Translate

About Me

My Photo
Texas, United States

6/28/2015

Hate Heritage & History

 
 
In light of recent events I thought I would shed some light on little known Civil War era trivia.
 
Confederate surrender at Appomattox Court House: At least the end of the war was civil.


 Why are Civil War flags interesting? Throughout much of history, in time of war, the flag has always been one of the most important pieces of battlefield equipment...During battle, the Civil War flags gave soldiers a rallying point. When battle was raging, it was impossible for units to stay together or for commanders to know exactly what was going on without the flags. Flags identified groups of men as friend or enemy, and allowed commanders to know what movements were being taken by their various units. When men became separated from their units they could identify their unit by its battle flag, or at least pick out their national flag so that they would know which direction would lead them back to their comrades.
 
A better description of the power of the flag to the soldier who fought under it can be found in Union General Joshua Chamberlain's touching description of the Confederate surrender at Appomattox Court House:
"Lastly, — reluctantly, with agony of expression, — they tenderly fold their flags, battle-worn and torn, blood-stained, heart-holding colors, and lay them down; some frenziedly rushing from the ranks, kneeling over them, clinging to them, pressing them to their lips with burning tears. And only the Flag of the Union greets the sky! "
 
*****
I know this is a very sensitive subject right now and I've seen some pretty hateful things said on social media lately so I thought I would address it here on my turf where everyone
can assume my opinions are my own influenced by nothing
 but 77 years of observation, research, and curiosity.
 
The Civil War has always intrigued me and I've read scads about it...and of course I loved Gone With The Wind... and now they want to ban it too with a lot of other "Southern" stuff.. So will burning the book be next? And then all other books of a similar nature?
 
 I've visited a lot of museums dedicated to the Civil War, and also Appomattox and Fort Lee in Virginia, and several other battlefields and monuments to soldiers of both sides.
 
 I've always been grateful the Union won and didn't allow the South to secede even though I've lived all my life in one of those states, Texas. Gov. Sam Houston who led the War for Texas Independence from Mexico refused to declare loyalty to the Confederacy and was removed from office by the Texas secession convention in March 1861. Governor Sam Houston accepted secession but asserted that the Convention had no power to link the state with the new Southern Confederacy. Instead, he urged that Texas revert to its former status as an independent republic and stay neutral. Houston took his seat on March 16, the date state officials were scheduled to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy. He remained silent as his name was called out three times and, after failing to respond, the office of Governor was declared vacant and Houston was deposed from office. I would have been on Houston's side.
Recruitment poster for Sam Houston's war against Santa Ana
 
When I was a child I remember driving by a Confederate Veterans old folks home in Houston several times in the 1940's and seeing a couple of very old soldiers sitting on the porch adorned with flags of both the Union and the Confederacy...and I started wondering more about that war. I have done a lot of research over the years to find out things about it not taught in school books. I have been surprised more than once.
 
The soldiers who enlisted to fight for the Confederacy have been the subject of much debate in recent times. In this age of "political correctness," the symbols of the Confederacy have come under increasing attack by the media and "special interest" groups. Everything from monuments to flags has been subjected to barrages of scorn and protest by people who find them to be personally offensive. Of course, the particular flag that is under attack is the "St. Andrew's Cross" battle flag. It is not (and never was), the national flag of the Confederacy, even though it is almost always portrayed as such. It was not even the only battle flag used by the Confederate armies, but that brings up a major point. Southern history (and history in general), seems to be very misunderstood by the majority of today's public.
 
The men who enlisted to fight for the Confederate States of America were more varied in motivations and backgrounds than what is commonly realized or known. The soldiers who went to fight were not just native Southern white males or rich slave-holding plantation owners, but were also of foreign birth, native French-speaking Creoles, and even of Northern origin. There were also Mexican-Americans who enlisted, but the most surprising of those who chose to enlist to fight, or even wanted to enlist to fight for the Confederacy, were Native- Americans and African-Americans.
 
 In Charleston, South Carolina in 1860, 125 free Negroes owned slaves; six of them owning 10 or more. Of the $1.5 million in taxable property owned by free Negroes in Charleston, more than $300,000 represented slave holdings.
 In North Carolina 69 free Negroes were slave owners. 
 
