Revisiting Proposition 54 – collecting racial information

Affirmative Action

Some years ago, a Supreme Court case involving an applicant who brought suit alleging that the admission policies of the University of Michigan were discriminatory, renewed a heated national discussion on affirmative action, race-based preferences and the merit of diversity criteria in schools and workplaces.

While the Supreme Court’s decision upheld the use of race as a consideration in admissions, nuances of the article led to a revision of the University of Michigan Law School’s admissions policies.

On one hand, opponents of affirmative action argue that the Constitution is designed to protect individuals rather than groups; on the other, reformers point to the historical legacy of discrimination, slavery, and imperialism that has left many groups without equality of opportunity due to discriminatory practices that remain poignant in statistical measures of educational and economic success.

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The Battle of Atlanta

In the summer of 1864, after many years of war waged in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, the destruction of Atlanta becomes the goal of the Union Army.

The North can see an opportunity to end the Civil War with a decisive victory in the deep South and, thus, end the prolonged bloodshed. In addition, it becomes a point of focus for a political war raging in Washington during the 1864 Presidential election between Abraham Lincoln and the former Union Major General, turned peaceful Democrat, George Brinton McClellan.

Union Major General William Tecumseh Sherman leads his Military Division of the Mississippi along the railroad lines stretching from Chattanooga, Tennessee throughout northwest Georgia down to the military depot in Atlanta. Continue reading “The Battle of Atlanta”

Chief John Hicks

“Tuko-see-mathla is one of nature’s noblemen. He is nearly six feet two inches in height; finely formed; his figure combining strength with gracefulness; or, I might say, perfect ease in all his attitudes and gestures. The expression of his fine open countenance is habitually mild; but as he grows earnest in conversation, you see arise within him that glow of fervid feeling warming into the determined energy which characterizes the man.”

“In the morning, Tuko-see-mathla came to the Agent’s quarters dressed in the most sumptuous habiliments you can imagine. His frock, or coat, was of the finest quality, and adorned with a quantity of silver ornaments around his neck, arms, and wrists, with a gorgeous headdress of colored shawls. His bearing was that of a chief indeed.”

(Quotes by George A. McCall, 1826, from his book Letters from the Frontiers)

Before the 1820’s it is believed that Hicks’ town was at Hixtown Swamp in Madison County. In 1823 he had a town listed at Alachua Prairie by Nea-Mathla at the Treaty of Moultrie Creek.

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General John Forbes

Well educated, he was accepted and commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Scots Dragoons. A capable and effective soldier like so many of his clansmen, John Forbes won praise from General Lord Ligonier and others. His first significant appointment was as Quartermaster General in the Third British Army of the Duke of Bedford.

Later, as an infantry General, he earned his unique claim to fame, first as the Commander in Chief of a British Army in which Colonel (later, General and President) George Washington served as his aide; and in his decisive military victory in America. Most historical texts do not show British military forces in America in a favorable light.

But General John Forbes was a genuine British and American hero and made a significant contribution to British and American military history less than two decades before the American Revolution. He secured a very large portion of the United States for the British Crown.

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Osceola, the Man and the Myths

Over the last few years of doing educational programs and living history, I have been trying to put to rest some of the myths surrounding our favorite Seminole, Osceola. Problem is, there has been so much written about him from the very beginning that is just not true.

Other people read these things, and not knowing any better, copy them down, and the myths are perpetuated. Without doing any further study, people just don’t know any better. So what I will do here is try and expose some of these widely believed falsehoods. Keep in mind that even some of these are uncertain, and you may have a different opinion.

If looking for facts, avoid novels that are nothing more than historical fiction. Even before he died, newspapers were writing fictional accounts of Osceola. Much like dimestore novels with Davy Crockett and Billy the Kid, many newspapers printed stories about Osceola going places and doing things that he never did. The problem is that many people read these fictional accounts and believe them as fact.  Historical novels are still being written about Osceola that are full of historical errors.

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A Bit of Texas History

Alonso Álvarez de Piñeda, a Spanish explorer, was actually the first European to set foot on Texas soil in 1519, as many myths about the ‘Seven Golden Cities of Cibola’ was bringing a lot of Spanish fortune seekers from Mexico to Texas.

In 1682, Spanish missionaries were setting up the first missions in the El Paso area, and by the 1730s, they had built many forts and missions throughout the eastern, central, and southwestern portions of what we now know as Texas. See also this interesting video about The Alamo:

In 1820, Spanish government officials granted land to an American named Moses Austin. A year later, in 1821, his son Stephen brought some 300 families to Texas to work on the farmlands along the Brazos River. After Mexico had gained its independence from Spain (also in 1821),  Austin’s colony was extended, and more Texas land was granted to Americans.

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Sources Of Texas Cultural Pride

Texans are absolutely proud of their state and very proud that they are Texans. As far as Texans are concerned, all things are better here in Texas.

A popular bumper sticker is reading ‘I wasn’t born here, but I got to Texas as fast as I could.’ I’m working together with a man who grew to be an army brat, and he told me that in no state where he lived, people were referring to themselves by which state they live in first, like the people in Texas do.

In public schools and colleges, Texas government and history are mandated courses where the traditions of Texas are taught, and the fact that the state was an independent country before it joined the U.S. is a source of great pride, though that country had gone just about broke in its tenure of nine years, and applied for U.S. statehood to boost its economy.

Texas has a strong education system, both in the high school and college level. Also, in Texas, there are numerous locations that provide GED prep for people who need a second chance if they, for whatever reason, were not in the position to complete their regular high school curriculum.
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Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Tennessee

Tennessee is located in the Southern United States and the state is divided into three regions, East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, and West Tennessee. Each of these regions has their own landscapes, West Tennessee is made up of the Mississippi Floodplain, Middle Tennessee is made up of plateaus and hills, while East Tennessee is made up of almost rugged terrains because this state is part of Great Smoky Mountains. Tennessee uses agricultural and manufacturing as the base of their economic activities.

History. An Indian word “Tanasie”, that is also the name of a Cherokee village, became the origin of the Tennessee name. In the 1812 and Mexican War, Tennessee had so many brave volunteers to participate in the war that since then, Tennessee is called the “Volunteer State”. This state is also called the “Big Bend State” because the Tennessee River flows twice because of its bend.

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History of Edmond, Oklahoma

At noon on April 22, 1889, everything changed at Edmond Station on the Santa Fe Railroad line. In the morning there was station agent, John W. Steen, his wife and 2-year-old son and a couple of railroad workers. By nightfall, there were 100 to 150 people, mostly men, busy trying to organize a town and find a place to bed down.

What a day it had been. Beginning at noon (and in some cases “sooner”) settlers poured over the starting points for the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889, all eager, many desperate, to secure a piece of the free land in the Unassigned Lands of central Oklahoma.

They arrived by railroad, wagon, buggy, horseback and on foot. It has even been said one man rode his bicycle. While many people were bound for the larger proposed settlements of Oklahoma Station (now Oklahoma City), Guthrie and Norman, many found their way to Edmond Station.

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