Blog Posts

Machu Picchu

La1910_machu_picchu_-_juin_2009_-_edit.2
Created: 05/15/2017
Hiram Bingham, after traveling extensively through the Peruvian countryside both by foot and by mule, arrived at a city lost to the ages, whose location was a secret kept by locals for hundreds of years. This city was Machu Picchu and it is a modern architectural wonder. He found it on July 24th, 1911 on a cold and rainy day, however, the tumultuous weather was not enough to stop this determined explorer. What is most significant about this site is that it was somehow left untouched by Spanish conquistadors and so none of the typical defacement is present at this site. Machu Picchu is located in between Cuzco and the Urubamba Valley, (only 80 miles from the Peruvian capital) and is tucked away into the mountainside. Outfitted with over 3,000 stone steps, Machu Picchu is widely thought to have been the vacation site of Incan emperors. Initially though, historians believe it to have been built specifically for an emperor known as Pachacuti, who lived from 1438-1472. It was built in classic Incan style, and contains three main structures: the Inti Watana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. However, if you visit Machu Picchu today you will be able to see that much of the outcroppings and outlying buildings have been repaired (this is done with the intention of providing some of the annual 300,000 tourists a better visual of this monumental structure.) The town can be thought of as being divided in two different ways: into an upper town and a lower town and an agricultural sector and an urban sector. Carefully thought out and planned, elaborate irrigation channels and terrace gardens dot the mountainside of this structure. The most astonishing thing about Machu Picchu’s design is the way that the Incans were able to adapt to the challenging terrain. For example, Machu Picchu is situated along two major fault lines, and as such, typical building materials such as “mortar” was unusable. So the Incans carefully mined and cut stones that fit perfectly into one another, in order to stabilize the structures. Another example of Incan innovation can be seen in the layout of the garden terraces, which were carefully coated with topsoil and rocks in order to maximum water retention (this was very effective prevention against mudslides and flooding.) Despite its location and relative seclusion, by all accounts the Machu Picchu that the Incans knew experienced a great deal of trade and was included in the Incan road system. Evidence of this type of long distance trading is seen through the discovery of artifacts that are not native to the region surrounding Machu Picchu. Though Bingham’s discovery ultimately led to the creation of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bingham’s discovery was not always favorably viewed by the natives. At one point, Bingham was accused and vilified by the Peruvian press for stealing artifacts from Machu Picchu and smuggling them out of Peru. Despite being raked over the coals for this, there is no proof Bingham did anything illegal with the artifacts and in fact, any artifacts that he did take were removed in a legal and fair way.

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Womens Suffrage

1--suffraget
Created: 04/14/2017
“Though she be but little, she is fierce!” I consider this quote quite applicable to myself when I was a little girl. More than anything in the world, I wanted not only myself, but also my mother to have the right to vote. She was the single person in my life that I would trust with anything, and because of that I wanted her to have a say on what was happening in the world. The decisions that my parents made at the time, regardless if it was at home or at a polling site, would turn into my future; I just couldn’t fathom the idea of my mother not being part of that. Mothers have a way of knowing exactly what is right for their children, so I knew she had to be given the same opportunity as my father to vote. Furthermore, my mother, just like many of the other mothers, sisters, aunts, and daughters at the time, had a strong, intelligent voice, but just wasn’t being heard. As just a little girl, I had this immense passion for women to receive the right to vote, and before I was even 10 years old, that right was granted. Fortunately enough, a select group of brave women ignited this cause approximately 30 years before I was even born. I’ll never forget that women spent time in jail so that I could have the right to vote, and I don’t know how I could ever repay them. However, as a woman, I always make sure that I make it to the polls so that my voice is heard. I do this for my family and I, but also for the women who lived in silence for hundreds of years. It just doesn’t seem right to me when people don’t appreciate the sacrifices that were made so that they could live the lives that they do. Let me also mention that as a little girl, this was a learning period for me. What an educational and inspirational experience it was for me to understand the power of women at such a young age. There are just as many women in this world as there are men, and together we can make a difference. I can guarantee that throughout my whole life, I never once was controlled or dominated by a man because I learned the importance of my independence at a young age. You could have asked me then, and you could ask me now, but I’ll always tell you that women are the future. I stand by that and work towards bettering the women of the future because I know my daughters and granddaughters will bring things to this world that no man ever could. I certainly am not biased towards women, as I love all my children equally and support them all the same, however I can say that because I’m proud of the world they live in. My only remark for other women who may see this is to keep pushing forward, and never settle for anything less than perfection. Fortunately for me, I am fierce because of everything I experienced while I was little.

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titanic

Eur-1910last%20photo%20of%20titanic
Created: 04/14/2017
The Titanic sunk in the year 1912, and while I was just 3 years old, I think it had significant impacts on both my lives and the lives of my children. Leaving Europe was not even a thought in my head until 1948, and it did not actually happen until 1951. Ship travel was supposedly much safer then, but of course, anything that could go wrong or awry to my family could. I was a widowed woman with four young children just trying to cross the ocean for a better life, just like many aboard the Titanic were, so why wouldn't something bad happen? But we couldn't stay in Europe any longer, bouncing around from Croatia, to Germany, to Austria, and back all over again. Just to make a living a put food on the table my only son Niko was following food wagons and picking up dropped produce like potatoes and carrots to either sell or eat. We had a humble house, and while America has always been the land of opportunities, in 1951 the time seemed right to come and try for a better life. I was frightened when getting aboard the ship but I knew that through the church we had a verifiable home and family to take us in in Ohio, so as long as we all made the voyage, life in America was already looking up. And I may have been scared but I knew I had to be strong for my daughters and son, so we all could go on to live the American dream and find work and live without the fear of not having a meal tomorrow. And cross the ocean we finally did, except as much as voyage gave me hope, it also broke my heart. Just like when aboard the Titanic all those years ago, sickness can spread quickly, especially when you are in lower quarters like us, and my poor Zdenka had made the voyage with her family, only to be left on Ellis Island while the rest of us moved on. She contracted TB at some point in the journey and when we arrived in America, they would not let her leave Ellis Island with us, out of fear she would bring sickness to the Americans already there. She waited there 4 long weeks before she could step foot on true American soil, which made the final tragedy of our voyage almost worth it. When we arrived, no one was there for us in New York. Not the church or the nice family from Ohio, we were stranded in New York with no home and no money. But by the time Zdenka was better, we had found a place to stay and my Niko already secured a job! This was the beginning of our American dream! This is what the people aboard the Titanic had and searched for, and now here we were in America despite of that. - Marija Baric

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My grandfather

3--ford%20hp_model_t_assembly_line
Created: 04/13/2017
My grandfather worked in this plant.

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ABUSE OF WOMEN

Asia1900boundfoot
Created: 04/09/2017
This is just one more example of how women have been abused in the service of "beauty."

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Women's Rights Movement

Maude_malone_at_women's_suffrage_meeting,_may_1914
Created: 04/09/2017
This photograph so wonderfully captures the entirety of the Woman’s Rights Movement. For over 50 years now, people everywhere have been protesting, pushing and fighting for the beginning of equal rights amongst men and women. You can see the big crowd which doesn’t even start to show how many people were involved in this. These strong women have worked nonstop, did not sleep, and sometimes even refused to eat to send their message. And their message has been heard by so many, including myself. My mother and grandmother are two incredibly powerful women who I can see clearly are capable of doing anything men can do. In fact, my mother raised me alone and I have no idea who my father is, and my grandmother gave up everything for me. The least they deserve is respect and acknowledgment that they can do anything men can do, and for this the 19th amendment must be passed. In this photo, the two women standing are truly changing history. As they encourage voters to pass the amendment, they are changing years and years of traditions, laws and the American culture as a whole. Their bravery and commitment is astounding, for their fight has been ongoing since 1848 yet they still fight without knowing how much longer they will have to. If I have a daughter one day, I will be certain she knows she can do whatever she wants to in life and she is never lesser than any man. If I have a son one day, I will teach him that women mean everything, that we must never lose sight of their bravery and intelligence. I don’t know what the future holds. By the time I have children, who knows if any laws will have been passed bringing equality for women. If these laws and amendments are passed, which the women in the photo are so desperately fighting for, I don’t know if this will bring a real change. I have spoken with and known men who are so stubborn, so set in their beliefs that women cannot be put on the same level as men. Perhaps I am not as brave as the women here, but I cannot change these peoples’ minds. I cannot make them think differently, for their beliefs are already so permanently set. What I can do and what I will do, is to teach my children correctly, so my grandchildren and all future generations to come will realize and understand the potential and strength that lies within all women. I don’t know when this movement in particular will end, but I do know this will be a fight that is long from over – but a fight that must go on, so I may continue to honor the women in my life.

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Living in Nigeria

Igbo%20women
Created: 04/05/2017
From the voice of Mohini Rajani: I admire the courage in these women. But unfortunately, I can tell you that it will not be enough. When I moved to Nigeria in 1960, the country had just gained its independence from Britain. Despite achieving a goal that had been sought for over 50 years, this was the beginning of internal chaos in Nigeria. In my early days in Kano, I had met some wonderful women; they were housewives who were extremely polite and had a few young children. The husbands of these women were in conflict with some of the local leaders over some politics and they had not returned home in 2 days. I met these women in the airport, where I saw them handing money over to some officers. It did not seem as if they had done anything wrong. And they hadn't. These women had given money to the officers to go through a gate which they had the authority to go through. The only difference was that their husbands were not with them, which meant that they were bound to be treated unfairly. Nigeria is and has been a patriarchial society, at least in my time spent here (1960-2004). The women who led Aba's Women riot were particularly brave for standing up to not just British-appointed chiefs, but Nigerian men. After enduring unfair taxes and harsh regulations that clearly favored men, these women responded tremendously by assembling in large numbers (25,000) and chanting/dancing throughout the nights. Some even adhered to violence and burned down courts that were ruled by British authorities. Many of these women were responsible for producing food to Nigeria's cities, so their actions were wholly justified. The majority of the women were also subject to mistreatment from their husbands, so they were fighting for more than just political and economic equality (although equality would never really be achieved). Additionally, although the British left around 1960, there has been no lack of corruption in this country. My own husband, when visiting me in India a few years ago, did not need a passport at the airport. Instead, what he needed was a full wallet. When I arrived in Nigeria, after my encounter with those women, I witnessed many riots in my first few days. They ceased after a few months, but eventually returned. Even though women were involved in the riots, I don't think they will realistically achieve any major changes unless education quality improves in this country. For that reason, my grandchildren have immigrated to America.

