Sunday, April 25, 2021

Quest for Truth in History

 

Rockport History Book Club

The Quest for Truth in History: 

How do we know it’s true?

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

 

 

"Labor makes us free!"--Really?

 

 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021. The Quest for Truth in History.  How do we know it’s trueWe’ve just gone through a difficult time in our national history, when what you may have believed may have been false, and what was “false” depended upon your political orientation. Propaganda, deception, and conspiracy theories have always been used by governments against the outside world and for their own people.  How can you figure out what is true and what is false? Read any book about public information and propaganda in any era, in any country. [Proposed by Sam Coulbourn]

Suggestions:  Look for books that describe mind-twisting exploits of Goebbels in Nazi Germany, or Soviet propaganda, or even read a book like Orwell's "1984". We'll provide other examples, and if you have suggestions for others, please share!

 


A HISTORY OF PROPAGANDA

Taylor, Philip M., Munitions of the Mind: A history of propaganda from the ancient world the present era. Third Edition. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2003.

 

            Philip Taylor has painted the picture of propaganda from the very earliest days of recorded history, because the idea of using words and images to shape the minds of countrymen, enemies or allies has been around that long. 

            Propaganda often conveys the idea of dirty tricks, or hidden persuaders or mind manipulators….  Brain washing, or Orwellian Big Brother.

 

            Propaganda, however, is not necessarily bad.   It is the intention behind it which needs scrutiny. Propaganda forces us to think and do things we might not otherwise have done. It distorts our view of the world. It thickens the fog of war.  Propaganda becomes the enemy of independent thought.

 

            We are all propagandists to a degree, just as we are all recipients of propaganda. Taylor describes the picture of multifaceted images as “the glass onion.”

 

            The Vatican gave us the word propaganda in the 17th century, and it simply means “propagation” in Latin.  Faced with Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation, the Roman Catholic church established an organization “The Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith”, or La Congregazione per la Propagazione della Fede.

 

            I just slipped through Taylor’s history up until World War II.  It appears that propaganda, as a weapon of warfare really came of age at this time.

 


Hitler and Goering, 1939

 

            Hitler and the Nazis developed it to its lethal extreme. Hitler had learned the importance of controlling the “truth” in war and peace.  He mapped out his plans for this in Mein Kampf, and he learned well from his failures in the 1920s, so when he finally rose to power in 1933 he was ready for action.

 

            In Mein Kampf Hitler laid out his plans.  He hated the post-World War I German Flag, so he designed his own black and red and white flag with the hooked crosses or swastika at its center. He developed the “Heil Hitler” salute as he created the concept of loyalty not only to the Reich, but to the Nazi party and to its leader.

 

            He also stage managed huge parades and mass demonstrations, torchlight parades with thousands marching precisely, and shouting party slogans—Blut und Boden (Blood and Soil).

 

            Coupled with all of this was to play on the fears and suspicions of the people.  Knowing that many in Germany were suspicious of Jews, he exploited this, and we all know how this ended with the extermination of some 6,000,000 Jews.

 

            Hitler also knew how to lie and taught in his book how to tell a really big lie, and keep telling it, relying upon the gullible masses to accept it. “The greater the lie, the more effective it is as a weapon,” he wrote.

 

            Hitler avoided trying to convince the influential people and intellectuals. He aimed his propaganda at the uneducated masses.

 

            “Toward whom must propaganda be directed?” he asked, “toward the scientific intelligentsia or toward the uneducated masses?” His answer was, “It must always and exclusively be directed toward the masses. The teachability of the great masses is very limited, their understanding small, and their memory short.”

 


Hitler with Goebbels 

 

            Hitler’s man for propaganda was Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945), and Goebbels was a master orator and propagandist, expert in making Hitler larger than life to the German people.         

 

            Goebbels was equally expert in shaping “reality” for enemies and allies. He received unlimited funds to carry out his work of stirring up hatred, distrust and fear. He combined propaganda with terror, he used threats and bribes, arranging kidnappings and beatings, as the Nazis prepared the ground in Austria and the Sudetenland for Anschluss.

 

            The Nazis did the same in France, and all the other countries they conquered. They coopted local leaders to become their visible enforcers. In Norway, their “man” was Vidkun Quisling, and for the rest of time, “Quisling” will mean a collaborator and traitor.

