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.


African Burial Ground

I visited the African Burial Ground for the extra credit assignment. In the exhibit, it also talks about the lifestyle the African Americans had. They were usually born into slavery and work at a very young age. Common causes for their deaths are diseases such as smallpox and yellow fever. Other cases usually are from the lack of nutrition they had. This is covered in the material of how Africans Americans usually were mistreated and lived in horrible conditions.

The sacred burial ground was closed in 1974 in order to be divided and sold. It was in 1991 when the government wanted to build a federal office that led to the finding of this area. They found a total of 419 coffins and bodies under the ground. There is expected to be much more bodies under the ground as the area is much bigger than what the federal building occupied.

I found this museum very interesting because I felt it was very meaningful. It allows us to learn a great deal of early American history. I enjoyed the monument and the burial ground. I think they did a great job redesigning and reburying the place.  I thought it was a great idea for them to continue to preserve a historic national area.


African Burial Ground

For the extra credit i visited the African Burial Ground located on 290 Broadway. The African Burial Ground was a cemetery where over 15,000 African’s were burried by their loved ones during the 6th and 17th century. Buildings were built in place of the cemetery and it was not until 1989 when the burial ground was discovered. Today the African Burial ground is a museum where the lives of northern African Slaves are displayed to the public. In the museum you are allowed to freely explore and look around at the exhibits or take a formal tour. I decided to look around by myself and discovered many contributions that were made to the American colonies by the Africans such as traditional African medical practices that helped prevent the spread of small pox.


Tenement Museum

When stepping foot into the Tenement Museum, one feels as if he was going back to his roots. He first realizes the condition of living that many new immigrants faced, and he learns the struggles that people fought through, just to live in America. During the 1800’s and early 1900’s many immigrants came to America to seek prosperity or refuge. These immigrants were usually Eastern European Jews, Italians, or Greeks. Each ethnicity tended to live near themselves, and they formed their own neighborhoods. In these neighborhoods people of common ethnicities would help support each other, give each other jobs, and give each other advice on the new country.

While walking into the museum I realized the horrible conditions that many of these new immigrants had faced while coming to America. They usually came with no money, and were forced to squeeze up to 10 people in rooms, which barely fit 2 people. These immigrants fought hard to stay in this land, something we take for granted. I specifically went to one room owned by a Jewish family, and one owned by an Italian family. We learnt how each family learned to survive. Usually the women had to take care of the house and make money, because the families were too poor to survive any other way. In addition, many children had to work as well, because the extra money was desperately needed.

While walking through the museum it is clear that these immigrants worked really hard. They helped start a new life for their families, and in turn sacrificed their lives to working extremely hard. It is highly recommended that everybody visit this museum. It helps show the roots of many of us, and will help put our lives in perspective. It will show us how lucky we truly are, and just how much we should appreciate the lives that we have.


97 Orchard Street – Lower East Side, Manhattan

The “Getting By” tour takes you through a typical day in the life of two families that lived at different times in the tenements at 97 Orchard Street. The building that I walked through was very dark with narrow hallways. The walls were lined with potato sacks and the ceiling was made of aluminum. There were paintings on the walls and it had a wooden banister. From downstairs it seemed like a regular apartment building that just needed some better lighting and a good cleaning. But once I went upstairs, I got the chance to step back in time and see how the tenants really lived. The quarters were tight and the views were nonexistent. The families had no privacy, and the children had nowhere to play. The tenements were by no means suitable living conditions, but they were in America – and to the residents of Manhattan’s poverty stricken, disease ridden, over populated Lower East Side, that meant that there was chance for a batter life. A chance that simply was not possible where they came from.

@ 97 Orchard Street

I’ve actually visited this museum on more than one occasion, once in elementary school, again in my first year of college for a sociology paper, and them a third time for this class. I chose to visit the tenement museum again for this assignment rather than one of the other sites in NYC with historic significance because I thought it would be a good idea for my 12 year old sister to get a look at how difficult the conditions were that our grandparents had to endure when they first came to this country to give us the opportunities that we now have in front of us. I think it would be a great idea for anyone who hasn’t been there to make it a point to get there at some point – I think you’ll  all really appreciate it.

-C. Salama


African Burial Ground

For my extra credit I visited the African Burial Ground.

This is a picture of one of the graves.

