African Burial Ground

During my visit to African Burial Ground, I learned many additional information about African Americans that I don’t normally learn in a classroom. This visit allowed me to integrate the knowledge taught to me in class with the information given to me. 

One of the most important things I learned is that the Africans that were enslaved had rights in the beginning. This is one fact that textbooks usually neglect. I’ve always been taught that African Americans were forced into labor, but according to the African Burial Monument, they were enslaved but with rights to own land and other things. Matter of fact, in 1644 11 enslaved Africans won their partial freedom and the right to 100 acres of land. This land became known as the “Land of the Blacks.” It was not until later were slavery codes become more oppressive and all their rights were stripped from them.

In this exhibit, the bodies they found were in coffins covered with symbols. These objects symbolize fortunate things for their afterlife. A symbol that’s common is the Sankofa, which translates to “learn from the past to prepare for the future.” This is to learn that lessons of sacrifice, perseverance, respect and power of the community is needed to a better future.


Regulating what goes in the Tummy


In late 2008, the FDA asked that all products served at restaurants include the calorie count in order for people to be more aware of what they are eating. In addition they banned bake sales in some schools. With the concern of obesity growing, the FDA steps up to make changes as they feel it’s their responsibility in keeping the citizens of America living a healthy life.

The government has constantly been taking an active role in regulating the food served to the American people. They have changed the wording and try to inform the public and let them be aware what they are consuming. When the calorie count aware to the public, people were able to know and choose to eat healthier at restaurants.





The Birth of a New Generation

During the 1990s, the family values of an ideal traditional household were changing. According to the census of 2000, Foner concludes “half of all marriages ended in divorce, and a third of all births were to unmarried women. Two-thirds of all married women worked outside their home, and less than one-fourth of all households consisted of a traditional family – a wife, husband, and children.”  Not only were women claiming rights to their own body, but they were also striving for an education. “At the turn of the century, women received over 60 percent of all college degrees and over 40 percent of advanced law, medical, and business degrees.”

These changes, also cause the beginning of a new generation. Aside from the traditional families, the new generation are raised under single-parent families, or families with step-parents.  According to Wilkerson, “This new generation struggles with trust and has a tendency to disbelieve authority. These offspring are being raised by the most bona fide group of hypocrites in American history. Because authority is so hypocritical, it is viewed by these young people as threatening.” Yet because of advanced technologies, according to many youth experts, it is also this generation who have the greatest potential to attain greatness.

The image below, is the covered of an issue from Newsweek in the 1990s, where they attempt to explore and understand who exactly is this new generation; by asking questions such as, “What makes them different?, Who are their heroes? and What problems do they face?”


American Skin



In the first song, A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke, it was inspired by the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. It discusses the discrimination and racism in America and his hope for a change. One of the major events in his life that inspired him to write this song was when he was summarily arrested for registering at a “whites only” motel.

The second song is America Skin (41 Shots) by Bruce Springsteen, and it is inspired by a tragedy about Amadou Diallo, where he was shot to death 41 times by four NYPD cops in 1999. He was unarmed and the cops mistaken his wallet for a gun.

Although change have been very prominent and the Civil Rights Movement have come a long way, discrimination still unfortunately exists. The second song reinforces the notion why a change is needed.


Problem with No Name: Solution NOW

The video above is about Betty Friedan who led the second wave of Women’s liberation in the 1960s. Gaining huge popularity with her book The Feminine Mystique in 1963, she later goes on to become one of the founders of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1966. Although many of the movements only date back to the day of the Women’s Strike for Equality on August 26, 1970, and forward, the resulting success is commenced from the progress of all the women’s effort before this.

Women’s liberation rooted back to the 1950s because the ideology of subordination of male dominance derived from the social change of increasing women in the work force. The advanced developments of new appliances during that time, such as washers and vacuum cleaners, lessen the work for women, which in turn, created more time for them to work. The gender roles of the 1950s differ greatly from the past comparing to their grandmothers and mothers before her; women were now paid working women as well as full-time housewife.


I’m late- but dinner won’t be!

