To say the Confederate Flag does not represent some form of racism is a ridiculous thought. But at the same time, it’s important to note the impossibility of looking at those days in US History in generalized terms today.
Officials took the bull by the horns regarding the hot button issue of displaying the "Stars and Bars" on public property. Calling for Confederate Battle Flags to be removed from capitol grounds -- and other such public places -- this week was the right decision.
My only concern is not to take it too far. We can’t assume racism is the only motivation for the flag's existence in modern culture. Could it hold historical value overall and special sentiment for Southern heritage?
We can say we don’t want to see the flag waving at the state capitol and we can say we don’t want to see it on store shelves. But, I would hope that we’ve come far enough not to let a symbol divide us any further than that. Americans tend to be opinionated, and we are oftentimes offended.
Nonetheless, we all have rights. Who are we to question, for example, why a reenactor wants to buy Confederate uniforms and badges or why someone exploring genealogy wants to boast their Southern pride by hanging up a flag on their own property.
Unfortunately, a reportedly crazed and racist gunman who recently killed several black churchgoers brought newfound urgency in some groups seeking to put the symbols out of sight for good. Several photos emerged since the killings occured more than a week ago of suspect Dylan Roof pictured with a confederate flag.
Whitewashing history certainly won’t solve the problems related to racism and violence in this country.
How far can we go in taking away the Southern emblem? What about other relics? What will tomorrow’s history lessons teach future generations about today?
I hope we can preserve history to be as accurate as possible. Forbidding the sale of items featuring the symbols of the Old South doesn’t change the slavery-related history we want to forget. However, dictating that someone can’t buy certain items sets our clocks back even further. It just seems like shallow behavior to me.
Imagine living in this country more than a century-and-a -half -ago -- , a time when many people wouldn't hesitate to die for what they believed in, to the point that a national conflict brought brother against brother in a fight on opposite sides of American Civil War battlefields. When reflecting back on the south’s radical history, for instance, it’s important to note that many honorable soldiers of the Confederacy weren’t even slave owners and others were drafted to put on the uniforms. Many were mere boys who faced the harsh reality of what their uniform meant in prisons, disease and death.
The war was looming long before 1860 and those who fought in it knew American society was so deeply invested in its “causes” that no doubt would the conflict continue off the battlefield despite Robert E. Lee’s surrender in 1865. How to repair the war-torn nation was another battle to endure in itself, that evidently was never fully resolved, all these years later.
Now, I’d like to touch upon just a few histoical accounts leading up to the war that drew my interest in particular into that time period.
I can imagine all the talks about the war in households everywhere. The newsmen clamoring for headlines, the widows retelling stories again and again to children and veterans being asked to recall the time they camped hundreds of miles away, walking oftentimes without shoes. That is the true fabric of culture and heritage, North and South -- keeping the stories, memories and history going through the ages. It was a long and horrific conflict and communities wanted to honor military leaders with statues and monuments. Schools, streets, parks and buildings were also named for generals.
Much of my interest in the CIvil War can be connected to the unique heritage of the antebellum south that many seem to scoff at these days. Admittedly, I haven't studied the flags of that time period, but If you currently have the scandalous flag posted on your Facebook profile or hanging up in your house, you should enjoy the abundance of information available to learn more about it other flags because of accurate record keeping, storytelling and photography.
Obviously, the main cause of the CIvil War was, in fact, the institution of slavery. Even famous and admirable Americans who had inherited the “property’ back then knew slavery was immoral, but even they didn’t know how to put an end to the problem once and for all.
The “fire bell in the night” rang louder when with the addition of new territories to the Union.
In fact, Congress passed two bills forty years before states began seceding from the union that, together, were known as the Missouri Compromise. To sum it up, Maine was admitted to the Union as a free state. Missouri was admitted as a slave state, although slavery would be prohibited north of a 36-30 line (southern border of Missouri) in the western territories of the Louisiana Purchase—Missouri was an exception.
