Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Wordless 33


What Great series of events was this color picture taken from? What are these men doing? What is their mission? Where are these men from? When do you think this picture was taken?

Still wondering about that blue painting last week with the flowers? My explanation can be found HERE.

Find other participants in Wordless Wednesday HERE

The explanation for this Wordless image can be found here.

Is State History Being Erased?

I saw an article the other day from Teacher Magazine online via the Associated Press called Arkansas Historians Upset Over Curriculum. It caused me concern. Even though state law requires the teaching of state history, Arkansas educrats have proposed a new framework for teaching history that eradicates a major chunk of curriculum.

The article states:

Tom Dillard, president of the Arkansas History Education Coalition, suggested Saturday that the new guidelines for social studies, approved by the state Education Board this year, violate a 1997 state law on teaching Arkansas history and effectively reverse the group's effort of at least the last 20 years to incorporate the subject into school curricula.

The [state] board [of education] …[wishes to] combine social studies and Arkansas history into one subject for kindergartners through sixth graders and [wants to require] the teaching of world history in seventh and eight grades, typically when Arkansas history is taught.

Dillard noted that the 10-year-old state law, adopted he said after the state Education Department failed to follow through on a promise to beef up Arkansas history instruction in the schools, requires that schools teach a unit of Arkansas history as a social studies subject at each elementary grade "with greater emphasis at the fourth and fifth grade levels."

In addition, he said, the schools must teach a full semester of Arkansas history to students between the seventh and 12th grades.

A one year moratorium has been set that will keep the framework from being implemented, while the educrats and Arkansas historians fight this out. It got me to thinking, however, if educrats can attempt to do this in Arkansas, they can try to do it in my own home state of Georgia. I hope not, but since we already see a watering down of history in the schools due to testing concerns over English/Language Arts and Math, I can’t help but wonder what’s next.

In a society where we have many transient students would state history matter to them? Would any of the students benefit from it? Is the teaching of state history wasted time?

I think not as long as teachers are competent in their subject matter and capable of knowing their own weak areas in the content, so they can beef up their knowledge. State history is American history. The story is simply told from the view point of the state where the students live. It should not only be told from a textbook, but rather from the resources of the state itself. Students should be taking numerous fieldtrips during their state history course to see the wonderful historic sites their own state has to offer, and lessons should be design in such a way to allow students to discover much of the content themselves.

The goals of teaching state history are and should be no different from teaching a broader American History course. Students should acquire skills, knowledge, and values necessary to make decisions as informed decisions in a culturally diverse democratic nation and interdependent world, or as the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) states students should acquire civic competance.

But why state history? Can’t they get that from a regular American History course?

In an article published in the OAH Magazine of History titled Teaching State History: Anacronism or Opportunity, Rhoda R.Gilman proposes that state history is a natural place for demonstrating the interplay between the individual and the universal. To leave out state history is to leave the student in a vacuum where no recognition is made to the local area and its contribution to the American story. State history is the perfect vehicle to allow students to see how an area is directly involved with changes over time.

Any move to waterdown or delete the teaching of state history attacks state identity. During his farewell address in 1989 President Ronald Reagan had the teaching of history on his mind. He said the country had been failing to adequately teach children the American story and what it represents in the history of the world. “We’ve got to teach history based not on what’s in fashion, but what’s important. If we forget what we did, we won’t know who we are. I am warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately in an erosion of the American spirit.”

State history is part of that American memory, and it should not be eradicated or left to those who are less informed to merely weave into other curricular areas. By the time students reach middle school teaching state history should not be something done as an "Oh, by the way", or as a "tack on" activity. Older students are capable of seeing far more than most think, and are able to keep up with a large cast of characters and various viewpoints. It is the perfect time to teach the American story from the state’s viewpoint. It is simply one more layer of schema for children as they progress towards their high school years.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Historic Places and Other Things Seem on My Computer Screen This Week

Take a wild guess….what historical, earth-shaking event happened at this church? I’ll reveal the answer shortly, but first…

There’s lots of good reading on education topics at the education carnival hosted by Education in Texas.

The Tour Marm is out and about on tour. She’s left links to a few posts that are lonely for comments. My Pictures In her absence go cheer up a post or two.

Does Your GPA Really Matter? I thought the article was interesting.

Quick! Can you name all 43 presidents in ten minutes? Take the quiz I found at American Presidents

Need some Civil War resources? Speaking of History discusses a few and includes a podcast or two.

I’ve been spending some time this week writing about Georgia’s very own version of Paul Revere. Yeah really…Georgia has their very own.

Here's another great resources for my blogroll----Celebrate Freedom.

and finally, on this day in history 23 years ago today my husband and I were married at the church I’ve pictured here. This is the church my husband’s family attended. I haven’t been inside it since the day we were married, but at the time it was one of the prettiest sanctuaries around. They had just installed a brand new pipe organ and bell system. At four o’clock before I walked down the isle the bells rang for a few minutes before the organist began the Bridal March. It was so pretty. Hubby and I are going to one of Atlanta’s finest restaurants for dinner where we hope to have a great meal, wonderful wine, and stimulating conversation.

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Painter for Several Units

This is American Gothic, one of the most recognizable and parodied images in American culture. It was painted in 1930 by Grant Wood. Even though my young students know nothing about Mr. Wood or the artistic style of Regionalism they immediately tell me they’ve seen the painting before when I flash it up on my television monitor. It’s not surprising because it seems everyone has done their own portrayal of the painting in some way or another…just do a Google search using the key words "American Gothic". In fact, I posted Georgia’s version of the painting this very week.

My wordless image for this week is called Calendulas. Wood painted it in 1929, and it is very different from his other works. Many of the readers who visited my Wordless puzzle brought up Van Gogh. They did this for good reason. The style of Calendulas is reminiscent of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. Click over to Sunflowers and then back to Calendulas (the first link in this paragraph). Notice how similar the two works are. There is a thick application of paint on the flowers themselves. Notice how the vase in Calendulas seems to tilt forward---this is due to the horizontal stripes. The illusion of a round vase is achieved through the curved blue stripes on the vase, and the horizontal table edge provides depth to the painting. When I’m pretending to be a Language Arts teacher I like to show students Calendulas and Sunflowers together. Then I ask students to make a two-column chart to compare and contrast the two paintings. We spend some time working on the charts to word and reword ideas that eventually wind up in a written essay.