 

            The following is from "What Is Propaganda?" by Ralph D. Casey, published in July 1944 by the American Historical Association. It gives an example of Goebbels’ work:

 

            A few Londoners are drinking ale in their neighborhood pub. The time is July 1940. The French have signed Hitler’s armistice terms, but Britain is still holding out. The pub keeper turns the dials of the tavern radio to tune in on “Lord Haw-Haw,” the Berlin broadcaster, and the voice booms out:

“England is ripe for invasion. ... You might as well expect help from an army of mastodons as from the United States. ... You are on a doomed ship. ... Whether or not the people of Britain want to see their fields turned into graveyards and their cities into tombs is a matter for themselves and Mr. Churchill. Perhaps if the British people could speak, they would ask for peace. But since the official voice of England asks not for peace but for destruction, it is destruction we must provide.”

 

            And also: An American sits at home tinkering with his short-wave set and he picks up an English-language broadcast beamed to North America from Germany.

“The German government and the German people have only the friendliest of feelings for the United States, the home of so. many American citizens of German descent.” The words of the radio speaker are honeyed words. “Let it be said for once and all,” the broadcaster continues, “that a German victory in this war is no threat to English democracy—and certainly not to American democracy.”

The propaganda voice of appeasement. Here is the strategy of attempting to hypnotize a people with an assertion of the “peaceful intentions” of the Nazi war machine.

             

            As for using propaganda, the leaders of the Soviet Union were also expert at all aspects of this art. In totalitarian states, it’s what you expect.  Many years after World War II (over 30) I experienced Soviet propaganda during my two-year tour of duty in Moscow.  I had been reading Pravda and other Soviet newspapers and listening to Radio Moscow for years as I studied Russian, and I felt I had a real appreciation for the stultifying effect of this on the Russian people.  Of course, for me, I always had other sources of information available. It was interesting to see how many Soviet citizens were able to read between the lines in their papers, and know they were being lied to.

 

            Great Britain, of course, was not a totalitarian country, but Taylor describes the expertise of the British at white and black propaganda, at censorship, and the skill of leaders like Winston Churchill in their speeches, their writings, and all the other methods they used to fight and win this war.

 

            With Britain at war with Nazi Germany, Churchill tried desperately to enlist the United States of America on his side, but we had a strong vein of isolationism in our country. President Franklin D. Roosevelt saw that we needed to assist our European allies, but several powerful Republican Senators and many voters were bitterly opposed to our intervention in Europe’s war.  When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, isolationism became unpopular, and our government leaped into action with overt and covert propaganda, or as it was called, “information”.

 

            When we finally went to war, after Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Hollywood swung into action, producing hundreds of documentaries, cartoons and feature-length films that carried American propaganda themes, to rally Americans, and to shape opinions of other viewers, wherever the films were shown.

 

            Here we are today with a daily torrent of information and misinformation sprayed at us in television broadcasts, print media, on-line publications and social media, all aimed at influencing us to buy this or vote for or against this plan or that person.

 

            We think we have an understanding of the science of Global Warming, and but recently the United States withdrew from a world-wide effort to take the first steps to mollify the effects of it. It’s restored now, but we can not afford to lose those years, if we truly can start to reverse an attack on nature that began with the industrial revolution in the 19th century.



On Oct. 16, 1919, Adolf Hitler became a propagandist. It would be his chief occupation for the rest of his life. Without propaganda, he could never have become a public figure, let alone risen to power.

 

 

            Our former President called news reports about collusion from papers and television networks that we have generally considered reliable as “fake news”. Hitler called it L├╝genpresse, or “the lying press”.

 

            What can we believe? How can we discern propaganda right in our face?  

 

            Quoting again from "What Is Propaganda?" by Ralph D. Casey in 1944 is this handy guide:

 

            l. Is it really propaganda? Is some individual or group consciously trying to influence opinion and action? Who? For what purpose?

 

            2. Is it true? Does a comparison of independent reports show that the facts are accurate? Does such a comparison show that the suggestions made are soundly based?

 

            There are other tests that can be applied by the thinking citizen:

 

            a. Which fact or set of facts in a piece of promotion are important and relevant? Which are irrelevant?

