The U.S. cities with the highest Native American populations in 1994 are: Los Angeles, California 87,000 Tulsa, Oklahoma 48,000 New York, New York 46,000 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 46,000 San Francisco, California 41,000
According to those who study these things, there was one eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington around 2000 B.C. that was larger than the one in 1980. Mount St. Helens has been an active volcano for over 40,000 years, and scientists have predicted that another eruption could happen in the next 20 or 30 […]
The area known as Mesoamerica was the first place in the Americas where Native Americans learned to grow their own food. The most important crop was corn, which grew wild in Mesoamerica. These wild corn plants, however, were scrawny, the ears were small, and the corn kernels were tough. It took thousands of years of […]
The Navajo Code Talkers used Navajo words to stand in for English words or phrases. For instance, de-he-tih-hi (Navajo for “humming bird”) meant “fighter plane” and besh-lo (“iron fish”) meant submarine. The Code Talkers memorized a special alphabet to spell out uncommon English words, like place-names. In this alphabet, a different Navajo word was used […]
A kiva was an underground chamber where the Pueblo people held religious ceremonies and their men gathered to socialize. The chamber represented the underworld where they believed human beings once lived. The ladder they used to climb into the chamber symbolized the link between the real world and the underworld. To teach children about the […]
Who was James Meredith and Why was James Meredith an important figure in the American Civil Rights Movement?
After serving nine years in the U.S. Air Force, James Meredith returned to his home state of Mississippi in 1960 and applied for admission to the University of Mississippi, the all-white university of the most racist state in the country. But Meredith was determined to attend, because of “a personal responsibility to change the status […]
“Trail of Tears” is the English translation of Nunna Daul Tsunyi, the name the Cherokee gave to their long journey to Indian Territory in 1838. This disaster began when U.S. troops stormed Cherokee villages and destroyed their crops, property, and homes. The soldiers then forcibly rounded up the Cherokee people and placed them in concentration […]
Actually, their portrayal as fashion victims is a terrible injustice that’s been done to the poor Pilgrims. It’s all a lie: They never wore clothes like that. In reality, the Pilgrims dressed as others of the day dressed, in various colors of clothing that would never have stood out on the streets of England.
What protest songs were sung during the Civil Rights Movement and What are the lyrics to We Shall Overcome?
During the civil rights movement, protest songs were often sung when participants gathered together and when mass demonstrations were being planned or held. People would grasp each other’s hands, move from side to side, and sing these “freedom songs” as loud as they could. Many of these songs came from nineteenth-century spirituals, but during the […]
What did black civil rights leaders do to help President Kennedy’s civil rights bill become a law in the 1960s?
Civil rights leaders had no intention of letting President Kennedy’s bill die in Congress. To show how much the public wanted this law, they decided to have a demonstration in Washington, called the March on Washington. The goals of the march would be to demand passage of the Civil Rights Act, force integration of public […]
Native Americans gave the troops the name, probably because they hadn’t seen many African Americans and thought the soldiers’ short, dark, curly hair resembled the mane of the buffalo. The name was thought to be a sign of respect because the buffalo was an important animal to the Indians. The name originated with the Cheyenne […]
In 1905, nine African American college students at New York State’s Cornell University decided to form a society for fellowship and mutual support. On October 23, 1906, the friends formed the first black fraternity (another word for “brotherhood”), Alpha Phi Alpha. There were many white fraternities already in existence. Over the next several years, additional […]
The Plymouth Colony Pilgrims got their name long after they had all died and moved on to the next new world. For two centuries, the relatively obscure little colonists had been simply called “Founders” or “Forefathers.” This changed in 1854 when a publisher got his hands on the journal of William Bradford. Bradford had been […]
The French and Indian War was the last and most important in a series of wars fought between France and England in the eighteenth century. Both countries claimed some of the same lands in the Northeast, so they went to war to determine who would control the area. Although Indians had lived on these lands […]
Chili con carne did not originate in Mexico. It first appeared in the United States, among Mexican Americans in San Antonio, Texas, about 1880. The name means “chili peppers with meat,” though the hearty mix of beans, chili peppers, and spices is also available nowadays in vegetarian form. Chili was first sold in canned form […]
The surname Windsor-Mountbaden was in tribute to Queen Elizabeth’s new husband, Phillip Mountbaden. She also decreed that all of her future descendents would take the name as well, except for princes and princesses, who would keep the Windsor name.
