October 12

Google Docs Ch 38 – 1960s, CRM, and Feminism

1st Hour – http://bit.ly/2efkTYD

2nd Hour – http://bit.ly/2dc3utQ

3rd Hour – http://bit.ly/2d738JP

4th Hour – http://bit.ly/2dWX7iE

Due Thursday, Oct. 20th by 10 pm. 

Study tips and test taking strategies – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ewJUkvaM9ckWMwnbMdeR9HRAbn26jub8kmiE6BOCI9c/edit?usp=sharing

Here’s the video we watched on Wednesday, Oct. 12.  Please do questions / facts / hashtags for the film.

1960 Presidential debate – 1st debate – https://youtu.be/gbrcRKqLSRw

Also, PBS American Experience films, Tesla (airing Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 9pm) and the Battle of Chosin (airing Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 9pm) are available for extra credit.  Your job is to submit a paper, minimum one page typed single spaced, summarize the film with details (1/2 page minimum) and then connect the film to the APUSH universe (minimum 1/2 page).  

Film, The Rage Within, from the mini series, The Fiftieshttps://youtu.be/fVFdoiIpN_U

 

October 12

Blog #78 – Do we need a new Civil Rights Movement?

After studying the Civil Rights Movement (CRM) this week, you may wonder if the CRM is still around.  And, the bigger question is, is there a need for one?  You might think that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 / 1968 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 had fixed many of the egregious racist violations of human and civil rights that had existed since slavery ended in 1865.  Why would we need a CRM when we’ve got a black president, some of the wealthiest Americans are black, and many entertainers are black and are “visible” in movies and TV and on the Internet (as opposed to “invisible” during the 1950s that we saw in the video, The Rage Within).  Right?  Isn’t America dedicated to the proposition that everyone is equal and has an equal chance to reach for that American Dream?  So what’s the problem?

Well, if we limit our civil rights discussion to just Black Americans, we can see several things that pop out at us:

1. The income gap between whites and blacks is dramatically widening since 2007 (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/12/12/racial-wealth-gaps-great-recession/).  FT_14.12.11_wealthGap2Using the chart at the left, you can see that the average household income between whites, blacks, and Latinos has continued to plague the country.  Obviously, the Great Recession (2007-2009) broke a lot of peoples’ dreams to own their own homes and live a comfortable life.  But what these numbers show is that since the 1980s, it’s gotten worse, twenty years after the Voting Rights Act.  Watch this link to a CNN video that explains why this gap has existed (http://money.cnn.com/video/news/economy/2014/12/14/the-economy-in-black–white-animation.cnnmoney/). This leads to my next point.

2. There is systemic racism in this country as shown in the way Black Americans lose their jobs more readily than white Americans and more likely to had been the victims of foreclosure at the end of the real estate boom in 2007 (http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/the-wealth-gap-between-whites-and-minorities-is-growing/).  We see this in still who controls the majority of the wealth of the country and the barriers that still exist for Black Americans to gain home loans and job opportunities. This racism is also seen in urban public schools and their lack of funding.  Most urban public schools are segregated de facto (by choice) rather than by law.  And with urban schools failing, it seems to compound the cycle of poverty that we read about in the excerpt from Michael Harrington’s The Other America.  We also see this structural racism in the way Black Americans are portrayed in the media.  When white mass murderers are examined in the media, they’re sometimes portrayed as loners with mental problems, but when Black men are murdered, the character is called into question as if that justifies their murder.  inmate or nurse

3. Most visibly, we see African Americans made victims of police brutality and violence.  With the proliferation or spread of camera phones, dash cams, and other video recording devices, murders or assaults by police that might have been hushed up are now receiving the attention they deserve.  With incidents in Baltimore, Ferguson, Cleveland, Texas, and too many other locations to mention, even the U.S. government is getting involved in examining the effects of police brutality and unequal enforcement on communities.  (U.S. Justice Dept. report on Ferguson).