Wood was born in Amamosa, Iowa. His first forays into art include creating scenery for his for his high school plays and drawings for the year book. Later he studied at an art institute and visited Europe several times. He even organized his own Paris artshow. He was a well travelled person and very cosmopolitan, however, once he finally settled back in Iowa for good he was often seen in overalls. He was a member of a group of artist referred to as Regionalist and was part of the American Scene Movement in the 1930s. During a time of great nationalism in the United States he looked to America’s past and supported rural life. His paintings that were completed during the Depression seem vastly different to the start realities of the time----they were filled with cultivated fields while top soil was blowing away in the Dust Bowl.

Once the United States entered World War I, Wood joined the Army and travelled to Washington D.C. where he designed camouflage for U.S. artillery. I previously wrote about the use of camouflage in World War I here. Later, after the war, Wood returned to his Iowa roots and took up residence in a carriage house with no address. He promptly made one up. His reason for returning home was simple. He said, “I realized that all the really good ideas I’d ever had come to me while milking a cow, so I went back to Iowa.” His body of work is great and doesn’t always include paintings. He has worked in many mediums including stained glass. A corn-themed chandelier Wood designed hangs in an Iowa hotel and the image on the Iowa state quarter is a Wood creation.

Grant’s work can be used all year long at various points of an American History class. George Washington and the various myths that surround him can be a great time to show students Wood’s Parson Weem’s Fable. When students are introduced to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere Wood's painting of the same name helps to draw students into the event. Finally, the Birthplace of Herbert Hoover (my favorite Wood painting) is a very interesting view of a presidential birthplace.

In a statement that accompanied his final painting Wood remarked, “In making these paintings as you may have guessed I had in mind something I hoped to convey to a fairly wide audience in America---the picture of a country rich in the arts of peace; a homey lovable nation worth any sacrifice necessary to its preservation.”

What do you think of this statement?

Does this America still exist?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

13 of the Greatest Lines from Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil

I feel like a little fun and was thinking about the movie that made Mercer House, the Forsythe Fountain, and basically anything else in Savannah, Georgia common knowledge. Not only does Savannah literally drip with great Southern accents the Spanish moss hanging from its trees drip with history. It is my favorite Georgia city.

Even though the book was better (it always is) my husband and I dearly love some of the lines from the movie. However, a word of warning….some of these lines are R-rated…a rare occaision for the content around here.

So, without further ado….13 of the greatest lines from the movie Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil:

1. Oh, that Jim Williams went and shot somebody. Canape?

2. This place is fantastic! It’s like Gone With the Wind on mescaline.

3. They walk imaginary pets here, Garland----on a f…ing leash. And they’re heavily armed and drunk. New York is boring.

4. I’m what they call the “nouveau riche”, but then, it’s only the “riche” that counts.

5. To understand the living, you’ve got to commune with the dead.

6. Sport, truth like art, is in the eye of the beholder. You believe what you choose, and I’ll believe what I know.

7. True story and deliciously evil, don’t you think?

8. Livin’ here pisses off all the right people.

9. I never enter the office on Sunday. Ba-a-a-d juju.

10. Two tears in a bucket. MF it.

11. Question: So which conversation shall we join?
Answer: The one less likely to involve gunfire.

12. If you’re thirsty, a drink will cure it. If you not, a drink will prevent it. Prevention is better than a cure.

and the very best line of all….

13. Sonny Seiler (the actually owner of the University of Georgia mascot and the attorney for Jim Williams played by actor, Jack Thompson) saying, “GO DAWGS!

Happy Thursday. Visit other 13 lists HERE.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wordless 32


After his service in the Army this painter was true to his region. Who was this American artist?

View more Wordless images HERE.

I've Been 'Splorin Again!

I have this habit of letting my Southernese get out of hand every now and then and it overflows into the classroom where I will shorten words and change them in order to relax things and have a little fun with the kids.

Once we embark on our unit of exploration I begin to refer to the large group of men my students must sort through and know as ‘splorers instead of explorers, and later in the year we ‘splore the American Revolution and the War of 1812, and so on. The kids enjoy correcting me when I use the wrong words.

At any rate….I’ve been ‘splorin through the maze we call the Internet and have found some more interesting resources. I’ll be adding these to the resource blogroll I have sometime today.

I’m really excited about sharing the Gilder Lehrman Institute of History site. It is a place I could spend hours at. At the site you can find history in the news, content, lesson ideas, and over 60,000 primary sources detailing the political and social history of the United States and North America from 1493 to modern times. Today’s featured document is the view of one Northerner regarding slavery in the South. There are also podcasts of various published historians speaking about their books, and you can comment!

AIM Your Projects With Flash….AIM being animation, interaction, and multimedia. This site provides numerous links to various flash media sites around the web. Keep scrolling for various Social Studies examples. There are also links for information if you want to try you hand at a flash project.

National Atlas….I can’t wait to play here. This site allows you to add all types of layers to the maps being viewed as well as including maps to download and print for classroom use. There’s a blue box that appears on the mainpage that tells you everything the site can help educators and “fun-seekers” with.

Go ‘splore…er, explore….you’ll never know what you will find.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Razzle Dazzle and All That Jazz

Lesson Planning 101 teaches that students must be engaged in the lesson for learning to take place. Charlotte Danielson of the Educational Testing Service states students should not simply spend “time on task” but should be actively involved in the curriculum. She calls it “minds-on learning.” In fact many researchers have shown that teachers who are most successful develop activities with students’ basic psychological and intellectual needs in mind (Ames, Alderman & Midgley, and Strong, et. al.).

Those statements sound good to me. I agree with them, however, I often feel as if I am doing a frantic tap dance attempting to keep everyone focused and learning at the same time. Spinning plates is the best way I know how to describe delivering instruction in a classroom that has quite a menu of interruptions from loose teeth, unannounced visitors, and the ever squawking intercom.

From time to time the content I teach actually gives me aide and comfort and makes my tap dancing steps a little less difficult. World War I gives me many opportunties to catch my breath as I am able to present one interesting idea concerning the war after another that successfully engages students. The Georgia standard I’m most concerned during this time is SS5H4(a) which involves German attacks on U.S. shipping during the war in Europe and how it eventually led to our involvement in the war.

After we have discussed the causes of the war (another post for another time) we take a look at the German U-Boats and their attacks on merchant and passenger ships especially the British passenger liner, Lusitania, where several hundred Americans were killed. Students generally take a look at passenger recollections of the event at great websites like Lusitania: Lest We Forget. We debate the question if it was correct for the Germans to fire on the passenger liner and through a power point I've created we take a look at evidence ending in a 2006 underwater expedition that confirmed the Lusitania was carrying munitions.

Then we take a look at camouflage.

I show students an image of camouflage. “What’s this?” I ask.

Hands begin to wave frantically.