It was Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter a few months later, which holds some wisdom that I can’t help but refer to as a Civil War buff in 2015.
“...but this momentous question, like a fire bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once as the knell of the Union. It is hushed indeed for the moment, but this is a reprieve only, not a final sentence. A geographical line, coinciding with a marked principle, moral and political, once conceived and held up to the angry passions of men, will never be obliterated, and every new irritation will mark it deeper and deeper,” Jefferson warned.
History credits another famous politician with holding the Union together a little while longer. Seasoned Kentucky Senator Henry Clay was able to tackle the Congressional debate in 1850 with the Missouri Compromise. The nation was obviously divided and conflict inevitable if slavery continued.
The Compromise basically offered to appease both sides surrounding the issue of slavery. It included plans for the Texas territory, creating territorial governments with "popular sovereignty" for New Mexico and Utah to allow voters to decide to permit slavery and admitted California as a free state. The compromise abolished the slave trade in the District of Columbia and created new laws regarding runaway slaves.
Many historians point to one particular incident that happened in the Senate chamber in May of 1856 as the "breakdown of reasoned discourse" that eventually led to the Civil War.
I agree this story seems like a defining moment in that road to war, and must be included in this blog:
Democratic Rep. Preston Brooks, of South Carolina, attacked Republican Senator Charles Sumner, of Massachusetts, with his cane for a speech made by Sumner, known as "Crime against Kansas" two days earlier. Sumner made bold insults about Stephen Douglas and a relative of Brooks, Andrew Butler -- based on their opposiing views on the institution of slavery. Brooks felt compelled to defend his honor. The beating almost killed Sumner.
The attack was a reflection that the American public was growing more divisive on the expansion of slavery. WIth all the drama leading up to the war and its intensity, it’s not surprising that we continue to be divided on many issues regarding cultural issues today.
People tend to be passionate about what they believe in.
Whatever the case, mulifaceted Civil War History will continue to capture our interest for a long time to come and for many reasons (President Abraham Lincoln, most importantly, in my opinion.)
How do you feel about the flag controversy?
I remember a while back when I received a message from a reader regarding something I was covering at a small newspaper. A one-sentence message: "You're doing it!"
He was happy with the coverage. Reporters like that type of feedback.
However, I've not received many messages during this Indiana Central News endeavor. I'm not hearing it, but I'm sure sensing it. What a quiet bunch of readers you all are, but I value each one of you! If it were not for Google Analytics, I'd assume there were no more than 20 people visiting Incianacentralnews.com
Numbers are not my niche --- and I completely underestimated it. But, let me tell you, I'm more proud of the website than anything else I've ever done in life! The ads now appearing on my pages are even more reason to celebrate ICN at its four-month anniversary. If you'd like to advertise your business on the site, let me know.
I made a sllideshow just now with animoto.com , to feature ICN at the four-month-mark. It captures important local moments which I was an eyewitness to in the first half of 2015. Please view the images on ICN's Facebook page.. The site was launched ICN on Feb. 18.
Much has been accomplishied in this short time period. I will work to cover as much news in the next half of 2015, which will sometimes be challenging now with a "real" job on the side. News can happen any time!
I lost a year's worth of my work to a cyber death. With the closing of my last workplace, News Barb, on Feb. 16. I'm making extra sure to keep all my work from now on, and will probably make regular slideshows to keep track of the never-ending finished product. Up unitl then, the only clip I didn't have on file was one from my internship at the Vincennes Sun-Commercial so many years ago, in what feels like another lfetime. I'm over that loss now, since I realized the last time I brought the box out, the ones I possess are in pretty bad shape now all these years later. Newsprint faded and the paper yellowed.
That was an old-fashioned news format compared to this site!
Please don't hesitate to contact me by email anytime.
I was working as a substitute teacher today and happened to watch a movie about evolution more than once.
