Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Minicast:Sybil Ludington

Posted 3 July 2014 by
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We all know the story of Paul Revere, but here is the lesser-known story of one teenage girl whose similar act of bravery changed the course of American history.

 

Sybil Ludington, for more links to things around the web-including this one from the National Women's History Museum- check out our Pinterest board for Sybil!

Sybil Ludington- for more links to things around the web-including this one from the National Women’s History Museum- check out our Pinterest board for Sybil!

 

For some basic information about the Revolutionary War, check out Historyforkids.org.

Liberty’s Kids, Sybil Ludington video on YouTube

Shownotes Episode 47: Carry ( Carrie ) Nation

Posted 24 May 2014 by
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Her name is now often a punchline to a joke with the words “nutty” or “crazy” peppered liberally throughout. But in the simplest terms Carry Nation was a woman who boldly worked for reforms which she felt would benefit all mankind. Nothing funny about that.

Carry Nation, Activist, Prohibitionist, Mother

Carry Nation, Activist, Prohibitionist, Hatchet Wielder, Mother

 

Born Carrie Amelia Moore in Garrard County Kentucky on November 25, 1846. Her father, George, was fairly well- off plantation owner with a very deep Christian faith.  Carry (she later changed the spelling of her name…we go into the whys on the podcast, just didn’t want you to think that was a typo) was very devoted to her father. Her mother…not so much. Mother Mary felt that the best way to raise a child was for Carry to spend as much time with the family’s slaves as possible and essentially farmed young Carry out.  (She may also have thought she was Queen Victoria – so getting away from Mom may have been very wise).

As the Civil War began George moved  the family (born into and purchased) around, first within Kentucky and then to several farms in Missouri, Texas, Kansas and Arkansas. While the family may have started financially secure, they didn’t remain so and Carry was not raised as a demure belle. There were many years where the family made very little money and scrambled to survive.

Carry's birth home in Kentucky

Carry’s birth home in Kentucky-not exactly Tara and the first of many places she would call home.

Carry’s formal education was very limited- she did read at home from the Bible, and attended a Christian girl’s school in Missouri for a short time. While there she developed a mysterious ailment that sent her back home and into bed for five years pretty much ending her elementary education.  During her recuperation time she did spend time in religious study and experienced an epiphany that began  a life-long conviction which would be the guiding force for her remaining years.

Carry grew…and grew. During the Civil War the average height of a soldier was 5’8″. Carry  was 5′ 11 1/2″ of strong woman who desired nothing more than to find a husband who would love her and whom she could love in return ( it sounds like the basis for a romance novel, doesn’t it?) Her family took in boarders including one Dr. Charles Gloyd (ooh, a doctah!). A surreptitious courtship played out and against her parents wishes, two years later Carry and Charles were married.

Although they had lived under the same roof before, once married Carry discovered her husband’s secret: he liked to drink alcohol. A lot. And he was a mess. Within a year she was pregnant, left him and moved back to her parents home.

Six months after that, Charles died.

Carry was now responsible for a baby as well as Charles’ mother who had depended on Charles and Carry had grown fond of. What’s a strong woman with determination and very little funds to do in such a situation? She went back to school.

Bold, right?

Carry received her teaching certificate and supported her family for four years until she lost her teaching job and found herself in a quandary. Unlike her first solution of pulling herself up by her bootstraps, this time she felt that marriage again was the answer to her problems. Enter- after ten days of prayer for a husband- David Nation. He was 19 years her senior, a lawyer, newspaper editor and minister and within a couple of months they are husband and wife. And daughter from each side and a couple sons from his. And former Mother-in-law.  It’s really a very modern story.

One big blended Nation family

One big blended Nation family

 

Not exactly a happy modern story, the marriage was unpleasant from the start as David and Carry pooled their resources and began to scrap out a living. First cotton farming, then running a hotel but they struggled financially and suffered quite a few hardships (yes, we go into details in the podcast) and eventually the couple was empty nesters and settled in Medicine Lodge, Kansas. It was here that Carry had her first taste of the battle that would give her a place in history.

This Currier and Ives print predates Carrie by 25 years...yet check out the weapon of choice.

This Currier and Ives print predates Carrie by 25 years…yet check out the weapon of choice.

Throughout her life Carry had made choices based on what she felt was best not just for herself, but for others. She helped those less fortunate as best she could with free beds, food, any kind of assistance she could offer- always using her faith as a guide in her decisions. Because of her giving nature, she encountered many troubled families in need. In Medicine Lodge she became involved with the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and began to believe that the root of many family and societal problems was alcohol. The law in Kansas was on her side with this- at the time it was a dry state, although saloons and “joints”, as she called them, often received a  blind eye as they carried on business.

At first, Carry tried to work within the law and work through the proper channels to close down any operating saloons- and was quite unsuccessful. She felt that God lead her to her next action and with the first stone she hurled in a bar in Kiowa, Kansas she launched herself into prohibitionist history.