This picture is a sample of the boxes that the bones found were buried in. This box was a mini original made in Ghana (I think! I didn’t take notes on the box :/)

It is a pretty cool place although it is not very big it also included a mini musuem. My friend and I had a lot of fun with all of the interactive activities that they had inside of the museum. My favorite activity was “Record Your Own Experience”. “Record Your Own Experience” allows you to share your museum experience through different questions that you could record your response to.  Here’s a picture of My friend Daniel and I recording what we will say to a slave if one of them were to come back alive.

It is free ! There is a suggestion box but you don’t have to put anything in there. Spend an hour with a group of friends and learn about our African ancestors. It’s an experience you won’t regret. 🙂

Website:  http://www.africanburialground.gov/ABG_Main.htm

The Address is 290 Broadway New York, NY 10007

Phone:  212-637-2019



Ellis Island (known by its English name) is a small island in the port of New York, in the upper bay next to New Jersey. Ellis has had many names as diverse functions throughout its history. At first the local Indian tribes referred to it as “Kioshk” or “Gull Island.” During the stage of colonization, it became known as the “Oyster Island” (“Ostery Island”). His current name goes back to the decade of 1770, when Samuel Ellis became its owner. In 1808 the Federal Government bought the Ellis Island, mainly destined for military use during this period and especially during the War of 1812 against the British, when it was converted into a fort. Later, under the provision of President Benjamin Harrison in 1890, Ellis became the principal office of the city. Between 1892 and 1954 approximately 12 million passengers who arrived in the United States through the port of New York, were inspected, both legally and medically there. Arrivals were asked 29 questions including name, occupation, and the amount of money carried. Those with visible health problems or diseases were sent home or held in the island’s hospital facilities for long periods of time. More than three thousand would-be immigrants died on Ellis Island while being held in the hospital facilities. Some unskilled workers were rejected because they were considered “likely to become a public charge.” About two percent were denied admission to the U.S. and sent back to their countries of origin for reasons such as having a chronic contagious disease, criminal background, or insanity. Ellis Island was sometimes known as “The Island of Tears” or “Heartbreak Island” because of those 2% who were not admitted after the long transatlantic voyage.
Nowadays, Ellis remains the property of the federal states of New York and New Jersey, although its use is limited to functions solely for tourists.


Lower East Side Tenement Museum

For the Extra Credit I went to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. The Lower East Side Tenement Museum is a historical landmark of the immigrants that lived in 97 Orchard Street during 1863. If you ever decide to visit the Tenement Museum they have many tours that will tell you the history of the people that lived there. The tour that I went on is called Piecing It Together, which told the story of two specific families. During the tour I learned that many of the people that lived in 97 Orchard Street were Jewish immigrants trying to make a living. The Levine family was one of the families that I learned about and they were Jewish immigrants that made a living in their own home. The Levine family had a Garment factory right in their own home. Many people either owned a Garment factory or worked in one, and one of the most infamous events that happened during this time was the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.


African Burial Grounds

Today New York is known as a mosaic of cultures and races, as it happens to have been known in the mid 18th century. However New York during the 18th century was not as accepting of peoples as it is today nor was it isolated from the issue of slavery. With over 20 percent (2,000 people) of the population of New York being slaves, tensions rose within the city that culminated in a rebellion when about 25 slaves in 1712 burned an outhouse and killed nine whites. Following this the white population was uncomfortable and when a fire erupted in 1741, the black population was instantly condemned. Trials were held that resulted in 30 people being burned and hung, and to this day it is unknown if the fire was a result of a rebellion or an accident. In 1991, workers discovered the burial site of these “rebels” in what would turn out to be the African Burial Ground, resting place of an estimated 15,000 people. In 2007, a memorial was built to remind New York of its role in the slave trade and of the struggles of those buried.

The African Burial Ground is located near what used to be known as the Collect Pond. Just as today New York fights to make room for the residents and immigrants, the city of New York was trying to house its growing population during the 19th century. In an attempt to protect New Yorkers from the dangers of cattle slaughtering, the city relocated the slaughterhouses by the Collect Pond. The Collect Pond was a large fresh water pond that covered the area of what is now Foley Square and more. By relocating the slaughterhouses the city ruined this water source and in 1803, voted to drain the pond. After the draining of the pond it was filled with earth to create some of the worst real estate in New York. This swampy area was inhabited by African Americans, making it no surprise that the African Burial Grounds were located nearby. Furthermore, the canal that was built to drain the pond is now better known as Canal Street, and you can experience the change in topography from high ground to the swampy low ground of the graveyard at Foley Square.