 

            b. If some individual or group is trying to influence opinion and action, is the effort selfish or is it unselfish?

 

            c. Will action resulting from the propaganda benefit the individual or group responsible for it?

            d. Or will it benefit those who act upon the suggestion given in the propaganda? Or will it benefit both?

 

            e. What is likely to be the effect of the action or of the opinion that the propaganda is trying to set in motion?

 

            All these points boil down to some very simple questions: What is the source of the propaganda? What is its authority? What purposes prompted it? Whom will it benefit? What does it really say?

 

-END-

 

 

HISTORY BOOK CLUB TOPICS FOR 2021

 


Wednesday, May 26, 2021. The Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court has become a central, and increasingly polarizing, institution in American politics. When Alexander Hamilton floated the idea of a federal court system where judges would have “lifetime tenure,” he assured naysayers that the judiciary would be “the least dangerous” branch of government. However, the Supreme Court has become both a pivotal and polarizing feature of American political and policy reform. The Court played a key role in dismantling Jim Crow segregation, nationalizing marriage equality and protecting our free press. Yet, they can be paralyzing. Supreme Court doctrine delayed Congressional attempts to end slavery and establish civil rights for Black Americans. Court actions have limited critical elements of the Affordable Care Act. Perhaps because of its prominence in the nation’s most vexing policy problems, decisions about the Court–- whom to nominate, how to nominate, and what decisions it can make– have become a location for the most visible forms of partisan rancor and discord. The most volatile fights between Republicans and Democrats frequently fixate on conflicts over the Court. Read any book about the Supreme Court, or about a particular period or decision. [Proposed by Mary Beth Smith]

 

Andrew Jackson

Wednesday, June 30, 2021. History of U.S. Presidents. Suggest a review of the 46 Presidents of the United States. Read biography of one or more Presidents. Possible topics for discussion are the major policies, achievements, strengths, failures and weaknesses relating to domestic policy, foreign policy, immigration, use of military force. What are your thoughts? Are we creating a “more perfect union”? Does history show U.S. presidential politics getting more or less venial today than historically? [Proposed by Craig Cervo].

“Suffies” at the White House, 1918.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021. Influence of Women in American History. Wednesday, July 28, 2021. Influence of Women in American History. Women have been around as long as men, with and without a voice.  How have women tried to influence America?  Did they succeed or fail?  Why?   Pick a time or an issue that was important to women and explore it from the female perspective.  Read about Seneca Falls, NY; Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Alice Paul; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, ERA, Phyllis Schlafly, Gloria Steinem, Myra Bradwell; Domestic Violence; Reproductive Rights. [Proposed by Mary Beth Smith] 

 

Arab Spring in Egypt

Wednesday, August 25, 2021. History of North Africa, from Morocco to Egypt, and including Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, Mauritania and more. Pick a nation or a group of nations in the northern tier of Africa and learn how they interact, how they came to be, what problems are they having, or had, that attracted world attention in the past.  Some examples: The Barbary Pirates and how America’s President Jefferson took them on; The Italian Colonial history in Abyssinia and Somaliland; World War II—Field Marshal Rommel in North Africa; “Carthago delenda est!” The Punic War between Rome and Carthage; Tunisia and he Start of Arab Spring. [Proposed by Sam Coulbourn]

Elizabeth Eckford goes to school, Little Rock, 1957

 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021. The Fight for Civil Rights. America began with the fight for Civil Rights for colonists and the fight continues for groups of Americans.  Pick a group – what are they fighting for, what’s their strategy, are they gaining or losing ground and why?  [Proposed by Mary Beth Smith]



Karen women in Myanmar

 

Wednesday, October 27, 2021. Mass Refugee movements in History. Movements of a large number from one nation to another can and have changed the face of the earth. Read about any era on this topic or read about the phenomenon as a whole. Consider the movement of Arab nationals today into Europe, or the pre-historic migration of peoples from Siberia to North America. Or perhaps Irish victims of the potato famine coming to America and Canada in the 1840s. [Proposed by Sam Coulbourn]

 