Of course most of my students know what I’m showing them. Many hunt with their fathers, even some of the girls. A lively conversation begins. Just like their daddies every young hunter has a story to tell. Other students are just as familiar with the military uses of camouflage.

I tell students military forces across the world haven’t always used camouflage. It wasn’t until the savagery of World War I that it began to be used extensively in many different nations including the United States. I show students images of the British Redcoats and Patriot soldiers during the American Revolution. Nope, no camouflage there.

Then I show them images of Civil War soldiers wearing the blue and the gray and the more colorful Zouaves. Again, we don’t find any camouflage.

The old notion was that bright and bold designs would intimidate an enemy, but during the British experience in India leaders began to think differently about appearing bold and bright.

The increased use of technology during World War I---namely the use of aerial photography for surveillance and the extensive use of trench warfare provided for the widespread use of camouflage and the need for a new type of military personnel---the camoufleurs. Their job was to devise camouflage schemes to make it difficult for the enemy to locate and destroy forces and equipment. Many of the camoufleurs were artists and designers during their civilian lives.The French established the first camofleur group in 1915. The British then picked up on the idea calling the camouflage Dazzle. Finally, the U.S. began to use it and referred to it as Razzle Dazzle.
It’s at this point I share a few facts about Cubisim with students. The style of painting is thought to have begun in France around 1907 continuing through at least 1914 and beyond. Pablo Picasso is one of the best known Cubists as seen here with his L’Accordeoniste completed in 1911. Painters like Picasso liked to take objects and break them up and then present them in abstract form.

So, as many students often say, just what the heck does Picasso and art have to do with a war?

Picasso said it best when he witnessed camouflaged tanks rolling down the streets of Paris----“It is we that have created that.”

Picasso was correct. Art and war fused. Camouflage is a type of Cubism.

Many painters that are well recognized today were camoufleurs in the U.S. military----Thomas Hart Benton, Charles Birchfield, and Grant Wood.

Eventually the “school of Dazzle” was created and it was used extensively. Dazzle was camouflage used on naval vessels and it was quite dramatic using bright colors. Students are generally amazed by dazzle pictures. They do seem sort of strange looking. It was impossible to hide a ship out on the open ocean simply because they cannot melt into the background of sea and sky. Cubism helped to break the ship up and made it hard for the U-Boats to determine a ship’s speed and course. Without those two vital pieces of information a direct hit by the U-Boats was very hard to accomplish.

Take a look at the Mahomet, seen here. How many bows could this ship have?








In the beginning camoufleurs gave each ship a different design, however, as the war trudged on they devised specific designs that worked the best and used them over and over. It wasn’t just military ships that bore the Razzle Dazzle designs. Merchant ships and passenger liners become very colorful as well.

There were no color photography at the time, however, a few people have used today’s technology to cover over old dazzle pictures so that we can get an idea of what it might have looked like. A terrific website that covers all aspects of dazzle painting is presented by Roy R. Behrens HERE.

The advent of technology brought on dazzle and since technology is so fluid it effectively ended dazzle painting as well. Once radar began to be used dazzle camouflage was unnecessary. The extensive use of airplanes during warfare after World War I also made Razzle Dazzle obsolete, however, after the Japanese air power was diminished in the Pacific the Americans used some dazzle painting during World War II.

After the war dazzle painting soon began to be seen in civilian life in drawings, paintings, cartoons, clothing, and even painting on vehicles. The Behrens site gives several examples of civilian dazzle painting and goes into detail concerning the British efforts with dazzle painting.

Getting back to student engagement....after students have drawn their own ships and created their own dazzle camouflage designs it is very hard for them to forget the reasons why the United States was dragged into World War I.

Follow this link if you would like to see my current posts.

Journal References:

Ames, C. (1992) Classrooms: goals, structures, and student motivation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84(3), 261-271.

Alderman, L.H. and Midgley, C. (1998). Motivation and middle school students [Eric Digest]. Champaign, Il., Eric Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. Ed 421 281).

Danielson, Charlotte. (1996). Enhancing professional practice: a framework for teaching. Alexandria, Va., Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Strong, R. , Silver, H.F., and Robinson, A. (1995) What do students want? Educational Leadership, 53(1), pages 8-12.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

So My Husband Designed a Golf Shoe...What Do You Think?

Ok, so what's the point of having a blog if you don't take advantage of it every now and then....

It seems my husband designed a pair of golf shoes in a contest at Golfballs.com

Please click through and vote on the shoe he designed. He is calling the pair "GO DAWGS".

In order to vote visit the site here and roll your mouse over the stars and click to rate. You have to scroll down a bit in order to locate the "GO DAWGS" voting space.

There's a link there when you can see all of the other designs, but as for me and my house we are partial to all things Georgia.

13 Things About Arthur St. Clair


Welcome to my 31st Thirteen list.

If you are regular reader around here you are aware that I love to share with students obscure yet important figures in American History. These people have very interesting stories and are often instrumental behind the scenes. They often are participants in the little stories that motivate students into further learning action

Arthur St. Clair is one of those interesting fellows. He served his country in many different positions, and made some mistakes, however, he didn’t stop participating.

Eric over at Secondhand Thoughts almost immediately guessed who my mystery image was yesterday for Wordless Wednesday. Check out the comments for my thoughts on lesson planning and how students can be taught to analyze images as well.

Here are 13 facts about Arthur St. Clair:

1. He was born and educated in Scotland. There is some discrepancy regarding his birth year (1734 to 1736), however, the information presented at this site states Arthur St. Clair was descended from the St. Clair family of Roslin Chapel fame via a common ancestor with the Earl of Roslin. Roslin Chapel played an inportant role in the plot line of the novel, The Da Vinci Code.

2. He traveled to the American Colonies during the French and Indian War after he purchased a commission in the British army.

3. Following the war he settled in the Ligonier area of Pennsylvania where he became the largest landowner in western Pennsylvania and owned several mills.

4. As a citizen of the colony of Pennsylvania, St. Clair became very active in the colony’s legal system from the court of common pleas to the orphan’s court, and served as a member of the proprietary council.

5. When Virginia claimed a part of Pittsburgh as their own, St. Clair was the individual who issued the arrest order for the leader of the Virginia troops. This little known skirmish between the two colonies became known as Lord Dunmore's War in 1773 and 1774 and it had much to do with Native Americans who lived in the area.

6. During the American Revolution, St. Clair once again donned a military uniform except he wore the uniform of a Continental. He took part in organizing the New Jersey militia, crossed the Delaware with Washington and took part in the battles of Trenton, Princeton and Ticonderoga.

