Carter G. Woodson

by baldilocks

Series originally published in 2014.

Here we are again in February–Black History Month, or whatever the more politically-correct designation is currently. I am of two minds on the observance of it.

But, first, it is necessary to point to the history of Black History Month and to its creator, Carter G. Woodson:

Carter G. Woodson was born in 1875 in New Canton, Virginia. One of the first African Americans [sic] to receive a doctorate from Harvard, Woodson dedicated his career to the field of African-American history and lobbied extensively to establish Black History Month as a nationwide institution. He also wrote many historical works, including the 1933 book The Mis-Education of the Negro. He died in Washington, D.C., in 1950.

(…)

After attending Berea College in Kentucky, Woodson worked for the U.S. government as an education superintendent in the Philippines and undertook more travels before returning to the U.S. Woodson then earned his bachelor’s and master’s from the University of Chicago and went on to receive a doctorate from Harvard University in 1912—becoming the second African American to earn a Ph.D. from the prestigious institution, after W.E.B. Du Bois. After finishing his education, Woodson dedicated himself to the field of African-American history, working to make sure that the subject was taught in schools and studied by scholars. For his efforts, Woodson is often called the “Father of Black History.”

(…)

Woodson lobbied schools and organizations to participate in a special program to encourage the study of African-American history, which began in February 1926 with Negro History Week. The program was later expanded and renamed Black History Month. (Woodson had chosen February for the initial week-long celebration to honor the birth months of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln.)

(Some misspellings are corrected and a link to Dr. Woodson’s most well-known work is added. About the emphasized sentence: occasionally, some grievance monger will betray an ironic ignorance of  history by attributing to racism the fact that Black History Month occurs in the shortest month of the year.)

One of the most well-known quotes from Mis-Education applies to everyone, but it has special significance for black Americans.

When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his ‘proper place’ and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.

(Other fascinating Woodson quotes are found here. Had Dr. Woodson been born a century later, his Tweeted quotes would no doubt be received quite unceremoniously by the black leftist Twitter mob.)

This quote is relevant to black persons now more so than in 1933, the year in which Mis-Education was published. Woodson’s thesis was that contemporaneous black Americans were being culturally indoctrinated rather than educated. Was he correct? Yes, and an example of that indoctrination’s aftermath is in order.

One can look to 1933 and note that, at state and local levels, a certain political party advocated and supported legal oppression of black Americans.  In 2014, however, most black Americans are members of that same party. But has that party’s strategy changed? No; only its tactics have been changed.  Earlier tactics were designed to control the physical, economic and political mobility of black Americans; but present-day tactics  (language alert) and shorter-term strategies are designed to control our thinking.

Dr. Woodson posited that teaching Black History to black American students would make them equal to other Americans in their own minds—where it counts—and, thereby, make them better citizens.

It was a great and worthy cause, but like many other, great and worth causes, it has become warped and misshapen.

The First Mind

I used to have a ton of “black books”—fiction, history, philosophy, etc. At some point, however, I sold or gave most away because I needed more room on my bookshelves and, to be honest, the topic became boring–more “rah-rah Team Black!!,” rather than who, what, where, how or why.  Navel-gazing is one of my favorite hobbies, but, at some point, one needs to take the eye off of self.  (When my American dad asked me why I had gotten rid of most of the books, I replied: “I know how to be ‘black,’ Dad; it’s time to read about other things.”)

(I still occasionally read black history items; online, for the most part. One site, Neglected Voices, is a fascinating list of speeches from the first black members of the US Congress, all elected in the aftermath of the Civil War and all Republican. I actually learned quite a few things at that site–always a plus.)

Notice that I didn’t throw the books away. There are many Americans of all persuasions who need wider perspectives in the area of this country’s history, of which black history is an integral part. The problem I have, however, with the over-focus on that history is that it skews individual perspective, feeding pride, victimization and anger. The priming of those three emotions softens the ground for thought control.

In next week’s column, I’ll lay out the details of my second mind.

To be Continued…

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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During a visit last year to Vietnam, I made the trek to Khe Sanh, one of the key battles during the Tet Offensive, which happened 50 years ago.

For most of the journey, I bristled at the Vietnamese guide and propagandist, who maintained Tet was a major victory for the Communist forces. I finally had enough and offered some facts to her and the tourists on the bus.

DaTech3.jpgSimply put, the coverage of the 1968 North Vietnamese attack is a startling example of how the U.S. media got it wrong. The media presented Tet as a major loss for the Americans when it actually was a massive defeat for North Vietnam.

The North Vietnamese government launched the offensive during Tet, the celebration of the Vietnamese New Year. The attacks began on January 30 on targets in Saigon and other Vietnamese cities, and ended a little more than a month later when Marines crushed the last resistance in the northern city of Hue.