Dangerous Stir: Fear, Paranoia and the Making of Reconstruction

Wednesday, December 1, 2021. [Moved back one week to avoid conflict with Thanksgiving.]  Reconstruction, 1865-? Abraham Lincoln had a clear picture of what should be done after the end of the War Between the States, but his assassination meant that Andrew Johnson, the Democrat who succeeded him, would be President. Read about this dangerous, murderous time in our history as we sought to regain the 11 Confederate States in the Union.  Read about the growth of white supremacist organizations, and the different ways that America handled the end of slavery, and welcoming (?) millions of newly freed Africans to America.  [Proposed by Mary Beth Smith]

There will be no later meeting in December.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Native Americans meeting European Explorers and treatment of First Americans

 


Rockport History Book Club

Wednesday, March 31, 2021



Native Americans looking East

Wednesday, March 31, 2021. Native Americans—Looking East. When we normally think and write about the Indians that Europeans encountered when they first arrived on these shores several hundred years ago, it’s from the point of view of “looking west” at these red men. They themselves were staring at white, bearded faces as our forefathers made their first contact with this continent. Let’s try to imagine it from the viewpoint of the Native Americans, when the strange ships appeared, and these pale faces appeared. Read any book about Native Americans that will help you and us to imagine if we were standing in their moccasins.   [Proposed by Mary Beth Smith]


 

Richter, Daniel K., Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America; 2001; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

 

            Here is a book that puts the moccasin on the other foot.  When we normally think and write about the Indians that white men encountered when they first arrived on these shores several hundred years, it’s from the point of view of “looking west” at these red men, staring at European faces as our forefathers made their first contact with this continent.

            Daniel Richter begins “Facing East” by telling of a visit he made to St. Louis, Missouri, which, before the arrival of Europeans, was the site of the largest city in North America north of Mexico.  It was Cahokia, near present-day East St. Louis, and here, Indians had created a large city for the living and the deceased.  There were burial mounds and ceremonial platforms, a “woodhenge” of logs arranged in a circle to track the movements of the sun, moon and stars, and room for many to live.

            At it’s peak, about 1200 AD, it’s estimated population was 14 to 18,000 people, greater than London at the time!

            At the time that Columbus and his men were “discovered” by Indians in the Caribbean, some two million Native Americans inhabited the country east of the Mississippi. Tribes speaking Moskogean languages occupied the southeast, Sioan the Piedmont areas of the east; Iroquoian from the Great Lakes eastward and down into the Carolinas; and Algonquian from the Chesapeake up the coast.  For centuries the Indians had moved about the country on the great rivers. 

            For some 10,000 years these people had lived in an environment unconnected with other humans, so the first Europeans, who were the Darwinian survivors of all the diseases of their homelands, brought diseases which cut like a knife through Indian tribes. By the start of the Revolution, only some 200,000 Indians lived in that huge area.

            Richter personalized his story by picking out three notable Indians because their stories area well-known to many:

            Pocahontas, daughter of Chief Powhatan, who was a young Indian maiden first seen at Jamestown in 1607, had a relationship with John Smith and then married another Englishman, John Rolfe.  She went to England in 1616, where she died. 

            Kateri Tekakwitha was a Mohawk Iroquois born in 1656.  She was discovered by Jesuit missionaries, who converted her to Christianity.  Her short life was one of ascetism and sacrifice; before she died in 1680, she led many others to Christianity.  She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980.

            Metacom, the Wampanoag called King Philip, waged bitter war against colonists.  Yet, centuries after he had lived, in the 19th century he was revered as an Indian hero of our country.

            In recent years, perhaps even going back to the time of President Andrew Jackson, the story of the Indians of America is a tragic tale.  Once proud men of the woods and plains bundled together and marched westward, made to settle in ever-shrinking reservations.  That is a true picture, of course, but there is much more, and Richter tries to explain that to the reader.  In the early parts of the book his narrative is fascinating, but as he goes forward, up to the time of the American Revolution, his narrative gets enormously detailed and complicated.   

            One of the problems one has in writing about the history of the Indians in America is that there are no written records—only records written by Europeans as they reacted to their encounters with Indians.  Then, explorers would take Indians back to Europe to show them off, perhaps use them as slaves, often to train them so that they could return as interpreters for future European ventures.  Bit by bit, these people were able to explain parts of their oral history and way of life to people who did record the information, and this is what Richter gratefully includes in his history. 

