Category Archives: Historical Reasons

The Controversial Mojave Desert Cross Is Missing!

Religious - Mojave Cross After ACLU Lawsuit

Who stole the Mojave Desert Cross that was erected as a memorial to fallen U.S. soldiers? That’s the question many have pondered once they learned about this latest theft. Some are wondering if it’s related to the ongoing legal dispute about the removal of the cross or if metal scavengers are the culprits.

Here’s more from Yahoo News:

The 7-foot-high metal cross vanished from its perch in the Mojave National Preserve late Sunday or early Monday, said National Park Service spokeswoman Linda Slater. Bolts holding it to the rock were cut.

Slater said possible scenarios ranged from people “with an interest in the case” to metal scavengers. The U.S. Justice Department was looking into the case.

The cross has been the center of a legal dispute for about a decade since a complaint by a former park service employee represented by the ACLU.

On a 5-4 vote in April, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to order its removal. The high court told a federal judge to take a new look at a congressional plan to transfer land under the cross to private ownership.

The theft was discovered when workers went to replace a plywood cover that was placed over the cross years ago pending resolution of the case and had been torn off during the weekend.

The isolated site in the 1.6 million-acre preserve is a small rise amid Joshua trees along a road far off busy Interstate 15, about 200 miles northeast of Los Angeles and 70 miles south of Las Vegas.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars first placed a wooden cross on Sunrise Rock in 1934 to honor soldiers killed in World War I.

The metal cross that was stolen was erected in the late 1990s by the memorial’s longtime caretakers, Henry and Wanda Sandoz of Yucca Valley.

Liberty Institute, an organization representing the Sandozes and veterans groups, offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest or conviction.

Wanda Sandoz said the cross had been vandalized in the past, but such instances had become rarer since her husband bolted it down.

“I was really upset and I was crying, and I said: ‘Well, we’ll show them. We’ll put up a bigger one and a better one,” she said. “And Henry said: ‘No we won’t. We will put one up exactly like the veterans put up.'”

The VFW also promised that the memorial will be rebuilt.

“This was a legal fight that a vandal just made personal to 50 million veterans, military personnel and their families,” National Commander Thomas J. Tradewell said.

It was not immediately clear, however, whether a replacement cross would be permitted.”(End of Excerpt) Read the whole article here.

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Vinnie Reams:A Beautiful American Teen Sculptress

Vinnie Reams could serve as a role model for young women of today.She had everything that a girl dreams of.The Victorian teen had an exquisite appearance,marvelous talent,& a quick witted intellect. The charming beauty was only 18 when she was selected by the U.S. Congress to sculpt the Lincoln memorial becoming the first woman to receive a commission to do so.She truly deserved to be regarded as a “child prodigy.”

This was a female artist that should be revered by many. Her story is truly inspirational & riveting.Yet,Vinnie Reams is largely unknown.Most folks do not know much about the beautiful American teen sculptress who  created the statue of Lincoln that now stands in the U.S. Capitol.

Here’s more from Suite101.com:

Vinnie Ream was a colorful character – not exactly the loveable type, but not truly detestable either. She was somewhat of a cross between Donald Trump (with much better hair) and Sarah Palin (without the perpetual victimhood). In other words, she knew the scent of a great business opportunity when she smelled one, was relentless enough to go after it until she got what she wanted, and wasn’t above batting her eyelashes to sway public opinion.

With the dexterity of a born politician, Lavinia Ellen Ream – Vinnie to her friends – integrated herself into Washington, D.C.’s political society, a feat relatively unheard of for a woman without the benefit of a prominent husband. Her friendships with powerful men were enviable across gender lines, and she never failed to use them to further her own agenda. These connections catapulted Vinnie to artistic fame, and her statues stand tall in the rotunda of the capitol building and in Farragut Square, Washington, D.C.

Vinnie Ream: An American Sculptor recounts the life of the 19th-century artist as she lobbied for the Congressional commission to sculpt a memorial of Abraham Lincoln after his death. Having convinced the president to sit for her by playing up her humble beginnings, Vinnie created the most honest likeness to date of the statesman.