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USSR

2--boljsevici
Created: 04/05/2017
After the emergence of the Reds and their establishment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1922, all of Europe felt the effects. After the death of Lenin in 1924, Joseph Stalin came to power and suppressed all opposition to his ruthless rule. As this new political movement emerged, the Soviet Union established a communist form of government. Living conditions worsened and people suffered, however we were unable to escape the grasp of the ruthless ruler. While the system was idealized and seemed to be the passage to prosperity and growth, the truth was far darker and depressing. The Soviet Union was an unforgiving, secretive and radical country. Many events took place within the USSR, that are not well known to the outside world. For example, if you see your neighbor pick up a small bolt laying on the ground, and you tell the government officials that they picked something up, your neighbor as executed. This had everyone living in constant fear, as you didn’t know who you can trust and who will betray you. It is upsetting now to see that so many people still support this form of government when it was clearly so harmful and detrimental to humanity and our basic rights. The Soviet Union was a wealth of information, and a wealth of even more secrets. There were many occurrences that happened within our crumbling empire. We’ve experienced the death of a cosmonaut, undisclosed to the public and especially the Western world. We’ve experienced horrid famines, those which were also undisclosed to the outside world. Stalin was able to arrange multiple very carefully planned tours for outside leaders, displaying the grand prosperity of our country. Meanwhile, the truth was deeply hidden. By the time the 1937 consensus was made confidential, the famine was deeply suppressed. And while the death toll was as large as the Holocaust, the Soviet Union effectively hid the famine. On top of these events there were massacres, hidden cities and secret projects. The rise of the Soviet Union through Lenin may have been one of the most detrimental events to occur to our countries. It deeply saddens me to recount the events that occurred to our family and friends due to the strict rule and totalitarian government enforced in the USSR. I have friends and neighbors who have been killed and taken to jail for simple accusations and seemingly harmless acts. While I lived through a lot due to the Soviet Union, I am glad our country began to change for the better during my life time. I was able to see a slowly changing infrastructure, technological advancement and overall prosperity. I am glad the times of Lenin and communism came to an end, as I was able to live my finals years a free man.

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my life in the USSR

2--boljsevici
Created: 04/04/2017
The historical evolution of the Russian empire and the Soviet Union play an integral role in my up bringing and education. I was in 1922 in Ukraine and the world around me was in the midst of a major transformation. Regardless the fact that I wasn’t raised during Lenin’s rule, the impact of his ideas and actions stilled echoed through Stalin’s government. The communistic propaganda was heavily controlling the education system, thus during my school years I learned a lot about the foundation of the USSR; specifically it’s future glorious goals. Overthrowing the tsar was a major progress and Lenin’s attitude towards achieving communism through implementing temporary socialism seemed as a very logical change, since the final goal of becoming a great, powerful nation was still strongly present. The secret of being exposed to partial truths and hand picked facts is that you become easily convinced that you have indeed been born into the greatest nations of them all. The inability to leave or receive any outside information had also contributed to the foundation of my and the majority of the population’s admiration towards the place we lived at. Please don’t misinterpret my words though; I love where I come from. I love it now and I loved it then. But life wasn’t easy. My nation was rapidly growing, advancing toward beautiful legendary goals, but as a small member of society abundance was a foreign concept to me, my family, and honestly to most simple men in my society. My dad initially ran a shoe-making store, and with Stalin’s uprising he felt the change in economic policies closely when he was forced to pay large governmental taxes in order to maintain his shop. He was the only one providing for all 7 of us, so you can imagine what life must have been like. Nevertheless, I believed in the communal goals of the government and understood that in order to achieve a better life we must struggle through the adversities of industrialization and collectivization in order to catch to the west. We had to be the best and we did everything we could to get there. I developed such an admiration to my nation that when the time came, in the late 1930’s and the USSR was making obligatory recruitments for the red army to fight in WWII, I had no doubt that I want to contribute. I was too young to be recruited, so I’ve decided to fake my date of birth and make myself older and I have voluntarily requested to join the forces! Many people around me had lost their lives, but my dedication to my nation did not weaken, on the contrary I’ve climbed up the ladder and become a lieutenant in my division. I’ve won medals and even got severely injured in Germany. Up to my last living day I was carrying a bullet inside me. It must be fascinating reading my positive outlook as an outsider, who has only heard about the deaths accumulated during Stalinism or the severely restricted life style. The admiration for our government and Stalin was so strong that when he passed away in 1953, our whole nation was weeping over his loss. We didn’t know what was to come and that was a scary time. Even later, when the USSR had fallen apart because we weren’t able to achieve our ultimate goals and the west was by far more progressed than us, we all still had positive memories and outlooks on our childhood and lives there. But, you weren’t there so I guess you can’t fully understand.

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World War I

3--%20germans%20reading%20in%20the%20trenches%20wwi
Created: 04/04/2017
In the voice of Charlotte Schulter: I was only a young girl in Charlottenberg at the time this photo was taken, but even so, I was impacted by World War I. My father somehow escaped the horror of it, but I was confronted with it with photos such as this one that showed that even when the soldiers were relaxing, they were surrounded by dirt and disease all around them. A countless number of my friends had fathers, brothers, and cousins in the War. We would play quietly and listen to our mothers whisper of the atrocities of it. They were trying to protect us from all that was happening at this time, but still we caught glimpses of newspaper pages and skimmed articles of the battles that were taking place. Besides, how could they hide the War from us? Even if we were unable to read or not able to hear the things they discussed in the kitchen, the War was everywhere we looked. There had been so much hope when the War began. Germans had so much pride in their country then; a pride that time and time again turned out to be dangerous. We were finally going to show Britain, Russia, and France who was really in charge on the European continent. We didn’t know back then of the horrors to come for our soldiers and for those on the other side: machine guns, poisonous gas, and costly battles fought from miles of trenches just for a little bit more land for each side. As the War went on, the enthusiasm dwindled as France, Britain, and soon even the United States beat down upon us. More and more of my childhood friends were receiving word that their loved ones were not coming back, as the number of dead rose from thousands to millions. We were lucky in a way though: the War never directly reached us. Some in the East of Prussia were directly affected, which occurred when Russia attacked them at the First Battle of Tannenburg in 1915, but that was the only battle close to us. Still, I remember thinking that it would never end, and that I would constantly have to hear of new horrors. After the War ended in 1918 and the dust settled across Europe, I left Germany 8 years later at age 20. I did this because the aftermath was too much for me to take. Even though I was financially stable as a clerk and I loved Germany, I needed to leave for the United States and start a new life. This was seen by some of my peers as a traitorous move; after all, the United States had fought us in the War. Nevertheless, it was new and exciting, and a place for me to build a new life for myself, somewhere far away from the memories I had of this horrid time of violence and death I grew up in. However, when I was far older, I did go back to my suburb outside of Berlin, and tried to replace my childhood memories of death and sadness with happier experiences.

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George Thomann

2_iran
Created: 04/03/2017
This picture is very foreign to me. Although I lived in the United States for most of my life, I never got to experience its education system. Coming from a small farm in Kappel I never had the opportunity to go out and pursue an education. My job was to always tend to the farm work with my brothers and sisters. If anyone were to get the opportunity for an education it would have been my eldest brother. That's just how the time was when I was in Germany. He ended up getting the farm as a birthright, so I feel like if anyone were to get educated out of my family it would have been him. Never getting any formal education made me want feel like it was essential for my own children. One of my sons, Robert, actually is currently a professor at Manhattan College. He has also written several books. He has really seized the opportunity the the United States gave to people. This is truly what I wanted for my children. He really ended up on the opposite side of the education spectrum as me. He became someone who teaches the future generations, and that is more than I could have asked him to do with his education. I am very proud. I notice that the picture that these students are looking at has to do with muscles, and parts of the human body. I have always been interested in this type of thing, but I knew that without the formal education I would never have been able to support my family. If there was one thing that I learned from living on a farm for some of my life, it was how important it is to get bread on the table. There is honor in doing any kind of work and helping your family be comfortable. That is why when I got to the States I took one of the only jobs that I could. I worked for Swift and Co, I did labor and worked as a butcher. This allowed my family to live more comfortable lives. Yes, I did have some very long days, and it did take a toll on my body, but it was what I had to do. As a I mentioned before, nothing is more important to me than putting bread on the table for my family. I worked as hard as a did in order to provide my kids with an opportunity to succeed. I would have put the same 110% effort into any job that I did, I was really that kind of person. This classroom reminds me of the very schools that I sent my kids too in Queens. I can only hope that they were as attentive as the kids in this picture, but I'm sure they were. Coming from a farm I felt like hands on work was the best way to learn, and I feel like schools would be better if it was more this way.

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Great Soul

Gandhi%20south%20africa%20durban
Created: 04/01/2017
In the voice of Narasamba Munukutla: Growing up in the 1920s in India was a time of witnessing great changes sweeping across our nation. The hero behind these revolutionary changes was truly a mahatma (“great soul”) named Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. I still remember the glorious day when he came to visit my small village in Andhra Pradesh. I felt so lucky to see this wonderful man in person, an aged-fatherly figure who brought great honor to Bharat (India) and its people. I know I am not alone in saying that Gandhi Ji (“sir”, used as a term of respect) has united us all, and made us feel proud to be the free people of India, the nation that overcame the British Raj while holding steadfast to the spiritual virtues of nonviolence and peace. I am sure that my daughter and step-sons learn about Gandhi Ji at their school, but I still make extra sure to describe to them the many stories of Gandhi Ji’s well deserved successes through patience and determination, and the glory of achievement without ever straying from morality. I personally, as well as other women in my village, deeply admire Gandhi as a hero that we want our children to emulate. The typical male heroes in the cinemas we all watch always elevate men who are violent, and express their anger or disagreement through barbaric fighting; in complete contrast, Gandhi Ji is a kind and pure soul, one who practices sacrifice and complete renunciation of personal pleasures to achieve just actions for the good of the nation. During the time of India’s nationalist revolution, I remember each afternoon at tea time the men of the village would come together and fervently discuss the latest politics in the paper. New happenings such as Gandhi Ji’s hunger strikes and latest non-violent protests would be on the front page of our newspapers every week. Ladies were not typically included as part of these political discussions, as it was not considered proper for us to entangle ourselves with these heated matters; however, out of my natural curiosity for knowledge and my immense admiration of Gandhi Ji, I would listen intently and pick up some information of the most recent events, including his contributions to helping the oppressed Indians living in all parts of our country. Living in a village, it is quite rare to see people travelling to far places. I was intrigued when I found out that Ghandhi Ji travelled as far away as South Africa to help fellow Bharatiyas (Indians) living there to overcome discrimination by the Transvaal Government; when Indians were unjustly asked to present registration cards to identify themselves, Gandhi organized a peaceful demonstration to burn these cards, to bring about change. To hear of Ghandhi Ji always filled my heart with joy, and I would pray for his continued health and strength each day in my morning prayers. I saw him as a man who adhered to dharma (righteousness) and ahimsa (nonviolence), the virtues prescribed in our Holy books, namely the Gita and the Vedas, and he had strong faith that this would get him through the toughest situations. Gandhi Ji set an example to the world that great positive change can take place without the destructive and divisive forces combat. To me, this is the ideal of true bravery.