That was plenty of time for my thoughts to drift to my website. What if Indiana Central News changed and improved over time due to demand, challenges and environment in order to thrive? ICN is just 2-months-old and already growing. I want it to get bigger.
What a good idea. It was that simple: I've decided to open up my subscription-only pages to the public for a while.
On the front page of Indiana Central News, you will still notice a PayPal link for donations. That would be much appreciated-- to help cover costs and bring more news to the readers.
ICN will continue to evolve. Stay tuned. As always, email me your story ideas, comments and questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am enjoying this news site tremendously.
For those who haven’t followed its development since I started it in mid-February, ICN is run entirely by me. It began as a means for me to express myself as a local journalist after my former employer decided to close his business.
My passion is journalism, and I find myself very busy every day with this website -- as a reporter, photographer and a site manager. There are many more things I want to cover each day, but as a businesswoman, I must be practical. The show will go on, but the audience is limited.
While it’s something I enjoy and will gladly do personally for free, subscribers are needed to reach the public. Without more subscribers than ICN currently has, it’s necessary to prioritize what events and stories I can be part of as a news writer.
It seems everything about Indiana Central News -- from its concept, news sources, events and the press conferences-- has fallen right into place from day one. Moral support of this site has been very impressive from everyone, including the officials I speak with for stories on to the readers.
Proximity plays a role in prioritizing. Since I live right in the heart of Terre Haute, breaking news and events close to my home business will be more possible with limited funding, than those in outlying areas. If you’d like to see more coverage, your support of the $4/month subscription rate is imperative.
Contact me at 317-527-4141 or email@example.com with questions and comments. Subscribe by going to the main page www.indianacentralnews.com. Meanwhile, enjoy the free community pages provided by ICN.
"You don’t have to attend every argument to which you are invited."
That is great advice from an unknown author that you can apply to pretty much any situation. I remind myself that often. In fact, most of the time, my personal opinion doesn't matter anyway.
With that said, Gov. Mike Pence issued a press release today regarding an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal about Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). It appears many politicians are now scrambling to clarify the intent of the bill. Its timing and motives are questionable.
While some officials are staying out of the conflict, many are jumping right into the fight, wanting to know the implications of the freedom restoration act on businesses and employees.
Meanwhile, immediate outlash included big plans being put on hold indefinitely as a result of the legislation -- future events of Indianapolis-based NCAA and business expansion of Angie’s List, which had sought an $18.5 million incentive package from Indianapolis to add 1,000 jobs over five years. It's a serious issue.
Excerpts from the Pence article can be found below. The full version, which will appear in Tuesday’s edition of the Wall Street Journal, can be found here.
“I want to make clear to Hoosiers and every American that despite what critics and many in the national media have asserted, the law is not a 'license to discriminate,' either in Indiana or elsewhere.”
“I abhor discrimination. I believe in the Golden Rule that you should 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' If I saw a restaurant owner refuse to serve a gay couple, I wouldn’t eat there anymore.”
“As governor of Indiana, if I were presented a bill that legalized discrimination against any person or group, I would veto it. Indiana’s new law contains no reference to sexual orientation. It simply mirrors federal law that President Bill Clinton signed in 1993.”
“Some express concern that Indiana’s RFRA law would lead to discrimination, but RFRA only provides a mechanism to address claims, not a license for private parties to deny services. Even a claim involving private individuals under RFRA must show that one’s religious beliefs were 'substantially burdened' and not in service to a broader government interest—which preventing discrimination certainly is. The government has the explicit power under the law to step in and defend such interests.”
“The hospitality and character of Hoosiers are synonymous with everything that is good about America. Faith and religion are important values to millions of Indiana residents. With the passage of this legislation, Indiana will continue to be a place that respects the beliefs of every person in our state.”
Spring break time always reminds me of the several acquaintances I've had through the years who would often return from their vacations and say, “Lucy, you really need to travel.”