9/11 digital archive

September 11th was a horrific, yet, historical day in American and world history.  It solidified the modern day era of radical ismlamic fundamentalists.  The 9/11 digital archive is a great way to recap the events that occured on that day.  The good thing about the website is that it pretty much has anything you need to know about 9/11 from people’s personal stories, to the  history regarding 9/11 and the aftermath.  The weaknesses of the website is a lot is based on personal opinions and does not talk about the facts.

Even though the 9/11 digital archive is based on personal stories, there is no real history regarding why the attack occured and how, America reacted with the war on terrorism.  The website is also aimed to be a memorial type website, rather than a site historians can use as a refernce for events.  In the future historians can use the website as a way of reflecting on how Americans reacted and what they think about terrorism.



HIS 1005: Modern American History Final Exam Study Guide (exam is May 23, 2011)


Section I – Identifications

All identifications on the exam will be drawn from the list below. For each term, in 2-3 sentences identify the historical importance of the person, place, or event. Include at least mention of when and where he/she/it took place.


1) Iwo Jima – Iwo Jima refers to the Battle of Iwo Jima. In this battle the United States captured the island of Iwo Jima from Japan. It was part of the Pacific Campaign during WWII and took place in 1945.


2) NATO – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a military alliance that combined for mutual defense. It is still around today, but was created in 1949. It began with 10 countries, among them the United States. NATO was created because the Berlin blockade provided evidence that in order to stop the Soviets an alliance was needed.


3) Arms Race – The Arms Race describes a competition between two or more parties for the best armed forces. Each party competes to produce larger numbers of weapons, greater armies, or superior military technology in a technological escalation. A nuclear arms race developed during the Cold War between America and the Soviet Union. On both sides, perceived advantages of the adversary led to large spending on armaments and the stockpiling of vast nuclear arsenals. This took place during the 1940’s even up until the 1990’s.


4) Containment – Containment was a United States policy using military, economic, and diplomatic strategies to stall the spread of communism, enhance America’s security and influence abroad, and prevent a “domino effect”. A component of the Cold War, this policy was a response to a series of moves by the Soviet Union to expand communist influence in Eastern Europe, China, Korea, and Vietnam. This policy was created in 1946.


5) Marshall Plan – The Marshall Plan was the large-scale American program to Europe where the United States sent them monetary support to help rebuild European economies in order to combat the spread of communism. The goals of the United States were to rebuild a war-devastated region, remove trade barriers, modernize industry, and make Europe prosperous again. This plan was created in 1948.


6) Age of Affluence – The Age of Affluence was a nickname to the 1950’s in America. It was named so because of the prosperity from the wartime economy, the rise of suburbia, mass consumerism, the TV, credit cards, and the expansion of the car industry. Advertising was also a major contribution to this age.


7) McCarthyism – McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. The term has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting roughly from the late 1940s to the late 1950s and characterized by heightened fears of communist influence on American institutions and espionage by Soviet agents. Originally coined to criticize the anti-communist pursuits of U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy, “McCarthyism” soon took on a broader meaning, describing the excesses of similar efforts.


8) Domino theory – The domino theory was a theory during the 1950s to 1980s, promoted at times by the government of the United States, which speculated that if one state in a region came under the influence of communism, then the surrounding countries would follow in a domino effect. The domino theory was used by successive United States administrations during the Cold War to clarify the need for American intervention around the world.


9) Rosa Parks – Rosa Parks was an African-American civil rights activist, whom the U.S. Congress called “the first lady of civil rights”, and “the mother of the freedom movement.” On December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks, refused to obey bus driver’s order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. While her action was not the first of its kind to impact the civil rights issue, Parks’ individual action of civil disobedience created further impact by sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott.


10) Little Rock Nine – The Little Rock Nine were a group of African-American students who were enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957. The ensuing Little Rock Crisis, in which the students were initially prevented from entering the racially segregated school by the Arkansas governor, and then attended after the intervention of President Eisenhower, is considered to be one of the most important events in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. On their first day of school, troops from the Arkansas National Guard would not let them enter the school and they were followed by mobs making threats to lynch them.