Figures show conclusively that, when free, blacks disproportionately became slave masters in pre-Civil War America. The statistics outlined show that about 28 percent of free blacks owned slaves—as opposed to less than 4.8 percent of southern whites, and dramatically more than the 1.4 percent of all white Americans who owned slaves.
 
In 1860 there were at least six Negroes in Louisiana who owned 65 or more slaves The largest number, 152 slaves, were owned by the widow C. Richards and her son P.C. Richards, who owned a large sugar cane plantation. Another Negro slave magnate in Louisiana, with over 100 slaves, was Antoine Dubuclet, a sugar planter whose estate was valued at (in 1860 dollars) $264,000 . That year, the mean wealth of southern white men was $3,978.
 
 According to the US census report for that last year before the Civil War, there were nearly 27 million whites in the country. Some eight million of them lived in the slaveholding states. The census also determined that there were fewer than 385,000 individuals who owned slaves.  Even if all slaveholders had been white, that would amount to only
 1.4 percent of whites in the country.
 
Blacks in Africa first sold each other as slaves, and the first true lifelong slave in America was owned by a black man, not a white. The first official slave owner in America was an Angolan who adopted the European name of Anthony Johnson.

 
The country's leading African American historian, Duke University professor John Hope Franklin, records that in New Orleans in 1860 over 3,000 free Negroes owned slaves, or 28 percent of the free Negroes in that city.The fact is large numbers of free Negroes owned black slaves in numbers disproportionate to their representation in society at large.  In an 1856 letter to his wife Mary Custis Lee, Robert E Lee called slavery "a moral and political evil." Yet he concluded that black slaves were immeasurably better off here than in Africa,
morally, socially and physically.
 
I don't know what all was going on in Africa, other than they were selling each other at the time, so I don't know if Gen. Lee's statement is plausible. My Grandmother and her family chose to become "legal" slaves for seven years in order to escape persecution in Eastern Europe during the latter 1800's and she said their serf master in Pennsylvania was pretty bad...but well worth it in the long run so that her children and grandchildren could live free. After their "passage" debt was paid off they chose to move to Texas.
 
The ocean journey to America usually took eight to twelve weeks. Indentured servants were packed into the ships tightly, often being held in the hold without a chance to get fresh air. Every two weeks at sea they received an allowance of bread. Grandma told me the bottom of the ship was where they were confined for the voyage...with the animals.
 
Grandpa and Grandma worked their whole lives as share croppers for one man who took half of everything they earned in exchange for a home and land to farm cotton on. They didn't have indoor plumbing until they were in their 70's. I didn't mind...I loved staying with them...and yes, I have picked cotton and it's a really hard job. The same black families would come back to pick cotton for Grandpa year after year because he treated them fairly and fed them good...and we all used the same "outhouse."
 
 I am very grateful for the sacrifice and perseverance of my ancestors.
Grandmother and her family in East Texas. Grandma lived as an indentured servant from the age of 8 to the age of 15. She is third from left on top row and had seven sisters.
*****
Everyone who knows me knows how much I hate racism and that evolved at an early age. When I was 16 in the 1950's working in a "company" café I was alone in one Sunday afternoon,  a young black boy came in and asked if he could order four hamburgers, fries, and  cokes to go. I didn't know why not so he paid me and I gave him the cokes he took out to his friends waiting in a car and began to prepare the food for him while he came back and waited nervously by the door. The owner came to the stockroom door from his back room living quarters and motioned me over and told me I couldn't serve him...to give him his money back. When I asked why he said because the "company" didn't allow it...then he left me with the dilemma to resolve.
 