4. The continuing rise of respectability politics puts down one aspect of the Black community while highlighting another aspect.  This idea comes from an early 20th Century movement in the Black community itself to change “Black American culture – and Black Americans themselves – are broken and need to be fixed.  And “fixing” means improving the “Black underclass” that holds us back.”  Much of this comes from forcing Black Americans to attain the standards of white America as a way to improve upon Black culture.  (http://alineinthesand.com/respectability-politics/).  The underlying thinking is that one group of Blacks is making it impossible for the “more respectable” Black Americans to rise up and defeat racism.  President Obama has been guilty of engaging in respectability politics when he talks about the role of the father in Black families.  Comedian Bill Cosby has also been a big proponent of this concept.

5. The school-to-prison pipeline is systematic of two things: underfunded schools and lack of real job opportunities for African Americans.  This pipeline “refers to the policies and practices that push our nation’s schoolchildren, especially our most at-risk children, out of classrooms and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems.  This pipeline reflects the prioritization of incarceration over education” (https://www.aclu.org/fact-sheet/what-school-prison-pipeline).  With insufficient funding in urban schools and zero-tolerance educational practices, students who violate school rules in major ways are shuffled out of school and into the criminal justice system.  This kind of educational discipline, made in response to the numerous school shootings that have happened since 1999, also affects students with special needs.  Some for-profit schools are being created to treat drop-outs or “troubled children” with a no-nonsense approach and have had dismal records of meeting the needs of these students.

If we were to just focus on African Americans to the exclusion of other minorities, I would stop there.  But what about the biggest minority group in America, Latino Americans?

6. Using Donald Trump’s comments over the summer as his presidential race debut, he described Mexicans who came over our porous national border as “rapists” and criminals.  If he had it his way, The Donald would have Mexico pay for this wall he’d like to put up on our southern border (despite the fact that there is already a wall along many parts of the U.S.- Mexico border).  These comments just add to the way many Republican candidates see the influx of Latinos coming into the country as a negative thing. deportations_graph_bigger_0

Source: (http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117412/deportations-under-obama-vs-bush-who-deported-more-immigrants)

But what about those already here illegally?

7. President Obama’s been deporting more undocumented workers by 2014 (2 million) than previous presidents, yet the Republicans say he’s not doing enough.  Many plans have been bandied about with regards how to include the 11.5 million undocumented workers legally into the American taxpayer system: give them Social Security numbers so they can pay taxes; put them on the road to citizenship and learn English; pay penalties, etc.

8. Much like the gap between whites and blacks with regards to income equality, the same can be said for Latinos and whites.  Questions include, are there enough resources for ELL (English Language Learners) in our schools?  Why do only 52% of Latinos have a high school diploma vs. 85% whites?  Kids in poverty, regardless of race or ethnicity, tend to do poorer in school and on standardized tests.  (http://www.nea.org/home/HispanicsEducation%20Issues.htm)

Next, let’s talk about women.

9. One of the first things that needs to be addressed is the pervasive rape culture in the United States.  Women should feel safe, no matter what they do or how they dress.  When society tends to blame the victim of rape (87% done by an acquaintance, not someone stalking them in the dark) for how much she drank or provocative clothing, the playing field tends to be skewed towards men and not the victim.  Should 20% of American women having survived a rape be considered the norm, especially when an overwhelming majority of rapists never go to jail?  We need to teach men and young men not to rape, not to tell women how to avoid being raped (as if that’s a normal thing).  (http://time.com/40110/rape-culture-is-real/)

10. What about the pay gap between men and women for the same jobs?  The arguments against paying women the same as men used to be that a woman’s income was secondary to her husband (assuming she’s married), so that money is just extra.  Another argument against equal pay was that women get pregnant and their replacements needed to be trained, so the money comes out of the pregnant woman’s paycheck for loss of productivity.  According to the AAUW, women in Michigan get paid about 74% what men get paid and are 45th out of 50 in a nationwide ranking.  This chart shows what could be done with the extra money women would get if they were paid equallypay_gap_lifetimeFINAL.  It’s in everyone’s best interest to have women paid as much as men. (http://billmoyers.com/content/facts-figures-women-and-pay-inequality/)

11. I don’t even know where to start when talking about the double standard for beauty with women and men.  Women are expected to look beautiful while a man can get away with jeans and a t-shirt and a baseball cap for dates. Men can put on the pounds but women can’t?  Look at the number of people who have eating disorders, mostly women. Make-up, over-sexualized clothes and toys for children, online bullying – the list can go on and on.  Yes, men have their own hyper-masculine body images as well, but this double standard for beauty seems to really impact women.  

