Winnie Davis, the daughter of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, died in 1898 in Rhode Island. An elaborate public funeral procession was held in her honor, and a funeral train carried her body to Richmond, Virginia, stopping in various cities along the way to allow people to view the body. A similar, slightly smaller, […]Read more "Devotion to a Glorious Past"
The Huffington Post is a favorite blog of mine, so when in the course of my surfing I ran across Jeffrey Kaye’s February 25th article, “Short Memories: Jews and Immigration,” I thought it was a really timely post given last week’s discussion. Kaye’s thesis is simple but hardly without controversy, “that the Jewish immigration experience […]Read more "A Call for Empathy"
“When you choose an American Girl doll, you’ll discover a new world of imagination. That’s because each character stars in unique stories of courage, loyalty, compassion, and leadership. Learn how the challenges and joys of growing up in another era still relate to girls in 2010. Explore books and products developed to encourage play and […]Read more "Sara Smolinsky v. Rebecca Rubin"
My first real post on this blog and I use a line from a Matchbox 20 song. Ugh, not my finest hour. After Wednesday’s discussion on Bread Givers, immigration, and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, I left class unable to shake contemporary immigration issues from my head. I have never really given much thought […]Read more "Let’s See How Far We’ve Come…"
In truth, I’m American. My passport says that I am American. My parents and grandparents were American citizens. Yet, when asked that question; What are you? Americans typically answer with their heritage. Why is that? In this country at the turn of the century, Americanization was the goal of most young immigrants. So, from where […]Read more "“So, what are you?”, “I’m Irish.”"
All Sara Smolinsky wanted was to be a person. For our Russian Jew immigrant protagonist of Bread Givers, it would take much of her formative years to figure out how to do that. She had to become independent of the ways of her family, and the Old World, where “only men were people.”  For […]Read more "A Person is 60 Percent Water, the Rest is Blood and Iron (and Education)"
For those outside the class who are interested in joining the conversation online, this week we are reading: Anzia Yezierska’s 1925 novel, Bread Givers, which tells the story of Sara Smolinsky, a Jewish immigrant girl struggling to make her way in the world. Two articles from The Public Historian. — Ruth J. Abram, “Kitchen Conversations: […]Read more "This week 2/17"
At first glance, I assumed that this week’s topic (immigrant communities) would be primarily a study of class, race, and religion. Therefore, it surprised me that upon completing Bread Givers, my strongest reaction came from a gendered perspective. Because of my perception of Judaism as fairly liberal in regard to women’s issues, I had not […]Read more "Two Worlds, Two Identities: Tradition and Womanhood in Bread Givers"
Forgive my use of song lyrics, but it’s the first thing that popped into my head as I thought about this topic. In class on February 10, we talked about the similarities (if any) between Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight champion, and W.E.B. Du Bois. It all came down to masculinity. This doesn’t […]Read more "As Yes said, “Move Me onto Any Black Square, Use Me Anytime You Want.” (Not really.)"
Our discussion this morning got me wondering, if W.E.B. Du Bois were alive today would he be a blogger? As we were discussing what makes a good blog post, it occurred to me that Du Bois’s editorials from The Crisis fit the criteria perfectly. Du Bois often used provocative titles and clear, focused writing to […]Read more "Du Bois the Blogger?"