7. It was his failure at Ticonderoga that led to a court martial where he was eventually acquitted. He returned to duty and completed his service at Yorktown.

8. Many Americans don’t realize the United States has not always had the Constitution as its plan of government. Our first plan was the Articles of Confederation and several different men served as our president under the Articles. St. Clair was the ninth president under our first plan of government. In fact, he was in charge during the time of Shay's Rebellion which is one of the key events people like me teach to students in order to show the Articles of Confederation were flawed and made our vulnerable infant country extremely weak.

9. Following a loss of the governorship of Pennsylvania, St. Clair was appointed as governor of the Ohio Territory under provisions provided for in the Northwest Ordinance, a key factor in the settlement of the west that I teach to students. Once the territory was divided he was the governor of Ohio where he was instrumental in establishing Maxwell’s Code, the first written law in the area. Unfortunately his efforts to establish treaties with the Native Americans in the area often were met with extreme resistance on the part of the various tribes.

10. In 1791 he became the highest ranking officer in the United States Army and led his forces against many different Native American leaders. President Washington requested his resignation, however, after the Battle of Wabash (also known as St. Clair’s Defeat or the Columbia Massacre) as over 600 American soldiers along with many women and children were killed. It was a tremendous defeat for the Americans.

11. Thomas Jefferson removed St. Clair from his role as governor of Ohio in 1802. He was seen by many to be partisan, and he didn’t always consult all parties before acting. Critics state his arrogance in governing led to a weak Ohio government early on.

12. St. Clair died in 1818 in Pennsylvania. He was basically penniless as he had given away wealth over the years and just as his career had its ups and downs so did his business ventures as well.

13. You can learn more about St. Clair here as well as see some of his handwriting.
You can see his home here.

Join Thursday Thirteen or find other participants HERE

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wordless 31


Ok, who might this man be? Can you name all of the different ways he served his country?

Last week's WW was identified at the end of the comments, and the week before was an image of the Illinois Monument at the Vicksburg battlefield.
Eric, The Tour Marm, and GriftDrift were the closest in analyzing last week’s image.

Learn how to join Wordless Wednesday or look at the pictures of others here.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Critiquing the Genarlow Wilson Sex Tape

In my usual style I was out Saturday morning purchasing something last minute at the mall to wear to a family wedding. When I was entering the building I heard the sound of hovering helicopters. It was then that I remembered that supporters of Genarlow Wilson were marching and meeting at the Douglas County Courthouse.

My new outfit in hand I decided to change my normal route home and take a left instead of a right and mosey by the courthouse to check out the sights. To be entirely honest I wanted to check out the crowd to see if the local television stations reported the numbers accurately later in the day. I’ve heard Saturday’s crowd described as hundreds of people to thousands of people. By the time I passed by there was a steady stream of folks walking up the road away from the courthouse, but there was still a good number of folks standing around the courthouse steps and I assume someone was still speaking. My estimation of the gathering is that it numbered somewhere in the neighborhood of 1500 people.

I’m really not sure who I’m more upset with in this tale of debauchery and legal wranglings that has painted the county and thereby the state where I have lived for a long time as racist, backward, and intolerant.

Perhaps I’m most upset with those that have stopped by this blog because you’ve attempted to locate the actual Genarlow Wilson sex tape through a Google search. If that’s the case then visit this site. I’m sure you will be more than satisfied…..

Shame on you if you think I would really do that. :)

The Event That Started It All

Quoting William Grigg of the Pro Libertate blog:

Wilson was one of six young men arrested after a December 2003 New Year’s celebration at a Day’s Inn off Interstate 20. The “Douglas Six,” as they immediately became known, had been involved in what I would call, had I no discipline at all, a “Bourbon, Buds, and Booty Bash”: They rented a couple of rooms and invited some female schoolmates to spend the night.

One of the girls arrived at the Day’s Inn with an overnight bag. She got thoroughly drunk, and was just as thoroughly used. The other girl, a friend of Wilson’s from the track team, apparently remained sober the entire time. She was the one who, by her own account, initiated the sexual act with Wilson.

When the first girl awoke the next morning wearing nothing but socks, her first thought was that she had been raped. A call to her mother resulted in a police investigation that turned up a videotape of the previous night’s activities. Soon Wilson and his friends were arrested at school and dragged away in handcuffs.

I belive at this point it is important to note that one of the girls was 17 and it has been reported she was the one that had intercourse with Wilson. It was the second girl, who was 15, that had oral sex with Wilson. Mr. Wilson was 17 at the time.

The action of Wilson and his cohorts was despicable even if they had the consent of the girls... which they apparently had. It makes me angry that these children have been exposed to anything in our society that would make them conceive of such a deplorable thing as a fun thing to do on New Years Eve.

The other boys pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of child molestation and sexual battery in exchange for five year sentences. They would then be required to register on the sex offenders list. Wilson decided to fight the issue because he strongly objected to being labeled as a child molester for the remainder of his life.

I also must point out that while I agree with many things in Mr. Grigg’s post I totally disagree with his notion that the public schools caused this action to happen in any way, shape, or form. This lack of judgment on the part of these young men is a symptom of something that has NOT risen inside the walls of our educational institutions. It is a moral malaise that has occurred in society as a whole over the last few decades and has invaded our schools, public and private, to a point that the stench is extremely nauseating. (A link to Mr. Grigg’s entire post follows.)

Legalities

If the teens had had intercourse with the younger girl the boys would have only been charged with a misdemeanor which would have resulted in a one year sentence instead of a ten year stint. Think on this for a minute….ten years for oral sex with consenting parties…while others have been convicted of much more serious sex offenses with young children and have received sentences of 20 days or 90 days. Clearly the statutes are problematic.

It’s clear that the General Assembly did not take into account that more and more teens are sexually active when the law was written. Since all of this has started the man who wrote the bill, Matt Towery, has said, “No one in their right mind ever thought a prosecutor would take that bill and use it in such a way.”

Perhaps not, Mr. Towery, but maybe it’s the rush to legislate that causes situations like this. That and the fact that District Attorney McDade had something at his disposal that he could have used a bit more in this situation…..discretion regarding situations that end in prosecutions. William Grigg brings up another horrifying situation in Georgia that occurred a few years ago in the Atlanta suburb of Conyers…..

[Residents of Conyers] were shocked to learn of a syphilis epidemic among local High School and Junior High School students. Seventeen tested positive for the venereal disease; more than 200 students believed to have been exposed to the disease were treated as well. Of that group, 50 admitted to have engaged in exotic sexual behavior that might have seemed excessive to the proprietors of a brothel in Pompeii.