Carry setting about on her life's work

Carry setting about on her life’s work

After a successful run in her own corner of the state, Carry took her activism to Wichita. At that point, she was 54 years old, dressed in black from head to toe- she walked into the then Carey Hotel bar and smashed.

The Carey House Hotel bar after Carry got busy. (Not reflection of  poor Cleopatra in broken mirror)

The Carey House Hotel bar after Carry got busy. (Note reflection of poor Cleopatra in broken mirror)

 

Did she get arrested for her antics? Oh yeah. Did she get followers from the publicity who emotionally, financially and any other ‘ally you can think of supported her? You betcha.

Praying during one of her maaaany days in jail. (Courtesy Kansas Historical Society)

Praying during one of her maaaany days in jail. (Courtesy Kansas Historical Society)

She soon changed her weapon to a small hatchet which was easy to carry and effective for her mission, but also became a marketing tool along with with using her name- Carry A. Nation- to raise funds for her legal defenses.

Hatchet pin sold by Carry Nation and her Home Defenders

Hatchet pin sold by Carry Nation and her Home Defenders

For years she worked this Smash/Jail pattern which begs to be described as Carry Nation and the Home Defenders: Hatchetnation Tour. She spoke all over the country, joined the Vaudeville circuit and shouted her message from as big a global stage as she could find.

Vaudville days. (Courtesy Kansas Historical Society)

Vaudville days. It’s a great act. (Courtesy Kansas Historical Society)

David eventually divorced her on the grounds of desertion, but Carry didn’t seem to mind. She felt that God had put her in a miserable marriage so that she would be driven to do this, her life’s work. Her motives were pure- she believed that curbing the flow of alcohol was the only way to end crime, bring families back together, to end spousal abuse and abandonment- to help women and children.

Prohibition would prove her theory wrong, but she wouldn’t live to see that.

Carrie nation cartoon

I cannot tell a lie, I did it with my little hatchet

Around 1909 her bloom was beginning to fade. She was turning from motivational powerhouse to object of ridicule so she and her daughter settled down in Host Springs, Arkansas and ran  a home for widowed and abused women. In 1911 she collapsed on stage saying, “I have done what I could” and was transferred to a hospital where she died on June 9, 1911 at the age of 64.

Carry was buried in the family plot in Belton. Missouri. The WCTU erected her headstone using her own words

Carry was buried in the family plot in Belton. Missouri. The WCTU erected her headstone using her own words. Susan took these photos- Belton is very close to Kansas City

As part of their efforts throughout the country, the WTCU installed drinking fountains like this one honoring Carry nearby the former Carey Hotel in Wichita.

Beckett send her husband to take this picture while she waited in the car.

Beckett sent her husband to take this picture while she waited in the car.

 

 TIME TRAVEL WITH THE HISTORY CHICKS

Kansas Historical Society has A LOT of documents, artifacts and pictures about Carrie, link will take you to introductory page, but click around for more. And if you find yourself near Belton, Missouri the Belton Historical Society has odd hours, so call before you visit.

If you are headed to Kentucky, The Carrie Nation house, where she was born, is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, but isn’t open to the public.But don’t despair, the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History is open to the public and Beckett will tell you that it’s worth the visit.

The Carry Nation House in Medicine Lodge, Kansas is open as a museum. This link is to other things you can do to make Medicine Lodge worth the trip. (Not endorsed by us, it’s really a haul from where we are and have never been, but please! Report back if you go!) 9 Things To Do In Medicine Lodge 

The Women’s Christian Temperence Union is still an active organization. Link will bring you to their website, although directly to the page of water fountains that we had discussed in the podcast.

Opera fan? Oh, yes there is. SMASHED: The Opera 

BOOKS!

Carry A. Nation by Fran Grace

Carry A. Nation by Fran Grace

Cyclone Carry by Carleton Beals

Cyclone Carry by Carleton Beals

Carry's Autobiography, A Life

Carry’s Autobiography, The Use and Need of the Life of Carry Nation

This is available online…try Project Gutenberg

For the under 12 set (or those who like a very quick read) by Bonnie Carman Harvey

For the under 12 set (or those who like a very quick read) by Bonnie Carman Harvey

Profiles of Carry in both these very interesting and lofty tomes:

American Women's Activists' Writings edited by Kathryn Cullen Dupont

American Women’s Activists’ Writings edited by Kathryn Cullen Dupont

Women Vaudville Stars by Armond Fields

Women Vaudville Stars by Armond Fields

 

Fascinated by Prohibition? Ken Burns six Hour Documentary is available as is this related PBS link, but give these books a try, too.

By Edward Behr

Thirteen Years that Changed America By Edward Behr

As always, music come courtesy of Music Alley. Visit them at Musicalley.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Music Show” #2

Posted 23 April 2014 by
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song ep pic one framed

Take a musical trip with us as we revisit some of our favorite songs from Seasons Three and Four.  For each episode we select a song or piece of music that brings our episode subject to mind. Maybe the lyrics reminded us of her, the beat fit her life, or the chorus defined her legacy- something that ties the music to her story. We don’t usually play the whole piece, so this is our chance to showcase the whole song and thank the artists who made it available to us.