I Am Not A Slut by Leora Tanenbaum.  http://www.amazon.com/Am-Not-Slut-Slut-Shaming-Internet/dp/006228259X

And what about the LGBTQ community?

12. Finally, marriage equality is the law of the land thanks to the Supreme Court case, Obergefell v. Holmes, decided this summer.  The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was overturned two years ago, and you would have thought that most states would have followed through with it, but it took the courts to secure everyone’s rights.  But this doesn’t mean everyone is accepting or willing to follow the law – see the county clerk in Kentucky for one prime example.  Some anti-LGBTQ groups have pushed presidential candidates to seek to overturn Obergefell, or sign laws that allow for religious discrimination directed at those who want to get married.

13. And if the LGBTQ community is allowed to get married, what about the creation of families and adoption rights?  Only 10 states and D.C. allow adoption by gay parents, and Florida is currently the only state that bans adoption by gay parents, but many other states put obstacles in the way of gay parents, including lots of misinformation like “A child is better off with one father and one mother“.  (http://civilliberty.about.com/od/gendersexuality/ig/Lesbian-and-Gay-Rights-101/Gay-Adoption-Rights.htm)

 

This list is by no means comprehensive.  That would take books on each of these issues (like The New Jim Crow, Bad Feminist, God Believes in Love, I Am Not a Slut, Between the World and Me, Harvest of Empire, Citizen, The Fire Next Time).

My question for you is this:

If you had to choose one group to join for a civil rights movement, which one would it be, why, and what would be your top priority?  You can list other priorities that I have not mentioned, because though I have tried to familiarize myself with all of these groups, it is just a cursory / surface familiarity.

If you choose to disagree with the basic premise, that no new civil rights movement is needed, please explain why along with facts to back up your argument. 

300 words minimum answer due Wednesday, Oct. 14 by class. 

 

January 23

Selma Extra Credit

I hope that you got a chance to see Selma, a moving drama about the events leading up to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the piece of legislation seen as the culmination of the Civil Right Movement (CRM) in the 1960s.

This particular article is written by an historian who thinks the movie is flawed b/c it omits a key scene or the reason behind why King turned back at the Edmund Pettis Bridge days after Bloody Sunday (when the original marchers were attacked and broadcast on TV).  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/02/dr-king-goes-to-hollywood-the-flawed-history-of-selma.html

1. I’d like you to read it and tell me whether or not you agree with the historian and explain why this makes the movie flawed or not flawed.

Pick from TWO of the following:

2. The movie doesn’t try to show King as a hero.  In fact, it shows his flawed marriage with Coretta and his infidelity and how it had affected their lives.  Give your thoughts on the portrayal of the King marriage.

3. The FBI and J. Edgar Hoover director are shown as creepy, invasive, and abusive.  They wiretapped the members of the CRM, they manufactured evidence to show King’s infidelity, and tried to prove that Malcolm X and King were communists.  What are your thoughts on the abuses of power by the FBI and Hoover?

4. Some historians, particularly those who have worked with President Johnson, have criticized the movie for not showing a more sympathetic Johnson (who was shown wanting to work more on his Great Society – War on Poverty and the Vietnam War which went barely mentioned).  Anti-racist activists have criticized a sympathetic Johnson as taking away accolades from King, a black man, and giving more credit to the President, a white man, for a pivotal piece of legislation, the Voting Rights Act.  Which portrayal do you think should have been shown?  Why?