“It was not uncommon, when all these young people would get together, to engage in group sex,” recalled Claire Sterk, a professor at Emory University's School of Public Health, in an interview from the 1999
PBS Frontline documentary “The Lost Children of Rockdale County.” “There was group sex going on in terms of one guy having sex with one of the girls, and then the next guy having sex with the same girl. There was group sex going on in terms of one girl having sex with multiple male partners at the same time, multiple females having sex with each other at the same time. I would say that the only type of group sex that I did not hear about in this overall context was group sex between just guys.”

Some of those involved were as young as 12-13 years of age.

"The parents were off and gone," observed middle school guidance counselor Peggy Cooper. "And they said they were watching the Playboy Channel in the girl’s bedroom. And there would be, like, 10 or 12 of them up there." One young boy described to Cooper the "game" their group had devised in which "you have to imitate what the Playboy people are doing." Another boy told her that "there may be three or four of us at one time. And it doesn’t matter if you’re two guys or two girls or a girl and a guy. It doesn’t matter. You just have to do what they’re doing."

One girl recalled a party at which another girl, equipped with "the bag of condoms we got from the health department," undertook to have sex with every boy in the room. The boys at the party were "lined up … it was like they were from the [bedroom] door to the front door.... And then she came out. She … thought it was the coolest thing."

Ick.

Though there were clearly some situations where some of these children could be prosecuted under Georgia law at the time the District Attorney of Rockdale County chose not to.

Legislative Action

The law that convicted Wilson has since been changed, but the law cannot be applied retroactively. In another effort to free Wilson, State Senator Emanuel Jones (D-Decatur) attempted to get the General Assembly to pass a law that would allow the judge to reduce Wilson’s sentence. The effort stalled as some key legislators refused to act.

Court Action Since Wilson’s Original Conviction

Finally a hearing was held where a judge said, “If this court or any court cannot recognize the injustice of what has occurred here, then our court system has lost sight of the goal of our judicial system which has strived to accomplish justice being served in a fair and equal manner.”

The judge then voided Wilson’s conviction.

So, he’s free right?

No, hardly.

In reaction to the court ruling state Attorney General Thurbert Baker filed an appeal questioning if the court has the power to commute Wilson’s sentence to a sentence that did not satutorily exist at a time of his conviction. He said he had no choice but to appeal saying, “It is my responsibility to follow the laws of Georgia as they are written, not how some may wish they were written.

The story gets stranger…..Even though he states he must interpret the laws as they are written Baker has been quoted as saying Wilson’s sentence was “harsh”.

…and strange just keeps happening…..

When the local Atlanta paper published an interview with the mother of the 15 year old girl stating she had felt pressured by DA McDade’s office to bring charges apparently he sent his assistant to the mother’s house, taped an interview where he requested the mother contact the paper again, and then told her not to let on that they had visited her. When the paper requested a copy of the tape McDade’s office refused. Later, however, they released the tape to the Fulton County Daily Report . They have posted a link for the audio version as well.

…and the poor decisions on the part of Mr. McDade keep happening…..

Back to the Porn Issue

Still wondering about that sex tape? It seems Douglas County DA David McDade has handed out approximately 35 copies of the video stating the Devil in the disguise of the Open Records Law, made him do it. He has stated that requests from AP reporters prompted him to send the tape to reporters, lawmakers, and members of the public who requested it.

McDade had stated in earlier interviews, “…that the tape would show [others] that the case wasn’t about a teen lovers tryst, but showed something more akin to a gang rape by Wilson and the other boys.”

News media outlets in Atlanta and I’m sure other places as well have only run a snippet of the tape mainly showing Wilson from the waist up. Just the look on the young man’s face is so repugnant I can’t even begin to imagine what the rest of the tape shows. No, it wasn’t a teen lover’s tryst….that’s very clear, however, the entire circus is becoming as nausiating as the choice the teens made on New Years Eve.

In fact the distribution of the tape to some key state lawmakers is one reason why the bill proposed by Representative Jones stalled in the Georgia General Assembly. Several state legislators suddenly dropped any support of the new bill once they saw the tape.

Georgia’s chief prosecutor, U.S. Attorney David Nahmias has said the tape, “constitutes child pornography under Federal law.” He called on McDade to stop releasing the tape.

Now McDade is being accused in the public arena of misuse of authority and distribution of child porn, and is being likened to the prosecutor in the Duke rape case.

Perhaps McDade should have blurred the images of the teens before releasing the tape.

Perhaps he should have sought a court order to seal the tape to begin with and then Open Records or not he would not be faced with the porn charges.

Perhaps, just perhaps, he shouldn’t have prosecuted the boys to the degree he did….

What do you think?

The next action in this case is July 20th when the appeal by the state Attorney General will be heard.

Additional reads:
Here is the link to Mr. Grigg’s entire post.
This next link also makes some great points...the comments are interesting.
Genarlow Wilson and the N Word

This post was also published in full at Georgia On My Mind

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Odds and Ends to Begin the Week

This was a hard weekend for me. I had planned to leave town….run away like I did on Mother’s Day, but it ended up working out a different way. My step-mother’s granddaughter was married yesterday and Dear Sister and I attended with our families in tow. It was a big splashy wedding…small country church….large country club. I told the bride’s father he had created a wonderful memory for his daughter.

It is funny how things work out….I wanted to run away and not face the first anniversary of mother’s death. Instead I was reminded that life goes on…time does not stand still. The living must keep living. Even so…it was hard not to remember minute by minute what I was doing this time last year….on Friday, on Saturday, today….

I had ignored the death of Lady Bird Johnson until Friday when I felt compelled to post Lady Bird...More Than Just Wildflowers over at American Presidents. She was a very interesting person to write about.

I began my Friday evening by reading this thought provoking post by Chance over at the Sapient Sutler….Lies and the Lying Teachers Who Teach Them. Head on over and provide Chance some feedback. What do you think?

Ed Darrell over at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub went further with my post I Love to Tell the Story in his post The Story Is the Thing; Tell the Story in History. He’s hit on some of THE best stories to hook and motivate students.

Finally…..some time ago Klkatz at the U.S. History Site Blog had tagged me here with the 8 things meme…at the same time I was tagged by a Georgia blogger at Georgia On My Mind as well. Long story short I told both I would post 8 additional things over at my Georgia blog…..What have I gone and dilvulged now?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Oh, I Love to Tell the Story...

I love to tell the story...'twill be my theme in glory...

Yes, I agree today’s title is a very great hymn, and I do love to tell “that” story best of all, but there are many other stories I can’t keep from telling in my professional life even if it means using precious minutes that should be used for unpacking those standards, assigning performance assessments, and attending the latest attempt at an educational assembly.