Over the course of a few sessions, the sculptor managed to capture Lincoln’s relentless pensiveness, the dour expression, the elongated face, and the famous quiet brooding. But earning the commission meant going up against long-held attitudes about the ability of a woman to do a “man’s job,” so Vinnie used what she had and embedded her artistic skills in feminine charm.

In a relatively short time, she acquired the support of President Andrew Johnson, General Ulysses S. Grant, Admiral David Farragut, senators Thaddeus Stevens (Pennsylvania) and James S. Rollins (Missouri), and Representative Daniel Voorhees (Indiana).

Not surprisingly, the social scene at her studio, which multitudes of politicians regularly visited, became insatiable fodder for the media. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported, “Her studio is crammed with every conceivable thing…including two Confederate generals and a lady…. People are coming and going all the time, a thousand interruptions; how is it possible for her to work?”

Despite the churning rumor mills, these influential men would go on to play a remarkable role in helping Vinnie establish her place in history.

All this attention invited tabloid-style critiques, particularly in the form of attacks on her character. Vinnie suffered accusations of everything from trading sexual favors to influencing the outcome of President Johnson’s impeachment trial, and some of the harshest admonishments came from women incensed by her popularity and guile.

It was for this reason that she rebuffed Elizabeth Cady Stanton, prominent figure of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, when Mrs. Stanton solicited her signature on a petition recognizing “women and women’s labor under the Government.”

“You are a working girl, getting your bread by your hands! If you do not help yourself and us, how can Woman help you?”

“‘Mrs Stanton,”’ Vinnie said, airing old grievances, “‘no help has any woman given me here. From Grace Greenwood to Mrs Swisshelm, they have all sought to strike me down…. I will be befriended by gentlemen only, for whilst I never got any justice from a woman, I was never treated meanly by man!’”

Vinnie did indeed believe in women’s suffrage and equality between the sexes. To not would be to ignore the fact that she was fighting daily to be “respected as a sculptor, and not as a female sculptor” (94). Voicing that belief, however, would have meant possibly biting the hands that fed her. Several of the senators who had supported her commission and aided her in securing a studio in which to work, vehemently opposed giving women the right to vote.

Read more here.

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The Statue Of Liberty Was Erected In June Of 1886!

The Statue of Liberty is one of America’s greatest monuments.Not to mention that it is the source of inspiration for countless people.It is one of the most anticipated & known symbols of America.You feel like you are well on your way to achieving the American dream when you see the Statue of Liberty.

Truly, it has been the beacon of freedom for countless immigrants throughout American history!

Here’s more from thinkquest:

“The Statue of Liberty, officially Liberty Enlightening the World, was designed by French sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi and completed in July 1884. Working with dreams of the famous figure over a decade before its completion, Bartholdi produced a number of miniaturized working models. Once the design was finalized, wooden molds were made, over which copper sheets were attached and hammered into shape. The copper shell was then joined to an internal iron structure designed by Gustave Eiffel, who later built the Eiffel Tower.

The statue commemorates the alliance between the United States and France during the American Revolution from 1775 to 1783, and was funded completely The Statue of Liberty's torch on display at the 1876 centennial in Philadelphia.through the donation of the French people. On the 4th of July, 1884, The 151 feet (46 meters) tall 225 ton Statue of Liberty was delivered to the American Ambassador in Paris. People were awed as the colossal 15-story lady towered over the four and five-story buildings surrounding her. In order to bring it to New York Harbor, The Statue of Liberty was dismantled into 300 pieces and packed into 214 wooden crates. The pieces of her torch-bearing arm alone, which had been displayed previously in Philadelphia for the 1876 centennial- filled 21 boxes.”(End of Excerpt)Read the rest here.

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Baseball Players Will Honor Jackie Robinson Today By Wearing His Number!

Jackie Robinson is the handsome black baseball player that broke the color barrier.Not just in sports,but also in general society.In honor of all that he has done to change the social order of America,baseball players across the country will wear the number 42 today.