5. Draw some comparisons to Lincoln (the movie) and Selma.  They can be favorable or unfavorable to either or both.  Explain your reasoning for the comparisons (minimum of 2).

 Your responses are worth 10 extra credit points and are due by Friday, February 6.   Response total should be 300 words minimum.  

April 28

Blog #63 – Are you willing to go to jail?

“I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. No other person has been more eloquent and passionate in getting this idea across than Henry David Thoreau. As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest.” – Martin Luther King, Jr, Autobiography

 * emphasis is mine.

Initially going back to the 5th Century, St. Augustine stated that “an unjust law is no law at all”  giving some theological weight / heft to earthly laws. Henry David Thoreau suggested that we obey our conscience when we decide to obey or disobey a law.  He went to jail during the Mexican War and wrote his famous essay on civil disobedience.  Gandhi used Thoreau as inspiration, and King used Gandhi as an inspiration.  Gandhi and King used religion to inspire and their followers.  Here’s a quote from Dr. King from a sermon in the early days of the Montgomery Bus Boycott:

… I want it to be known that we’re going to work with grim and bold determination to gain justice on the buses in this city. And we are not wrong; we are not wrong in what we are doing.

If we are wrong, the Supreme Court of this nation is wrong.
If we are wrong, the Constitution of the United States is wrong.
If we are wrong, God Almighty is wrong.
If we are wrong, Jesus of Nazareth was merely a utopian dreamer that never came down to Earth.
If we are wrong, justice is a lie, love has no meaning.
My friends, we are determined … to work and fight until justice runs down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

But we can’t necessarily have people going around disobeying laws that they don’t like.  There has to be some standards.  Right?  According to Dr. King, he stated that the difference is:

A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.

He further elaborates on this and states that: “Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.”

Assumption: Since we cannot argue and fight with every law that we think goes against “the harmony of moral law” or disobey laws at whim (for instance, I might think that one day, the speed limit downgrades my personality, therefore I am going to take a principled stand against it by not obeying it), we have to assume that most laws need to be obeyed.

But what are unjust laws today??

1. Abortion?  Or restrictions on abortion?

2. Wars or other military actions?

3. Immigration laws like the one in Arizona?

4. Gay rights? Or restrictions on gay rights?

5. Economic stuff like taxes?  Or lack thereof on companies, individuals, etc.?

6. Military draft (don’t worry, we don’t have one)?

7. Environmental damage?  Or lack of environmental laws?

8. Jobs or a lack of jobs?

9. Software and music / movie downloading -piracy?

10. Behavior / actions of an American company (sweatshops, illegally drilling, dumping, etc.)?

11. ????

Questions to answer:

a. Would you be willing to go to jail to protest unjust laws like the Civil Rights workers had done many times during the 1950s and 60s?  (Consider the ramifications of a felony or misdemeanor on your record, and its impact on your possible future career).

b. After consulting the list above, which laws would you be willing to fight against?  Why? (feel free to add to the list if you see any missing).

c. Do you agree with Dr. King’s reasoning w/ what makes a law just or unjust?  Why or why not?

Due Friday, May 2 by class.  300 words total. 

May 17

Socratic Seminar groups and questions

Link to the Google Doc groups – http://bit.ly/JVUR4Y 

For the earlier hours, I decided to change up the questions.  Everybody has to do question #1, and then you pick one question for your part.

1.Compare the degress of success or failure of the Civil Rights Movement and Populist Movement. Consider: a. legislation passed, b. effectiveness of legislation, c. difference between stated goals and accomplished goals, d. effect on the dominant culture of the U.S.

Part 1 / Group 1 (choose only one)

#2.  Why were many whites suprised by the black revolt of the 1950s and 1960s?

#3 Why did Truman and his advisers feel a need to “act on the race question” immediately following World War 2?  What evidence exists to support Zinn’s answer to this question?

Part 2 / Group 2 (choose only one)

#4 What compromises did civil rights leaders make in order to have federal approval of the 1963 March on Washington?  Why do you think they felt that federal approval was worth such compromise? 

