Since The Good Lord Bird premieres tonight, it’s probably a good day for a John Brown thread. First, this will likely be an enjoyable, well-done show and I’m glad Brown is getting some mainstream attention — but the real John Brown was not an impulsive, raving, crazy person.
I enjoyed the book, but it is historical fiction. The main character of Little Onion is fictional & the story is satirical in nature. It’s portrayal of Brown is not meant to be historically accurate (and almost certainly is influenced by the Lost Cause caricature of John Brown).
John Brown was a deeply serious and committed abolitionist who made the abolition of slavery he and his family’s personal crusade. He made calculated, rather than impulsive decisions. Of course, he sometimes miscalculated.
Local candidate Greg Hayes is fear-mongering & fueling paranoia over a locally-organized peaceful march set for 1pm in Edinboro. He’s liking comments about people saying they’ll show up with guns, while others are saying NRA members need deputized. This is extremely irresposible.
There’s no reason to believe this afternoon march won’t be peaceful. Other than what happened at night after the peaceful protest downtown on 5/30, dozens of peaceful local demonstrations have happened. Meanwhile, a guy with this profile pic is provoking freely on Hayes’s post.
People are spreading fear about “busing people in” (some claiming without evidence that it happened in the middle of the night last) and not only does Hayes not push back on the claim, he responds, “we will not put up with this!”
My latest in the @ErieReader tells a story that took place 55 years ago in #EriePA. In 1965, just a day after Dr. King was arrested for the first time in Selma, Hammermill executives stood alongside Gov. Wallace announcing the opening of a new plant.
I mean, sure, I have issues with the portrayal of Brown here (the book is good, but historical fiction — and it should be noted that Brown was taken seriously and even respected by his adversaries), but I’m just excited that John Brown is about to get some serious attention.
Also, while I know that I’ll enjoy this, this isn’t at all the character in or tone of my dream John Brown project.
So with that said, since Daniel Day-Lewis probably won’t come out of retirement, give me a call, Michael Shannon.
Frederick Douglass on Brown during his trial: “One of the most painful incidents connected with the name of this old hero is the attempt to prove him insane ... which seeks to rob him of his true character and dim the glory of his deeds...“
It’s extremely detailed and centralizes and delegates authority very clearly. Also: “[T]he American public will look to the U.S. Government for action when multi-state or other significant public health events occur.”
Hey, remember when most of us had never heard the term “social distancing before?” Good times.
Here it’s called a “critical component of early response,” along with other community mitigation measures.
As the adage often goes: history may not repeat, but it does echo. From this 1912 report by Erie’s Board of Health, we see a general overview of the city’s various epidemics from the previous year. #pandemic#epidemic#EriePA
On the second page of the report though, secretary of the board C.E. Welsh demonstrated the otherness often ascribed to Italian and Polish immigrants during this time, blaming them directly (and not their conditions) for the spread of scarlet fever.
In the late-19th/early-20th centuries, millions of Italian & Polish immigrants came to the US. Many settled in Erie. During these decades, they were often represented as the “other,” ostracized & villainized by many—perhaps most famously in the later 1920 Sacco & Vanzetti trial.
Had a great chat with @TomEScott who explains how they’re getting The Wonders back together for a live-streamed That Thing You Do! watch party tomorrow (7pm EST) in a tribute to Adam Schlesinger & in support of the @MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund. #EriePA
Here’s an example of my process for deciding what to research and write about. If I don’t already have an idea, I simply explore. I look through old newspapers and magazines. I explore archives. I leaf through books like Isaac Moorhead’s... and sometimes something stands out:
A deadly duel in #EriePA! On 3rd and Sassafras?! This initial intrigue always leads me to a few questions: whose account am I reading & is it reliable? Who are these people? Is there a story there worth telling to readers today?
Paul Newman, who always was the best of us, is trending for some reason. I’m here for it.
Paul Newman, in a 2002 interview promoting (the criminally underrated) Road to Perdition, was asked if charity was his responsibility as a celebrity. Newman donated millions of dollars during his lifetime &, of course, Newman’s Own has raised $500m for charity.