If you have been turning off our podcasts when we say, “Bye!” you are missing out on not only some great independent music, but we have been  known to tack outtakes in there, too.

This episode is also a bit of a milestone: it brings us to the end of Season Four. We will be back soon for Season Five when we can share the stories of ten (at least, you know how we like to tuck in a bonus mini-casts here and there) women whose lives are worthy of a good chat.

Here is the playlist: (It’s longer than last time, and there is OPERA!)

1. “Justice Will Roll Down” by Sandra McCracken
(from Episode 25, Ida Wells)

2. “Broken” by jamesking
(from Episode 42, Frida Kahlo)

3. “Know Which Way The Wind Blows” by The Postmarks
(from Episode 38, Jane Austen)

4. “Lost Things” by Viola
(from Episode 45,  Hatshepsut)

5. “Bravely” by Mieka Pauley
(from Episode 23,  Margaret “Molly” Brown)

6. “Taking A Chance On Love” by Danny Fong
(from Episode 24, The Last Four Wives of Henry the Eighth) <- This was so wrong :)

7. “On A Bridge Between Clouds” by Mujaji
(from Episode 39, Amelia Earhart)

8. “Leaf In The Tree” by Frozen Ocean Wave
(from Episode 43, Queen Elizabeth I, Part 1)

9. “Majesty” by Infernal Devices
(from Episode 21, Tudor Grandmothers)

10. “Dreamers” by The Hipstones
(from Episode 41, Bessie Coleman)

11. “The Tsar’s Bride, Aria from Act IV” written by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov and performed by Elena Zoubareva
(from Episode 32, The Romanovs (Part 1)

12. “Paris” by Friendly Fires
(from Episode 34, Josephine Baker, Part 1)

13. “Should Have Known Better” by Samantha Farrell
(from The Jane Austen Book Club, Part 3)

14. “You’re Human After All” by Stars and Skylines
(from Cleopatra, Episode 46)

15. “I Can Sing A Rainbow” by Beth Burrows (memories of preschool!)
(from The Ladies of The Wizard Of Oz Minicast)

16. “Made of Stars” by Xavier & Ophelia
(Bonus track!)

As always, find this music and more at Music Alley. Visit them at Music.mevio.com

Shownotes Episode 44: Queen Elizabeth 1, Part Two

Posted 10 February 2014 by
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Welcome to part two of our chat about Elizabeth I. When we left, our fair princess had overcome 25 years of uncertainty. During her youth, Elizabeth’s future had been uncertain, her place in court uncertain, even her ability to keep her head was, at times *coughmarycough* uncertain. She had outlived the rules of her father, her half brother and her half sister. She had even been used to assist in getting a cousin who really had no reason to wear a crown, off the throne.

And now that she had outwitted, outlasted and outplayed these people-Elizabeth was crowned Queen of England.

*cue trumpets*

Elizabeth, Armada Portrait

The country that she stepped up to lead is kind of a mess, and the big elephant in the room making the biggest piles of mess: the aftermath of the religious turmoil created by her father and perpetuated by her half-sister.

We spent a nice chunk of the first episode talking about the early stages and some long lasting issues of her reign including many years of playing Tudor Suitor, a game where she juggled contenders for her hand brilliantly…but none would win it.

One major contender: Francis, Duke of Anjou (by Nicholas Hilliard)

Elizabeth and Robert DudleyRelationship Status: It's Complicated

We spend a bit of time talking about three things that defined the Elizabethan age: Gunpowder, Printing and Compass, and we give you a nice thumbnail sketch of the relationship between Mary, Queen of Scots and cousin Elizabeth (talk about complicated!) We also rant on about the CW show Reign and how any historical fiction should be taken with a grain of salt yet can be an excellent gateway to learning what really happened. It’s a good lesson, bring the kids.

We tend to stay away from talk of war, battles and such aren’t something that usually affects the women we discuss- but oh! Elizabeth was the head of navy and LO! There is a mighty famous battle that she was a part of, the Spanish Armada. We give you our spin on this historic event (spoiler: The English are triumphant but it may not have been because anything they did.)

Battle of the Spanish Armada- England and Spain (Henrick Cornelisz Vroom)

Most of Elizabeth’s reign was very successful. She created an environment where her people were able to relax a bit, she encouraged the arts and those who created it. She was a powerful and masterful ruler who was extremely devoted to her subjects. The end of her rule wasn’t quite as successful. Events within as well as beyond her power worked together and there was that pesky issue of her never marrying, therefore never bearing an heir to take over when she died. Towards the end of her life this was great concern to many. We do talk about why and what she said in her famous Golden Speech, as well as what we thought she was like. Yes, speculating. It’s fun, you should try it.

On March 24, 1603 at the age of 69 and after 44 years as queen Elizabeth, surrounded by those who had been loyal to her, took her last breath.