#5 What do you think Zinn means by this “….but voting was not a fundamental solution to racism or poverty?”

Part 3 / Group 3 (choose only one)

#6 Why did King speak out against the war in Vietnam?  Why did he not speak out against the war earlier than he did?

#7 How was “busing” an “ingenious concession to protest”?  Did it contribute to deferring the dream (from Langston Hughes’ poem)?

Your 2 questions on the Zinn chapter need to be emailed / typed and turned in by Monday’s class period. 

If you’ve lost your chapter, here’s a copy of Howard Zinn’s book online (free), starting with Ch. 17.  http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/zinn17explo.html

June 10

Blog #21 – 1968 Chicago Convention a microcosm of the 1960s?

After we’d watched the American Experience video on the Chicago Convention in 1968 on Friday, it struck me how much that the clash encapsulated many of the tensions in the 1960s.  See this link for a day-by-day calendar of the tumultuous events of 1968.  For instance:

Students in Chicago holding North Vietnamese flags in 1968.

 – The differing tactics of the anti-war protestors as symbolized by David Dellinger and Rennie Davis (non-violence) vs. Tom Hayden (“by any means necessary”) and the outcome of the marches and even legal protests at Grant Park;

 

– The peace platform delegates and followers of Senator Eugene McCarthy (dove) who tried to be heard at the Democratic National Convention, but the old guard (Mayor Richard Daley) that supported Vice President Hubert Humphrey (hawk) and the war in Vietnam;

 

 – The class differences between Chicago’s working class police officers and the “spoiled brats” as U.S. Attorney Thomas Moran called the college students who had gathered in Chicago to protest the war that could directly affect any of these young men with the draft on either side of the riot line (though truthfully, the police officers were most likely to get drafted and not be able to a deferment from a doctor or university);

 

– the rise of violence, disorder and chaos in daily life that impacted the political process like the deaths of John Kennedy (1963), Malcolm X (1965), and Dr. King and Robert Kennedy (1968).  There had been riots in Watts, Los Angeles, Detroit and Newark, N.J., and across the country after Dr. King’s death in April 1968. 

 – The rights to free speech and freedom to peaceably assemble were directly challenged at this convention by the Chicago Police Dept. and the Illinois National Guard.  Furthermore, the indirect censorship of the TV coverage by not allowing more than one live feed from the city (infringement of freedom of the press) so that the TV news couldn’t cover both the convention and the protests at the same time. 

 

Questions:

1. Do you think the police used “reasonable force” when dispersing the protestors during the week of the convention?   When?  Why or why not?

2. Do you think that the peace delegates / McCarthy’s followers would have been satisfied if President Johnson had allowed VP Humphrey to make some concessions over the Vietnam War? Why or why not?

3. Do you think that the images from this convention influenced the outcome of the 1968 election w/ Nixon and Wallace?  Why or why not?

Blog due Tuesday, June 14.  300 words minimum for the total blog.

Link to PBS film on Robert Kennedy.

Link to PBS film on Dr. King’s assassination, Roads to Memphis (watch online too!).

 Link to PBS film on My Lai Massacre. 

Link to PBS film on the Freedom Riders.

June 4

X-Men:First Class E.C. blog

All of your HW needs to be turned in to receive credit for this blog. 

I saw the movie this afternoon and was happy to see that the historical content wasn’t too battered and bruised.  In fact, I was glad to see that the X-Men played such a pivotal role in preventing World War 3.  However, there were a few things that I noticed that struck me as odd:

1. There was no civilian control of the military in either the Soviet Union or the United States.  Sure, if you believe in conspiracy theories, this might be plausible.  And yes, the military, especially under General Curtis LeMay was pretty much a war monger.  But, I highly doubt that the American military decided to go to war by a show of hands.  There was no sign of Kennedy or Khrushchev except in newsreel or TV footage. 

2. Where was Castro’s role in any of the missile crisis stuff?  Even when the sub and the Mockingbird crashed on the Cuban shore, even when both the Soviets and U.S. warships fired at the X-Men on the Cuban coast, the Cubans were invisible. 