 I thought, "How stupid!" and finished the hamburgers and fries, bagged them, and handed them to the young man and he smiled broadly and said, "God Bless You." I then knocked on the owners door and quit the job and walked out in a huff. The owner was so scared someone had see the boy walk out with food he went to the "company" office's and told an executive it wasn't his fault I served a negro. It so happened I often baby sat for that executive and he told my boss to keep his mouth shut and hire me back because I was a very reliable employee once I learned the rules. Daddy laughed when  his friend, the executive, told him that...they both knew I followed few rules but my own based on my own common sense. Daddy was never a bigot either. The owner came over and talked me into coming back. I did, but told him if I was ever put in that situation again I would handle it the same way. He didn't respond as my Dad laughed knowingly. I learned racial tolerance from my parents as all children should.
My First Employer
 
Years later, in the latter 1960's I was  practicing baseball for Little League tryouts with my three young sons in Richmond Texas when a black and Hispanic boy rode up on bikes and asked it they could join and I welcomed them. We were having fun when a man came over and said in a gruff voice, "The nigger and Mexican are not allowed in this park, it's for whites only." Well, again I thought, "How stupid!"...I knew the Little League had declared two years earlier that all LL parks must be integrated.  I insisted the mean man tell me who the park manager was and immediately paid a visit to the bank president a few blocks away, who ran the park, with my five and "those" two barefoot kids in tow...I barged in his bank office in my dirt soiled short shorts and told him exactly how I felt. He was flabbergasted. Then I went home and my best friend and I wrote a letter to Little League headquarters and by the time LL tryouts rolled around there were young boys of all colors trying out in that "former white" park.
 
***** 
Some of the bravest men in the entire Civil War were the color bearers who carried the flags through battle. Firstly, they could not really defend themselves while holding these massive flags; and secondly, everyone was gunning for them.

 Approximately 625,000 men died in the Civil War, more Americans than in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined. If the names of the Civil War dead were arranged like the names on the Vietnam Memorial, it would stretch over 10 times the wall’s length. Two percent of the population died, the equivalent of 6 million men today.
 
President Abraham Lincoln was personally against slavery, but in his first inaugural, he made it clear that placating the Southern states was more important. Actually, at one time his family did own one slave.  Quoting himself in other speeches, he said, "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." In order to keep the Southern states from later seceding, he had to change his position...as most politicians do when faced with unpopular adversity...and now he's referred to as the "Great Emancipator." Well.....
 
Both before and during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln pushed to send freed slaves abroad.
The policy, called colonization, had been supported by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay—a hero of Lincoln’s—and even Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose protagonists in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” ultimately emigrate from the United States to Africa. In August 1862, Lincoln brought five black ministers to the White House and told them that slavery and the war had demonstrated that it would be “better for us both, therefore, to be separated.” He wanted to send freed blacks to Central America, even calling for a constitutional amendment authorizing Congress to pay for colonization. But prominent abolitionists such as Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison were appalled by the idea. Lincoln never succeeded at gathering support for the policy, and after he signed the Emancipation Proclamation he never mentioned it publicly again.
 
Very little about Lincoln wanting to send the freed slaves all far away is referred to in history books. I didn't learn it in school. When I found out about it from research, I wondered if that's why it took so long for African Americans to finally become truly free with equal rights... and they had to accomplish that, for the most part, by themselves. The next 17 presidents after Lincoln didn't give them equal rights either, it was President Kennedy who drew up the Civil Rights bill in 1963 and President Johnson signed it in 1964 after JFK's death.
 
 
 
During those 100 years lots of memorials and monuments were built all over the nation to commemorate soldiers on both sides....and now, because of the awful and tragic actions of one radicalized racist, many are calling for Confederate flags and monuments to be removed from sight...supposedly because they incite hate.
 
No...it is not  flags or memorials that incite hate in racist's...it's a warped mind that wants to create  even more conflict between whites and blacks in the United States of America.
 
African American Civil War Monument
 
There are also those petitioning for the 100's of schools named after Robert E Lee and Jefferson Davis and other Confederate soldiers in the South to be renamed, thus throwing a façade over our history and desecrating our American heritage, as if that would resolve the problem of terrorists, extremist, and racist in today's world.
 
 
I don't believe it would. I think it would just provoke more hate filled radicals and racist's to revolt and misuse these historical symbols as they commit more atrocities.
 
 
And what happens when those horrific acts don't incite as much rage anymore because we did the "right" thing by doing away with all things Confederate...and abominable racist and extremist start waving Old Glory as their insane excuse for killing innocent people?
 
Until all our children are taught history correctly and the distant  past we can do nothing about is reconciled and forgiven...there will be those who refuse to see the truth...THAT ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL...REGARDLESS OF THE COLOR OF THEIR SKIN! 
 