Here’s more from mlb.com:

“By request of Commissioner Bud Selig, as Major League Baseball celebrates the 62nd anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking its color barrier on Wednesday, all big league players and uniformed personnel have been asked to wear the late Hall of Famer’s famous No. 42 on the field when the 30 teams celebrate the occasion.

The past two years, as the momentum to wear Robinson’s number steamrolled through Major League clubhouses, Selig asked, but the act of wearing it was voluntary. Not so this year.

April 15, 1947, is a day that resonates with history throughout Major League Baseball,” Selig said. “With all Major League players, coaches and umpires wearing Jackie’s No. 42, we hope to demonstrate the magnitude of his impact on the game of baseball. Major League Baseball will never forget the contributions that Jackie made both on and off the field.”

This year’s main celebration of Robinson putting on a Brooklyn Dodgers uniform in a regular-season game for the first time, thus integrating MLB forever, is being hosted at Citi Field, the new home of the Mets. But there will be ceremonies in all the other 14 ballparks across the nation, with 62 Jackie Robinson Foundation scholars being honored.

The Jackie Robinson Foundation, founded by his widow, Rachel, offers a $10,000 scholarship toward college tuition for highly motivated minority students. And this year, for the first time, a scholar will represent each of the 30 clubs.”(End of Excerpt) Read the rest here.

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Barbie:Every American Girl’s Dream Doll For 50 Years Now!

Happy Birthday,Barbie! Countless little girls have dreamed of having a Barbie doll for 50 years now. It’s been an American status symbol for girls,like the Cadillac used to be for adults. Since it’s inception, Barbie dolls have now become a worldwide phenomenon!

Not only do they want to possess the doll,some women have tried to get plastic surgery to look just like Barbie. A British woman broke the world plastic surgery record trying to become a real-life Barbie. I don’t think she succeeded,so she needs to get a refund! Talk about a waste of money!

Here’s more on that from Yahoo:

“Talk about “plastic” surgery (cue the sitcom laugh track): A 49-year-old British woman (and self-proclaimed “Real Life Barbie”) Sarah Burge has broken the world record for cosmetic procedures (she’s had more than 100) in an effort to turn herself into a living doll. Her actions trump the previous record-holder, our own stateside “Barbie” Cindy Jackson, who also says her surgery obsession is spurred by her desire to look like the iconic Mattel toy. (FYI Jackson now seems to make a living through sales of her autobiography and microdermabrasion products, among other things) Now, I’m no doctor but…

I would think that this Barbie-copying business could be a sign of body dysmorphic disorder, where your perception of your physical appearance becomes very distorted. Granted, I could be wrong and these surgery fiends–with their good “I wanted to look just like Barbie-and now I do!” line–could just be incredibly PR-savvy. Either way, what really stumps me is why anyone would want to look like a plastic doll at all–she’s a toy, people! Why you’d tinker with yourself (and spend more than $800,000 as Burge has) to look more like what is essentially an inanimate object is beyond me.”(End of Excerpt) Read the rest here.

The birth of Barbie is a very interesting story,indeed. She’s based on a female German cartoon character. But an even more intriguing fact is that she may have been “inspired by a sexually-themed gag toy for men.” Here’s more from CNN:

Roll out the pink carpet, grab a feather boa and throw open those Malibu Dream House doors. It’s Barbie’s 50th, and the iconic doll, unveiled today in her latest swimsuit, has plenty to celebrate.

Only this American institution could have inspired Barbara Karleskint, 48, to spend nearly $700 so she and one of her dolls could wear matching red chiffon gowns and capes at an annual collectors gathering.

“Look, we’re not as bad as the Star Trek convention people,” Karleskint, who lives outside of Orlando, Florida, said with a laugh. Collecting Barbies “brings me joy; that’s all I can say. And life’s not worth living unless you have some joy.”

With 8 million active collectors dotting the globe, according to Mattel, Karleskint is hardly alone.