3. This was something I noticed right away (so sue me!): the mini skirt hadn’t been invented yet by 1962.  According to several sources I checked, it didn’t become popular until 1966.  One of the main reasons I remember this was b/c I had associated the mini-skirt with the TV show, The Brady Bunch, which I had watched over and over as a kid growing up in the late 70s (and I knew the show had debuted in 1969, the year after I was born). 

4. I was disappointed that the character named Darwin was killed off so quickly.  It seemed that he was offed before he even got to develop – leaving a noticeably paler group of X-Men behind after Shaw’s attack.  I wondered if this was some kind of attempt at irony – Shaw’s master race, Homo Superior, triumphant over a fellow mutant, and killing a number of other Homo Sapiens, in the attack on the CIA’s “secret HQ.”  It was a pretty lame attempt at irony, and it just left the X-Men w/o a strong minority character. 

Questions (choose 4 of 5):

1. How did Erik’s Holocaust figure into his quest to stop both the Soviet and American governments from destroying mutants?  Explain.

2. Where did the movie deviate from history?  At what point did you see fiction begin and non-fiction end (besides at the theatre door – suspend your disbelief in this case)?  How many instances did you find?  Explain. 

3. What role did sexism play in the movie, both intentional and unintentional (maybe unintended by the filmmakers)? Use examples with Emma Frost, Moira MacTaggart, Angel and Raven.  File:X-MenFirstClassMoviePoster.jpg

4. The mutant persecution has been a recurring theme throughout the X-Men series, both the films and comics.  What could this discrimination be a metaphor in our society? 

5. How do Erik and Charles’ different paths at tackling mutant discrimination resemble the two paths of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s?   “I’m mutant, and I’m proud.” Explain.

Due Monday, June 13 before class. 

May 29

Blog #20 – Would you be willing to go to jail?

“I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. No other person has been more eloquent and passionate in getting this idea across than Henry David Thoreau. As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest.” – Martin Luther King, Jr, Autobiography

 * emphasis is mine.

Initially going back to the 5th Century, St. Augustine stated that “an unjust law is no law at all”  giving some theological weight / heft to earthly laws. Henry David Thoreau suggested that we obey our conscience when we decide to obey or disobey a law.  He went to jail during the Mexican War and wrote his famous essay on civil disobedience.  Gandhi used Thoreau as inspiration, and King used Gandhi as an inspiration.  Gandhi and King used religion to inspire and their followers.  Here’s a quote from Dr. King from a sermon in the early days of the Montgomery Bus Boycott:

… I want it to be known that we’re going to work with grim and bold determination to gain justice on the buses in this city. And we are not wrong; we are not wrong in what we are doing.

If we are wrong, the Supreme Court of this nation is wrong.
If we are wrong, the Constitution of the United States is wrong.
If we are wrong, God Almighty is wrong.
If we are wrong, Jesus of Nazareth was merely a utopian dreamer that never came down to Earth.
If we are wrong, justice is a lie, love has no meaning.
My friends, we are determined … to work and fight until justice runs down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

But we can’t necessarily have people going around disobeying laws that they don’t like.  There has to be some standards.  Right?  According to Dr. King, he stated that the difference is:

A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.

He further elaborates on this and states that: “Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.”

Assumption: Since we cannot argue and fight with every law that we think goes against “the harmony of moral law” or disobey laws at whim (for instance, I might think that one day, the speed limit downgrades my personality, therefore I am going to take a principled stand against it by not obeying it), we have to assume that most laws need to be obeyed. 

But what are unjust laws today??

1. Abortion?  Or restrictions on abortion?

2. Wars or other military actions?

3. Immigration laws like the one in Arizona?

4. Gay rights? Or restrictions on gay rights?

5. Economic stuff like taxes?  Or lack thereof on companies, individuals, etc.?

6. Military draft (don’t worry, we don’t have one)?

7. Environmental damage?  Or lack of environmental laws?

8. Jobs or a lack of jobs?

9. Software and music / movie downloading -piracy?

10. Behavior / actions of an American company (sweatshops, illegally drilling, dumping, etc.)? 

11. ????