As The Washington Post’s Saigon bureau chief Peter Braestrup documented in his book The Big Story, reporters systematically used Tet to turn the reality of a U.S. victory into an image of American and South Vietnamese defeat.

For example, journalists reported that that Vietcong had overrun five floors of the U.S. embassy when the VC never got inside the building. Newsweek’s coverage of the siege of Khe Sanh showed 18 photos out of a total of 29 of dead or wounded Marines or Marines huddling under cover, never mentioning that the Marines inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy.

That campaign of misrepresentation culminated in Walter Cronkite’s half-hour TV special on February 27, 1968, when he told his viewers that Tet had proved that America was “mired in a stalemate.”

Here are some important facts that got lost in the journalistic shuffle. The North Vietnamese Army lost 20 percent of its forces in the South and suffered 33,000 men killed in action for no military gain.

In his excellent book on the battle of Hue, Mark Bowden describes miscalculations on the part of the U.S. command but also the cynicism of the North Vietnamese command that was trying to win a public relations battle rather than a military victory. The Communists told many of their supporters that the goal was to launch a revolution when the government knew many would die. Simply put, the North Vietnam leadership was willing to lose thousands of soldiers to turn the PR tide.

The strategy worked as the international media misinterpreted what happened on the ground. Public support for the war dropped significantly after the misinformation about the Tet offensive.

As The New Republic put it recently: “The American public knew none of this, however. The misrepresentation by America’s most respected newsman and most trusted media outlets of what had actually happened during Tet stunned the American public and the body politic. Popular support for the war took a heavy hit, as the war’s critics now grabbed center stage….

“After Tet, American media had assumed a new mission for itself: to shape the nation’s politics by crafting a single coherent narrative, even if it meant omitting certain relevant facts and promoting other false or misleading ones. standing — just as they had convinced them a year earlier that America’s major victory was actually a major defeat.”

Sound familiar?

Captain Sawyer: [Looking at his hands after being released from a straitjacket] I never thought I’d see these again

Hornblower Retribution 2001

Today I gave a call to GoDaddy and after a week of contradictory messages, conflicting statements and customer service where it was not clear who was the paying customer and who was providing the service I was finally informed that my suspension was over and my web site was back up.

Much to my shock true to their word within a few minutes I was able to see the last post that made it up exactly a week ago today but in a final twist of the knife these actions delayed me long enough so I was unable to join my son, his girl and my wife for a Valentine’s breakfast at Parker’s Marple barn in NH (Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the required fasting overrides the secular version of Valentine’s day.

I’m not going to recount the whole story here, but suffice to say that if you go into my archives you will notice that all the graphics from all my posts from 2011-2014 are gone along with a fair amount of graphics from 2017 as well. It’s going to take some effort to restore these without risking a return to exile.

The thing that really pissed me off were the attempts to up sell me as a solution to exile. My ancestry is Sicilian, I know a protection racket when I see one.

My short term plan is to strip the site to bare bones and migrate it to a smaller hosting company where I can talk to the boss who will speak to me as a customer rather than crippling my business and then telling me how high to jump if I want it back or as the congress once said at the time of the Barbary Pirates: “Millions for defense, not one cent for tribute.”

I don’t have millions and the extra money I will be spending to get myself moved, in addition to the increased monthly costs will not be pleasant, but the knowledge that this will not happen again combined with the fact that none of those additional funds will end up in GoDaddy’s Hands will more than make up for things.

Meanwhile I’d like to thank my Magnificent Seven writers who posted at the backup site, for those of you who don’t know we kept plugging right along over there. Here are the posts in case you missed them:

2-12
Report from Louisiana: Are Indie Booksellers Coming Back? by Pat Austin

Let’s try that German Leftist who “evolved” on Refugees again by DaTechGuy

2-11

Pritzker falling in Illinois Dem guv race by John Ruberry

The Media Left Loves Dictators…If they Hate Trump by Datechguy

2-10

CIA, NSA to FBI: We May Be Younger, But We Have Outlived Our Usefulness Too by Baldilocks

Who doesn’t like a military parade? by NG36B/RH

Newsweek vs DaTechGuy Blog by DaTechGuy

2-9

Nancy {hearts} Antonio by Fausta

Congress faster than GoDaddy by DaTechGuy

2-8

A Reminder to Dems Angry on DACA or Thank you Nancy May I have Another? by DaTechGuy

2-7

24 Hours to lose a narrative by DaTechGuy

2-6

Back to the old blog as GoDaddy Suspends me by DaTechGuy

I didn’t move everyone over to the old site as I didn’t expect to be down as long as I was but bottom line we are back and we intend to stay back


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Finally might I suggest my book  Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excellent Gift.