The Death of Queen Elizabeth (Paul Delaroche maaaaany years after her death- we talked about this painting in the episode)

But we don’t want to remember that Elizabeth. We would like this image to linger instead. A woman who remembered and learned from her past,  lived wise in her present, whose legacy lives on in her future (and took some secrets with her to the grave).

This ring was on her finger for many years, inside a portrait of herself and of her mother

Elizabeth's tomb (courtesy Westminster Abbey)

TIME TRAVEL WITH THE HISTORY CHICKS

For all media recommendations and links, please see Shownotes Episode 44, as well as any other Tudor episodes that we have done in the past. There is a feast of information in there worthy of an inquiring mind as great as Elizabeth’s.

As always, music provided by Music Alley. Visit them at Music.mevio.com

End song for this episode: Introit” by Hazlitt

News!!

Posted 1 November 2013 by
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We have received our third Podcast Award Nomination in as many years! Voting starts now and the window is very short- November 1st-15th.

HOW TO VOTE

HERE IS THE LINK TO THE PODCAST AWARDS!

Voting is easy and very self explanatory. You get one vote per IP address a day, and a lot of the time you will have to verify your vote ( there was some shenanigans in years past). Check off your favorite shows, add your name, click submit and done.

We will be happily giving our votes to The Satellite Sisters in both the General and People’s Choice categories. If you’ve never listened, you should, it’s a fun podcast by a group of real life sisters who talk about eeeeverything!

And of course, The Bowery Boys, a history podcast so wonderful you don’t have to be in New York to enjoy it. The fellows are in the Travel category and up against a ballot FULL of Disney themed podcasts.

We will be showing our love for these two shows and ask you to vote with us. We not only listen to the podcasts, but the hosts have been very supportive of us behind the scenes since we began.

Suffragists marching costume 1916, which has very little to do with what we are talking about, but it's still cool to see.

From November 1st through the 15, please vote once a day and fill out the ballot carefully!

We won’t nag you, although we will remind you when voting is closing. This is a pretty big deal in our world and getting nominated THREE times has been really amazing to us, But we are wondering… is is third time is the charm? We’re up against some pretty heavy hitters so every vote counts. (when doesn’t it?)

Thank you for the nominations, for voting, for spreading the word to vote, but mostly thank you all for listening.

Beckett and Susan

ONE MORE LINK TO THE PODCAST AWARDS!

Josephine Baker’s Speech from The March on Washington, August 28th, 1963

Posted 28 August 2013 by
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Josephine, wearing her French Resistance uniform and her medals from her service in WW2.

On this 50th Anniversary of The March on Washington,
we thought we would share the text of Josephine’s speech from this memorable day.
Here it is, in its entirety:

“Friends and family…you know I have lived a long time and I have come a long way.  And you must know now that what I did, I did originally for myself.  Then later, as these things began happening to me, I wondered if they were happening to you, and then I knew they must be.  And I knew that you had no way to defend yourselves, as I had.

And as I continued to do the things I did, and to say the things I said, they began to beat me.  Not beat me, mind you, with a club—but you know, I have seen that done too—but they beat me with their pens, with their writings.  And friends, that is much worse.

When I was a child and they burned me out of my home, I was frightened and I ran away.    Eventually I ran far away.  It was to a place called France.  Many of you have been there, and many have not.  But I must tell you, ladies and gentlemen, in that country I never feared.  It was like a fairyland place.

And I need not tell you that wonderful things happened to me there.  Now I know that all you children don’t know who Josephine Baker is, but you ask Grandma and Grandpa and they will tell you.  You know what they will say,  “Why, she was a devil.”  And you know something…why, they are right.  I was too.  I was a devil in other countries, and I was a little devil in America, too.

But I must tell you, when I was young in Paris, strange things happened to me.  And these things had never happened to me before.  When I left St. Louis a long time ago, the conductor directed me to the last car.  And you all know what that means.

But when I ran away, yes, when I ran away to another country, I didn’t have to do that.  I could go into any restaurant I wanted to, and I could drink water anyplace I wanted to, and I didn’t have to go to a colored toilet either, and I have to tell you it was nice, and I got used to it, and I liked it, and I wasn’t afraid anymore that someone would shout at me and say, “Nigger, go to the end of the line.”  But you know, I rarely ever used that word.  You also know that it has been shouted at me many times.

Jim Crow sign.

So over there, far away, I was happy, and because I was happy I had some success, and you know that too.

Then after a long time, I came to America to be in a great show for Mr. Ziegfeld, and you know Josephine was happy.  You know that.  Because I wanted to tell everyone in my country about myself.  I wanted to let everyone know that I made good, and you know, too, that that is only natural.

Josephine's show at the Follies (see lower right)

But on that great big beautiful ship, I had a bad experience.  A very important star was to sit with me for dinner, and at the last moment I discovered she didn’t want to eat with a colored woman.  I can tell you it was some blow.

And I won’t bother to mention her name, because it is not important, and anyway, now she is dead.

And when I got to New York way back then, I had other blows—when they would not let me check into the good hotels because I was colored, or eat in certain restaurants.  And then I went to Atlanta, and it was a horror to me.  And I said to myself, My God, I am Josephine, and if they do this to me, what do they do to the other people in America?