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Lenin

2--boljsevici
Created: 09/13/2016
Lenin didn't live long enough to ensure the success of the revolution.

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protecting freedom

3--%20germans%20reading%20in%20the%20trenches%20wwi
Created: 04/07/2016
The sight of these German soldiers fighting down in the trenches makes my heart go out to our own troops fighting to protect our freedom. I feel a solemn connection to the American soldiers and our allies fighting to protect democracy in Europe from the tyranny of the German Kaiser. However, I do not harbor any ill will toward the enemy troops for it is their despotic leader and I unjust government I dislike. While I vehemently support America’s role as a global leader and defender of freedom in the world, I absolutely abhor what is going on in Europe now. It is the War itself that I cannot stand, not its geopolitical undertones. Even these soldiers who are our enemies are still people and my heart goes out to their wives and children as much as for our troops. It’s strange seeing the perspective of the enemy and sympathizing with the troops of the Kaiser we’ve sworn to defeat. However, these men are simply serving their country and protecting their home the same as ours despite the fact that they and their allies are the aggressors in this conflict. The senseless violence being experienced by the troops down in the trenches, suffering shell after shell of bombardment not knowing if they’ll survive transcends even national divides. On a universal human level war devastates our very souls regardless of which side you’re on. What’s worse is if what we’re hearing about use of deadly poisons like this so called mustard gas is true, the suffering of those troops is something I would not even wish upon our worst enemies. However, that does not excuse the inhumane horrors that the Germans are guilty of by unleashing these weapons. While I am now too old to serve being in my fifties, I would gladly serve my country if I could and I show my support for our troops everyday. All I can do on the home front is pray for all the young men overseas to safely return home to be with their families who must be desperately missing them. It is my hope that this bloody conflict will end soon and that democracy will prevail to ensure freedom and justice in the world for generations to come. When the dust finally settles, this will be the bloodiest conflict humanity has ever and hopefully will ever experience. With so many millions of people dying it seems like this will be the war to end all wars. I can only hope the horrors and devastation of this war will show the nation's of the world how futile warfare truly is. After all it was intense militarism and hatred that created this conflict in the first place. All this war has shown is how violence begets more violence. It is for that reason that I am so thankful to be living in such a peaceful country and am truly blessed by God to have all the freedoms and liberties of America for myself and my family.

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(n the words of Yaesuk Han

Nonviolence
Created: 04/05/2016
The Japanese invaded Korea and took over our country, ruling with an iron fist. Their methods were questionable and often cruel. What plagues the mind of Koreans the most is what the Japanese did to our people, our land, and our history. Ever since I was a little boy, Japanese military police marched through towns followed by their Korean aides. In those days, Koreans weren’t called policemen, but rather assistants. The colonial government wanted to secure the country to its own advantage so it bribed and recruited Korean men who could speak Japanese. I remember seeing the father of one of my schoolmates wearing the sleek black uniform that represented that he was with the Japanese military police force. Our troubles came, not just from the Japanese, but from our own men as well. After the Japanese occupation, many Koreans used guerilla tactics to fight the Japanese. They called themselves the Independence Army. They forced the wealthy families to give them money to support their fighting. The father of one particular family refused to pay and the soldiers killed him on the spot. The Japanese were not only robbing us of our culture and our freedom; they were also taking away the unity between Korean brothers. People felt that something had to be done to combat Japanese policies. By 1919, Japan established its authority over Korea through direct military rule and violence. I was seventeen years old at this time. Energy for a Korean independence movement grew as more citizens became more courageous and willing to stand up and fight against the Japanese. Their resentment increased after our emperor, Emperor Gojon, was allegedly poisoned and died. On March 1st, there was a non-violent protest in Seoul. Since I lived many a province away, I did not attend, nor did I wish to. I saw people get arrested, often without any idea of what was charged against them, The most innocent act could bring unexpected repercussions. There were also many people who rebelled openly. They were often executed or tortured. Personally, I did not love the Japanese and everything that happened during the time they occupied my country. For the sake of my family, I wanted to maintain amiable relations with the Japanese and not do anything that would put them in danger. Japanese imperialism was not always as horrible as people say. Speaking from personal experience, as long as you minded your own business and followed their rules, you could survive. And it wasn’t a life completely wrought with fear and trepidation. The Japanese also brought many advances to our country. Whenever we had a rainy season, our village flooded. The Japanese came and built reservoirs, dams, and bridges. The bridges they built in my village lasted through all the rains and flooding, which was very helpful to me on my farm. One of the taxes had to be paid in rocks. Each family collected a certain amount of small rocks to be collected, and these were used to build roads. Although I am not justifying what had happened during the Japanese imperialism, I do believe that without it, Korea would not be as advanced as it is today. Some leaders had written a Proclamation of Independence that was to be read at the March First Movement. Sadly, thousands of people were either killed or wounded for participating in the demonstrations that would arise throughout the country in the following year. Although the movement failed at its goal to put pressure on Japan to end its colonial rule in Korea, sign and read the proclamation, it created a stronger sense of national unity among Koreans. In that sense, I believe that it was a great victory for Korea.

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Finding Similarities

2--boljsevici
Created: 05/03/2015
While I lived in Germany and not Russia, I can relate to this photo because the ideas of political and social revolution were obviously ideas present in Germany a few years after 1917. Political revolutions began in Russia as a result of the oppression and unfair treatment of the lower classes. They were not happy with how the government was being run and it lead to revolutionary thinking. Even after the overthrow of the Tsar, however, many Russians were still not happy with the situation in the country. This unrest was mostly in the lower classes who believed that their needs and issues were not being addressed even with the provisional government. This lead to a country being divided in a civil war and two opposing groups who faced a great deal of conflict before resolution was eventually made. This sounds very familiar to my own country, Germany only a few years later. Germany followed almost the same pattern as Russia: the government was overthrown by a new group (in Germany’s case this was the Nazi Party), the country was divided in conflict, and eventually a resolution was made in which a more stable government won out. Even though it would be a few years before this began, the early stirrings of social unrest were there even when I was a child in the early 1910s. These early problems with the government only increased when we entered into the Great War. Inflation and rationing made life very hard for people in the lower classes, such as myself. As the war went on we had less and less faith in our government and in our country as well. This even contributed to my wanting to move to the United States a few years later. When I came back to Germany for a year in the early 1930s I came back to a country still struggling from losing the First World War. It was also the time when the Nazis were coming into power. While I, personally, did not approve of the Nazi Party, I can understand why many people did. The situation in the country seemed to have only gotten worse during my time in the US and to many Germans Hitler seemed like he could improve the situation for the country. It makes sense to me that something similar happened in Russia as a result of their revolutions. And just as Russia was divided into two groups, so was Germany when the Berlin Wall was constructed. By this time I had moved back to the states and so had my family, but it was still terrible seeing my home country split into opposing groups that way. Eventually the conflict and separation ended in both Russia and Germany, but with its costs for each country. Germany seems to have ended in a better situation once the country reunited. And eventually the same would be true for Russia as well. To me it makes sense that both of these revolutions were a result of the struggling lower classes’ attempts to improve their own situations and the situation of the country as a whole. “Blood, sweat, and tears became their daily ration and it was not surprising at all that the will to carry on died and gave place to despair and revolutionary thinking.” -Heinrich Jakob Muellers

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Prohibition and its influence on cultures

3--bootleggers
Created: 05/03/2015
Prohibition. As a woman whose life has been greatly impacted by alcohol, I am nothing but torn by this issue. My Italian heritage has integrated it into so many aspects of my life. I use wine to cook. I soak my desserts in rum. My sweet tooth has made me cherish these alcohol soaked pastries and cakes. I’ve already passed the taste onto my grandchildren, knowing fully that they will pass it on to theirs. A piece of our culture will be passed on because of this drink. Even our religion tells us that wine is to be the symbol of God’s body. We drink a small amount during communion to recognize Him and His sacrifice. Wine is sacred to me because of this. But alcohol is also the reason my skin has had to grow tough. It is the reason I have scars all over my body. It is the reason fear would strike my heart every time I thought I heard the door opening late at night. It is the reason I protect my children’s lives with every fiber of my being. Alcohol is the reason my husband turned into a nightmare. It grabbed a hold of his heart and twisted and morphed it to where I would not recognize the man who beat me to be the same man who I said my vows to on my wedding day. Alcohol is what enhanced my husband’s anger and restrictions. It is what warped his mind to think tying me up in that field was what was best to punish me for a crime I was not aware I had committed. It is what let him think that pulling that trigger was what I needed in order to be shown that I must be a better wife and mother, something I dedicated my life to. Alcohol has made my life hell, but it is also what connects me to my heritage, my culture. Having it banned placed a slight relief on my heart. But, to say the truth, it came too late. By the time alcohol was banned, I had already separated from the man it had corrupted and I had learned to continue to trust it through my culture. By the time it was banned, my relief was overcome with annoyance. My culture was to now be limited. Where I had found my safety. Where my family lies. Where I had taken solace was now limited. While I myself did not drink a large amount of alcohol, it was a venue by which I could connect to others. Through my food, I am able to communicate comfort and love. When it became limited, I was disheartened. Something I had wanted to continue giving to my children and grandchildren, was labeled as wrong and against society. And while I do agree with it in certain respects, I do not think the entirety of alcohol should be banned. It is something that is a part of cultures. It is a part of people’s identities, and to have it banned altogether is not something I agree with.

