he mama's and the papa's - if you can believe your eyes and ears - album cover - geffen records

This Day in History – September 19 – Hijinx, Humor, and Insight

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NewsWhistle is pleased to feature Gary Jenneke’s “This Day In History” column.

You can read the original at Gary’s THIS DAY IN HISTORY blog — or scroll down to enjoy Gary’s unique look at life’s comings and goings.

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THIS DAY IN HISTORY… SEPTEMBER 19

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1676 – Bacon’s Rebellion.

The first uprising against the colonial government in North America. Although this one was less than noble. 300 to 500 rebels, led by Nathaniel Bacon, burned Jamestown, Virginia, the capital, to the ground. Earlier they had razed an Indian village, killing most of the men, women and children there. The Indian issue was at the heart of the problem. Many colonists wanted to drive the Indians westward and claim their land. The colonial governor, William Berkeley, had a more compassionate attitude toward Native Americans. Bacon’s army issued a “Declaration of the People” and in it, one of the complaints against Berkeley was that he was pro-Indian.

There was more at stake in the rebellion than that one issue. Trading rights, and influence within the government were also issues. The rebellion was financially backed by some wealthy men maneuvering against Berkeley’s influence. Bacon became head of the rebellion by showing up at a gathering of discontented frontiersmen with a large supply of brandy. The British assembled a naval squadron to confront the rebellious army but before that could happen Bacon died of dysentery. The rebellion lost its energy at that point and scattered, with twenty-three of the leaders rounded up and hung. The wealthy backers switched their allegiance to Berkeley and escaped unscathed.   

Is is any wonder that during the Revolutionary War many Native American tribes sided with the British?

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1940 – Witold Pilecki arrested.

Pilecki, an officer in the Polish army, volunteered to be arrested in order to be sent to Auschwitz. Rumors about the atrocities coming from the death camp needed to be validated. He smuggled out information so the Allies were aware of the reality of the concentration camps as early as 1941. After two and a half years in Auschwitz he escaped and made his way back to Warsaw. There, as part of the underground resistance, he fought in the Warsaw Uprising of August, 1944. Captured after that uprising was quelled, he was sent to another camp in Bavaria where he was liberated by the advancing American Army. He then joined the Polish Free Army fighting the Nazis. After the war he returned to Poland where he was engaged in intelligence gathering for the government. However, in 1947 he was arrested by the Polish communist secret police. At the age of 47, after a show trial, he was executed.

A sad fate for a true hero, someone who sacrificed himself for cause of freedom. As with Raoul Wallenberg whom I wrote about in an earlier blog, he fought one totalitarian regime only to fall victim to another.

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1952 – Charlie Chaplin barred from re-entering United States.

British born, the famous movie star had been living and working in the U.S. for forty years when he took a trip to Europe to promote a new film. Earlier he had been branded a communist by Senator Joseph McCarthy and blacklisted in Hollywood. Informed he’d be arrested if he tried re-entering, he returned to England. Chaplin had publicly stated that he was not a Communist, but someone “who wants nothing more for humanity than a roof over every man’s head.”

Hah, with an attitude like that, what choice did McCarthy have but to label him a communist?

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Birthdays:

1737 – Charles Carroll.

Founding Father. Carroll was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the only Catholic among that notable body. Freedom of religion in the Constitution is believed to have been in tribute to him. He was the wealthiest man in America at the time of the revolution and contributed heavily from his fortune to the war effort. Schooled in France by the Jesuits, Carroll spoke five languages and was one of the mostly highly educated members of the Continental Congress. He inherited and owned a huge planation in Maryland that included over a thousand slaves, whom he later freed.

Despite being barred from holding political office in Maryland because he was Catholic, Carroll was an early advocate for independence. Writing under the pseudonym “First Citizen” he had articles published arguing against British rule. He also understood and accepted that war was the only way America would gain its freedom. Carroll became the last living signatory of the Declaration of Independence when Jefferson and Adams both passed away on July 4th, 1826.

I hadn’t been aware of him before. Fascinating man. Because of slavery his wealth was probably ill-gotten, but at least he had the decency to free them. I wonder though if he freed them with any of his wealth.

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1926 – Lurleen Wallace.

First woman governor of Alabama. Her husband, George Wallace, was prevented from running for a consecutive term by law so she ran in his place. She was a sixteen-year-old clerk at a five and dime store when she married George. She had four children with him and once filed for divorce because of his extra-marital affairs. In 1961, after the birth of her fourth child, the doctor discovered she had cancer. He told George, who decided to withhold that information from her. She missed out on early treatment and didn’t discover her condition until an examination in 1965. Lurleen ran for governor while being treated for cancer. While in office, one of her main accomplishments was to improve the living conditions at institutions for the developmentally disabled. In 1968, as her condition worsened, George was off campaigning for president. As late as April, 1968 George lied to the media, telling them Lurleen had won her battle against cancer. He was at her bedside however, when she died on May 7th, 1968. George moved out of the Governor’s mansion to a new residence at that time but did not take his children with him. He shipped them off to live with friends and relatives.