Josephine fought against hotel discrimination.

You know, friends, that I do not lie to you when I tell you I have walked into the palaces of kings and queens and into the houses of presidents.  And much more. But I could not walk into a hotel in America and get a cup of coffee, and that made me mad.  And when I get mad, you know that I open my big mouth.  And then look out, ‘cause when Josephine opens her mouth, they hear it all over the world.

So I did open my mouth, and you know I did scream, and when I demanded what I was supposed to have and what I was entitled to, they still would not give it to me.

So then they thought they could smear me, and the best way to do that was to call me a communist.  And you know, too, what that meant.  Those were dreaded words in those days, and I want to tell you also that I was hounded by the government agencies in America, and there was never one ounce of proof that I was a communist.  But they were mad.  They were mad because I told the truth.  And the truth was that all I wanted was a cup of coffee.  But I wanted that cup of coffee where I wanted to drink it, and I had the money to pay for it, so why shouldn’t I have it where I wanted it?

Newspaper article of Josephine's libel suit against gossip columnist Walter Winchell.

Friends and brothers and sisters, that is how it went.  And when I screamed loud enough, they started to open that door just a little bit, and we all started to be able to squeeze through it.  Not just the colored people, but the others as well, the other minorities too, the Orientals, and the Mexicans, and the Indians, both those here in the United States and those from India.

Now I am not going to stand in front of all of you today and take credit for what is happening now.  I cannot do that.  But I want to take credit for telling you how to do the same thing, and when you scream, friends, I know you will be heard.  And you will be heard now.

Aerial view of The March on Washington, August 28th, 1963.

But you young people must do one thing, and I know you have heard this story a thousand times from your mothers and fathers, like I did from my mama.  I didn’t take her advice.  But I accomplished the same in another fashion.  You must get an education.  You must go to school, and you must learn to protect yourself.  And you must learn to protect yourself with the pen, and not the gun.  Then you can answer them, and I can tell you—and I don’t want to sound corny—but friends, the pen really is mightier than the sword.

I am not a young woman now, friends.  My life is behind me.  There is not too much fire burning inside me.  And before it goes out, I want you to use what is left to light that fire in you.  So that you can carry on, and so that you can do those things that I have done.  Then, when my fires have burned out, and I go where we all go someday, I can be happy.

You know I have always taken the rocky path.  I never took the easy one, but as I get older, and as I knew I had the power and the strength, I took that rocky path, and I tried to smooth it out a little.  I wanted to make it easier for you.  I want you to have a chance at what I had.  But I do not want you to have to run away to get it.  And mothers and fathers, if it is too late for you, think of your children.  Make it safe here so they do mot have to run away, for I want for you and your children what I had.

Ladies and gentlemen, my friends and family, I have just been handed a little note, as you probably say.  It is an invitation to visit the President of the United States in his home, the White House.

I am greatly honored.  But I must tell you that a colored woman—or, as you say it here in America, a black woman—is not going there. It is a woman.  It is Josephine Baker.

This is a great honor for me.  Someday I want you children out there to have that great honor, too.  And we know that that time is not someday.  We know that that time is now.

I thank you, and may God bless you.  And may He continue to bless you long after I am gone.”

Josephine is honored in her adopted country.

Want to read more about Josephine Baker?
Go here:
Episode 34; Josephine Baker, Part 1 (shownotes)
and here:
Episode 34: Josephine Baker, Part 2 (shownotes)

Want to listen, instead, to what we had to say?
Follow these links:
Episode 34; Josephine Baker, Part 1 (audio)
or
Episode 34: Josephine Baker, Part 2 (audio)

Episode 41: Bessie Coleman

Posted 9 August 2013 by
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Amelia Earhart wasn’t the only American woman who soared into aviation history as she took her dreams to the sky. Bessie Coleman not only set aviation records of her own, but the story of her ascent above racial and gender barriers makes her a woman worthy of a long chat.

Bessie Coleman was born January 26, 1892 in Atlanta, Texas, the 10th child of George and Susan Coleman, both sharecroppers. George was part American Indian and proud of his ancestry but pride doesn’t put food on the table, does it?  George and Susan scraped together enough money for a small plot and settled the family in Waxahachie, Texas.  As the more elder of the  Coleman children to survive childhood grew and moved out of the home, life never got  easy for Bessie. We talk about Bessie’s childhood in the podcast, the slow path to an education that she had due to time away from school because of cotton harvest,  the chores and responsibilities that she had and the impact of her father leaving the family for a life he thought would be more accepting of him in Oklahoma.

A book wagon, circa 1920 (courtesy libraryhistorybuff.com)

A bookwagon, circa 1920 (courtesy libraryhistorybuff.com)

Susan wanted her children educated and helped encouraged them to make that happen as best she could. Once Bessie completed the eight grades available to her, she helped save and eventually registered at college.