Since Mattel introduced Barbie in 1959, she has become a household name — owned by 90 percent of American girls ages 3 to 10 and sold in 150 countries, said Lauren Dougherty, a Mattel spokeswoman. Barbie attracts 50 million visitors to her Web site each month, she added.

Along the way, she spawned a cosmetics line, apparel stores throughout Asia and an entertainment franchise that has sold more than 65 million DVDs.

Last week, a six-story flagship store opened in Shanghai, China. And a real-life Malibu Dream House, a temporary home tricked out for Barbie’s birthday — including a chandelier made of her hair — is currently on display in California.

Not bad for a doll that, according to author Robin Gerber, was initially inspired by “a sexually-themed gag toy for men.”

The now-legendary doll was conceived by Ruth Handler, a daughter of Polish immigrants, said Gerber, author of the newly published “Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her.” She and her husband, Elliott, owned Mattel until a scandal involving accusations of cooked books drove them out in 1975, Gerber said.

Handler, who died in 2002, used to watch her own daughter, Barbara, play with paper dolls. Then, on a trip to Europe, Barbara became fascinated with a buxom doll that Gerber said was based on a female German cartoon character, named Lilli, who used sex to get what she wanted.

My guess is she didn’t know what it was when she bought it,” because at that point, four years after the Lilli doll’s release, it had landed in European toy stores, the author explained.Handler took the doll back to the states and insisted Mattel designers get to work.

Who would have thought,” Gerber said. Barbie was thought up by a woman and modeled on a cartoon character “who was essentially a prostitute.

Though the men at Mattel, a company that had never sold dolls before, were skeptical at best, Handler proved to be “a corporate genius,” Gerber said. In the three years after Barbie’s release, Mattel’s worth grew to $200 million, doubling the value earned in the first 20 years of business.

Handler’s daughter, now Barbara Segal, 67, is a bit dumbfounded by all the hype.

“It’s been quite an interesting ride,” she said from her Los Angeles, California, area home. “I can’t believe this doll’s created all of this.”

Barbie’s collector line (not what’s seen on Wal-Mart shelves) is designed for the grown-ups who still relish Barbie. Many say Barbie is an antidote to adult woes, allowing them to recapture their youth and revisit simpler times.”(End of Excerpt) Read the rest here.

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Alex Haley:The Famous American Author Had More Than African “Roots”!

Alex Haley is a great American author who wrote about his own lineage in the epic Roots which became a very popular television miniseries & the subject of great controversy.Here’s more on that from Wikipedia:

“In 1976, Haley published , a novel based loosely on his family’s history, starting with the story of Kunta Kinte, kidnapped in Gambia in 1767 and transported to the Province of Maryland to be sold as a slave. Haley claimed to be a seventh-generation descendant of Kunta Kinte, and Haley’s work on the novel involved ten years of research, intercontinental travel and writing.

He went to the village of Juffure, where Kunta Kinte grew up and which is still in existence, and listened to a tribal historian tell the story of Kinte’s capture.[1] Haley also traced the records of the ship, The Lord Ligonier, which he said carried his ancestor to America. Genealogists have since disputed Haley’s research and conclusions and Haley made an out-of-court settlement with Harold Courlander, who had sued him for plagiarism.

Haley was briefly a “writer in residence” at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. He began to write “Roots” there. Many local people remember Haley fondly. He enjoyed spending time at a local bistro “The Savoy” in Rome New York where he listened to the piano player. Today, there is a special table in honor of Haley with a painting of Alex writing “Roots” on a yellow legal tablet.Haley said the most emotional moment of his life was on September 29, 1967, when he stood at the site in Annapolis, Maryland where his ancestor had arrived 200 years before.