With the rise of television, Americans changed their eating habits from home cooked meals to convenient TV Dinners. In 1954, Swanson introduced TV dinners that were packaged to mirrored the look of a television set, selling over 25 million dinners within their first year. As the ad suggests, it is an “oven-quick meal that taste home cooked.”  The convenience of these TV dinners attracted many Americans, creating a societal norm where Americans leisurely heat up the TV dinners and eat it while watching  TV. This common behavior became a cultural experience that all Americans across the states can share.

Below is a Swanson TV commercial:


I Spy With My Little Eye, A Soviet Spy

Spy trials created many controversies. One such controversy is the trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. During the Cold War, they were the only two Americans to be executed for espionage-related activities, which resulted in their execution in 1953. Although he was later found guilty in 2008, when co-defendant Morton Sobell admitted that they were guilty of being Soviet Union’s spies, the information they passed on were of little or no value to the Soviet Union; if anything, they only helped speed up the process.

The spy trials had very little effect on today’s world but I’m sure it implemented fear to the citizens of the United States as they would be suspicious of everyone around them. Although this one trial took the lives of these two people, there were many other trials that caused many other people to be imprisoned.


Hoover got Hoovered

Cliff Berryman, Washington Evening Star (1932)

The cartoon above was published during the presidential election in 1932 between the popular Franklin D. Roosevelt who gained recognition as the governor of New York, and his unpopular rival Herbert Hoover. This cartoon shows Roosevelt asking Hoover to leave his seat with an implication that Roosevelt will finish the rest of his job. Consequently Roosevelt won the election and began his attempt to solve the nation’s problem. Unlike Hoover, who’s action plan was to wait for the country to fix itself, Roosevelt on the other hand, drastically made changes with all his programs known as the New Deal. Some of these new programs include Works Projects Administration (WPA), Civilian Conservation Administration (PWA), the National Youth Administration (NYA), Farm Security Administration (FSA), National Recovery Administration (NRA) and Public Works Administration (PWA). The cartoon below illustrates Roosevelt’s active action and rapid progress during his first term as presidency.

Cliff Berryman, Washington Evening Star

Enemies of the Law… Heroes of the People!

During the Great Depression while the country’s money was decling and the unemployment rate was at its peak, Bonnie and Clyde became famous for their notorious battles against the law. Although Clyde expressed interests to lead a non-criminal life after his experience in the notoriously brutal Eastham Prison Farm, the start of the Great Depression left him jobless forcing him to rob again soon after. At the time many felt that big businesses and government officials were abusing the capitalistic system, so the news about Bonnie and Clyde made them instantly famous for their”opposition” of the system by robbing banks.

Bonnie and Clyde. (This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3c34474)
Bonnie Parker smoking a cigar while holding a gun moll. This image was found by the police. (http://foia.fbi.gov/bonclyd/bonclyd1a)

The image above on the right is a snapshot of Bonnie smoking a cigar while holding a gun moll. The police found this photo in one of their abandoned hideouts. These photos were soon released to the the press and was published nationwide. This began Bonnie’s notorious reputation as a cigar-smoking gull moll.


Limiting My Inventory

The Washington Naval Conference was held in Washington D.C. for four months discussing and making treaties following the World War I. One of the most important treaties made was the Five-Power Naval Limitation Treaty. This treaty limited the arms of five countries: United States, Great Britain, Japan, France and Italy. This treaty is to prevent mass production of arms following the World War I. The limitations reflected on the tonnage of ships and aircraft carriers each country can have. This treaty was made in hopes of preventing a second world war.


Peace Treaty Gone Wrong

World War I ended with the peace treaty signing called the Treaty of Versailles. Within this treaty, the victors asked for unreasonable demands. Some of these demands include putting all the blame of this war on Germany, dividing the land up, occupying the lands rich of iron and coal, restriction on Germany’s future army size and even ask for astronomical reparations reaching between $33 billion to $56 billion. Wilson initially wanted to this to be a peace treaty that ended future wars, but with such demands, anger and frustration was bound to lead into another war. The only thing good that came out of this treaty in Wilson’s eyes was the League of Nations.