In reality, we all know I’m a homebody. I've never had the urge to go farther than a few hours away for more than a day or two.
A couple weeks ago, another reporter was covering the same event and randomly announced that other staff at her workplace were planning to travel somewhere for spring break. I replied that it’s been awhile since I’ve gone on a spring break trip. Then she elaborated, saying one staff member was going to Florida and another was heading on a cruise.
Just as soon as I said it’d been awhile, I mentally corrected myself: I haven’t ever been on that type of trip. I’ve been to San Diego and Daytona Beach before, but that was offseason and just a side stop for me.
My family would occasionally travel to visit relatives for a couple nights, but that was the extent any break from school I had while growing up. Indiana State University, where my dad worked, and Vigo County Schools weren’t on the same schedule - maybe that had something to do with it. I'm sure having five children also factored in reasoning for my parents to decide againgst any recreational trips by the time I was in the picture.
Then, as a single mother with two young children of my own, I never could budget for a trip much farther away than Indianapolis. When they were little, I worked for years at a local hospital which allowed employees to cash out their vacation time rather than take time off, and I always took advantage of that offer.
In any case, if I were to travel now, I’d opt to go visit Civil War battlefields and museums and not the beach. Nonetheless, it's nice to hear about everyone elses surf and sand adventures.
Since the week wrapped up with a big rally for public education -- and many protestors yesterday, at the Vigo County Public Library crackerbarrell event, boasted that they're "a product of Vigo County Schools" -- I thought it'd be a good idea to make a slideshow featuring all of the schools I attended in Terre Haute.
I don't have to go far to travel down memory lane. In fact, I still reside close to the home where I grew up located on Crawford Street, near Brown Avenue. The house I live in now is located in the same school district for DeVaney Elementary, Woodrow Wilson and Terre Haute South Vigo Schools, which I attended.
It probably took about a half-hour to make my rounds and snap the photos today. For aging structures, the buildings all seem to remain in good shape. My slideshow includes photos of Thornton Elementary School (now a church) and University School (where I was briefly a student,) now The School of Education building at Indiana State University. The slideshow also includes college buildings at Indiana State University specific to my major and minor and a picture of a virtual graduate school webpage for Indiana Wesleyan University (in Marion,) since I participated in the online business program from my Vigo County residence.
Finally, I'd have to say my favorite school of all of them is Woodrow Wilson. I like the architectural style better than all the other schools and I also have many positive memories from attending the school for seventh, eighth and ninth grades.
I wonder why breastfeeding in public is often shunned. It's unfortunate that this stigma exists today, leaving many expectant mothers unsure if breastfeeding is the right choice.
A Facebook friend has openly shared her personal stuggle with the issue. She says that photos she's posted of herself while breastfeeding her baby have been reported several times as offensive. I’m not sure why something beneficial to mother and infant is considered offensive to some people.
My advice to expectant mothers is to breastfeed your infant, whether you do it one day or three years. Just do it.
I breastfed both of my children when they were babies, for six months. That was well before social media, but I'm sure I would have posted a picture by the time I had my second one, given the chance.
With my firstborn, I was very reserved about where I would breastfeed and always sought a private area. By the time I was pregnant with my second, that changed. I had taken Emily to storytime at the library and noticed a woman breastfeeding her infant right there in 1998 -- Sitting on the floor surrounded by around 50 others during storytime! I was simply impressed by that act and knew immediately that I would not hide out every single time when it came time to breastfeed my next baby.
Indiana is one of 46 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands which have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location. The Affordable Care Act includes a provision for working mothers who need to express milk on the job.
Indiana Central News is two-weeks-old today -- I’d describe it as a homecoming, of sorts.
By now, everyone should know I take great pride in my work. I’m enjoying this venture tremendously. No matter which city I’ve reported on in the past few years, it always became my “territory.” Now, it truly is -- and always has been -- my territory, because I'm covering more news from my hometown.
