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Prof. Boerner's Explorations

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Tag: Robert C. Weaver

                  Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbToday’s events direct our attention to the exploration of boundaries, both physical barriers and cultural “walls”. In several cases from the early 20th century, events related to the conquering of new lands came to the forefront. Several explorers (Yes, Heather, I know that these were men, but the women’s movement had not yet reached parity) achieved new firsts: discovering the Hawaiian Islands, reaching the South Pole, and settling Australia. At these were firsts for European, white males; the native populations had known about them for centuries if not millennia!

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There have also been breakthroughs on the cultural front. The post-World War I Peace Conference sought to forge a new world order that would live at peace with each other; World War I would become the War to End All Wars, after all. The Treaty of Versailles created a League of Nations to be a forum to forge and ensure this understanding. Then, of course, there were the events of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s breaking down the colored ceiling that kept African Americans from the mainstream.

About the time of our Revolutionary War (1778), an English Explorer, Captain James Cook explored the great expanses of the Pacific Oceans with two ships — the HMS Resolution and the HMS Discovery. in this year, Cook and his small fleet passed by the islands of Oahu and Kauai of the Hawaiian Island group. He would later return to land and explore these islands, and to eventually be killed on one. It is interesting to note that another phase of this exploration of the Pacific took his group along the West coast of North America, along what would become California, Oregon, and Washington.

But the discovery that captured the heart and soul of the populace was the exploration of Antarctica during the first decades of the 20th century. This quest for the South Pole pitted a team lead by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen against the team lead by the British Explorer Robert Falcon Scott. These two men started their trek toward this last conquest of the significant quests of 20th century, at least on earth. Scott reached the South Pole on this day, but found Amundsen’s tent and the Norwegian flag flying; he was a week late. Both parties would lose their lives to the harsh storms on this forbidding continent. Interestingly, the photographer who accompanied Scott’s party would have his undeveloped film found by the 1958 Commonwealth Trans–Antarctic Expedition and these photographs have recently gone on exhibit for public viewing.

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The Peace Conference following World War I started out to implement a “peace with understanding” in accordance with the Fourteen Points of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. However, the colonial powers (Britain and France) had suffered tremendous losses during the prolonged battles and their leaders, Sir David Lloyd George and Georges Clemenceau, would hi-jack the process to protect their current world-wide empire and even expanding it from the remnants of the Ottoman Empire and German holdings in Africa. Thus, the Treaty of Versailles did set up the League of Nations, but put major reparation costs on the German People. Thus, what started out as a quest for lasting world peace and ended setting the stage for World War II twenty years later.

Finally, on the Civil Rights front found the appointment of the first African American Cabinet member, Charles Weaver (Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development) in 1966 and President Ronald Reagan signing legislation to set aside second Monday of January as “Martin Luther King, Jr. Day” for this country. King lead a series of marches in the south and a number of rallies in the north, including his famous gathering at the Washington Monument and his “I have a dream” speech. By the end of the decade of the 1960s, African Americans would survive the Watts Riots of 1965 and the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., in Memphis in 1968 to take their rightful place in American society. A major cultural barrier, as well as the Jim Crow laws that had deprived them of their Constitutional Rights since Reconstruction, had fallen. New meaning had been brought to the words: “One Nation, Under God”.

But let us jump into a brief view of the significant events that have occurred on this day… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 1392 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Versailles:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/versailles.html ]

    

“If the constitutional treaty is rejected it will be back to square one, just at a time when we want Europe to be a more effective force for good in the world, when we need to buttress ourselves against the pressures and insecurities of globalization..”
— Peter Mandelson

“Are ideals confined to this deformed experiment upon a noble purpose, tainted, as it is, with bargains and tied to a peace treaty which might have been disposed of long ago to the great benefit of the world if it had not been compelled to carry this rider on its back?”
— Henry Cabot Lodge

“It was my dream, and probably the dream of every one of us, to bring about a revision of the Versailles Treaty by peaceful means, which was provided for in that very treaty.”
— Hans Frank

“I would point out that Japan’s proposal at the Versailles Peace Conference on the principle of racial equality was rejected by delegates such as those from Britain and the United States.”
— Hideki Tojo

“As a consequence of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, the officer corps of the old army became part of this class, as did that part of the younger generation who, in the old Germany, would have become officers or civil servants.”
— Gustav Stresemann

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbThe 1960s was a groundbreaking era on many fronts. It saw a major push for women’s rights in all areas of life, especially the workplace and in the control of their bodies. Students were pushing for more say in their college education, especially curriculum. The United States was fighting an unpopular war in Southeast Asia — Vietnam. And, of course, there was the demand of African Americans and Hispanics for equal rights in fact, not just in theory. Martin Luther King, Jr. led marches throughout the South against the KKK and Jim Crow Laws. In California, Caesar Chavez was leading Hispanic marchers in the Table Grape Boycott to win better working conditions for California’s migrant field workers..

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A new, young president, John F. Kennedy, came on the scene with a new vision for our country. He called for our people to contribute to the betterment of the needy in other countries through Service by Peace Corp volunteers. He called on our science and engineering community to put a man on the moon, and return him safely to earth, by the end of the decade of the 1960s. But he also wanted to help improve the lot of those living in the oft-neglected urban areas of our country. To this end, he proposed a new, cabinet-level Department of Housing and Urban Development. But the Congress dominated by Republicans and conservative Southern Democrats blocked him on this move.