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We lost the farm today. I heard Momma whispering to Auntie that we’d probably lose the rice mill soon enough. She cried tonight. She doesn’t know I heard her but I did—we all did. No one wants to speak Dad’s name. This is his fault and we all know it; his drinking and his carrying on have brought evil upon this family. And to think he’s gone again! He took some money from where Momma hid it and went off to Georgetown in the truck. Rum has taken over his life. Teacher talked about America today in school. She mentioned how American women tried to do away with drinking—and eventually their lawmakers made it so for a time! She showed us a picture of cases and cases of alcohol that were taken away. And, she said selling any type of alcohol wasn’t allowed from 1920-1933! Oh, how I wish us Guyanese people would make an effort to ban drinking too. Crime rates would decrease, families wouldn’t fight, and Dad would do his job and save our money… Momma would stop crying and we’d have lots of food. Maybe we’d move to Georgetown and I’d have more friends. And I would have new clothes and shoes and… It would never work though. Everyone drinks. Dad, Grandpa, Uncle Smithy, Uncle Paulie… But it’s only dad that has no control. It’s only dad that spends all of our money on rum. It distorts his thinking and he forgets all about us. Big brother got a job yesterday at the docks. Soon, I will too. Drinking has destroyed our lives and I have to help Momma take care of the family. I will be a man soon and I won’t throw away my responsibilities like Dad has. There may be no prohibition in Guyana, but when I grow up, I certainly won’t follow the path Dad has taken. —Young Latchman Ramlall writing about his father Bob Ramoudit
by: oliviaramlall
Because I am a man of Italian descent, alcohol is simply part of my daily life. Whether it is cooking, making medicine or drinking, alcohol is being used. White wine is used in traditional Italian dishes, whiskey and wine are both used as home remedies for ailments and red wine is my beverage of choice after a long day at the construction site. I came to America for a better life, to escape the monotony of rural life, to witness and become one with the big city, the big apple, New York City. I am a devout Catholic, and on every single Sunday I drink the wine and pray to the good Lord, thanking him for such blessings here in America, my new wife, a great job, my cousins, good friends here in my community and the health of my children. But I simply cannot wrap my head around why my church no longer serves me the blood of Christ. None of my paisanos or I take advantage of the wine at Church. It is simply part of the religious service, and these big politicians and parades and signs and search parties that are trying to destroy the precious wine used at the church and in my house are starting to get on my nerves. They have no right to take away such a big part of my heritage. I am not one of those men that goes to the bar or saloon or whatever those Irishmen call it and gets drunk until he can't tie his shoes at the end of the night. I am hard working, loyal and innocent. I really do not see how other people's drinking problems should affect me and my family's use of alcohol. I came here to America because I heard stories on the plains of Sutri of how America was the land of the free, and if you were willing to work hard, honest days, you could succeed. Only half of that statement seems to ring true still here in Queens, New York. Now I need to find a way tell my lovely wife that she can no longer walk through the streets offering the sweet red wine to the neighbors in fear that the authorities could catch her and especially target her since the officers like to hate us Italians. They already call us dagos, wops and guineas… I could not imagine how they would react if they witnessed us drinking wine on the streets like we normally do on a warm summer’s eve. Our development had a meeting about Prohibition, and I was adamant I would not give up my wine. I will continue to grow my grapes on the vine on the backyard fence, and the cellar has just enough space for Arty and I to process the grapes and water to make some sweet Italian wine. No Irish drunkard is going to influence how I live my life, and if the government is going to do something about it, good luck infiltrating our development and finding our store of wine in the cellar and wash room. I am Italian- American, the American part of me is my freedom and the Italian part of me is my heritage… and coincidentally my wine. -Rob Vani
by: robertvani

Soldiers Herding Jewish Men

2--poland-holocaust_big
Created: 05/03/2015
Looking at this photo, I see myself. I see myself as one of those Jewish men in the line, forced to submit to the will of another man, a man who is just following orders from another man. Why? Why must human beings be subject to injustices from other human beings? What did these men in the line do to deserve this? What did my family do – my parents, my brothers and sisters…Flora’s parents, her family – why did they have to be ripped from their homes and sent off to be killed? Because they were Jewish? What is a Jew? Why does it matter that we are Jewish? The star of David we were forced to wear when they sent us to live in Zenica… why must we be branded as different, as inferior, so unworthy as to be abused and mistreated and have our lives taken from us? I am certain that neither my family nor anyone I know did anything to Hitler, did anything to these Germans who have been determining our fates for us. I am a simple person. I don’t ask for much. If it were up to me, I would be content with going to my pharmacy store every day, minding my business and keeping myself far from the world of politics. It only leads to trouble and injustices. To think that I am alive right now after all that has happened –it still baffles me how I was able to make it out of this and return to Sarajevo after it was all over. All of the times the Ustase [Croatian fascists who worked under the Germans] imprisoned me and questioned me, beat me over the head and on my back and broke three of my ribs...to the times they imprisoned my family when they became suspicious again...I was sure they would have killed me one of those times. If my lab assistant's German boyfriend who took me from my house in the middle of the night to kill me wouldn't have gotten drunk in the bar with his friend on the way to the river where he was going to dump my body, I wouldn't have been here right now writing this. If the coal miners didn't go on strike and insist they needed a pharmacist for them to continue working, my family would have been sent off to the concentration camps long ago. If my little daughter hadn’t have repeated her aunt and said she didn't know where I was when the Ustase came to the door, even though she knew exactly where I was, we would have all been shot. If the lady who hid us in the mill next to her house during the last few days of the war wouldn't have been so generous or would have given away our location, we wouldn't have been able to come out of hiding and return to Sarajevo a few days later. The Holocaust was one of the most horrible things that happened to the Jewish people throughout the entirety of their existence. It definitely changed my life. I know that Flora never recovered from not seeing her parents and sister ever again. It changed our whole family dynamic, our whole community. Yet if it never have happened, I don't think I'd ever have been as strong and resilient as I am today. -Samuel Elazar

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This photo is difficult to look at. It is hard for me to believe that my own people would do this. Could I have done something if I had lived there at the time? I guess I will never know since I moved to America in 1926. All I know is that I did my best to provide for my family while I was away, especially during WWII. My family and I would can food and milk to send overseas. To this day, they are incredibly thankful for the help that was given; they told my granddaughter that without that food, they may not have survived. Some of my relatives were in prison camps, but I’m not sure if they would have been treated as harshly as the men in this photo. I find it so hard to believe that people can be discriminated against so brutally, especially if they are your own people. The idea of Germans attacking Germans is repulsive to me. I guess it is another way in which my country has failed. When I moved to America, I never faced prejudices against me. I guess this is mainly because I moved to a German community outside of Philadelphia. There, we all took care of each other. We often would work together in businesses we had started, we would all go to the same church. We could practice our religion without any fear of repression. But this picture shows the opposite. These men didn’t have the opportunity to be who they were, to worship the way they wanted to worship. Who would have thought that these kinds of things would happen in my own country after I left. I knew things were bad economically there; I moved to the states because of inflation. But I never thought that such a pitiful economic state would lead to incredible oppression. Some people may be shocked to hear this, but to this day, I still am not sure if the Holocaust really happened; I can’t reconcile the place I once knew with such devastation and atrocity. Part of me knows that it did happen, but another part doesn’t want to face the facts. I had relatives who were in the military before Hitler rose to power. To imagine that any one of these relatives could have been the soldier in this picture makes me sick to my stomach. Did these soldiers think they were doing right? Did they think they were protecting the country? But at what cost? How can you so quickly turn on your fellow man? I guess that if it doesn’t affect you negatively, you don’t always think of the consequences of your actions. I hope that with time we can learn from this horror and love one another like we are taught in the Word of God. -Hugo Linder
by: evanbrubaker

Giving one second thoughts

Eur-1910last%20photo%20of%20titanic
Created: 03/26/2015
The sinking of the titanic was truly a tragedy and its’ effects were felt worldwide. Nothing like this has ever happened before and it is certainly frightening to think that this may be a normal occurrence in the future as technology continues to progress. This tragedy has had a ripple effect that I can barely comprehend. The circulation of news in Italy is primarily through newspapers and radio. Being part of a rural agricultural community, news doesn’t travel very fast, yet everyone knew about the Titanic. I remember going down to the market with my mother and seeing it on the front page of every newspaper. That was the first event that I remember having such a global impact. When my father died and my family decided to leave for the United States, I remember my mother being concerned about traveling by ship. To be honest, it concerned me too. The Titanic was not the only shipwreck of that time. With such a massive influx of immigrants going to Ellis Island, shipwrecks were not terribly uncommon. However, the Titanic really put the issue into perspective and showed that this is a reality on a grand scale as well, taking hundreds of lives. It is terrifying knowing that the only way out and the only way for our family to survive was to cross the ocean on the S.S. Patria. Incidentally, just a few years ago I was listening to the news and learned that the very boat we were on, the S.S. Patria, was bombed. It sank in the waters near Israel. Hearing this news was surreal and brought up old fears, because it could have been me. I remember the Titanic raising other concerns for my family in regard to the new world we were entering. Being from Catania, we had minimal technology. Most of the citizens were poor and lived predominantly off the land that they cared for. Going to New York was going to be a big leap for us. I remember hearing about skyscrapers and not believing it. Once I actually saw it with my own eyes – the skyscrapers, the factories, and the cars – it was more than I had ever imagined. This technology was the future of New York and we were right in the middle of it. Other than the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, the Titanic sinking was one of the worst cases in which technology had failed us. With all of this technology on the horizon for New York, I was terrified to think what else could go wrong. Was it all worth it? It made me miss my simple life in Catania, and it made me very weary of what was to come. After all, we knew what it was like to live without the luxuries that technology provided, and we could certainly do without them. One aspect I am grateful for is the safety measures that have come out of this situation. Though technology can have its downsides, I suppose that it has made a positive impact as well. New safety regulations have been put into place, including life vests and lifeboats for all passengers. I remember that when I came from Italy, we did not have these precautions, which made the trip even more troubling in light of all of the recent accidents. Now even for older ships, we have safety measures in the event of an emergency. In this regard, I can see the benefits to technology. I am still undecided in which way of life is best for me, because both had its ups and downs. One thing that I know for sure is that everything happens for a reason. The tragedy of the Titanic sinking was something no one ever expected, and it certainly shook up those who were traveling in that time. However, if this event didn’t occur, Posted by LISA PASTORE

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A view of Mexico from Columbia

Rebels
Created: 03/26/2015
The signing of the constitution of 1917 is often regarded as one of the pivotal moments in Mexican history as it marked he first attempt the nation gave at democracy. Personally I applaud their efforts, as it means they are following the path our nation started on long ago. Colombia has been free from outside control for about 100 years now but our democracy is fairly new. We’ve only been a republic for about 15 or so years but we feel that this system of government is the way of progress and Mexico is wise to adopt a similar model. While I understand the concern that this democracy sprang from armed conflict, I feel it is important to remember that most democracies in the modern era sprang from such conflict. Even here in Colombia, our republic was born after a two yearlong civil war in 1863. Also remember that the “greatest” democracy in the word (The US) came about only after a harsh revolution. Thus I think that the way they came to this new paradigm of government is not only expected but also justified. And even if this constitution proves to be problematic with fighting still continuing, at least they are trying to make positive changes in their society. Some words of advice I’d have for Mexico are simple. Be wary of not only outside influence but internal dissent. If they are not careful they will have their nation torn apart the way ours was recently. We had Panama recently seek their independence, which in all honestly was unnecessary. We were treating them just fine. Mexico should be careful of the same happening to them. They need to stay on top of their own people. Also they need to be wary of their neighbor to the north. The US has a bad habit of trying to influence the rest of the world for their own personal gain. So Mexico be warned. So yeah, this photo makes me think about all these things. I’m happy for Mexico for their step in progress. I know that this is the right direction for them and for the rest of Latin America. I hope other countries can soon follow in their footsteps. A democratic Latin America is better for all of us. posted by KEVIN PADILLA

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We were independent for a year...and then the statues came up.