 Questions to answer:

a. Would you be willing to go to jail to protest unjust laws like the Civil Rights workers had done many times during the 1950s and 60s?  (Consider the ramifications of a felony or misdemeanor on your record, and its impact on your possible future career).

b. After consulting the list above, which laws would you be willing to fight against?  Why? (feel free to add to the list if you see any missing).

c. Do you agree with Dr. King’s reasoning w/ what makes a law just or unjust?  Why or why not? 

Due Wednesday, June 1 by class.  300 words total. 

 

Letter from a Birmingham City Jail by Dr. King.

Link to Henry David Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience.”

A history of mass civil disobedience by ACT UP.

March 26

Turner Classic Movies – Civil War movies all through April!

Every Monday and Wednesday night in April, Turner Classic Movies will broadcast 34 movies dealing with the Civil War to celebrate (if that’s the right word) or commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the beginning of the war (April 12, 1861, 4:30 a.m., bombing of Fort Sumter, S.C.). 

Check out the schedule here: http://www.tcm.com/ 

The first two movies on Monday night, April 4 (also, the same day Dr. King was shot in 1968), at 8 pm, the granddaddy of them all, Gone With the Wind.  After that, a 1957 film called Raintree County which is about “a willful southern belle goes mad out of fear that she may be part black.”   Sounds ridiculous, but check out the film for yourself.   However, I sense a trend, b/c on Wednesday, another 1957 movie called Band of Angels deals w/ a similar topic, but this time, the story focuses on the southern belle surviving after the war and she discovers that her mother is part black.   Maybe it’s anxiety over integration brought on by the Civil Rights Movement manifesting itself in movies? 

On April 11, you’ll get to watch the silent film classic that jump started the KKK in 1915, Birth of a Nation at 8 pm.  In fact, the whole evening is devoted to the earliest silent films on the war.  Wednesday night April 13 includes two comedies about the war, The Southern Yankee starring Red Skelton and Advance to the Rear.  Sandwiched in between those two is a Shirley Temple “classic” called, The Littlest Rebel.   After those three is a musical number called Golden Girl and then another comedy called General Spanky that includes some of the cast from a TV show called The Little Rascals

What you really might learn from these movies is not a true accurate portrayal of the war but you’ll probably get a glimpse into how Americans wanted to view this conflict and the racial strife that tore the country apart.  You’ll also see unflattering stereotypes of African Americans, sometimes played by Black actors themselves. 

On Monday, April 18, the schedule finally gets better with a Clint Eastwood classic from 1976, The Outlaw Josey Wales followed by Major Dundee with Charleton Heston and Richard Harris (the first Dumbledore) made in 1965.   A John Wayne epic called Horse Soldiers follows those two, and then Escape from Fort Bravo and A Time for Killing

Wednesday, April 20 brings a few interesting movies including Virginia City, in which suave ladies’ man Errol Flynn poses as a dance hall girl to become a rebel spy.  The other movies shown on this day deal with tensions created by the CW out West. 

On the last week of April, Monday April 25, we see (in my humble opinion) one of the best CW movies in Glory followed by what many consider to be one of the best, Gettysburg.  The source material for the movie is the great book, Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, but the movie is too long, has terrible acting and dialogue, and repetitive scenes.  It’s a case of the director going for accuracy over drama. 

On April 27, the director of Birth of a Nation returns 15 years later with a biography pic on Abraham Lincoln.  I’ll hold off judgement until I see it.  After that is a bio pic of Vice President Andrew Johnson called Tennessee Johnson.   The last film of the evening (and of the month) is Drango, in which a Union soldier encounters animosity while he tries to help Southerners rebuild their town. 

Also, Twitter has an ongoing hash tag (#cw150) where you can check out anything to do w/ the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.  A lot of these tweets are news on re-enactments, newly available digital archives, book announcements, and day-by-day tweets as to what was going on at that time.

Enjoy.

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