Colored Agricultural and Normal University in Langston, Oklahoma (now simply Langston University...go Lions)

Unfortunately her money ran out after only one semester and headed back to Waxahachie to work as a laundress for several years. But Bessie wanted more out of life and moved to Chicago to live with two of her older brothers. The bright lights and big promises of the city didn’t prove all that more life advancing than they did in Waxahachie- laundress? Again? Bessie saw her opening and enrolled in Burnham School of beauty and Culture where she quickly trained to be a manicurist. Badda bing, Bessie is working in a barber shop on the see and be seen area known as The Stroll.

State Street early 1900's (courtesy nps)

When her brother John came back from World War I, he bragged about the amazing French women and teased Bessie that no African American woman could fly like a French woman.

With Wipe That Grin Off Your Face determination, Bessie set out to prove her brother wrong. (Such a strong motivator, isn’t it?) She had been bitten by the aviation bug while in Chicago, but she could not find any flight schools that would enroll her. Being both a woman and black was a double whammy.

So, she wants to fly.

She wants to show her brother that French women aren’t the only ones who can fly.

She does the most logical thing: she goes to France to learn to fly.

So it wasn’t quite that easy, and we cover so much more in the podcast but essentially that’s exactly what she does! (And does it a lot faster than Amelia even though they began taking lessons at about the same time.)

Bessie Coleman- the first black woman in the world to earn one of these! Pilot's license

When Bessie returned to the US with her shiny new license and aviatrix skills ( and no plane of her own) she set off on the air show circuit. While she was skilled, mechanical error led to a crash. Barely alive with bones broken and injuries that kept her sidelined,she insisted that she would fly again.

Early 1900's airshow over Grant Park in Chicago (courtesy chuckmanchicagonostalgia.wordpress.com)

Of course she did! But she still didn’t have a plane of her own. What she did have was a dream. Bessie Coleman wanted to help desegregate aviation. Wherever she toured she refused to fly if blacks were not allowed into the show, and she held tight to a dream of opening her own flight school. Traveling the country on borrowed planes she fundraised- speaking and creating ever more elaborate and patriotic shows she was a big draw for air shows.

On April 30, 1926 Bessie and a mechanic were test flying a plane. As part of her performance Bessie parachuted off the plane, and the two were scouting a location. Bessie, so that she could see over the edge for a perfect landing spot, was not wearing her seatbelt. At 3,000 feet up, the plane went into a nose dive and Bessie fell to her death. She was 33 years old.

In 1929 the Bessie Coleman Aero Club , a flight school named in her honor opened in Los Angeles.

Bessie Coleman on a US postage stamp, 1995

TIME TRAVEL WITH THE HISTORY CHICKS

How did we miss this website? Get all your historical women gear (designed for kids but adult sizes available, too) A Mighty Girl. Maybe not exactly this doll though, unless that’s your thing, then here it is! You were looking for this!

Bessie Coleman Madam Alexander doll

Do not go here hungry! You were warned. The history of chili (and more…oh, so much more) What’s Cooking America

We know you are looking for this, all you runners, Marathon Du Medoc (Bordeaux Marathon). And here is a fun article about running it , good even if there is no chance of you ever attempting such an event! Food and Wine

Books! We only had a couple that we would recommend:

Fly High! by Louise Borden and Mary Kay Kroeger, Illustrated by Teresa Flavin

Queen Bess: Daredevil Aviator by Doris L. Rich

While surfing…er, following a lead we stumbled across this blog that has very little to do with Bessie Coleman (other than this post about an entry from her beauty school primer) but thought it too interesting to not add here: Bobby Pin Blog Vintage make-up and beauty instructions, anyone?

Our music is courtesy of Musicalley. Visit them at Music.mevio.com
Show outro music : “Dreamers” by The Hipstones

Our Friend’s Project And Giveaway

Posted 3 August 2013 by
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One of the best parts of our gig as History Chicks is getting to meet people through the podcast, website and social media pages. We met on a message board, so making friends online is nothing new to either of us, and it’s pretty sweet to be in a position to meet others with interests similar to our own.

Through the course of exchanged emails and private messages we have discovered that some of you are doing some really cool historically based projects or businesses that we admire. We thought that it would be fun to show them off. Some of the projects that we will share are focused on historical women and some will simply deal with anything in the past- but they are all run by listeners. This first one is both about women and the past ( and it, in a turn-your-head-and-squint way, ties in with a promise that we made a few months ago, so we will fulfill that now).

First up- let’s take a look at at topic that is near and dear to our hearts: historical fashion.

This is Rodellee Bas and her business is Adored Vintage.

From her website:

“A deep love for fashion and history bore the idea of ADORED VINTAGE, an online vintage clothing boutique for modern women that love fanciful and pretty things. Each vintage garment is hand selected for quality, beauty, and relevance to modern day fashion. We believe each garment bears a tale from its past and the women that chooses a vintage garment from our shop loves the idea of adding her own chapter to the story of a dress.

Not only does she select beautiful garments and accessories ( both true vintage and inspired by) but  the photography is, quite simply- lovely.