For example, I love to share with students the story of Washington crossing the Delaware and the events of the Battle of Trenton when the General urged his men on in crossing the icy Delaware followed by a march in the bitter cold only to discover that much of their gun powder was wet. Washington was hoping for a surprise attack on the Hessian forces led by Johann Rall. The irony in the story is not lost on my young students as they realize the stupidity of Rall. A note was found in his pocket following the battle that told advised Washington was on the move. Rall had not paid much attention to the note because he was too busy playing cards. The story of the battle gets even more interesting when students take a look at the famous painting Washington Crossing the Delaware.

I love to compare today’s media hype with those people long ago who joined the bandwagon to shout, “Remember the Maine!” In 1898, the battleship U.S.S. Maine was sent to Cuba to protect U.S. interests in the area. While at anchor in the Havanna harbor the ship blew up. While it was never determined that an unknown enemy had caused the five tons of powder on the ship to explode the U.S. media encouraged war with headlines such as “MAINE EXPLOSION CAUSED BY BOMB OR TORPEDO” and ‘THE DESTRUCTION WAS THE WORK OF AN ENEMY”. Newspaper artists even recreated images of saboteurs fastening underwater mines to the hull of the Maine even though there was no proof that those events had happened. Newspaper magnate Randolph Hurst offered a $50,000 reward for information regarding the truth. Once the “Remember the Maine” cry became viral citizens across the country were speaking out against Spain and were burning the Spanish in effigy. In recent years students have had very grown up discussions regarding how media hype can help support a war or change the popularity of a war depending on the political climate in the country.

Telling the story of little known Americans like Ike, Peter, and John (they aren’t who you think they are) are very powerful educational tools, and I love to share these seemingly unimportant Americans. Students should realize the American story can be told by normal everyday Americans and not just the ones found in their text and trade books. While our traditional historical figures provide the framework our lesser known figures and the stories of our own ancestors can help us to understand events in history.

I love telling the story behind the story---we don’t simply arrive at a point in history by magic. There is always a backstory---a web of various other stories that dovetail and fit in many different ways depending on a given point of view. For example, answering the question have we always had terrorism or is it something new can lead students in all sorts of directions.

While I understand the requirements of my position with regards to beginning at point A and arriving at point B before testing time I love to use historical stories to teach character education. I think it is very imnport to teach kids to understand what motivates someone like Benedict Arnold or what causes a great political leader like Button Gwinnett to self-destruct as he did. Teaching students to evaluate the actions of historical characters is just one step towards developing citizens that can analyze events as their life unfolds---events that effect taxes, waging war, and most importantly elections. Just imagine....a literate electorate!

There are many reasons why I love to tell the story....the main one being I'm just compelled to do it.

I love to tell the story; ‘tis pleasant to repeat
What seems each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story, for some who have never heard….

Follow this link if you would like to see more current posts.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

13 People Who Were Born on This Day

Here's a list of 13 people born today, July 11th. Some of these folks are no longer with us, some are still contributing to society, and one is very, very special to me.

1. Richie Sambora-----Bon Jovi’s on again off again guitarist

2. E.B. White----of Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little fame

3. John Quincy Adams---please tell me I don’t have to tell you who this is…
.
4. Yul Bryner----“Etc., etc., etc.!” and “So let it be written, so let it be done” are two of the great lines in the movies and he uttered them

5. Tab Hunter----I always liked to watch re-runs of his movies

6. Giorgio Armani----fashion designer

7. James McNeill Whistler-American painter who created the painting known as Whistler’s Mother

8. Bob McGrath----you know…..Bob on Sesame Street

9. Jeff Corwin---wildlife expert

10. Frederick I---King of Prussia from 1701-1729

11. Robert Bruce---King of Scotland from 1306-1329

12. Matej Gaspar----Yugoslavian designated to be the world’s 5,000,000,000th person per the UN in 1987

and finally the most important person to me born on this day in 1959…………

13. Dear Hubby----my husband, the father of my children, the one who puts up with me and takes care of me

Happy Birthday you wonderful man! I love you very much!

Thursday Thirteen Participants
1. Blogaritaville, USA
2. burntofferings
3. Susan Helene Gottfried
4. Eric
5. Crimson Wife
6. Lady Rose
7. Miss Profe
8. Robin
9. Alasandra
10. Nancy Liedel
11. Sparky Duck
12. Danielle
13. Suprina
14. natalie

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here

Powered by... Mister Linky's Magical Widgets.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Wordless 30


Who is this? What is significant about this person?

Last week’s image was the Illinois Monument located in the battlefield park at Vicksburg…more on it later.

Join and view other Wordless participants HERE

Wordless Wednesday Participants
1. And Miles To Go...
2. So Lost
3. Jarid and Caydon\'s blog
4. Mark Caldwell
5. Nancy Liedel
6. Our Happy Happenings

Check out the new Wordless Wednesday HQ!!

Powered by... Mister Linky's Magical Widgets.

Monday, July 09, 2007

A WONDERful Project to Begin the Year

The announcement this past Saturday regarding the new Seven Wonders of the World got me to thinking about how I could use the old and new list when school starts. The first couple of weeks of school are always a little different as students get used to procedures, schedules are continually tweaked, and I’m attempting to get to know the level of background and skill knowledge of students.

The following is a sketch of an idea that might be interesting to use during the first few days of school----

I’m fairly certain none of my students would be able to correctly name the Wonders on the list that has been around since the Middle Ages. Can you?

So, how'd you do? The website found here might help you identify the former Wonders of the World. I would hope that you at least got the third one---The Great Pyramid of Giza.
I’m sure many of my young ones would at least state the image is an Egyptian pyramid. As far as the other images go I would give students a little background to the old Seven Wonders list and identify each of of the images----where it is and how it figured in with history.
I would ask students to look at the images again to see if they notice anything in common with them. Notice that all of the images are produced with the exception of the Giza pyramid. There's a great reason for this. The locations that we have long called the Seven Wonders of the World are mostly gone. We have the skeletons and foundations of some, but others......basically they are myth long since eroded into a faint memory.
With this mind I would direct students to some other images. Do you know these?









