing wave”? And that while this Yellow Rose saved Texas, “We lose track of Emily Morgan shortly after her services to Texas were rendered. She never surfaced again, except of course in song.” How wonderful that her “services” were so helpful! How lovely that her beauty made her just irresistible to Santa Ana, so that he couldn’t help but rape her.

Oops, did I say “rape” and ruin the romance of this article?