The idea of a separate department to provide better housing to urban dwellers was not dead. The torch was picked up and carried by President Lyndon B. Johnson following the assassination of JFK. Johnson pushed multiple pieces of Civil Rights legislation through the Congress, including the Voting Rights Act. In 1965, he was able to achieve passage of a bill to create the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As the new cabinet-level Secretary of the department, he appointed the long time urban affairs expert and administrator — Robert C. Weaver. Weaver was confirmed by the Senate and became the first African American Cabinet Member. He paved the way for other African Americans and Hispanics to make their rightful contributions to the government of this great country.

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But now, let’s get started with our exploration of the first Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, who, by the way, was an African American. Weaver was well qualified for the post by his education and experience in government from the time of the Black Cabinet created by FDR during the years of the New Deal. So, let us begin… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 2670 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Urban:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/urban.html ]

    

“Companies operating in urban communities have a tremendous ripple effect.”
— Michael Porter

“Everyone’s looking to the urban scene for inspiration now.”
— Robin Gibb

“How does he support Clinton’s urban agenda? He doesn’t know what it is.”
— Maxine Waters

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbThe events of this day include several related to the achievements of women and minority groups. It is also the day of several patriotic events of pride and/or challenge related to the winter encampment of the Continental Army troops in Valley Forge during the severe cold of 1778. And it is the day on which the “Man in Black”, western singer Johnny Cash, released his best-selling album, “Folsom Prison Blues”. But many of today’s most important events relate to the discrimination against the Jews and the overcoming these prejudices by well-qualified African American leaders.

Folsom State Prison

Of course, being a country music fan and one that loves the song stylings of Johnny Cash, the release of one of his albums was a high point in my life in 1968 when this album finally arrived. After struggling with a drug habit and serving a prison term himself, Johnny Cash welcomed the opportunity to entertain the men in this prison. To put this event in context, the song on this album came out and were calm compared with the turbulent events going on at that time in our country. This was the year of “flower power” and we would see the release of the Beatles’ White Album later that year. It was also the year of losses — Robert (“Bobby”) Kennedy would be assassinated in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after winning the California Presidential Primary and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., would be assassinated at that motel in Memphis, Tennessee. This was the “best of time, and the worst of times” to borrow a phrase from Charles Dickens.

This was the day in which several achievements need to be honored. Sarah Caldwell became the first woman to conduct the orchestra at the Metropolitan Opera in 1976. In 1978, six women were admitted as candidates in the astronaut program at NASA. These women — Anna Fisher, Shannon Lucid, Judith Resnik, Sally Ride, Rhea Seddon and Kathryn Sullivan — would all fly on various space shuttle missions. Quite a feat. 

African Americans also made some significant headway in some of today’s events as well. Charles Weaver was appointed as Secretary of the new Department of Housing and Urban Development by Lyndon Johnson in 1966. This was a crowning event for Weaver who had started out as FDR’s advisor on Urban Affairs in several New Deal agencies. He had earned three degrees in Urban Affairs from Harvard University. He also served on FDR’s Black Cabinet with 45 other African Americans; this group advised FDR on many issues over the pre-war years. During John F. Kennedy’s administration, he was “tagged” to become Secretary of the new Department of Urban Affairs proposed by JFK, but when this proposal was defeated by a coalition of Republicans and Southern Democrats, he continued to be JFK’s advisor on urban issues. After Kennedy’s assassination, LBJ was able to get a new Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Congress and appoint Weaver as its first Secretary. Since this was a Presidential Cabinet-level position, Weaver became the first African American on the cabinet.

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In 1990, Douglas Wilder of Virginia was sworn in as the first Black governor of a state. This paved the way for other Blacks to get elected to various posts, including the U.S. Senate. African Americans were making their mark on this country.

On another note, the Anti-Semitic attitudes of the European military was highlighted by the Dreyfus Affair in France in 1898. Captain Dreyfus, a Jew, was accused of treason by the prejudiced officers that he fought with. He was convicted on these charges and sent to prison. The writer and crusader, Émile Zola took up his cause and wrote an open letter (J’Accuse) to the newspaper L’Aurore in Paris. This served to rally public opinion and put pressure to overturn Captain Dreyfus’ conviction. They were successful and Dreyfus’ conviction was overturned.

The real lesson from this incident is rather simple — the officer corps of the French and German general command were racist and anti-Semitic. The Dreyfus Affair foreshadowed the events of almost half a century later in Nazi Germany. As the Holocaust was implemented in Germany, the French military in the Vichy government wholeheartedly cooperated in the finding and exporting Jews from France to meet their “Final Solution” in the Nazi death camps. Such deep-seated discrimination is dangerous in any society, but even more so when carried out the prevailing authorities, military or civilian. Let’s take a hard look at our own attitudes in these interactions.

Anyway, it is now time to proceed with our examination of the notable events of this day… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 1311 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to (Valley) Forge:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/forge.html ]

    

“I will, from this day strive to forge togetherness out of our differences.”
— Josefa Iloilo

“The achievements we forge in this place and in our nation will not be those of one person or one party.”
— Paul Martin

“The transfer is a monumental occasion as the Iraqi people take control of their government and their future and forge ahead with creating a society governed by the tenets of life, liberty and freedom.”
— Jim Gerlach

“The good Lord made us all out of iron. Then he turns up the heat to forge some of us into steel.”
— Marie Osmond

“From the bitter cold winter at Valley Forge, to the mountains of Afghanistan and the deserts of Iraq, our soldiers have courageously answered when called, gone where ordered, and defended our nation with honor.”
— Solomon Ortiz

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