2--boljsevici
Created: 03/26/2015
Ancestor’s Response: That pose...I saw that pose in every possible form (statues, posters, paintings, flyers, photographs, etc.) for the rest of my life after the Republics were established. It’s interesting how a man can go from nothing to such notoriety. In some ways, I appreciate this man, yet in others, I don’t. Russia is known for the Revolution of 1905 and the Revolution of 1917. The Russian people were furious! The lower classes were trapped in the feudal systems as serfs answering to lords while the middle classes could not find jobs because industrialisation was so slow and difficult. These feelings resonated with the Belarusian people in many ways because our industry was very, very underdeveloped yet 65% of the population lived in urban areas. In 1905, while the Russians protested in Moscow, a group of workers in Minsk (capital of Belarus) demanded the local government release political prisoners from jail. The local government responded by opening fire on the crowd, killing 80 people and injuring over 300. Protests broke out like wild fire across the entire country. In our city Gomel, workers seized a railway station, effectively controlling traffic and therefore the entire city between December 10 and December 19, 1905. The governments of both the Russian Empire and Belarus were not particularly interested in what the people had to say but the people knew after this moment that they were not alone in their struggles and that they could fight together. In 1912, 3000 workers in Belarus attended protests and in 1913 the number grew to over 8000 workers. By 1914, the protests were massive and across more than just Minsk and Gomel. They were powerful in Vitebsk, Orsha, and other cities! Not only did the protests energise the public that change can come, but the feeling was that Belarusian independence was a possibility for the near future. The protests and demonstrations continued after World War I and in March of 1918, Belarus declared its independence. It was short-lived, however, because while Belarusian workers were asserting themselves and speaking out against the political and economic status of the country, the Russians were doing the same. With the help of Lenin, the Czar of Russia was overthrown, causing the government to switch from monarchy to communist. This established the Soviet Republic. The Russian Soviet Republic moved quickly in its expansion and swallowed the newly independent Belarus in 1919. Poland wasn’t very happy about this and took the west half of Belarus in 1921. In 1922, Belarus was officially apart of the Soviet Union as the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. Soon enough, Lenin was everywhere. In front of every government building stood a statue of the man who freed the Russians of monarchy and stole freedom from the Belarusians. In every newspaper and piece of propaganda was his face. This image was burned into everyone’s retina. We were independent for a year...and then the statues came up. posted by DIANA CHAYKINA

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East Indian Resistance to Transvaal Government in South Africa

Gandhi%20south%20africa%20durban
Created: 03/24/2015
In the voice of: Bhadase Sagan Maraj The way that Indians are treated around the world continues to shock me. For so many years, the Indians have been a proud and successful people, developing one of the most unique cultures in the world. Yet, we continue to be subjugated and belittled, this time by the Transvaal Government of South Africa. It seems that we are discriminated against no matter which part of the world we are in. Here in Trinidad, brought over as Indentured Laborers, we have no rights, no representation. We were brought here under false pretenses, promised a fair shot of success. On the exterior, people of Indian descent may look meek and easily targeted, but we have an unbreakable spirit. That young man leading the resistance against the government, Mahatma Gandhi, epitomizes the spirit of the Indian. No longer are we going to be discriminated against, we deserve fair treatment just as anyone else. His method is unusual to say the least, I would initially think that such injustice would incite anger and violence, leading to a “revolution” mindset. However, it takes a strong, well-articulated and charismatic young man to be able to collect the masses together in such a way that they will be able to demonstrate against the discrimination in such a peaceful way. No doubt he was met with anger and animosity, and surely there are those in the crowd that would have preferred to pick up arms against the British Empire. But Gandhi would have known the strength of the Empire, this would be the loss of lives in futility. The average person may not see the importance of burning the very registration card that the government is making mandatory, yet the message is so strong and powerful. Simply, the Indians are saying “No”, they will not respect the wishes. It takes away the power with a simple flick of a match. The actions of all these Indians in South Africa is to resist discrimination, without yielding to the sordid actions of the British Empire. If we Indians pick up guns and knives to fight and rebel, we will be seen as savages, as lesser creatures than the whites. It will undo all the progress that has been achieved and give them a reason to take arms with their more sophisticated weaponry. Everyone is entitled to a certain type of life, we should not be discriminated against because of the color of our skin, the language we speak, or our religious beliefs. That young activist leading the group, he knows that we must all stand united, and forge ahead in creating a level playing field. Violence may not be the wisest way to go about it, especially when the British Empire is at the strength that it is. They rule us here in Trinidad as well as the majority of the other islands in the Caribbean. Ironically, we are now referred to as the British West Indies. I see B.W.I. written on all the mails and papers that are scattered around the country and on the shipping labels on the sugar estates and rice paddies. It is only a matter of time till the same that is going on in South Africa and in other parts of the British Empire spread to us here in the British West Indies. We all deserve a fair chance, and the discrimination that we face is absolutely horrid. The Empire will not hold the power that it does for much longer if people are discriminated against in such ways.

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The Suffrage Movement of 1914

1--suffraget
Created: 03/24/2015
The most moving of the pictures on the Shared Roots site from the decade is the photo of the women’s suffrage movement dated May of 1914. Contrary to the feelings of a majority of the nation, I admired the women for standing up for their rights and parading down the streets of the capitol. It takes a lot of will power to picket a wartime president, and to use his own words against him was quite witty. I would even go as far to say that if men had to fight for the same right, their tactics would not have been executed so skillfully. I would have been seven at the time of this particular photo, and to any child this may have been inconsequential, but later in life I think I valued this movement very much. The boldness shown by the suffragettes reminds me a lot of my wife Mildred--who was always known to speak her mind, no matter what the subject. Her sassiness is seen in several of the members of the family, including our daughter Martha and great granddaughter Vicki. I was drawn to Mildred for her self-assurance, and I think she would have supported the movement to get women the right to vote with all her heart. Even though I would have been very young at the exact time of the suffrage movement, my adult self would have certainly supported the right for women to vote solely because of the support I show my wife. The bravery those women showed in prison alone speaks volumes to how badly they wanted their representation, and facing that degree of brutality has won them my admiration. No one could imagine being force fed three times a day, every day, for the entire prison sentence. In addition to the terrible treatment in jail, the protesting women were met with violence from spectators who opposed them. Specifically referencing the photo, you can see how many people stood against these suffragettes. To speak out against so many rivals is a daunting challenge, but despite the obstacles the women were compelled to keep moving forward. One of the more shocking things about the suffrage movement is the fact that these women spoke out against the president during our First World War. This was the first time in history that a president was publicly criticized during a time when the entire nation was dependent on him. This would not be the last time, but for women to be the first to be courageous enough to do this is staggering. I am glad that women had received the right to vote as early in my life as it had, but the feats that these women had to do to gain the right--and not be renowned for it no less--is very disheartening. Had Mildred or even Martha been a part of this movement they would have had my utmost support, and for other men not to support their wives and daughters is just shameful. posted by Kaitlyn Gioia

