Celebrities are getting in on it—basketball star Kyrie Irving and entertainer Kanye West the latest: “Antisemitism is one of the longest-standing forms of prejudice, and those who monitor it say it is now on the rise in America,” says the New York Times today. Read The Article
Category: World War II
Manifest Destiny and white identity
|American Progress, by John Gast 1872|
Manifest Destiny was an idea long before it had a name, and what it was really about was not the “white man’s burden,” but an Anglo-American one, the idea that the arrow of civilization and mantle of world leadership had passed from the British Empire to the emerging Anglo-American Empire. The accession of Mexican lands and the Philippines, adventures in Central America, and most importantly for our own national history, the Westward Expansion that displaced Indians and seized tribal lands across the continent, were all part of a grand idea that Anglo-American civilization was destined to lead the entire world.
From the founding of the United States forward, Anglo-Americans were in political control: immigrants from other European places grouped themselves in Eastern city neighborhoods and on Midwestern farms—Greeks, Irish, Scandinavians, Bohemians, Slavs and Jews from Central Europe and more. German immigrants—the largest share of all immigrants between 1850 and 1900—built factories and Midwestern cities. Read The Article
Some thoughts on the new racism
I believe that Manifest Destiny was the nineteenth century idea that the United States of American—led by Anglo-Americans—was picking up the mantel of world leadership and the white man’s burden from the British Empire and would become greater than its predecessor. I think it was an idea that began decades before its formal declaration, and continues in some diminished way to the present.
I think that Manifest Destiny was not about white Greeks and Bohunks, Irishmen, and Swedes. I think that “white” didn’t become a standard classification to include all Americans of European ancestry until after WW 2, when Bohemians and Swedes, Greeks, Italians, and Irishmen all served together. Until then—even through the Dutch-American Roosevelts, Anglo-Americans were the ideal, and the story of Manifest Destiny their story of crusading against and bringing Civilization to a vast wilderness. (Which of course leads to totally ambivalent attitudes towards American Indians—but that is another story.)
If you look at one factor only, the Read The Article
Chester Nez, Indian Patriot
Remembering WW II at the Josephy Center
From the Wallowas to Germany and Buchenwald in WW II–Jack McClaran remembers
When I traveled to bookstores, libraries, and museums with Alvin Josephy after the publication of A Walk Towards Oregon, the chapter that drew the most consistent comment was the one on the War. Fellow marine and navy vets came up with their own memories of Guam and Iwo and Guadalcanal. They sometimes whispered, and tears from 80 year-old men with rough hands and 50 year careers as preachers and farmers were not uncommon.
Among Alvin and Betty’s closest Wallowa County friends were Jack and Marge McClaran. The McClarans had a ranch in Snake River country, and for most of their friendship, Betty was the summer mainstay on the Wallowa front while Alvin split his time between American Heritage in New York and the ranch on the Wallowa Lake moraine. The two couples were involved in a summer educational day camp, one to which Betty recruited, housed, and fed Indian kids from Lapwai. And when Alvin was here, they visited Read The Article
Who was Gwen Coffin?
Gwen Coffin grew up poor in Colorado, made his way through college and law school in Chicago, married a teacher named Gladys, and, in 1941, moved to Wallowa County to buy a newspaper and practice law. He never got around to the law practice, though he did make some law while serving briefly in the Oregon Legislature. He was still going newspaper strong at the Wallowa County Chieftain when I got here in 1971, taking on Johnson and Nixon and the Vietnam War, promoting conservation and wilderness.
Oh—and Gwen was the man Alvin Josephy called, and the Coffin House in Enterprise was the house that Alvin came to on his first trip to see Joseph’s Nez Perce homeland. They ate lunch and Gwen gave Alvin his first tour of Wallowa County. That would have been mid-1950s, shortly after Alvin came upon the Nez Perce story that changed his life–and in turn has changed many others.
Fishtrap lives in the house Read The Article