What they’re saying about our 2 millionth Eagle

June 19, 2009

St. Paul Pioneer Press ran an article today on Anthony Thomas of Lakeville, Minnesota, the Scout designated the 2 millionth Eagle Scout.

Caption from the St. Paul, Minnesota, Pioneer Press:  Anthony Thomas, 16, of Lakeville, will encourage other Scouts to work towards the Eagle rank. (Pioneer Press: JOHN DOMAN)

Caption from the St. Paul, Minnesota, Pioneer Press: Anthony Thomas, 16, of Lakeville, will encourage other Scouts to work towards the Eagle rank. (Pioneer Press: JOHN DOMAN)

In a sort of luck-of-the-draw deal, Thomas has been named Scouting’s national youth ambassador for Scouting’s 100th anniversary in 2010.  He’s scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama, to ride in the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, and for dozens of other less well-known affairs.

On Wednesday, he helped Northern Star Council celebrate the opening of a new Scout Camp, at Fort Snelling, Minnesota.

It was a special day, according to coverage at Northern Star Council’s website:

History was made as Thomas was introduced as the BSA’s two millionth Eagle by Minnesota State leaders. Making the presentation were Associate Justice Christopher Dietzen, Representative Kate Knuth and Representative Cy Thao.  Each shared their reflections on the importance of Scouting in their lives and then read a Proclamation from Governor Pawlenty declaring June 17 as “2 Millionth Eagle Scout Day” in Minnesota.

Scouting began awarding Eagle badges in 1912 — Thomas Eldred was the first Eagle.  The 1 millionth Eagle was awarded in 1982, 70 years later.  It’s been 27 years for the second million.  About 100 million boys are or were Boy Scouts since 1910.

You’d think this news would be a bigger deal.  Why isn’t this news going farther, faster?

Send this to your local newspapers and television stations — ask them to make a note of Thomas’s achievement, to encourage local kids.

More news stories:

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Typewriter of the moment: Alistair Cooke for the BBC

June 19, 2009

Alistair Cookes typewriter, displayed at BBC headquarters, Bush House, in London - Photo by Jeff Zycinski

Alistair Cooke's typewriter, displayed at BBC headquarters, Bush House, in London - Photo by Jeff Zycinski

Alas, our students now are too young to remember Alistair Cooke’s hosting of “Masterpiece Theater” on PBS, and of course, back then the BBC America service — if it existed — was available only to shortwave fanatics or people  who traveled a lot to the British Isles.

Perhaps more than anyone else other than Winston Churchill, and maybe the Beatles, Alistair Cooke tied England and America together tightly in the 20th century.  BBC’s other writers are good to brilliant, but even their obituary for Cooke (March 30, 2004) doesn’t quite do him justice:

For more than half a century, Alistair Cooke’s weekly broadcasts of Letter from America for BBC radio monitored the pulse of life in the United States and relayed its strengths and weaknesses to 50 countries.

His retirement from the show earlier this month after 58 years, due to ill health, brought a flood of tributes for his huge contributing to broadcasting.

Perhaps for Cooke, from Cooke’s broadcasts, we could develop a new variation of the Advanced Placement document-based question:  Broadcast-based questions. Heaven knows his Letter From America provided profound material on American history:

BBCs famous broadcaster Alistair Cooke, painted by June Mendoza (copyright Mendoza - www.junemendoza.co.uk)

BBC's famous broadcaster Alistair Cooke, painted by June Mendoza (copyright Mendoza - http://www.junemendoza.co.uk)


Juneteenth 2009

June 19, 2009

[This is mostly an encore post, from 2008 — fyi.]

Oldest known photograph of a Juneteenth celebration, in Austin, Texas, in 1900 - Austin Public Library image

Oldest known photograph of a Juneteenth celebration, in Austin, Texas, in 1900 - Austin Public Library image

The Texas State Archives offers a succinct history:

Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19, is the name given to emancipation day by African-Americans in Texas. On that day in 1865 Union Major General Gordon Granger read General Order #3 to the people of Galveston. General Order #3 stated “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”

Large celebrations on June 19 began in 1866 and continued regularly into the early 20th century. The African-Americans treated this day like the Fourth of July and the celebrations contained similar events. In the early days, the celebration included a prayer service, speakers with inspirational messages, reading of the emancipation proclamation, stories from former slaves, food, red soda water, games, rodeos and dances.

The celebration of June 19 as emancipation day spread from Texas to the neighboring states of Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma. It has also appeared in Alabama, Florida, and California as African-American Texans migrated.

In many parts of Texas, ex-slaves purchased land, or “emancipation grounds,” for the Juneteenth gathering. Examples include: Emancipation Park in Houston, purchased in 1872; what is now Booker T. Washington Park in Mexia; and Emancipation park in East Austin.

Celebration of Juneteenth declined during World War II but revived in 1950 at the Texas State Fair Grounds in Dallas. Interest and participation fell away during the late 1950’s and 1960’s as attention focused on expansion of freedom for African-Americans. In the 1970’s Juneteenth revived in some communities. For example, in Austin the Juneteenth celebration returned in 1976 after a 25 year hiatus. House Bill no.1016 passed in the 66th legislature, regular session, declared June 19, “Emancipation Day in Texas,” a legal state holiday effective January 1, 1980. Since that time, the celebration of Juneteenth continues across the state of Texas with parades, picnics and dancing.

Texas State Library Reference Services 3/95

Celebrations across Texas started last Saturday, and will continue for another three or four days, I gather. Thought it’s an official State of Texas holiday, few people take it off. So celebrations are scheduled when they can be.

The great mystery to me is why the holiday seems to have spread so far outside Texas. Juneteenth is based on a uniquely Texas event — it involved notifying only the slaves in Texas that they had been freed. Celebrations go much farther today, even to places the Civil War didn’t touch.

Resources:


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