He had thoughts:
Paul Newman was also on the list of Richard Nixon’s enemies compiled in 1971 and publicly revealed during the Watergate hearings in 1973.
“Being on President Nixon's enemies list was the highest single honor I've ever received,” he quipped in 2006.
When we talk about the importance of competence, expertise, leadership, and yes, even organized bureaucracy in times of crisis, I can't help but to think back to this must-read article from @ForeignPolicy from TWO MONTHS ago. #CoronaCrisis#coronavirus
From two YEARS ago: "Not only will CDC be forced to narrow its countries of operations, but the U.S. also stands to lose vital information about epidemic threats garnered on the ground through trusted relationships, real-time surveillance, and research."
Many have read about Philadelphia's failures during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. I looked through old newspapers to see how it was being reported on.
This is from September 19, 1918: "Doctor Krusen said there was no occasion for alarm over the spread of the disease downtown."
The massive Liberty Loan parade was not cancelled and still took place on September 28. The incubation period was 1-3 days, so no surprise: within days of the parade, influenza cases exploded throughout the city.
As a result, 12,000 people died in Philly.
On its deadliest day, 759 people died from it in Philadelphia. Not only could hospitals not keep up, neither could undertakers would were literally piling up bodies. In one instance, a brewery was used to store 500 bodies.
Many cities learned from Philly's deadly mistakes.
Tomorrow is the day we make our historical Valentine’s Day cards in class. If you’re looking to swoon somebody on Friday, I’ve got you covered. Here are some samples that I created, sure to inspire some romance in your lives.
The story initially ran in the The Franklin Repository and was picked up in a few other papers such as the Philadelphia Nationa Gazette, but I’m yet to find a follow up story or any other information about this. I did find where Swigert was buried in Mercersburg.
As horrific as Swigert’s death, I find myself wondering more about the fear experienced by the three men escaping enslavement and the terror and ensuing desperate fight for their own lives after one of them was pulled out from their hiding spot by his heels.
The Erie Observer, #EriePA’s anti-Lincoln, anti-abolition newspaper before & during the Civil War became Erie’s anti-Radical Reconstruction, anti-14th Am. paper after. These views weren’t fringe: the Observer had comparable circulation to the Gazette, Erie’s Republican weekly.
This is all they had to say concerning the death of Thaddeus Stevens, the Pennsylvania representative who helped lead Radical Reconstruction and secured support for President Johnson’s impeachment.
Thaddeus Stevens was a constant target of the Observer’s before his death. He was also no stranger to Erie, both representing PA.
When Erie Congressman James Thompson conspired with future Confederate leader Howell Cobb to pass the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, Stevens was livid.
Way behind on the #HATM conversation tonight, but earlier, I was reading about Queen Mary’s thoughts on the movement.
Obviously, she did nothing publicly, but her private writings describe the suffragettes as “horrid.” I also found incidents like this that involved the Queen.
This led me to a BBC article on women who organized to oppose the movement and quoted historian Kathy Atherton on how we can contextualize why many women would oppose granting themselves the right to vote. #HATM
In the U.S. movement, I was stunned when I first learned in college that muckraker Ida Tarbell opposed suffrage. Here’s an essay from a professor at @alleghenycol on how discovering this initially led to “anger, & yes, a sense of betrayal” for her. #HATM
I read this a few days ago. It made me angry. It popped into my head again today, seeing @ETNoneill work her tail off to keep us informed, ALL DAY, on the sudden closure of the Erie Coke plant — & she’s been covering the events leading up to this for MONTHS. #EriePA#journalism
I think about the amazing work done by @ETNpalattella, who follows stories as the build for literally years. He’s relentlessly and brilliantly kept us informed on sexual abuse within the Erie Diocese for nearly twenty years.
I’m constantly amazed by his reporting.
I could tag every single @GoErie journalist with a story reminding everybody of how lucky we are to have them, but it’s past my bedtime.
The reality is that ETN does important work each & every day, digging deep and uncovering local stories that otherwise would go unreported.