            In short, this is the discovery of these ugly bearded men on floating islands that appeared in various locations on the coast of present-day Canada and America.  These strange creatures sometimes began the encounter by attacking the Indians with these hard sticks that made a loud noise.  Often, they brought pretty colored beads, and sometimes they performed strange rituals and offered the Indians hard biscuits and a red drink.  [The early Christian missionaries were offering the Indians communion.]

            The early explorers were looking for a quick scheme to enrich themselves with gold and gems.  The Spaniards had gathered up such riches in South America and they looked for it here, as well.  When they didn’t find it, they pressed further and further inland.  Early reports that went back to Europe were discouraging for the get-rich-quick people.  However soon, often with help from the Indians, they discovered furs, deerskins, tobacco, and all kinds of vegetables, as well as rich catches of fish.  

            Richter does a good job of letting us view these explorers through the eyes of Indians, as he describes their religious and spiritual outlook, and the world view they had as these strangers appeared. 

            As time went on, Indians got to look forward to the material things that the Europeans brought in their ships, like kettles and axes and knives and cloth, and over generations they grew to depend upon these things, which they purchased with furs and skins and whatever else the Europeans valued.

            Americans today are often quick to condemn our forefathers in the way they treated the Indians.  One must be scrupulously careful to try to understand the environment that early settlers saw.  Each encounter, from those by Cartier and Champlain in the north, to those by DeSoto in the south, had its own villains and victims.  Many of our forefathers really wanted to make a new life for themselves, but they brought cattle, and wanted to plant farms, and that was enough to upset the Indians.  You can understand that to Indians, planting fields, raising domesticated livestock, putting in fences --- were all things that they could not tolerate. 

Before you condemn our forefathers, first learn all you can about the world that they were living in.  It makes little sense to evaluate them by 2021 standards.  The men and women who arrived on America’s shores in 1620 and afterward were making a huge jump for a new life.  In many cases their lives back in Europe were miserable.  And when they arrived here, in some cases their very presence was a threat to the Indians. 

Try to study their lives, and try to understand the lives of the Indians, and think how you would have done it better. 

Mandan Arikara visit to Washington, 1874

-end-

 Wed. Mar. 31, 2021:

Dear History Lovers,

Thanks to Cindy Grove, Library Head, for hosting today, and Bill Tobin for running the meeting when my computer dropped me off.


Thanks to Janos Posfai, Rick Heuser, Bill Wagner, Mary Beth Smith and Bill T. for participating.

Subject was "Native Americans Looking East", and we tried to view the picture as it would appear to Native American eyes.

From the reports it became brutally clear that they saw white people as cheaters, liars, corrupt and determined to wipe them out.  The reports painted the picture of Americans very much like modern day ones who feel no empathy for First Americans, and looked upon them as something to be exterminated, or at least exploited.  

Of course there were good white people in there, but all it took in each case was one white supremacist, or one who looked at them as disposable.  When good Americans tried to award Indians with land or oil rights, for instance, there were plenty of white coyotes waiting to cheat them out of those.

Rick Heuser offered up one solution not readily available to African Americans--- assimilation.  That has been the solution for Italians, Jews, Asian-Americans, Irish, Germans.  Or has it?

Excellent discussion, but sorry I missed much with my computer problem.

Next month we have:

Wednesday, April 28, 2021. The Quest for Truth in History.  How do we know it’s trueWe’ve just gone through a difficult time in our national history, when what you may have believed may have been false, and what was “false” depended upon your political orientation. Propaganda, deception, and conspiracy theories have always been used by governments against the outside world and for their own people.  How can you figure out what is true and what is false? Read any book about public information and propaganda in any era, in any country. [Proposed by Sam Coulbourn]

Suggestions:  Look for books that describe mind-twisting exploits of Goebbels in Nazi Germany, or Soviet propaganda, or even read a book like Orwell's "1984". We'll  try to provide other examples, and if you have suggestions for others, please share!

Happy Easter/Happy Passover!

Sam

HISTORY BOOK CLUB TOPICS FOR 2021

 

"Labor makes us free!"--Really?