11) Greensboro Sit-in – The Greensboro sit-ins were a series of nonviolent protests which led to the Woolworth’s department store chain reversing its policy of racial segregation in the Southern United States. They occurred in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1960. A group of black students began sitting in on the store’s lunch counter, and as many more students joined the movement, the store changed its policy.


12) Silent majority – The silent majority is an unspecified large majority of people in a country or group who do not express their opinions publicly. President Richard Nixon popularized the term in a 1969 speech. He appealed to the American people, calling on the “great silent majority” for their support as he worked for “peace with honor” in Vietnam.


13) Gulf of Tonkin incident – The Gulf of Tonkin Incident is the name given to two incidents, one disputed, involving North Vietnam and the United States in the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964. The outcome of these two incidents was the passage by Congress of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which granted President Lyndon B. Johnson the authority to assist any Southeast Asian country whose government was considered to be jeopardized by “communist aggression,” and served as Johnson’s legal justification for opening warfare against North Vietnam.


14) Tet Offensive – The Tet Offensive was a military campaign during the Vietnam War that began in 1968. Regular and irregular forces of the North Vietnamese Army fought against the forces of South Vietnam, the United States, and their allies. The purpose of the offensive was to spark a general uprising among the population that would then topple the Saigon government, thus ending the war in a single blow.


15) Watergate – The Watergate scandal was a political scandal during the 1970s in the United States resulting from the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. Effects of the scandal eventually led to the resignation of the President of the United States, Richard Nixon, on August 9, 1974, the first and only resignation of any U.S. President. It also resulted in the indictment, trial, conviction and incarceration of several Nixon administration officials.


16) Jimmy Carter – Jimmy Carter served as the 39th President of the United States (1977–1981). As president, Carter created two new cabinet-level departments: the Department of Energy and the Department of Education. In foreign affairs, Carter pursued the Camp David Accords, the Panama Canal Treaties, the second round of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT II), and returned the Panama Canal Zone to Panama.


17) Ronald Reagan – Ronald Reagan was the 40th President of the United States (1981–1989). As president, Reagan implemented sweeping new political and economic initiatives such as his supply-side economic policies, dubbed “Reaganomics.” His second term was primarily marked by foreign matters, such as the ending of the Cold War, the 1986 bombing of Libya, and the revelation of the Iran-Contra affair.


18) Berlin Wall – It was a wall to separate East Berlin from West Berlin, erected in 1961 and dismantled in 1989. It was the embodiment of what Churchill called The Iron Curtain, separating the Free Western sector of Berlin from the Communist sector. In 1948 the Soviets cut all road and rail links from West Berlin and all supplies had to be flown in around the clock for more than a year.


19) September 11 – The September 11 attacks were a series of coordinated suicide attacks by al-Qaeda upon the United States on September 11, 2001. The hijackers intentionally crashed two of the airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing everyone on board and many others working in the buildings. The hijackers crashed a third airliner into The Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. The fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville in rural Pennsylvania after some of its passengers and flight crew attempted to retake control of the plane, which the hijackers had redirected toward Washington, D.C., to target either the Capitol Building or the White House. There were no survivors from any of the flights.


Free Trade? Cheap Labor.

There was a lot of controversy with the NAFTA agreement.  NAFTA is the North American Free Trade Agreement, an agreement that was to eliminate  barriers for trade and provide a fluid flow of trade and investment between Canada, US, and Mexico.  It was a hard debate that spanned through two presidencies, through Bush senior to Clintons Administration. Mexico belive they would benifit the most, and that it would help boost their economy, and immigration from Mexico to the US

In the New York Time article by By Elisabeth Malkin, “After 15 Years, Nafta’s promise, unfulfilled”   Even though Mexico’s exports have exploded in recent years, there is still a surge of Mexican crossing the boarder for a better life in the US.  Many Mexicans abandon their home and land and head North.  Things were even harder when China enter the World Trader Orgaization, enabling many companies to take their factories to China and pay even lower wages.  In my opinion, Nafta almost seemed like a legal way for companes to go into poor countries, and legal exploit these people for cheap labor.

It was important for free trade to work because many hoped it would curb migration over the southern border, but free trade is just not enough.



Deregulation v. Regulation

Arguments made by individuals like McCain highlight the powers of the government to regulate. McCain approached the idea of regulation, as to not being limited to federal regulation. In fact, it is interesting the approach McCain took when it came to internet. He decided to deregulate, yes this is no typo. He decided to deregulate internet broadband, because interference with market forces is not limited.