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Boy do some of these women have balls! I’ve never seen anything like it, a group of women so openly defying the social gender norms. It’s both frightening and impressive to be completely honest. Women in general are scary and impressive creatures. Being someone who’s always respected females; those I don't know as well as my mother and wife I do admire the audacity with which these “suffragettes” act and carry themselves. Do I agree with them? I’m pleading the 5th. Do I respect their courage? Definitely. I know my wife, who definitely supports these women, would be upset if I told her I wasn't completely on board with this whole idea of giving women the vote, but it seems so unnatural to me. My wife is one of the strongest people I know, let alone women I know. She was the driving force behind a monument that was put up in Queens commemorating the veterans of World War 1. She deals with me and my children on a daily basis. She is smart she is kind she is beautiful and I think the world of her. I value her opinion. I listen to her. The question is though, does the rest of the female population warrant this same respect? I’m not so sure. On the whole women are a fickle emotional species. Can they handle the responsibilities of voting for the huge decisions of our country? There are definitely those that can handle it. There are definitely those that cannot and I truly don't know which side to take. Do the pros of having the level headed women vote outweigh the cons of having the volatile women vote? As in this picture, droves of people show up to hear these women speak. I hope this means that I am not the only one trying to figure out my stance on the subject. I would like to think I’m a fairly open minded individual. I just want all of the facts laid out for me and maybe then I will be able to reach a decision. Do I even believe that? I know in my heart the morally right thing to do is give women the right to vote but I do not know that I am ready to do it in my mind. Men have always been in charge, should it not be that way for the future as well? Do men not lead families and win the bread for their wives and children? This is always the way it has been and it is always the way it will be so why change anything else about the way we live? Voting and women just don't go together to me. They go together like peanut butter and ketchup. I can’t let my wife know that of course. Though I will talk to her about it. Maybe her responses and thoughts will sway me one way or the other so I know where I stand in my own mind. posted by FALLON MCCARTHY
by: tross
These ladies fought for my mother, aunts, sisters, wife’s, and now my daughter’s right to a voice in their government, and for that - I thank them. It is moving to see these women put their lives and reputations on the line for something they strongly believed in, despite all the efforts to silence them. I can only imagine how hard it would be to stand tall when a man yells at you for your picketing and spits in your face, especially 15 years ago in 1914. My sisters tell me of the gossiping it caused at their school, as the young boys loved to tease the girls over it - which caused a whole lot of teasing and fights among them. One of my older sisters, Helen, told me how their teacher Sister Rose, would punish any of the girls who would speak about it, even at lunch time. She said her friends and herself got in trouble a few times while gossiping about the arrests that happened outside of the white house, which they heard their parents talking about over breakfast and the newspaper. Having not been born yet, I only hear of the fights it caused within my own family, as my two older brothers were down right disgusted with the “audacity” and “nerve” of the women to picket during a wartime - let alone at any time. Although they are much older than me, I do not see how they could sit across from our loving sisters and hard working mother and refuse to support their fight for rights - for the women in our lives now and the women who we would marry in the future. I have nothing but respect for the Suffragettes because of my beautiful daughter, Carol, who will now live in a better world thanks to their efforts. During the movement 15 years ago, I’m sure I would have had some mixed emotions because I was not the man I have grown into today. As a teenager, I’m sure I would have huffed and puffed at these girls trying to fix the country, much like my older brothers - but now I wouldn’t ever think twice. As a man who deeply respects all of the women who have touched my life - from my hardworking Irish mother who came from nothing and raised 7 kids in a small Brooklyn apartment, to my four lovely older sisters who would step in and be my mother when need be, to my beautiful wife who has changed me for the better (even when I want to rip my hair out but bite my tongue instead), to my beautiful daughter - who I will always want the best for, especially when I’m gone and can’t be here to protect her. Although I can sympathize and excuse the children and teenage boys of this time for being naive and ignorant, I do not understand the grown men who objected the cause of these women. Every single one of us has a woman in our lives that we are grateful towards, and we would not be here without - our mother, so for them to spit at, criticize, and attack these women is as bad as attacking our mothers. These men were denying the rights of their mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters - which is something I could never do and be proud of. Perhaps it’s the Irish Momma’s boy in me, but I cannot fathom ever standing in front of these women and booing, spitting, or screaming - instead I would admire their strength and courage. I am thankful for the women who had the courage to speak up, defy the odds, and risk their freedom all for the good of the women in my life, who I love and admire very much. - John J. Brown.
by: KristenTatas
While I was personally still too young to participate in the bulk of the Women's Suffrage movement, I highly revere the women who fought for my rights. Growing up in Ireland, women's suffrage was still being contended. In many ways, the fight there ran parallel to the American fight, with partial suffrage being granted beforehand around the same time. Women had power to vote in smaller elections, but the full right to suffrage had also yet to come which spoke to the lesser status of women in society. There was an international spirit that could be felt among women, especially with the fiery nature of the more radical suffrage movement in the UK, which was closely linked with Ireland. I grew up around this time, but had a conservative, confined life in a convent. I did not have the opportunity to join in with this movement while it was in full swing, but the women who fought for suffrage would be the very same women who would inspire me in later life. Moving overseas to America, where suffrage was blazing and had paved the trail to representation, made me feel more empowered. I arrived in Amerca just before full suffrage was reached and enjoyed the benefits that my fellow women had fought for me to have. The suffragettes stood for the rights of women, which honestly went beyond just the power to vote. Later in life, my family would suffer due to my husband's gambling addiction, but because I had rights as a women I was able to seek the help I needed and work hard to keep my family going, as opposed to my children either starving or being taken away. Women's Suffrage provided the foundation for the rights and representation that would help my adult life. Without the women before me, I would have no political voice, which would effect my quality of life and my ability to get help. The spirit of these women itself was enough to drive me to become a stronger person. My young adult life was spent watching women who took hold of their own lives and made the change they wanted to see in the world. It inspired me to keep fighting, to not let my hard life drag me down. It is interesting to look at this picture specifically. I can see young girls and older women all in the group – this was a universal fight. The looks on their faces are ones of staunch determination with an underlying ferocity. The woman who is speaking seems to be addressing the crowd, and unrest may be breaking out, as there appears to be some action in the right side of the photo. The crowd seems to be made mostly of men, who likely did not like the protesting. Even after women's right to vote was secured, I still dealt with issues from men. It was the attitude that could not be as immediately changed, and my husband would sometimes disregard my authority. In the photo, the large banners seen were typical of the suffrage movement, I could see those as a child. However, the idea of “law-abiding suffragists” strikes me as odd. The law was the opposite of what suffrage demanded, so how could the law be abided by? It may be because of my European “radical ideology” background, but I do believe that laws had to be broken in order for them to be fixed. --- Marissa Mavrich-Burtch
by: annietreacy
In the voice of Henry S. Dennison: As I have witnessed the monstrosities women have faced in the United States’ labor force, including terrible working conditions and the horrific Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911, I have been appalled by the treatment of women in American industry, society, and politics. As president of the Dennison Manufacturing Company, I have taken steps in improving the working conditions and lives of those in my employ, including women. I have made many reforms such as creating a health and dental clinics for my workers, lunchrooms, libraries, separate lounges and bathrooms for women workers, recreation facilities, and social clubs. Through my implementation of profit sharing, I have given my workers, including women, a voice in the company as they can buy shares of the company and have votes in company decisions. The voice of women in American politics has too long been stifled. As these women face violence and horrible treatment in jail, they never cease to stand back up. They were treated with such brutality while held in jail, and to fight back even further, they went on hunger strikes to show just how serious they felt about the movement. I believe that I would have given up and ran away from the responsibility very quickly, but these women showed strength and perseverance in such times of trouble. This picture shows us just how courageous and strong these women were to fight for their rights and the rights of future generations of women. The women in the picture seem to be swarmed by men who are trying to dismantle the protest, but the women have proved that they will never back down even when confronted with violence. I have not only read and seen pictures of the Suffragette parades and picket signs, but have also watched my own extended family members and neighbors get involved in the movement in Massachusetts. My wife, Mary Thurber Dennison is a great thinker and graduated from the Bryn Mawr College in 1903, a very active college in the Suffragette movement. To think of how powerful, intelligent, and informed my wife is, but our government has dismissed her and her vote again and again. In my lifetime, I have donated funds to the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union to do my part in endorsing and encouraging the education and advancement of women in our society. In my business I have also avoided paternalism and I have brought democracy into industry because I believe that every person deserves to have his or her voice heard. This denying of the rights of women has been a very dark period in America’s history, and the women fought to change it deserve to be recognized for their bravery. I am so impressed and thankful for these bold women of the Suffragette movement as they have paved the way for my three clever daughters Helen, Elizabeth, and Mary in having an active role in their government and have secured the rights and power of all women in the future. By: Noelle Becker
by: nbecker
The photo that resonated the most with me was the one on the women’s suffrage movement. It began in the 1800s, but did not gain results until the early 1900s. It was a long and tough process, but women pushed forward to get what they deserved. The picture gives an idea of how so many people showed up to support the cause. The women’ suffrage movement was very important for people all over the world. Women wanted their rights and wanted to be equal with men. They were finally pushing for what they wanted. It was especially big in England, which was not far from where I was in Ireland. Although I was a baby (only 1-year old) when women partially received the vote in 1918, it was important change that would affect me and my future generations. I was very young when the suffrage movement was going on, but had I been older I would have supported all the women who were fighting for our rights. In 1922 in Ireland, men and women were given equal voting rights. Unfortunately, in Ireland, many of the rights given to women were taken away from them in the 10 years after. The Prime Minister de Valera was not a supporter of women’s rights. He wanted to keep women at home and in the workplace. His view was the view of a majority of the men at the time. The men did not want us women to gain power. They were afraid that we would try to take power away from them. They felt our role was always in the home and that was how it should stay. They were there to provide for us and make the important decisions. Women were not satisfied with staying at home and not having rights. While many people may think that women in Ireland did not play a big role in any large movements, that is not true because women did have a role in the Easter Rising of 1916. These women fought for equality. I admire the bravery of these women going out and fighting for what they wanted, especially for the way they went picketed outside of the White House, for which many were arrested. I do not think I would have been so brave had I been in their position, but I do support the fight for our rights. They went through so much and fought so hard for a right that we deserved. I, like many other people at the time, lived in a farm area where the women worked in the house and took care of the family, but I did have an important role in my family. My husband and I were close to being equals. He listened to me and I made a lot of decisions in our life, even though he was technically considered the head of our household. For example, I convinced my husband to sign over our farm to our son Donnie. I am glad that my daughters were able to grow up in a world where women were able to vote. Posted by Cecelia Capozzoli
by: ceceliacapozzoli

Iconic photo: Photo of propaganda parade in order to motivate public opinion in favor of going to war (World War I)

3--prowamarch
Created: 03/24/2015
Reflection (through voice of ancestor): I am not one to argue or criticize others, but I find these parades excessive. It was the right decision for our country to stay neutral in the war; there are many issues here at home that need to be amended, such as the issue of women's suffrage and prohibition, before we can turn our focus to external affairs. I may be one of the few people who feels this way; I myself focus on domestic affairs, rather than things outside of my inner circle. I work to support my family, so we can have a good life. Family is everything; the home is a sacred place. Abandoning home, abandoning America, in favor of fighting abroad is not in our best interest. It is like saying to your wife and children: I will not be home tonight after work to fix the gutter, because I will be out fixing everyone else's gutters. While my family has a broken gutter, I should be out fixing others? While this may appear selfish, it is not, in principle. Take care of your family's needs first. Fix the gutter. Do not install a brand new gutter system that outshines the rest of the neighborhood's broken gutters - just fix the gutter. Then, with the issue resolved at home, I can move forward and help others in fixing their gutters. This principle applies to the nation as well. Fix what is wrong here: give women the right to vote so the entire country can decide to go to war. Women are sensible, and can make decisions just as men do. I would know, my wife is a very smart woman. Once this issue (among others) is remedied, then can we as a united country move forward and make a decision about going to war. Once we fixed out own gutter, can we go out and fix other people's gutters. Again, I am a quiet man. I rarely state my opinions and am not one to criticize others. People have their right to their own opinion. However, trying to sway public opinion by these parades seems to me as too much. Of course, I know many people disagree with me - they want to go to war, what with the offenses that have been committed. However, if I am offended by someone at work, my immediate reaction is not to go to war with them. If a man punches me at work, I will not punch back. There was a reason for his punching me, and punching him back will not resolve the issue between us. Resolution of an issue comes with discussion and explanations of the situation, rather than acting on emotions. by Rachel Colvin