Foner’s description of the Treaty of Versailles was well made but seemed a bit vague. It didn’t seem like it completely covered all aspects of this treaty. Foner confirmed my knowledge of this history in that this treaty was unjust and over demanding.


Don’t “hog” up the line!

In a time where demands of cheap and avaible meat far exceeds what the local butcher could put out, slaughterhouses have become the only option. Eating meat is a part of daily life, and people barely wonder where it came from before it was sold off on the shelter of supermarkets with their nicely wrapped packages.

It wasn’t until 1906, when the novel “The Jungle” was published that people began to question and become aware of what actually happens behind the scenes. Due to the public outcray cause by the book, the government immediately took action and form the Food and Drug Administration also known as the FDA.

In the photo above, Ford’s perfection in the assembly line was efficiently adopted to “eliminate loss of time between each operation and the next, and to reduce the energy expended by the worker on the manipulation of heavy carcasse.”


Struggles as an Immigrant

This is the room where immigrants wait during their examination process as Ellis Island.
Children are forced to work in factories in order to help the family.

Being an immigrant in the early 1900’s was simply horrible. Not only was it a struggle to be admitted into the country, but once in the country there are many more struggles ahead.  In the first picture, it shows immigrants at Ellis Island waiting for days just to go through an examination process. Once they enter the country, they have to start from scratch and make a living. Often time, it’s so difficult that children are employed in factories for very low wages. These children shown in picture two are usually treated poorly and have a high chance of death through their work at the factories.


You Go Girls!

The Seneca Falls Convention was held on July 19-20, 1848 consisting of both men and women whom came together to discuss about women’s rights. This convention was because it started the uprise of woman fighting for their rights. Some politcal gains immediately took effect such as the Married Woman’s Property Act which allowed the rights of ownership to property woman brought into or gained during the marriage.

The Convention had a heated debate over the right for woman to vote. Ultimately it was included and exactly 100 people signed off on this document, mostly women. As a result of the success the held a second convention in Massachusetts.


Perception lies in the Eye of the Beholder

History is taught through the factual texts of written documents. In most cases, we often only learn about why it started and the outcome of each event, but the stories that each person carries are often left unspoken.  In the book Race and Reunion by David Blight it exemplifies the many different views that people instilled from the Civil War. In this particular case, the segregation of races construct each race’s own perception of the Civil War. This book review plays an importance on the role of historical memory because only through the pain or gratification of those people lives who have been greatly affected can manifest the truth from these events.

An example where history is remember in different ways is the Rape of Nanking.  There were perceptions of western indifference and Japanese denial of the massacre ranging from  claims that the massacre was overly exaggerated or wholly fabricated for propaganda purposes. In Japan, the japanese youth are taught about the courageous martyrs who fought a just war, while in China the mourns for this tragedy still prevails today. The controversies still exists but the Nanking massacre had undoubtedly emerged as a fundamental foundation for the construction of modern Chinese national identity.


Breaking Tweets: The New Media

We all have been historians in one way or another, researching data for a paper we need to write for history class, or any class for that matter. It was only just a decade ago when I had to go to a public library to look for old newpaper clippings. I remember vividly how I had to go to this one specific library that comprises Periodicals. Looking back at it now, I am very envious of future generations that could now gather much more information with just a few simple clicks.

There are no other time in the past where finding information would be as easy as today. Information travels as fast as a few seconds for your post to be updated on the web. The social media Twitter is the living proof to this testimony. In 2009, when Tiger Woods’ car crashed, the information was already being tweeted on Twitter for over 45 minutes before it even appeared on CNN or ESPN, which are consider the worldwide leaders in news in their respective fields. Twitter changes the way we live and how we access information. Twitter is only a valuable tool demonstrated by how the users chooses to ulitilize it.

Although there are a lot of debates on the issue about how the Library of Congress is archiving every public tweets, how the future historians choose to use these information determines the relevance and significance of this decision. I agreed that there are alot of irrelevant posts on twitter, but the value of this information as a whole is the challege that future historians face.