McCain as senator worked for almosta decade to deregulate the marketplace to give it he freedom to grow and flourish, examples of this are rules to deregulate insurance and banking industries. His reasoning for this was that it would lead to a healthier and stronger economy.




On February 17th 2009, President Barack Obama signed his first law.  He passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment act.  This was a bill passed to provide relief to low income families, open up jobs,  and help pay for medicare, so that no one is left without it health insurance.  This was a major problem in America, however many people were and still are against it, believing that it will not help fix the issue of urban poverty.

In 1996, President Bill Clinton was just elected to his second term in office.  He had strived for universal health care before it was shut down, in 1994.  In 1997 his wife started a universal health care for children, which became very popular.  He was never able to achieve universal health care for everyone throughout his 8 years in presidency.  Clinton had  a similar goal as obama when he strived for universal health care to bring relief to the needy.




Lead by example!

One of the regulations Obama implemented while in office was new training requirements for new projects implemented by the EPA. For many years old buildings have been painted with lead based paint harming those who inhale the lead dust especially children.

To address this problem, the EPA required extensive training from their workers before they complete renovation on buildings built before 1978. The workers are concerned about the extent of the of the training which began last year April and the penalty fee of noncompliance which is $37,500 per day fine.In an announcement dated September 2, 1977,  “The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has culminated a major regulatory proceeding by issuing a final ban on lead-containing paint and on toys and furniture coated with such paint. This action was taken to reduce the risk of lead poisoning in children who may ingest paint chips or peelings.”.




BP Rig Missed 16 Inspections Before Explosion


BP’s Rig Explosion back on April 20, 2010 rocked the entire country. Investigations began immediately on how something of this magnitude could happen. This news article reports on how upon government inspection it was seen that BP’s Deep Water Horizon Rig was only inspected 6 times in the year 2008. Rigs are supposed to be inspected once a month, meaning it had missed 6 for that year, and 16 in total since 2005. The most updated inspection during the time of the upcoming explosion was on April 1 by Eric Neal, a novice who had just started his inspection training four months prior. It was obvious that an explanation was needed and serious in depth investigating on what when on behind the scenes of the inspection agency and BP.



http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-20007514-10391695.html <—Source


It doesn’t end

I am in agreeance with my classmates about Foner going more in depth about African Americans. The lives of Africans Americans went through the most dramatic change in the last century according to Foner. Blacks were now in corporate settings and in the 1990’s, an economic boom helped raise the African American averge income quicker than whites.

Although prosperity came for African Americans, there were still troubled times on the horizon. Discrimination never went away. Foner needs to go more in depth about this topic. He made it seem as if the economic increase in a small population of Blacks represented the majority of them.


Racial Discrimination


After many decades of fighting for civil right, many black still suffered from discrimination.  I believe that Foner did not discuss the issue of racial discrimination enough. As many of my classmates stated blacks still suffered with unequal pay, and job opportunities, but it is important to know that in 1991 congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1991, this protected individual od intentional discrimination at work.

Brenda Patterson an African American woman was laid off from a bank that she worked at as a teller.  She sued the bank because they refused to promote her because of her race.  Taking this to trial sparked a change in the US… yes I know that Foner discussed black struggle a lot but this Act plays a role to all minorities.


Multiculturalism: The Melting pot effect

Multiculturalism is a strong part of American society today, but this identity has been a part of American history since the 1900’s. Considering the facts, yes America did have its share on racism, but today proudly considers itself the land of equal opportunity irrespective of culture and place. Immigrant culture, minority groups and different languages, metaphorically speaking makes the U.S. a “melting pot.” An influx of Hispanics and Asians led to increasing demands from other minority groups already staying in the nation, thus leading to the period of civil rights movements.

The start of multiculturalism goes as far back to the 1950’s. This movement entertained issues like discrimination, inequality and oppression. Social recognition further encouraged the idea of America being a plural society, with many different cultures and people from different socio-economic backgrounds. Multiculturalism, was not however always welcomed with open arms. Earlier on critics did not allow it to become official policy, but today it seems as if we are working to maintain or better this policy to look outward to other cultures by supporting and welcoming people from other countries to come get an education and work  in the U.S.