Wednesday, April 28, 2021. The Quest for Truth in History.  How do we know it’s true? We’ve just gone through a difficult time in our national history, when what you may have believed may have been false, and what was “false” depended upon your political orientation. Propaganda, deception, and conspiracy theories have always been used by governments against the outside world and for their own people.  How can you figure out what is true and what is false? Read any book about public information and propaganda in any era, in any country. [Proposed by Sam Coulbourn]

Wednesday, May 26, 2021. The Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court has become a central, and increasingly polarizing, institution in American politics. When Alexander Hamilton floated the idea of a federal court system where judges would have “lifetime tenure,” he assured naysayers that the judiciary would be “the least dangerous” branch of government. However, the Supreme Court has become both a pivotal and polarizing feature of American political and policy reform. The Court played a key role in dismantling Jim Crow segregation, nationalizing marriage equality and protecting our free press. Yet, they can be paralyzing. Supreme Court doctrine delayed Congressional attempts to end slavery and establish civil rights for Black Americans. Court actions have limited critical elements of the Affordable Care Act. Perhaps because of its prominence in the nation’s most vexing policy problems, decisions about the Court–- whom to nominate, how to nominate, and what decisions it can make– have become a location for the most visible forms of partisan rancor and discord. The most volatile fights between Republicans and Democrats frequently fixate on conflicts over the Court. Read any book about the Supreme Court, or about a particular period or decision. [Proposed by Mary Beth Smith]

Andrew Jackson

Wednesday, June 30, 2021. History of U.S. Presidents. Suggest a review of the 46 Presidents of the United States. Read biography of one or more Presidents. Possible topics for discussion are the major policies, achievements, strengths, failures and weaknesses relating to domestic policy, foreign policy, immigration, use of military force. What are your thoughts? Are we creating a “more perfect union”? Does history show U.S. presidential politics getting more or less venial today than historically? [Proposed by Craig Cervo].

“Suffies” at the White House, 1918.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021. Influence of Women in American History. Wednesday, July 28, 2021. Influence of Women in American History. Women have been around as long as men, with and without a voice.  How have women tried to influence America?  Did they succeed or fail?  Why?   Pick a time or an issue that was important to women and explore it from the female perspective.  [Proposed by Mary Beth Smith]

 

Arab Spring in Egypt

Wednesday, August 25, 2021. History of North Africa, from Morocco to Egypt, and including Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, Mauritania and more. Pick a nation or a group of nations in the northern tier of Africa and learn how they interact, how they came to be, what problems are they having, or had, that attracted world attention in the past.  Some examples: The Barbary Pirates and how America’s President Jefferson took them on; The Italian Colonial history in Abyssinia and Somaliland; World War II—Field Marshal Rommel in North Africa; “Carthago delenda est!” The Punic War between Rome and Carthage; Tunisia and he Start of Arab Spring. [Proposed by Sam Coulbourn]

Elizabeth Eckford goes to school, Little Rock, 1957

Wednesday, September 29, 2021. The Fight for Civil Rights. America began with the fight for Civil Rights for colonists and the fight continues for groups of Americans.  Pick a group – what are they fighting for, what’s their strategy, are they gaining or losing ground and why?

 [Proposed by Mary Beth Smith]

Karen women in Myanmar

Wednesday, October 27, 2021. Mass Refugee movements in History. Movements of a large number from one nation to another can and have changed the face of the earth. Read about any era on this topic or read about the phenomenon as a whole. Consider the movement of Arab nationals today into Europe, or the pre-historic migration of peoples from Siberia to North America. Or perhaps Irish victims of the potato famine coming to America and Canada in the 1840s. [Proposed by Sam Coulbourn]



Wednesday, December 1, 2021. [Moved back one week to avoid conflict with Thanksgiving.]  Reconstruction, 1865-? Abraham Lincoln had a clear picture of what should be done after the end of the War Between the States, but his assassination meant that Andrew Johnson, the Democrat who succeeded him, would be President. Read about this dangerous, murderous time in our history as we sought to regain the 11 Confederate States in the Union.  Read about the growth of white supremacist organizations, and the different ways that America handled the end of slavery, and welcoming (?) millions of newly freed Africans to America.  [Proposed by Mary Beth Smith]

There will be no later meeting in December.