They are more recognizable, aren't they? I'm thinking that just like you some of my students would know some of these. If you need some help check out the Seven Wonders of the World announcement page from this past weekend and check yourself.
I'm thinking I would identify the ones students don’t know and then divide students into seven research groups to complete a mini-project on their assigned wonder. Students would need to identify their wonder, identify where it is, and the history behind it. Students would create a large image of their wonder and color it. I would also want students to determine why they think their wonder was included in the list. Why is it significant for the world to call it a wonder? Students would present their wonder to the class and at the end of the presentations the data and drawings would become one our first hallway presentations of the year.
I've not fleshed this whole thing out yet....I need to look for great web pages I could bookmark for students to use in their research, I need to write a formalized lesson plan, and I need to relate my standards to an assessment rubric. I need to create a slide presentation for the images.
As a summary there are many directions I could go that could lead to some interesting discussions about history and how we relate to it. Why did we need a new list of "Wonders"? What types of buildings were included in the old list compared to the new list? How does religion play into both lists? Is the old list located in one general area of the world compared to the new list? Why?
The most interesting question I could pose to students is regarding how the lists were compiled and how technology figured in to the whole process.
Hmmmm.....what do YOU think? Got any great ideas regarding presenting the NEW Seven Wonders to students?

Friday, July 06, 2007

Three...Count 'Em...Three Carnivals

The Georgia Carnival can be found at Georgia On My Mind. Topics that really stand out are the responses to Georgia’s House Speaker, Glenn Richardson, who predicts a demise of the blogger…mainly the political kind. There’s an interesting post about George Bush’s America and an informative piece about driving in Atlanta.

The Education Carnival can be found at NYC Educator. Over summer break teachers and parents are discussing charters, budget cuts, and many other things. If you ever blog about education or you just have an opinion you need to get the scoop from the frontlines.

Historianess is hosting this month’s History Carnival. Some of the topics include a Civil War reading list , a post regarding amateur historians, a history of…get this….SEWERS, and my post regarding pin money for the First Ladies was included with many, many other great reads.

Well, looks like I’ve got some readin’ and clickin’ to do….Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Happy Fourth of July!


If you have stopped by for Wordless Wednesday please scroll down to the next post.....


The artist of the above painting is Childe Hassam. He’s famous for a series of twenty-two flag paintings begun in 1916. Hassam was inspired by a preparedness parade he witnessed for World War I on Fifth Avenue in New York.

Isn’t it lovely?

…and just in case you need a little patriotic reading here are some of my more patriotic or government related posts. Happy Fourth!

George, We Hardly Knew Ye

The Star Spangled Banner---Why It Should Be Our Anthem

July 4, 1776---An Imagi-Holiday

Being About the Business of the People

Changing the Constitution

9/11 Lessons Learned

Shazaam! Thar Be Pirates!

Lady Liberty and Her Boys

The Town That Forgot the Fourth of July

Wordless 29


Isn’t this lovely? What is this? What’s it for? Be specific.

Last week’s explanation is here.

Join in on the fun with Wordless Wednesday here.


Wordless Wednesday Participants
1. Amy Grant
2. Sue
3. SandyCarlson
4. Starrlight
5. Isabelle aka Tricotine
6. Dariana
7. Nancy Liedel
8. Patois

Check out the new Wordless Wednesday HQ!!

Powered by... Mister Linky's Magical Widgets.

Presidents Sing and Dance to the Star Spangled Banner

Can you imagine? Theodore Roosevelt and JFK….Nixon and Ford together again….and even FDR, Carter, Reagan, and Clinton….as well as Bush I and Bush II all singing and dancing to the Star Spangled Banner.

What could be more patriotric on the Fourth of July?

See what I have posted at American Presidents Blog. It will make your Fourth!

Hat Tip: ValkingBlog

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Town That Forgot the Fourth of July

Taking a quick glance at the Fourth of July events scheduled in the Vicksburg, Mississippi area it looks like any other town. The Clarion Ledger has an entire webpage full of events…..ballooning, gospel music, fireworks… and The Vicksburg Post mentions:

A nine-day schedule of events for Vicksburg’s Fourth of July was announced, ranging from a concert by a Beatles tribute band to the city’s annual fireworks extravaganza.

It has not always been so.

Following their part in the Civil War the city of Vicksburg basically ignored our nation’s birth for several decades and many citizens just simply refused to celebrate it in any shape or form.

To understand why we need to take a look at the Mississippi River and the part it played in the events of the war. The river cut the Confederacy in two. Control of the southern portion of the river was necessary to give easy communication access back and forth between the eastern and western portions of the Confederate States of America. Not only was the river important economically to the South it was also important to the North, and they wanted to regain control.

Many cities along the river---New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Natchez fell easy enough to the Union forces. Vicksburg was different. Vickburg had been termed the Gibralter of the Mississippi River since it was located on 200 foot bluffs that stretched for three miles overlooking a horseshoe bend in the river. Its strategic importance was not lost on Union leaders. Abraham Lincoln called Vicksburg the key, and the war could not be brought to an end without the key in the Union’s pocket.

In May, 1862, David Farragut’s advance ships arrived off the shores of Vicksburg and requested the town’s surrender. The military commander, James Autrey, exclaimed, “No, Mississippians do not know and refuse to learn how to surrender to an enemy.” A few days later Farragut, the future hero of Mobile Bay, was turned away from Vicksburg by a Confederate ironclad. Farragut was simply unprepared to put up any kind of fight.

Finally Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant gave a try at Vicksburg in May, 1863.. He also failed on his first two attempts. On May 19th under Grant’s command, William T. Sherman led his troops in a movement against Confederate forces. Thinking it would go well for them this action cost the Union approximately 1,000 men.

Grant planned more carefully for an attack on May 22nd. This time the entire army took part. Though Grant’s men broke through Confederate lines several times the city did not fall. Union efforts resulted in 4,000 Union dead. It was at this point Grant decided to wait the Confederates out. They along with the citizens of of Vicksburg were hemmed in on all sides by the Union forces.

The seige was off to a horrifying start almost from the get-go when Grant allowed his casualites to lie on the battlefield. They quickly became bloated and blackened in the hot sun. One Confederate soldier remarked, “The Yanks are trying to smell us out of Vicksburg.” Finally, Lt. General John C. Pemberton, the Confederate commander, sent a note to Grant asking him to bury his dead. A truce for two and half hours was granted for this to happen. During this time there was much movement across the lines of battle and much conversation between the Blue and the Gray. Coffee and other necessary items were traded, and mixed card games struck up.

Once the signal was given, however, everyone returned to their proper places, and the seige continued. Over two hundred cannons, guns of the fleet, boats that housed mortars, guns on the Louisana side of the river, and sharpshooters rained fire on Vicksburg night and day.

The seige would last forty-seven days.