By all accounts it appears Lurleen married down.

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1941 – Cass Elliot. AKA Mama Cass.

Rock and roll singer. Most well known for being a singer with the Mamas and the Papas. Elliot was a large woman and John Phillips, the group’s founder, initially did not want her in the group because of her weight. Until he realized how much better their songs sounded with her singing along. The group had a number of hits in the late 60s including “California Dreamin” and “Monday Monday.” Elliot had to endure jibes about her weight throughout her career, and in one way, even after her tragic death at age thirty-two. The story about her choking to death on a ham sandwich in bed is not true. She died of heart failure. There was a ham sandwich beside her bed when she was found, but it was untouched. Cass Elliot was posthumously elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

On TV one night while she was still alive, I saw her in a sketch. She was sitting on a bench next to a young man who was blind. He was awaiting an operation that might give him back his sight. They begin talking and connect spiritually, emotionally, intellectually. They begin to fall in love. Then she tells him she is quite heavy and if he could see her, this whole scene would be quite different. He assures her it doesn’t matter, that he has discovered her inner and true essence. He regains his eyesight, looks at, and rejects her. I got the feeling she wrote the sketch and it was a metaphor for her life.

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ABOUT GARY JENNEKE

At various junctures of his life, Gary has been an indifferent grade school student, poor high school student, good Navy radioman, one-time hippie, passable college student, inveterate traveler, dedicated writer, miscast accountant (except for one interesting stint at a Communist café), part-time screenwriting teacher, semi-proud veteran, unsuccessful retiree and new blogger.

You can reach him at gary@newswhistle.com.

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CREDITS

The above information was sourced from the following sites and newspapers.

Sources:

OnThisDay.com

Wikipedia.com

Marina Amaral

TheGuardian.com

Legacy.com

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We’d also like to thank the following photographers and videographers for the use of their images:

* Lead-In Image (The Mamas and the Papas’ album cover) – Geffen Records

From Wikipedia: “The quartet’s debut album, If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears, followed in February 1966 and became its only No. 1 on the Billboard 200.”

If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears - The Mamas and The Papas - Album Cover - Geffen Records

* Charles Carroll (video) – FreedomProject Media / YouTube.com

* Lureen Wallace (video) – AL.com / YouTube.com

* Mama Cass (video) – Eran Edry / YouTube.com

* Outro (Man-In-Museum Cartoon) – SkyPics Studio / Shutterstock.com

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OTHER DAYS IN HISTORY …

December 2

* December 5

* December 9

December 11

December 12

* December 15

December 16

December 18 

December 22

December 23

December 24

December 28

* December 30

* January 3

January 4

January 6

January 7

January 10

* January 11

* January 14

January 15

January 16

January 19

January 21

January 22

January 24

January 25

January 29

January 30

February 1

February 3 

February 5

February 6

* February 9

* February 10

* February 11

February 14

February 15

February 18

February 20

February 21

February 24

February 25

February 28

March 2

March 3

March 6

March 9

March 10

March 12

* March 14

March 16

March 17

March 19

March 20

March 21

March 23

March 26

March 27

March 29

March 31

April 2

April 3

April 6

April 7

April 11

* April 12

April 13

April 18

April 19

April 22

April 23

April 25

April 28

April 29

May 2

May 3

* May 4

May 6

May 8

May 9

May 10

May 13

* May 17

May 18

May 19

May 23

* May 24

May 26

* May 28

May 29

June 1

June 2

June 3

June 8

June 9

June 10

June 15

June 17

June 18

June 19

June 21

June 23

June 24

June 28

June 29

June 30

July 2

* July 3

July 6

July 12

July 13

July 15

July 18

July 19

July 22

July 23

July 25

July 27

July 30

* July 31

August 3

August 4

August 7

August 10

August 11

August 14

August 16

August 17

* August 18

August 21

August 22

August 24

August 25

August 27

* August 28

August 31

* September 1

September 2

September 5

September 6

September 7

September 8

September 11

September 12

September 14

September 15

September 16

* September 17

September 21

September 23

September 24

September 25

September 28

September 30

October 1

October 3

October 7

October 10

October 12

October 14

* October 16

October 18

October 24

October 25

October 27

October 28

October 30

November 3

* November 4

November 5

November 8

November 9

November 10

November 13

November 14

November 16

* November 17

November 19

November 20

November 23

November 28

November 30

* Stay tuned for more!

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