Friday, February 18, 2011

Life under President Washington from 3 slave's perspective : lecture at Gadsby's Tavern

"At Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Professor Peter Henriques spoke on  Those Who Labor for Me: A Closer Look at Some of George Washington’s Enslaved Workers.” Professor Peter Henriques, Professor of History Emeritus from George Mason University took a somewhat different approach to the topic of George Washington and slavery. The focus was primarily on a handful of enslaved workers, Charlotte, Sambo Anderson, and Ona Judge, plus a few others, and only tangentially on Washington. With the goal of introducing these fascinating but largely forgotten people to a wider audience, Professor Henriques not only illustrated the horrors of slavery but also revealed a more complicated story than generally known. "

(I cite most of the text above from the Alexandria VA website.)  The lecture will be broadcast on C-SPAN. Some of these slaves, for example, owned a gun and was skillful in its use. Another, such as Washington's chef Hercules, was quite a "dandy" in his sartorial expression. Prof. Henriques spoke illustratively about their relationship and President Washington's duplicity in moving Hercules in and out of Pennsylvania so as to prevent a local law from freeing him. If a slave were in Pa. for six continuous months, he could sue for his freedom. Hercule's pride was hurt when discovering why Washington moved him out of the State of Pa. in that manner.

As Black History Month is almost half over, I hope to learn more about our nation's tarnished legacy of slavery.

Monday, February 14, 2011

CouchSurfers commit Hug-In at Smithsonian Natural History Museum

"Free Hugs" these young people yelled at the steps of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. So I took and gave a few hugs, then asked for a picture. Cool idea Everybody talks about world peace but these folks are waging peace!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Symbolism of Lincoln Memorial's Guerin murals : Art at the Park!

Glad we didn't miss the excellent and enlightening Art at the Park talk given by seasoned NPS Ranger Jan Buerger. She gave a linear and historical exposition of the reasons why the Mall has the architecture it does from Peter (Pierre) L'Enfant to the McMillan Commission and the City Beautiful Movement ending abruptly with the First World War.

" Guerin's "Enchanted Grove" consists of two murals, each with three parts, allegories of "the principles evident in Abraham Lincoln's life." Sometimes it's hard to get too "uncoolly" publicly excited about the ideas of America in this post-modern decadence as the norm ethos we are passing through. I'm not talking about the bellicose or chauvinistic America Love it or Leave It patriotism, but an earlier era that the creators of the Lincoln Memorial envisioned with the American ideals of Freedom but also Tolerance and Education.

The two Angels of Truth, one on each side, are painted in deeply symbolic intent. One raising her arms while the slaves still have their chains on suggest the Emancipation Proclamation was just the beginning, and that we have, in every generation, a long way to go to live up to these noble ideals, to shed their shackles. Freedom is reinforced by Tolerance and Americans are empowered by Education.

The Angel of Truth on the other side from the Gettysburg Address joins the hands of North and South and her wings spread widely to cover Arts & Sciences of Painting, Philosophy, Music and well as Architecture, Chemistry, Sculpture, Literature and a child anticipating Future. Faith, Hope and Charity are on one side of the angel joining hands and Justice and the Rule of Law are on the other. When war ends, Ranger Buerger reasons, art, science and culture can grow and flourish, these murals show.

Ranger Buerger brought alive the American ideals and traced them through movements in art history, landscape, architecture, politics and technology. It was well worth a wait in the cold.

Next Sunday's at 3 pm will be at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

CSPAN video on Ulysses S. Grant Memorial

VIDEO: Ulysses S. Grant Memorial

CSPAN | February 03, 2011

The Ulysses S. Grant Memorial sits at the West Front of the United States Capitol in Washington, DC. Senate Historian Donald Ritchie talks about the memorial and it's sculptor, Henry M. Shrady.

(kudos to the Guild listsevre, Daniel and C-SPAN!)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Washington elected Feb. 4, 1789

Feb 4, 1789:
Washington unanimously elected by Electoral College to first and second terms

On this day in 1789, George Washington becomes the first and only president to be unanimously elected by the Electoral College. He repeated this notable feat on the same day in 1792.
The peculiarities of early American voting procedure meant that although Washington won unanimous election, he still had a runner-up, John Adams, who served as vice president during both of Washington's terms. Electors in what is now called the Electoral College named two choices for president. They each cast two ballots without noting a distinction between their choice for president and vice president. Washington was chosen by all of the electors and therefore is considered to have been unanimously elected. Of those also named on the electors' ballots, Adams had the most votes and became vice president.
Although Washington's overwhelming popularity prevented problems in 1789 and 1792, this procedure caused great difficulty in the elections of 1796 and 1800. In 1796, Federalist supporters of John Adams cast only one of their two votes in an effort to ensure that Adams would win the presidency without giving votes to any of the other candidates. This led to a situation in which the Federalist Adams won the highest number of votes and became president, but Thomas Jefferson, the opposing Democratic-Republican candidate, came in second and therefore became his opponent's vice president.
In 1800, the system led to a tie between the Democratic-Republican candidates for president and vice president, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. This sent the vote to the House of Representatives, where Federalists voted for Burr instead of Jefferson, whom they despised. As a result, the Congressional vote ended in a tie 35 times before the Federalists decided to hand in blank ballots and concede the White House to Jefferson.
In 1804, the 12th Amendment to the Constitution ended this particular form of electoral chaos by stipulating that separate votes be cast for president and vice president.

(grateful kudos to Peggy L. Posting this on the Guild of Professional Tour Guides of Washington, DC listserve!)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Art at the Park: Guerin's Lincoln Memorial Murals: Free!! Sunday Feb. 6 at 3 pm

Art at the Park: Guerin's Lincoln Memorial Murals

Lincoln MemorialDC

Phone: 202-497-1397
See map: Google Maps
February 6, 2011 - 3:00pm

Remarkable city planners, architects, sculptors and painters, in the midst of political quicksand, created an entire city to remind us of our ideals.  Jules Guerin's Lincoln Memorial Murals, "Freedom" and "Unity" are a "City Beautiful Movement" work.  Meet at the Lincoln Memorial.  Contact Jan Buerger at 202-497-1397.

(Kudos to cultural tourism DC, Daniel and The Guild of Professional Tour Guides of Washington, DC listserve!)