Some dresses from her shop

1950s emerald green halter dress

She carries accessories like these 1940s studded strap heels...

...and purses like this 1950s clutch...

...and hats!

But the dresses! Oh! The dresses!

Her showroom as photographed by Connie Lyu Photography

50's Floral

'60s little black dress

Her  brick and mortar showroom is in downtown Long Beach, California, but we follow the beautiful vintage fashion show via her  facebook page and website where you can fill your cart with beautiful pieces and have them delivered. If you are fortunate enough to be nearby, the showroom is open by appointment only or check out her once-a-month Vintage Sunday on the third Sunday of the month- it coincides with the Long Beach Flea Market (as if vintage fashion, and the beach wasn’t enough to draw you in).

We’ve been talking women in history with Rodellee for a bit and we can’t help but notice her History Chickness show through in some collection and garment titles. Each item has a clever title and  recently she named a collection of garments in honor of Jane Austen. Of course, her one-of-a-kind items aren’t on the Adored Vintage site for long, so going back frequently to see what she has added that is new and available is such a hardship. (yeah…not really.)

AND (turn your head and squint now) speaking of Jane Austen and things formerly loved by others : we had promised to give away a couple of Beckett’s loved (read:used) copies of the parody novels Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (by Jane Austen and Seth Graham-Smith) and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadful ( by Steve Hockensmith). Just leave a comment on this post (using an email that we can contact you through) telling us WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE JANE AUSTEN HEROINE and you will be entered into a random drawing (both books, one winner) held on August 17th, 2013.

Beckett's books can be yours! Well, these two anyway. Just leave a comment on this post telling us who your favorite Jane Austen heroine is. Random drawing 8/17/13

We will share more friends’ projects whenever the whim strikes us, but keep an eye out because- just like our ever growing and amazing list of historical women that we would like to discuss- we have a list for this, too!

One more link, just because- Adored Vintage.

Tudor Grandmothers Revisited

Posted 29 July 2013 by
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A year and a half ago we sat down to talk about Margaret Beaufort and Elizabeth Woodville. Since then a lot of you have joined us…and a lot of you are really excited about the television show The White Queen, which is  based on the novel series THE COUSINS’ WAR, by Philippa Gregory.  So are we!  (So excited) (So very excited)  Here in the good ol’ US of A the show begins on the Starz network on August 10th, 8 PM ET/PT, so we thought that this was a good time to brush up on the stories of the women who would become grandmothers to our favorite bad guy, Henry VIII.

Because we posted portraits on our original shownotes, we thought that  getting the faces of the actresses playing the parts into our heads would be a good idea.

Elizabeth Woodville, played by Rebecca Ferguson ( Courtesy Starz)

Margaret Beaufort, played by Amanda Hale (Courtesy Starz)

Starz has a very slick website (facebook page and twitter) for this show which makes talking about it with other fans really easy.
The shownotes from the original episode, including book recommendations, from our original posting are here: SHOWNOTES.

And if you are in the UK, you can watch entire episodes online here: BBC ONE

Episode 37: The Wizard of Oz

Posted 8 March 2013 by
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Once a season we step away from factual subjects and focus on a fictional one. This season we traveled to the land of Oz and took a look around.

“But Chicks,” you say,”a Wizard is a man.”

To that we respond: Thank you for pointing this out. Yes, the Wizard is a man, and L. Frank Baum is a man…but Oz is full of women! Dorothy! Glinda! Ozma! Oz is a land of female rulers and strong charactered inhabitants- how could we not talk about it? (Besides, we like fantasy, okay? And there are several points in the Six Degrees of History Chicks Separation game with this subject.  Just trust us.)

W.W. Denslow illustration from The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

We’re sure several images popped into your head when you saw the title, and we will cover most of them in this episode…except three: Judy Garland, Billie Burke and Margaret Hamilton. We decided to have a separate conversation about the lives of the three female stars of the 1939 movie . That chat will be posted as a companion minicast .

In 1900 L. Frank Baum introduced the world to the imaginary land of Oz. It wasn’t the first children’s book that he had written-but it would become a series that he would work on for the rest of his life that is full of characters, settings and storylines that are still being explored today.

Born in 1856 in  Chittenango, New York, Lyman Frank Baum was the son of a barrel maker and occupational experimenter who struck it rich in the oil business- Benjamin Baum and his wife, Cynthia Stanton Baum. Frank was a sick child with a weak heart but a big imagination. He also had the gift of very indulgent parents.

Aside from a short stint at Peekskill Military Academy (where there was, literally, a yellow brick road), Frank was educated at home by tutors and  parents who helped him peruse any interests he had. When he took an interest in the printing process, his parents bought him a home printing press. Later when he took an interest in acting, they got him a theater.

Franks brief experience in a military school...not exactly his thing

Once grown, he began touring with an acting company until he met Maud Gage- daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s co-author Matilda Jocelyn Gage. Love. Within a year they were married, and when she became pregnant with the first of four sons, the acting life ended and Frank the dreamer needed to become Frank the supporter.