Roots was eventually published in 37 languages and Haley won a Special Award for it in 1977 from the Pulitzer Board. Roots was also made into a popular television miniseries that year. The film reached a record-breaking 130 million viewers when it was serialized on television. Roots emphasized that African Americans have a long history and that not all of that history is lost, as many believed. Its popularity sparked an increased public interest in genealogy, as well.In 1979, ABC aired the sequel miniseries Roots: The Next Generations, which continued the story of Kunta Kinte’s descendants, concluding with Haley’s arrival in Jufureh. Haley was portrayed (at various ages) by future soap opera actor Kristoff St. John, The Jeffersons actor Damon Evans, and Tony Award winner James Earl Jones.

In the late 1980s, Haley began working on a second historical novel based on another branch of his family, traced through his grandmother Queen—the daughter of a black slave woman and her white master. Haley died in Seattle, Washington of a heart attack with the story unfinished and was buried beside his childhood home in Henning, Tennessee. At his request, it was finished by David Stevens and was published as Alex Haley’s Queen; it was subsequently made into a movie in 1993.”(End of Excerpt) Read the rest here.

Although most of his research has been disputed regarding  Roots, it seems that there is scientific evidence that supports the research he did for the book  Queen.Here’s more on that from the Telegraph:

“The tests have established that Haley – whose work is credited with helping transform the self-image of millions of black Americansis directly descended from a Scottish paternal bloodline. The findings came after a sample of DNA from Haley’s nephew Chris Haley matched that of his distant cousin June Baff-Black, who lives in Wales and whose shared lineage starts in 17th century Scotland. Until recently, Chris Haley had only word of mouth family history to show that his great, great-grandfather had been born of an African slave mother and white Scottish father, both of whom lived and worked on a slave plantation in the US.

The findings, by the website Ancestry.co.uk, are the first scientific confirmation of Alex Haley’s own research in which he traced his ancestry back to William Baugh (a variation of Baff) – an overseer of an Alabama slave plantation – who was thought to have fathered a child with a female slave, called Sabrina, or “Viney“. Their son, named Alec, is thought to have been born between 1850 and 1860. Alex Haley, who died in 1992, traced this side of his family history in his book Queen, which followed the biographical novel ‘Roots: the Saga of an American Family’.

He was unable to fully prove his research by traditional genealogical methods using birth, marriage and death certificates and parish records, as his ancestors were African-American slaves and so very little documentation about them existed. Since many female slaves were raped by their owners there was frequently no record of the true father. Instead Haley relied on the oral histories handed down from generation to generation as his primary source of ancestral information.”(End of Excerpt)Read the rest here.

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Mardi Gras Began On Feb. 27,1827!

There was a lot of violence at this year’s Mardi Gras! People seem to forget that this is more than just one humongous party!It is actually the celebration of the beginning of Lent!But,this isn’t the first time that this carnival has seen violent behavior.That,unfortunately,is a part of the long history of Mardi Gras! Here’s more from History.com:

On this day in 1827, a group of masked and costumed students dance through the streets of New Orleans, Louisiana, marking the beginning of the city’s famous Mardi Gras celebrations.

The celebration of Carnival–or the weeks between Twelfth Night on January 6 and Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Christian period of Lent–spread from Rome across Europe and later to the Americas. Nowhere in the United States is Carnival celebrated as grandly as in New Orleans, famous for its over-the-top parades and parties for Mardi Gras (or Fat Tuesday), the last day of the Carnival season.

Though early French settlers brought the tradition of Mardi Gras to Louisiana at the end of the 17th century, Spanish governors of the province later banned the celebrations. After Louisiana became part of the United States in 1803, New Orleanians managed to convince the city council to lift the ban on wearing masks and partying in the streets. The city’s new Mardi Gras tradition began in 1827 when the group of students, inspired by their experiences studying in Paris, donned masks and jester costumes and staged their own Fat Tuesday festivities.

The parties grew more and more popular, and in 1833 a rich plantation owner named Bernard Xavier de Marigny de Mandeville raised money to fund an official Mardi Gras celebration. After rowdy revelers began to get violent during the 1850s, a secret society called the Mistick Krewe of Comus staged the first large-scale, well-organized Mardi Gras parade in 1857.”(End of Excerpt) Read the rest here.

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