I begin today’s post with a photograph of a Haitian man and his son being “rounded up” by an American border control agent near Mexico. This picture was not taken 100 years ago, or 10 years ago (or in 1620!), but YESTERDAY. Here is the full article on how President Biden has ordered over 15,000 Haitian migrants at the border of America to be flown back to Haiti. As we think about the Pilgrims who were our first immigrants, let us not forget that the challenges of migrating remain daunting and America is certainly not “the land of the free” beckoning “the homeless,” poor, frightened, and/or persecuted it sometimes claims to be.
Many of us take the treatment of immigrants personally. As Jubrainy writes,
Many of the people who come to America come in search of the famous “dream”. That “dream” is different for everyone, many parents sacrifice themselves to give their children the opportunity to have a better life, a brighter future, to expand the opportunities that might not be available for them in their country of origin. I … consider myself an immigrant and even sympathize with those people who struggle to go out there in search of a better life.
The story of the Pilgrims is one of courage, endurance, and deep faith in pursuit of their dream to be free to practice their religion (which America still encourages). Yet, it is also one of intolerance to those who are different and a repulsion for Native Americans — even though it was Squanto and other Wampanoags that helped the Pilgrims survive the first brutal winter. It is for this reason that some of you prefer to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day instead of Thanksgiving. Many of you, however, recognize perhaps the true meaning of this day. It’s not necessarily about a historical moment; rather, as Briana writes, “’Thanksgiving is about alliance, and abundance,’ a day that families just like the pilgrims in the video put their differences aside to come together and look back at all they’ve been through months prior.” Tenzin eloquently adds the comment: “Thanksgiving to me is the moment to take a pause and reflect on everything that I have and all the people I’m surrounded by. Life is too short to not be grateful for being able to live another day. As Covid had taught us, life is precious, being grateful can help improve physical health, mental health, enhance sleep, increase self-esteem and improve overall physical health and bring positive energy. When you bring positive energy, you can radiate positive energy around you.” Wise words indeed.
American Literature and History is filled with difficult material, none so difficult as our next topic that has its effects to the present day. In 1619, in the southern colony of Virginia, the first enslaved Africans were introduced to North America. Eventually, slavery would spread across the colonies and remain a horrid yet legal part of our nation until the end of the Civil War in 1865 that abolished it forever.
For this week, I ask to you review the “1619 Project” which recently (and controversially) has come be part of a campaign to raise greater awareness of the history of slavery in this country. Too often understudied, understanding and coming to terms with the history and legacy of slavery in America is more important now than ever before.
First, please review the full-site of the “1619 Project”.
Read about the controversy over introducing it into High School and College curricula.
Listen: Trailer: “Introducing 1619”
Listen: Episode Two: “The Fight for a True Democracy”
Choose a line, a key point, or topic from one of these podcasts (or site) that interests you and share your thoughts about it in a post. Be sure to read earlier student posts and focus on a different topic than what others have posted on.