God...Please Bless America on this 4th of July!
We need it more than ever.
All lives matter! Not just blacks or whites!
 


 

6/27/2015

THE WHEEL'S FINAL TURN

 I had no idea what the Wheel's Final Turn was about when I started reading it but knowing how much the author cares about humanity, I sensed it would have something to do with various aspects of mankind. I was not disappointed. The characters are an intriguing mixture of reality...good and evil. You immediately get the sense something supernatural is affecting them and they are helpless against the dark forces. With gripping suspense the story unfolds and a battle between good and evil ensues. I would recommend this well written novel to anyone who loves a unique and chilling nail biter story.

*****
 
The Final Battle...Review by Kerry Hall 
" The Wheels a force of Clarity, spinning through Eternity. Can you face its scrutiny?" These are just some of the beautiful poetry of Monica Brinkman that prefaces her chapters in this heart pounding tale of suspense, horror, and finally, retribution. 4 distinct personalities emerge to carry the fight against the impending Evil. A Nurse, her husband, a Beauty and a Governor. There is many more characters that are enmeshed in this dark and yet redeeming tale, and worth a read! Monica takes you from Missouri to the sunny shores of California, where the real battle of good and evil begins. A 5 starred journey into dark places where evil hides, and the healing mantra of Peace and Love seeks it out. Excellent Monica!

 

About the Author

 
A member of The Missouri Writers Guild, Writers Center and former columnist for Authors Info, Monica’s articles and stories can be found in TheWriteroomblog, A Word With You Press, Broowaha, and All Voices, among other places. The highly rated reviews of her first novel, The Turn of the Karmic Wheel, prove that readers embrace both her creativity and unique story line. Along with writing, Monica co-hosts a weekly internet, on-camera radio show, It Matters Radio. Each broadcast showcases talented musical artists as well as authors, non-profit organizations, political/news figures or celebrities. “If we find something important and meaningful, we will bring it to our listeners.” Viewers say her hearty laughter fills the air, and, friends say, warms their hearts. A former director, singer, and actress, Monica spends her time, when not writing, assisting new talent gain exposure. She lives in Missouri with her husband, five cats, and two dogs. Visit her web sites: On The Brink: http://itmattersradio.wix.com/on-the-brink A Touch of Karma: http://theturnofthekarmicwheel.blogspot.com/ It Matters Radio: www.itmattersradio.com

6/20/2015

The Crazy English Language

 
 
  Heteronyms...
Homographs are words of like spelling but with more than one meaning.
A homograph that is also pronounced differently is a heteronym.
     
You think English is easy?
I think a retired English teacher must have been bored.
This took a lot of work to put together!    
1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture..
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert..
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.  
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.  
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.  
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong for me to wind the sail.
18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear..
19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.
English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.
PS. - Why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick'?
You lovers of the English language might enjoy this.
There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is   'UP.'
It's easy to understand   UP   ,   meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake   UP   ?
At a meeting, why does a topic come   UP   ?
Why do we speak  UP   and why are the officers   UP   for election and why is it   UP   to the secretary to write       UP   a report?
We call  UP   our friends.
And we use it to brighten  UP   a room, polish   UP   the silver; we warm   UP   the leftovers and clean   UP   the kitchen.
We lock   UP   the house and some guys fix   UP   the old car.
At other times the little word has real special meaning.
People stir  UP   trouble, line   UP   for tickets, work   UP   an appetite, and think   UP       excuses.
To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed  UP       is special   .
A drain must be opened  UP   because it is stopped   UP   .
We open   UP   a store in the morning but we close it   UP   at night.
We seem to be pretty mixed   UP   about   UP   !
To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of  UP   ,   look the word   UP   in the dictionary.
In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes  UP   almost 1/4th of the page and can add   UP   to about thirty definitions.
If you are  UP   to it, you might try building   UP   a list of the many ways   UP   is used.
It will take  UP   a lot of your time, but if you don't give   UP   ,   you may wind   UP   with a hundred or more.
When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding   UP   .
When the sun comes out we say it is clearing   UP   .
When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things   UP   .
When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry   UP   .
One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it  UP  ,
for now my time is  UP   ,
so.......it is time to shut  UP   !