During some curing rituals, Iroquois medicine men danced while wearing carved wooden masks called False Faces. Many of these masks featured deep-set eyes, a crooked nose, and a huge mouth twisted into a grimace. Healers wore these False Faces to honor Shagodyowehgowah. According to the Iroquois’ ancient stories, he was a giant who challenged the […]
A tipi, which consisted of a hide cover placed over a wooden frame, was the dwelling favored by the Plains Indians. For a people who spent most of their time on the move, the tipi was a perfect type of house, light to carry and easy to assemble and disassemble whenever necessary. The hide tipi […]
Some slaves were prisoners of African tribal and national wars. Slave traders formed trading companies and set up trading stations (known as forts) in areas where they wanted to obtain slaves. Representatives of the companies went to do business with the local chiefs. By plying the chiefs with various trade goods, trinkets, and liquor, the […]
“He cannot be a gentleman that loveth not a dog,” reads an old proverb, and there can be no doubt that the American loveth all things canine. There are now about 1.1 million pedigreed dogs registered in this country, about one pedigreed pooch for every 200 Americans. The number of mongrels extant is anybody’s guess. […]
Did Benjamin Franklin understand the dangers of electricity when he conducted the kite and key experiment?
He certainly did understand the dangers of electricity when he conducted the kite and key experiment. As a matter of fact, in another of his experiments, he once knocked himself temporarily senseless. At the time, he was trying to electrocute a turkey and nearly killed two birds with one thunderbolt. Here’s part of his account […]
In July 1996, a college student stumbled upon something remarkable on the banks of the Columbia River in Washington State: a human skeleton that was more than 9,000 years old. Named Kennewick Man after a nearby town, five tribes in the region claim the skeleton as an ancestor. While non-Native scientists made plans to study […]
Who was the first U.S. vice president to officially become acting president when the real president was incapable of performing his duties?
Believe it or not, George Bush was the first U.S. vice president to officially become acting president when the real president was incapable of performing his duties. On July 13, 1985, while Reagan was having a tumor removed from his colon, he transferred presidential power to his vice president, George Bush. Officially, the switch occurred […]
Many Puerto Ricans on the island are poor by comparison to other Americans. Puerto Rico’s 1995 per capita gross product of $7,662 was about a third of the average U.S. citizen’s income on the mainland. However, Puerto Rico is well-off by Latin American standards. For example, Puerto Rico’s per capita gross product is nearly twice […]
Windsor was actually the place, not the builder, and the town had been a place of kings since the Saxon days of old. When that pesky Norman, William the Conqueror, took over England 900 years ago, he built what is now known as the Castle at Windsor. The location, then as now, overlooked the River […]
What language people speak in the West Indies has to do with who was the final winner in colonizing their land. The same holds true on the American mainland. That is why people in the United States, a former British colony, speak English. Spain was all alone at first in the game of colonizing America, […]
Wampum were small purple or white beads made from shells. These beads had great value to Indian tribes throughout the Northeast, particularly the Iroquois. The Iroquois believed that holding strings of wampum could give comfort to people grieving the loss of a loved one. They also wove wampum beads together to form belts to commemorate […]
Estimates of the number of natives in America before the Europeans arrived vary from 8 to 16 million. Fewer than 250,000 Native Americans were in what is now the United States at the beginning of the 20th century.
By the early nineteenth century, non-Native American settlers were clamoring for the rich, fertile lands where Southeast Native Americans lived. With the support of President Andrew Jackson, they demanded that the U.S. government force the Native American to leave the region once and for all. The result was a policy called removal, defined in the […]
After a heavy winter snow, Seneca men often gathered to play their favorite sport, snowsnakes. A snowsnake was a long wooden pole polished to a slippery finish with beeswax. In the game, the players took turns sliding their “snakes” along a shallow ditch dug into the snow. The winner was the player whose snowsnake traveled […]
Ronald Reagan was the first presidential candidate to be endorsed by TV Guide. TV Guide can also be remembered as the first print venue to publish the conservative Republican coalition’s “Contract With America,” which helped Newt Gingrich capture the House in the 1996 campaign.
Many Central Americans do manual labor, as factory hands, farm workers, construction workers, gardeners, domestics, nannies, restaurant employees. But a number of middle-class, professional people of Central American descent also reside in the United States. They may be everything from a doctor or lawyer to a Disney animator, as in the case of Jose Zeliya, […]
In the winter, the Cherokee enjoyed a rowdy ceremony called the Booger Dance. After guests arrived at the host’s home, four masked dancers ran into the house. The dancers, called boogers, made crude noises and chased women around the room, all for the amusement of the audience. The masks of the boogers had grotesque features […]
American farmers were the first group to be affected by the Great Depression. The farmers in the South did not have the money to buy seeds or supplies or even the goods that they helped to produce. Most blacks in the South worked as farm laborers. When farmers started losing money, the black farm laborers […]
What was the The Battle of Bunker Hill and how was Colonel William Prescott defeated by the British?