Comments

This photo resonates with me on a personal level due to the tragedy of losing some one to this atrocious outbreak who was close to my heart: my precious daughter, Anna. To give some back-ground information as to what I was involved in around the outbreak of the pandemic, I will begin by saying that I was then employed by the Postal Telegraph Cable Company as a telegraph operator for a few years before being called into the Great War in September, 1918. What made answering the call to defend our nation so painful for me was that only a month before I was notified of the draft, a few of my children fell ill with the flu. Since my wife Nellie and I were both exposed to it around 1890 when we were both young adults, we were fortunately unaffected by this new outbreak. Unfortunately, however, our dear children had no such resistance to the illness and we had been preoccupied with tending to our three eldest daughters, Anna, Elvira, and Grace, who had been hit the hardest, when I was compelled to defend our great nation. What struck me as odd was that although five of our ten children fell ill with this new malady, only the eldest five were affected, and only the three eldest suffered the most. I was always under the impression that if some body were to fall ill, they would most likely do so if they were either very young or very old, not in the strength of budding adulthood! But I'm no doctor, and all I could do was my best to comfort my three eldest, suffering daughters, who were all in their early twenty-somethings when they became ill. After I left home to join up with the boot camp for my local army division (New York Division 90), Nellie and I kept in touch through written correspondence and the occasional telegraph. Although telegraphs were faster, the sentimentality of hand-written letters helped me feel like I was still with my family even though we were separated by distance, so that may help explain why we preferred to write letters to each other. Nellie informed me that after my departure, “Elvira and Grace were—thank God—getting stronger each day and were soon able to get out of their beds for a little while...” But what broke my heart was reading that Anna seemed to be worsening instead of improving. It pained me that I could only offer her support through the ink of my pen instead of through the warmth of my voice or the embrace of my arms. To be in such a position as I was—to know of the acute suffering of your first dear child and yet be powerless to aid her in any lastingly meaningful way—was unbearable, but I had no choice but to fulfill my duty to the nation as it saw fit. A few weeks later, after completing the training to join the army proper, I received still worse news from my beloved Nellie: “After her suffering had worsened for the past few weeks, Anna succumbed to a fiery fever, let go of my loving hands and grasped God's as He pulled her from her suffering into Heaven. My sweet Tom, know that although she is no longer with us, we have not lost her. We have only returned the gift first given to us twenty-four years ago.” I carried that tear-stained letter in my coat pocket the whole way to Europe and back. The whole time I felt as if some one was watching over me, although I was never unnerved by this because I knew who it was: Anna. - Thomas Horgan
by: tross
This photo resonates with me on a personal level due to the tragedy of losing some one to this atrocious outbreak who was close to my heart: my precious daughter, Anna. To give some back-ground information as to what I was involved in around the outbreak of the pandemic, I will begin by saying that I was then employed by the Postal Telegraph Cable Company as a telegraph operator for a few years before being called into the Great War in September, 1918. What made answering the call to defend our nation so painful for me was that only a month before I was notified of the draft, a few of my children fell ill with the flu. Since my wife Nellie and I were both exposed to it around 1890 when we were both young adults, we were fortunately unaffected by this new outbreak. Unfortunately, however, our dear children had no such resistance to the illness and we had been preoccupied with tending to our three eldest daughters, Anna, Elvira, and Grace, who had been hit the hardest, when I was compelled to defend our great nation. What struck me as odd was that although five of our ten children fell ill with this new malady, only the eldest five were affected, and only the three eldest suffered the most. I was always under the impression that if some body were to fall ill, they would most likely do so if they were either very young or very old, not in the strength of budding adulthood! But I'm no doctor, and all I could do was my best to comfort my three eldest, suffering daughters, who were all in their early twenty-somethings when they became ill. After I left home to join up with the boot camp for my local army division (New York Division 90), Nellie and I kept in touch through written correspondence and the occasional telegraph. Although telegraphs were faster, the sentimentality of hand-written letters helped me feel like I was still with my family even though we were separated by distance, so that may help explain why we preferred to write letters to each other. Nellie informed me that after my departure, “Elvira and Grace were—thank God—getting stronger each day and were soon able to get out of their beds for a little while...” But what broke my heart was reading that Anna seemed to be worsening instead of improving. It pained me that I could only offer her support through the ink of my pen instead of through the warmth of my voice or the embrace of my arms. To be in such a position as I was—to know of the acute suffering of your first dear child and yet be powerless to aid her in any lastingly meaningful way—was unbearable, but I had no choice but to fulfill my duty to the nation as it saw fit. A few weeks later, after completing the training to join the army proper, I received still worse news from my beloved Nellie: “After her suffering had worsened for the past few weeks, Anna succumbed to a fiery fever, let go of my loving hands and grasped God's as He pulled her from her suffering into Heaven. My sweet Tom, know that although she is no longer with us, we have not lost her. We have only returned the gift first given to us twenty-four years ago.” I carried that tear-stained letter in my coat pocket the whole way to Europe and back. The whole time I felt as if some one was watching over me, although I was never unnerved by this because I knew who it was: Anna. - Thomas Horgan
by: tross
The Voice of Chi Ching Wu Though I was not yet in America during the world war, this image brings fear and many bad memories to mind. The scene of marching soldiers brings me back to Fujian, China in the 1960’s when there was a sudden uprise of the peasant class. They were becoming infuriated by the wealthy classes because we seemed to be taking all of their labor and wealth that they earned. Now, I personally did not agree with the way our government distributed the wealth like this. It was highly unequal and so I treated them well. My family was a family of landowners that provided housing and plumbing for many lower class families as well. We were close and spent much time with one family in particular – the Chan family. When I was older, I spent much time away from my village home on business trips. But every time I returned, I sensed a growing animosity from this family, including the rest of the farmers we lived near. Furthermore, I frequently saw many of the Red Guards in their green uniforms and red bands marching through the village. There was one day, when I returned to the village, I saw a group of them demanding my mother about my whereabouts. As a successful businessman of the wealthy class, I was an enormous threat that needed to be put down and used for public punishment. But at that moment when I was at a loss for actions, they were commanded to go elsewhere. However, the second time, I was not as lucky, and neither was my family. I arrived home to find knocked over furniture and our entire collection of books burned to the ground. As I continued looking for my wife and children, Madam Pei, from the house next door grabbed me and pleaded with me to save her husband. The red guards had taken him. At this, I began to furiously look through the rooms. Surely they could not have taken my children? As I neared the bedroom upstairs, I heard loud cries and wailing. Slamming it open, I found my mother and wife in tattered and wet clothes. Red lashes cut their arms and necks. I immediately ran over to them, and taking my wife by the shoulders demanded “where are they?” Weakly, she grasped my pant leg and sobbed “they won them over. Our children. They agreed to follow them.” I let go of her and stepped back in disbelief. How could they? How could my own children betray us like this? Their own family? I knew that it was possible for youth to join the Red Guards. In fact, many of the Red Guards were young adults. However, my children? I thought I educated them better than that. The voice of my mother brought me back to the present “You must run away. They are coming back for you.” I looked at her “And what about you?” Through her tears she said, “Do not worry about me. If they realize you are not here. They will not return to this house. I will take care of your wife. And if your children return, we will look after them. But you, they will definitely kill. Go, and never return.” Since that day, I have not seen my family. I successfully escaped to Hong Kong, China and began a new family. In fact, a decade later we all moved to the United States of America to start afresh. However, I will never forget that day when the soldiers marched in and destroyed everything I had. ~Kimberly Wu~
by: kimberlywu

The Flu Epidemic of 1918

1-influenzahospital
Created: 08/27/2014

I think the question everyone asks about the flu epidemic of 1918 is why isn’t better known? Why isn’t it part of our national narrative? The next question for me is since the epidemic was world wide, and devastating world wide, how did it fit into the other nations’ narratives of themselves? I wonder if we don’t remember it because it doesn’t have clear moral or practical aspects. It was totally democratic and killed all types of people seemingly indiscriminately. It was unstoppable—the size and the speed of the epidemic were overwhelming. And it was terrifying. You could follow its approach through neighboring states and then towns and then blocks. Worse perhaps, was that you could get it from anyone. In fact you would be most likely to get it from someone you were close to—a friend or a family member. It made everyone paranoid about everyone else. And it was fast. You could be healthy—and most victims were healthy, the young and healthy seemed oddly more at risk than others—and yet you could catch the disease and then like many people you could die within 12 hours, die a terrible death through drowning in your own bodily fluids, which would fill up your lungs. It was also speedy in how it spread. Over 650,000 Americans died—more than the combined total of American fatalities in World War I and II, along with the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf War. Worldwide, over 35 million people died. That is staggering . Even more so when you realize the bulk of the deaths took place in a ten month period—from March through December of 1918. I think part of the reason it was dealt with so inadequately, and also why it hasn’t become part of our cultural narrative, is that it happened so fast, and we humans often need a little time to grasp a new reality before we start dealing with it or narrating it.

I wonder about my grandfather, Daniel Carney Sr. In 1918, he was living in Troy, New York with his wife and two infant children. It is difficult to find a lot of information about how the flu was handled in Troy. I know that Albany closed schools and theaters and tried to end all public gatherings. I also know that there were 5,000 cases of the flu reported in Troy and that there were 147 fatalities in Troy. My grandfather was a plumber, and a union executive. He worked in many bars in Troy, which was one of the central parts and appeals of the city then. Did he lose work during the flu? I’m sure he lost sleep over how to protect his babies. Like all good Irish immigrants he must have believed that “cleanliness is next to godliness.” I’m sure he, or more likely his wife Veronica, scrubbed and re-scrubbed everything in their home. And I am certain they prayed, they did novenas and lit church candles.

I have so many questions about the epidemic, and very few answers. Why did it happen and why then? Its end almost corresponded to the end of World War I. Besides the soldiers spreading the disease, did the War impact the flu and its demise in any other way? I am fascinated by all the calm and misleading information that officials gave out throughout the duration of the epidemic. I am also curious as to why it is so rarely mentioned in reports on World War I. Over half of the fatalities from the war came from the flu, not the battles. That also is staggering to me. I’d love to get a better window into the minds and the fears of people alive then.

My final curiosities are centered on what we can learn from this epidemic to help with future ones. Because of course there will be future ones. I think the main lesson that I have gleaned from my research is that you have to deal with what you see, not what you know. People knew that there was no flu that could kill 35 million people in a little over a year. People assumed the flu could not be as bad as some said, nor as easily transmitted. And yet all of these beliefs and assumptions were being contradicted by what people were witnessing every day. Believe what you see, not what you know or expect. Life is always a surprise.

I welcome thoughts on this disaster, or on how your ancestors dealt with it. I’d also be very curious about what issues the epidemic raises for you, and what lessons you believe we can learn from it.