In communication with Pemberton, Joseph E. Johnston, the overall commander of Confederate forces in Mississippi, ordered him to withdraw from Vicksburg, but Pemberton did not think he could do so without sacrificing all of his men. Johnson’s had a plan to attack Grant in order to allow Pemberton a chance to escape, but in the end he finally decided it would not be of any benefit and Pemberton found himself surrounded and under seige.

Pemberton’s men were now trapped with inedible food and little munitions. It did not take long for scurvy, malaria, dysentary, and diarrhea to invade the ranks of the Rebels.
It was said that the city was so tightly guarded on all sides by the Union soldiers that even a cat could not escape.

At times the situation inside the town became a contest between citizen and soldier for what little food remained. One man for a time stayed up all night in his garden to keep the soldiers from stealing what little food he had left for his family. Later on speculators would hoarde items in order to get the highest price as the sieged continued.

Citizens were forced to find refuge in caves once their homes were deemed no longer safe from the constant Union bombardment. Some caves were only as large as a fireplace while others could hold as many as 200 people. Larger caves were reinforced with wooden supports, but due to the constant shelling a few did cave in. Many of the caves were dug by slave labor, but a few sources report they were paid sometimes $30 or more depending on the size.

Mark Twain in his book Life on the Mississippi advised, “Sometimes the caves were desperately crowded, and always hot and close. Sometimes a cave would have twenty or twenty-five people packed in it; no turning room for anybody; air so foul, sometimes you couldn’t have made a candle burn in it. A child was born in one of those caves one night. Think of that, why it was like having it born in a trunk.”

The citizens of Vicksburg attempted and more or less succeeded in living as normally as they could under the most impossible circumstances. Some of the larger caves contained rugs, pictures, and pieces of furniture.

Social classes still managed to separate themselves even in the dirt. Many of the town’s elite had their own area of caves that were nicknamed Sky Parlor. There are even stories of a band or two playing in and around some of these “nicer” caves.

It could be very dangerous though and citizens were terrorized minute by minute. Life on the Mississippi, by Mark Twain tells of two citizens who met on the street and shook hands. A shell hit and one of the men suddenly had a hand holding his but the body that belonged to the hand was no longer there. Amazingly less than a dozen citizens were killed. Approximately thirty-six were injured. Many of the town’s ladies and children learned how to sidestep the bombs as they walked the streets to get from one area of town to another.

Union forces stationed on the river had a clear view of the bluffs that they nicknamed Prarie Dog Village because of the constant popping up of heads from the approximately 500 caves.

In a 1976 Time Magazine article Lance Morrow states, “In the seige caves of Vicksburg…Americans were spectacularly shorn of innocence.”

We are able to find out what many citizens were thinking and feeling during this time because many ladies maintained diaries and journals even while living in the caves.

Emma Balfour wrote of the early fighting: “I was up in my room sewing and praying in my heart . . . when Nancy [her servant girl] rushed up, actually pale . . . .” Nancy warned of the falling shells, which sent people “rushing into caves.”

“Just as we got in, several . . . [shells] exploded. . . just over our heads, and at the same time two riders were killed in the valley. . . . As all this rushed over me and the sense of suffocation from being underground, the certainty that there was no way of escape, that we were hemmed in, caged:--for one moment my heart seemed to stand still. Nearly all the families in town spent the night in their caves.”

In the same article Mary Loughborough relates:

On one occasion, I was reading in safety, I imagined, when the unmistakable whirring of Parrott shells told us that the battery we so much feared had opened from the entrenchments. I ran to the entrance to call the servants in; and immediately after they entered, a shell struck the earth a few feet from the entrance, burying itself without exploding. I ran to the little dressing room, and could hear them striking around us on all sides. One fell near the cave entrance, and a servant boy grabbed it and threw it outside; it never exploded. And so the weary days went on . . . when we could not tell in what terrible form death might come to us before the sun went down.”

Once the food ran out the citizens and soldiers resorted to eating mule meat, dogs, and even boiled shoe leather. Some accounts tell of skinned rats being offered in the markets for sale.

The Daily Citizen, the local newspaper, continued to be printed during the siege. When the paper ran out they began to print on used wall paper. Two days before the citizens of Vickburg would hear their ordeal was over the paper’s editors published a comical news item regarding Grant:

[T]he great Ulysses—the Yankee Generalissimo, surnamed Grant—has expressed his intention of dining in Vicksburg on Saturday next, and celebrating the 4th of July by a grand dinner and so forth. When asked if he would invite Gen. Jo Johnston to join he said. 'No! for fear there will be a row at the table.' Ulysses must get into the city before he dines in it. The way to cook rabbit is 'first catch the rabbit.' &c.

At least they were keeping their sense of humor. Unfortunately, the Confederate soldiers had nothing left to give by the point. Pemberton polled his men. They indicated they were still in the fight, but Pemberton knew physically they could not continue. Their bodies were broken.

On July 3, 1863 General Pemberton and General Grant met to discuss the unconditional surrender----Because Grant did not want to stretch his own resources he allowed the 30,000 Confederate troops to be paroled instead of inprisoned. One source states the Confederate Army of Vicksburg simply evaporated.

It was on the Fourth of July, 1863 that Vicksburg citizens were finally free to return to the ruins or what was left of their homes. As they wearily trudged home the joyful Union troops were also in the same streets proudly parading their victory as well as celebrating the news that the Union had also had a huge victory at Gettysburg.

Later when the Union had a chance to view the paper Grant was able to have a response to The Daily Citizen inserted in a following edition:

Two days bring about great changes, The banner of the Union floats over Vicksburg, Gen. Grant has 'caught the rabbit;' he has dined in Vicksburg, and he did bring his dinner with him. The 'Citizen' lives to see it. For the last time it appears on 'Wall-paper.' No more will it eulogize the luxury of mule-meat and fricasseed kitten—urge Southern warriors to such diet never-more.

It is no wonder to me why the citizens of Vicksburg were turned off by the Fourth. In his book Triumph and Defeat: The Vicksburg Campaign, Terrence J. Winschel states the people of Vicksburg were more adversely impacted by the war than any other people of any other city. Vicksburg inhabitants were civilian prisoners in a dungeon of fire and destruction.”

Some sources state the people of Vicksburg did not begin to celebrate the Fourth again openly until after World War II. General Eisenhower visited the town in the late 40s on the Fourth and a parade was given for him.

Today when you visit Vicksburg there is no evidence of the caves, but the bluffs are there, and if you know about what happened there you can’t help but attempt to picture those bluffs full of caves, bombs, and destruction.

There will be a fireworks display on the fourth in Vicksburg, but I would imagine there will be a few people there who remember their ancestors on the Fourth and the terrible period of time when they burrowed into the bluffs.