The Battle of Bunker Hill in June 1775 took place on nearby Breed’s Hill, just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, during the Siege of Boston early in the American Revolutionary War. The Americans were running out of ammunition when Colonel William Prescott ordered, “You men are all marksmen, now don’t shoot until you can see the […]
Some of the first accounts of black participation in the American military appear in the memoirs of Lucy Terry Prince (1730-1821). Prince, considered to be the first African American poet, tells of black women who disguised themselves as men to fight against the British in the Revolutionary War. Black women and white women often worked […]
Jose Marti (1853-1895) was a poet, journalist, and the greatest hero of the Cuban struggle for independence. He was arrested for his revolutionary activities at age sixteen. After his release, he spent much of his life in exile, some of it in the United States. He founded and led the Cuban Revolutionary Party and wrote […]
Clyde Barrow the gangster wrote a fan letter to Henry Ford about his cars. On April 10, 1934, Barrow sat down and addressed a letter to Mr. Ford from a hideout where he and Bonnie Parker were holed-up in Florida. The letter, stamped “Received” by the Ford Motor Company three days later, read, mistakes and […]
Each climate in California called for a different type of house. In the rainy northwest, families constructed large houses out of cedar planks to keep themselves dry. In the moderate north and central California, people spent the winter in pit houses, which they built by digging a round hole in the ground and roofing it […]
The Popul Vuh is a sacred book that tells the story of how the Maya were created. According to the Popul Vuh, the gods first made people from mud. Their bodies were too soft and flexible, so the gods destroyed them. Next, they made humans from wood. Their bodies were too hard and stiff, so […]
Both Eurasian and Native American legends told of a spring or river that could restore youth and vitality to aging conquistadors. Since Juan Ponce de León was in his fifties, this sounded pretty good. He landed in Florida near present-day Daytona Beach in 1513 and searched high and low for the magic waters, but they […]
Belying the common image of the Hispanic American as a hired hand in someone’s factory or field, Latinos are more likely than ever to run their own companies. As of 1992, Hispanic Americans owned 862,605 businesses-5 percent of all the businesses in the country. California, Texas, and Florida have especially high numbers of Hispanic-owned business. […]
In 1862, the Morril Act was created to provide funding for land grants for higher education. In 1890, the second Morril Act (or Land Grant Act) was passed. This act stated that the government had to pay for the creation and maintenance of technical and agricultural schools for blacks if they were going to provide […]
According to legend, after Marie Antoinette’s beheading on 16 October 1793, the executioner lifted her severed head and slapped her face, which blushed a bright red. However, this is probably unlikely, considering how much blushing is dependent on blood moving through veins. In fact, witnesses to other beheadings described the victim’s face as immediately drained […]
When Wyatt Earp’s gun-slinging Doc Holliday wasn’t drillin’ people in other ways, he worked as a dentist. John Henry “Doc” Holliday was born on August 14, 1851 and died in 1887 and was an dentist, gambler and gunfighter in the American Old West. Doc Holliday was most well known for his association with Wyatt Earp […]
The Native Americans of the Southeast hated the idea of removal. Their entire way of life and religion was tied to their homelands, the places where their ancestors had lived and were buried. They knew little about Indian Territory, except that it was already occupied by Native Americans, such as the Kiowa and Pawnee, with […]
Who were the Little Rock Nine and How was the Little Rock Crisis important in the African American Civil Rights Movement?
In September 1957, nine black teenagers, Jefferson Thomas, Carlotta Walls, Gloria Ray, Elizabeth Eckford, Thelma Mothershed, Melba Pattillo, Terrance Roberts, Minniejean Brown, and Ernest Green, tried to enroll at Central High School, an all-white school, in Little Rock, Arkansas. The governor called the Arkansas National Guard to prevent them from entering. Mobs of angry whites […]
Depending on whose story you read, there may have been 12 or 24 or 150 or thousands. There are many tales of King Arthur’s Round Table from different years, in both French and English. And of the traditional 12 knights, there are different lists of names. It’s anyone’s guess about the original group. First, a […]
U.S. President Grover Cleveland was twenty-eight years older than his wife Frances. She was 21, and he was 49. Cleveland was the first and only president to marry in the White House. The public went crazy over the couple. They saw her as the young gal who put the reigns on an old codger, their […]
No, Camp David was not named after the guy in the Bible who killed Goliath. Camp David is the presidential retreat that was founded by Franklin Roosevelt, who named it Shangri-La. Dwight Eisenhower renamed it in honor of his grandson, David Eisenhower. That name stuck. David’s only other claim to fame since was that he […]
No, Queen Victoria was from the House of Hanover. Lovingly devoted to her German husband Prince Albert, she changed her name to that of the German royal family: Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
The Texas Revolution is remembered as a blow for freedom. What is often forgotten is that many Texan Americans were southerners who owned slaves. In fact, Mexico’s antislavery policy was one of the irritants that provoked the revolution. When Mexico abolished slavery in 1829, an outcry from Texans forced Mexico to take back the decree. […]