Comments

There is no doubt that the epidemic was a major concern in the late 1910’s. I am sure that my ancestor, who was barely in his twenties when the epidemic struck, was very concerned with this plague. Since he was the breadwinner of his family (consisting of himself and his younger sister), becoming ill would have been devastating to this poor Italian family trying to make a name for themselves. Perhaps the tale of the epidemic was not written into our cultural narrative because of how common death was. 1918 marked the end of World War I, which was a war that tallied millions of casualties worldwide. The epidemic in the United States barely caused half a million deaths to Americans. Even though this number was much larger than the combined total of American casualties in many wars, I feel that the War overseas held much precedence over the plague here at home not only because of how much more massive the war was as a whole, but also why the people died. It is easy to die from illness; anyone can do it. Yet, it takes a brave soul to die for his country. Though many of the war deaths came from plague (not battle), there is nothing valiant about saying your men died from disease instead of in battle. Also, the Americans who died from the plague could be anyone from a homeless man on the street to an important government official. Even more, if one of the victims was a recent immigrant to the United States who barely spoke English and was working lower class jobs, I am sure that history would find no need to report the death as important. It is very easy to write civilian deaths off as meaningless when compared to the deaths of soldiers. When choosing which event was more important to pass down- war or plague- I am sure that the war held much more weight. I know my ancestor was in Brooklyn, New York in 1918 when the plague struck. I am also sure that he was very worried about the plague. God forbid he became ill. This would have ruined his entire journey to America and hopes to start a new life for he and his sister. Since he was a very religious man, it is easy to assume that he would have turned to the Bible for answers. He most likely attested the plague to God’s will. Perhaps he saw it as an omen that his moving to America was done in bad taste. If he stayed in Italy, would the plague have been there? I am sure the plague made him question his intentions for coming to America. He must have prayed often and went to church in hopes of avoiding the epidemic. Maybe he correlated the plague with the World War, and thought that the war should stop. He valued peace. I think the epidemic from the 1910’s speaks strongly into our modern era. Many diseases that we thought we eradicated with vaccines are now coming back because people feel that they have a choice to vaccinate their children. Sadly, these decisions are done in poor taste, and diseases like the measles are showing up again. I think the epidemic can teach our society that diseases are not a joke, and do not warrant a choice between vaccination or lack thereof. It is important to take all precautions to prevent an epidemic of the 21st century.
by: Veronica
This photo resonates with me on a personal level due to the tragedy of losing some one to this atrocious outbreak who was close to my heart: my precious daughter, Anna. To give some back-ground information as to what I was involved in around the outbreak of the pandemic, I will begin by saying that I was then employed by the Postal Telegraph Cable Company as a telegraph operator for a few years before being called into the Great War in September, 1918. What made answering the call to defend our nation so painful for me was that only a month before I was notified of the draft, a few of my children fell ill with the flu. Since my wife Nellie and I were both exposed to it around 1890 when we were both young adults, we were fortunately unaffected by this new outbreak. Unfortunately, however, our dear children had no such resistance to the illness and we had been preoccupied with tending to our three eldest daughters, Anna, Elvira, and Grace, who had been hit the hardest, when I was compelled to defend our great nation. What struck me as odd was that although five of our ten children fell ill with this new malady, only the eldest five were affected, and only the three eldest suffered the most. I was always under the impression that if some body were to fall ill, they would most likely do so if they were either very young or very old, not in the strength of budding adulthood! But I'm no doctor, and all I could do was my best to comfort my three eldest, suffering daughters, who were all in their early twenty-somethings when they became ill. After I left home to join up with the boot camp for my local army division (New York Division 90), Nellie and I kept in touch through written correspondence and the occasional telegraph. Although telegraphs were faster, the sentimentality of hand-written letters helped me feel like I was still with my family even though we were separated by distance, so that may help explain why we preferred to write letters to each other. Nellie informed me that after my departure, “Elvira and Grace were—thank God—getting stronger each day and were soon able to get out of their beds for a little while...” But what broke my heart was reading that Anna seemed to be worsening instead of improving. It pained me that I could only offer her support through the ink of my pen instead of through the warmth of my voice or the embrace of my arms. To be in such a position as I was—to know of the acute suffering of your first dear child and yet be powerless to aid her in any lastingly meaningful way—was unbearable, but I had no choice but to fulfill my duty to the nation as it saw fit. A few weeks later, after completing the training to join the army proper, I received still worse news from my beloved Nellie: “After her suffering had worsened for the past few weeks, Anna succumbed to a fiery fever, let go of my loving hands and grasped God's as He pulled her from her suffering into Heaven. My sweet Tom, know that although she is no longer with us, we have not lost her. We have only returned the gift first given to us twenty-four years ago.” I carried that tear-stained letter in my coat pocket the whole way to Europe and back. The whole time I felt as if some one was watching over me, although I was never unnerved by this because I knew who it was: Anna. - Thomas Horgan
by: tross
October 1918 Right now the only thing on people’s minds is how we can live through this. The flu epidemic is ravaging the country, and I have heard that cases have sprung up all over the world as well; even the most remote places have been affected. The times have been terrible, so many deaths from the war, but I feel as if the greater enemy is at the home front, this disease is slowly getting the best of us. There is nobody I know who has not been touched by this disastrous occurrence: rich and poor alike. Just a couple weeks ago a neighbor’s young daughter who had just celebrated her fifth birthday had to be taken to the hospital, I am not sure if she made it or not. Sadly, I do not know how much worry I can afford to place for another’s child, as my newborn son, Arthur, is just a month old now, and all I can think about is how to keep him safe. As a new mother I cannot fathom how other mothers who have lost their young are feeling. People are all scared, and I have to admit that I am among them. Many only leave the house if absolute necessity. If they do leave the house they wear large masks on their faces, I am not sure if these masks really have any effect. All of the hospitals are filled beyond anything one could imagine. As soon as one bed empties it seems like five more come to take its place. The doctors are all at a loss, and everybody has lost faith in doctors, some going as far as to call them quacks. The coffin makers cannot keep up with the demand, even the morticians have been affected as well, many have died. Fortunately, and I am almost afraid to say this, as I have seen so many who have lost, but my family has been safe so far. None of us are showing any symptoms; even my mother who has been in weak health the past couple of years has been in good health as of late. I am trying to remain in good spirits, but it is difficult as I am just always so worried. I try to find joy in playing my piano, but I have not been able to work lately; even the churches have been closed. At this time I think people need faith more than anything, however even going to a church service is too much of a risk. My only connection with the church is hearing the bell tolling in the background for the newly departed. I am hoping that this all ends soon, but as winter comes and it gets colder I am afraid that the worse is yet to come. I continue to pray every night for everybody affected and for my family’s good health, I only hope that God chooses to answer my prayers. - Margaret French
by: soshnina
This image is way too familiar with me…The flu epidemic occurred shortly after the Pancho Villa Expeditions during which I was stationed in Texas, and at times had to cross the border into Mexico in order to calm the uprisings. Some would say that it was by luck that I was not in combat during the epidemic as young and healthy soldiers made up a large portion of those who succumbed to the flu, but in my case this was not luck as I had returned to my family’s home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where an entire quarter of the population contracted this disease. My luck was not in being released from combat, but it was in the fact that my family and I were not part of the thousands who died in our city in the few months that the disease ran rampant. Regardless, this epidemic hit me hard as I lost many friends from the neighborhood to the disease including my best friend. His name was Mitchell… Mitchell Black. I met him upon arriving to Philadelphia back in 1908- we were both approaching twenty years old and worked at the Stetson Hat Factory (we also both ended up in the 14th Cavalry Division of Fort St. Houston in 1913). His family was very anti-Semitic but he was different- he did not care about one’s race, religion, ethnicity- he just cared about personality (and one’s ability to have fun- that was a must). He risked so much for me by admitting to his family that his best friend is Jewish- his parents stopped talking to him because of this; his relationship with his family was never the same… that is until he got sick. Since we had returned from Texas, we were back to working at the hat factory, and on the morning of September 21st 1918 him and I were on the train to work along with a bunch of other workers when I noticed Mitchell had a severe nosebleed. The other workers and I were concerned as the flu had reached Philadelphia earlier in the month and was beginning to spread. Mitchell tried to assure us that a nosebleed is rarely a symptom of influenza, especially when there are none of the usual symptoms such as a sore throat and fever which he said he didn’t have. And we just took his word for it; none of us went over and felt his head to confirm that he had no fever or anything like that. A few hours later though, during our lunch break, Mitchell passed out and was covered in sweat and shaking. The American Red Cross provided ambulance service at the time so they came to the factory to bring Mitchell to the hospital. I was not able to go with them as the ambulance was almost filled to capacity with the sick. I knew that Mitchell’s family would never listen to me, but I felt useless not even trying to get in contact with his family. The factory closed for the day after Mitchell was taken to the hospital in fear of his disease being spread (they wanted to decontaminate the factory overnight so that the workers could return the next day- little did they know that normal methods of decontamination did not apply to this flu). Once I was off the train I headed to the apartment of Mitchell’s parents apartment. They saw me at the door and slammed it on my face. I yelled for them to listen to me, that Mitchell was severely ill and they called me a “lying Jew.” But once I was able to name the hospital the ambulance said they were taking him to, they must have believed me as they opened the door with a look of dread on their face (they had heard the usual outcome of this strain of the flu), they looked at me for a few seconds, and headed over to their car to try to see their son at the hospital. It was rare that even family got to visit the patients for extended periods of time, and when I tried to see him, one of the nurses said “Why would you even want to visit him if it almost guarantees your own death?” Yes, that was true but it was also true that almost everywhere I could go was contaminated by the disease, so I ignored her and walked right past her into the hospital ward where I was able to find Mitchell after ten minutes of searching the hundreds of beds- at first I feared he was amongst the dozens dead who were covered by blankets, waiting to be removed so that another patient can take their bed. He was very weak when I found him with blood (mixed with sweat) covering his mouth and nose, but he still managed to smile upon seeing me. He barely could speak but he thanked me for contacting his parents as he didn’t know what he would do if he died leaving their relationship the way it was. He said they had just left to find a priest to read him his last rites (they eventually did find one who was stationed at the hospital due to the immense number of dying patients), but before leaving they apologized for their reactions to him having me as a friend; they wanted to believe that the flu was a punishment to Mitchell for befriending a Jew, but were convinced that it was actually a punishment to them for writing off their son (I later tried to convince them that Mitchell’s death was not his or their fault but I don’t think they ever fully believed that). I left when the Priest arrived and a few minutes later, Mitchell passed away. He died around 3:00AM on September 22nd, only 15 hours since he was brought to the hospital- less than two days before, I was eating lunch with him and he seemed completely healthy other than an occasional sneeze. I didn’t even notice this until after his death, when I was reflecting on whether he would have survived if his symptoms were caught earlier. After his passing, I expected to never have contact with Mitchell’s family ever again because of their feelings toward me but a week later, his mother knocked on my door and apologized for her family’s behaviors towards me and thanked me for contacting them when Mitchell got sick as if it weren’t for that knock on their door, they would have never been able to make up with their son and say goodbye to him. I cannot say that they were not anti-Semitic anymore, but they understood me in terms other than my religion… they saw me as a man, a worker, and greatest of all, they saw me as their son’s best friend.
by: Monicamarshall

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