I realize I should have started this website sooner. Reflecting on some of the Terre Haute news I’ve covered in the past two weeks, it’s a unique feeling to see it all happen so close to my own home. Remember, that is something I seldom got the pleasure of doing before, as I always worked at outside newspapers.
So far, my subscribers are based in Sullivan and Terre Haute. I won’t let any of them down. My intention is to cover what I can, with the funds provided. Ironically, the news in Terre Haute has been a stones throw from my home, so distance hasn’t posed an obstacle here. Even had it occurred during the recent snow storm, I could have walked to Poplar Street the other day to cover the police action shooting, as I have countless times throughout my lifetime growing up in that neighborhood.
I've looked back at those shooting scene pictures, because I know that particular spot so well. Where the officers are pictured standing, is right where my brothers, sisters and I would cut through on our bikes to get to Meadows Shopping Center on a regular basis in the 1970s and 80s, even as far back as when I was in kindergarten. The memories of this Terre Haute neighborhood are reminders that I am, indeed, emotionally tied to this place. In short, that is why credible news is so important to every community. You identify with its people and places.
I’d like to get more Sullivan County and Vigo County subscribers, so I can attend all the meetings I covered while I was a reporter at NewsBarb and more. I’m basically unemployed and putting 100 percent into ICN. Meanwhile, I'll do what I can.
If you live in the Terre Haute and Sullivan areas, I can guarantee you won’t regret spending $4 per month on a subscription. I realize there are other news sources -- and I am not competing with any of them -- I merely want to offer the readers an alternative news source. Initially, my intention is to cover Terre Haute City Council meetings and county council meetings for both Vigo and Sullivan Counties as a start. I also will cover breaking news as it happens. You can subscribe by going to the ICN main page and following the instructions.
Thank you for your support.
Terre Haute is the city where I've lived my entire life --- I’m connected to this place.
Today, I’m asking myself one question: Why didn’t I start this website sooner?
I wanted to be a reporter since I was a third-grader attending DeVaney Elementary School. No, it’s not the most ambitious calling, but it’s what I do well. When I graduated from journalism school 13 years ago, my only real goal was to work for my hometown newspaper. It'd be convenient to work there, I thought, while I raised my two young children as a single mother.
But. I didn’t ever work there.
In fact, all of the newsrooms I worked from were far from my residence. In Indiana: Vincennes, Washington and Brazil, I also worked in Paris, Ill. and most recently in Sullivan County.
I’d do it all over again if I had to, including the sometimes challenging commutes to work. The experiences have been invaluable. Although, in all honesty, I always envied my coworkers who were true residents of the city where the newspaper office is located.
Regardless of where you write about, knowing what's important to the people there is “central” to a reporter’s work.
To report on the city you were born in -- or even just resided a few years -- I always felt was the ideal job. That was the only real disconnect I experienced as a reporter through the years. For instance, discovering the emotional ties communities have to something: In Paris, there was Ernie Eveland Gymnasium at the high school when a new one was going to be built; In Sullivan, there was the former Central Elementary School site that many hope to preserve and develop into a community plaza; And, in Brazil, I remember they had an annual Popcorn Festival -- while I never had the pleasure to attend, I heard the buzz in the newsroom at the time. I don’t think it's held anymore, but I'd bet the community still values the memories.
The stroke of luck for me came a year ago, when I took up the offer to work for the online media, NewsBarb. Forget the close-to-home appeal; I did most of the work from my home -- until the business closed last week.
My year there reinforced what I’ve long known. I should cover more news in Terre Haute, my hometown. Not exclusively, but regularly. This website allows me to do just that. Indiana Central News (ICN) is all about the immediate areas, including nearby cities and towns -- pending funding.
As you get to know me, remember this about ICN: Community News, Events, the Front Page and various blogs are always free. I appreciate donations. All the important local news you really need to read, including coverage of police, government and business. Contact me with your news at firstname.lastname@example.org.