He did not find success as a chicken breeder, store owner, newspaper man, or traveling salesman. One day he wrote out the Mother Goose rhymes that he had been sharing with his sons and they became his first book- Mother Goose in Prose. His second was a spin-off of that one, Father Goose: His Book.

Shortly after these two successes, he wrote down the stories he had been telling his sons and the neighborhood kids about a little girl named Dorothy in a magical land named Oz. With clever illustrations by W.W. Denslow, The Wizard of Oz was a hit.

Frank brought the story to the theater with a stage version ( although the adult cast wasn’t exactly what he had in mind when he wrote the story), and this also was a success. While he had no interest in writing another Oz book, he did have an interest in putting food on the table for his family. Frank Baum was an imaginative writer, but a businessman he was not and he would earn and lose his wealth many times over the years. Within four years of the first Oz book he was publishing a second. He would write 13 sequels to the original story (including our favorite- Ozma of Oz).

Shh, don't tell the others, but this is our favorite

But that’s not all! Frank wrote several books and plays under pseudonyms and several of those were women’s names- the most successful being a series for teenage girls, Aunt Jane’s Nieces, under the pen name, Edyth Van Dyne.

L. Frank Baum circa 1911

Frank Baum died on May 6th, 1919 at the age of 92. His last book, Glinda of Oz,  was published posthumously a year later.

But the Oz books couldn’t end! Not only was the world enthralled with the story, it was making some serious coin for its publishers. After Frank’s death another 36 books would be written by a variety of authors making up what is considered the official 40 book Oz series.

About 38 years down the yellow brick road technology caught up with the stories. After Walt Disney scored big time with Snow White, movie makers were looking for the next big fairy tale and MGM landed Oz. We geek out about the making of this iconic movie for quite a while during the podcast. We chat about trivia as well as the differences between the movie and the beloved books (Like the shoes: Dorothy originally was gifted a pair of silver shoes, but red showed up so much nicer in Technicolor.)

2.6 million dollars, five directors, scores of writers, two Tin Man actors, and a shooting schedule that stretched from 6 weeks to 23 The Wizard of Oz finally opened…

Not the first technicolor movie by a long shot and didn't follow the books exactly (and we cover those differences in the podcast), 1939 MGM movie poster

…and didn’t quite do as well at the box-office as you would have expected. While this film lasts on mostly due to annual televised showings beginning in the mid 1950’s- the movie wasn’t a flop by any standard, but it did originally fail to be a financial success. The movie did win two Academy Awards as well as a special award for 16 year-old Judy Garland.

TIME TRAVEL WITH THE HISTORY CHICKS

So you really don’t want to read all the books in the Oz series, we get that- 40 is a lot of books. Here is a really fun shortcut to the plots and characters of each book as well as all the original cover art to them. Maybe after you read these reviews you will give in and get one of the books. And another. And another. Hey, fantasy series are all the rage these days- there is a reason and Oz started them all. Mari Ness on TOR.COM

Other than the books in the Oz series, we didn’t have a lot of recommendations for this episode. We  think that the Annotated Wizard of Oz was pretty terrific, as well as the Wicked Years series by Gregory McGuire and Was by Geoff Ryman (very dark, but very good).

Annotated Wizard of Oz edited by Michael Patrick Hearn

Was by, Geoff Ryman

The Wicked Series by Gregory Maguire (also available on Audible.com and you can get a free book just by clicking the link to the far right, no, up higher...just sayin')

And as far as movies go, get thee to the library and borrow the 3 -disc Collector’s Edition of the 1939 movie! So many special features you will be all Oz’d up in no time!

1978 brought a very interesting version of movie (it had previously been an Tony award winning Broadway play) The Wiz starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. Make your own judgement if it’s destined for Cult Movie Classic status or not.

1978 musical The Wiz

You can catch Tin Man, the Sci-Fi channel mini-series starring Zooey Deschenel, streaming on Netflix and decide if you think it’s good (and forgive Zooey for this one) like Susan, or if you can’t get past the first episode like Beckett.

Classic Oz touches sprinkled through story in semi Once Upon a Time style

Join in the serious business at the International Wizard of Oz Clubs, or join some chat with the Royal Historians and all at The Royal Website of Oz.

The Studio 360 podcast episode “American Icons: The Wizard of Oz” can be found here, or on ITunes: Studio 360

Want to read the rest of the Evil Overlord list? Find it here: The Evil Overlord List

Investigate your name’s popularity over time at The Baby Name Wizard (warning! It’s addictive!): Baby Name Wizard

Finally, there are a pair of the Ruby Slippers Judy Garland wore in the movie at the Smithsonian, but if you are looking for an Oz museum as you cross Kansas, here is one in Wamego, Kansas ( just  east of Manhattan). We have not been, but if you have let us know how it is in the comments!

On display in Washington, one pair of the movie ruby slippers

As always, our music comes courtesy of Music Alley. Visit them at music.mevio.com
(closing song – If I Only Had a Brain by Elijah Tucker)