The Six-Day War between Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria wasn’t exactly six days, but it was close. For Israel, it went on for 132 hours and 30 minutes—a little over five and a half days from start to finish. However, Egypt saw the war’s end after four days, and Jordan […]
Bat Masterson was also known as Bartholomew Masterson. He later called himself William Barclay. Born in 1853, William Barclay “Bat” Masterson of the American Old West was a buffalo hunter, U.S. Army scout, gambler, frontier lawman, U.S. Marshal, and columnist for the New York Morning Telegraph. Masterson was the brother of lawmen James Masterson and […]
There are a couple of theories of origin for the term Molotov Cocktail, but the Molotov name probably comes from Stalin’s premier and foreign minister, Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov It was while he was minister of defense that Russians started the policy of using petrol bombs as an anti-tank weapon so that in any situation, they […]
The Grammy-winning pop music star Mariah Carey was born in 1970 in New York City. Her father was a Venezuelan of African descent, her mother Irish. She is the latest in a long tradition of musicians of South American descent who made it big in the United States. Another is Bolivian violinist Jaime Laredo (born […]
Fly from California to New York, and you are still in the same country. Fly the same distance from Panama to Argentina, and you are in a different world. The two countries are a case study in how different Hispanic cultures can be. Panama is a tiny tropical nation heavily covered with rain forest. Most […]
The Native American Church is a religion that combines some Christian beliefs with the Native American peyote religion that grew up in the nineteenth century. Peyote is a part of a cactus that grows wild in the Southwest. By eating peyote, members of the Native American Church have visions that they believe bring them closer […]
The first South American writer to win the Nobel Prize in literature was Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral, born Lucila Godoy Alcayaga (1889-1957). She won the 1945 Nobel Prize in Literature for her passionate, lyrical poetry. Though born in Chile, she was a teacher and diplomat who spent much of her life abroad, in Mexico, Europe, […]
Painting on walls has a rich history in Mexico, whose world-famous mural painters include Diego Rivera (1886-1957) and Jose Clemente Orozco (1883-1949). Mural painting is seen as a form of public education and inspiration. Mexican American artists have carried on the tradition, often depicting images such as Our Lady of Guadalupe, Aztec symbols, and historical […]
Teotihuacan was a city that grew up near what is now Mexico City. Between 300 and 900, Teotihuacan was the largest urban area in Mesoamerica. Laid out on an enormous grid, the city featured great open plazas, temples, and palaces. Rising high above the city was the Pyramid of the Sun. Constructed in about 125, […]
The Sun Dance was a religious ceremony held by many Plains Indian tribes. It lasted for three or four days, during which young men sang and danced to the sound of drums. The dancers did not eat or drink. Exhausted and hungry, they began to see visions. The ceremony got its name from one part […]
Many West Africans were skilled farmers and artists. In South Carolina, where slaves became a majority of the population, planters sought slaves from particular regions of Africa who possessed desired skills, such as the knowledge of rice cultivation, boat building, or coastal navigation. Some tribes made textiles and baskets; others worked with animal skins and […]
No one is sure why so many great baseball players come from the Dominican town of San Pedro de Macoris. Dozens of major league players have come from the Dominican Republic in the last twenty-five years, and many have come from this one town. Tony Fernandez of the Cleveland Indians is from there. So are […]
When did the Navajo first encounter non-Indians and Who were the first explorers to reach Navajo territory?
Expeditions of Spanish soldiers first came to Navajo territory in the late sixteenth century. Although the Navajo sometimes traded with these intruders, more often they fought with them to protect their own territory. This pattern continued in the nineteenth century, when the Navajo lands became first a part of Mexico, then part of the United […]
Discrimination against free blacks was very strong throughout the United States in the 1800s. Although African Americans could vote in some northern states in the years after the Revolutionary War, there were laws limiting black political participation, ownership of land, and social contact with whites. In 1829 a white mob attacked an African American community […]
A union (short for trade or labor union) is an association of workers established to improve economic and social conditions on the job. A trade union helps its members get fair salaries and working conditions through a process called collective bargaining with the employer. If the union and the employer cannot agree, a union may […]
Empress Himiko was not a Chinese emperor, according to Japanese history books, although there has been much debate on the subject. The first recorded ruler of Japan was a woman, Empress Himiko, say some Japanese historians. She reigned during the fourth century B.C. Scholarly debates over the identity of Himiko and the location of her […]
The Iroquois Confederacy was governed by the Grand Council, which was composed of 49 men with representatives from every tribe. Each council member was given a title, which was the name of one of the 50 leaders who attended the first council. One name, however, was never assigned, that of the great Hiawatha. By refusing […]
In their territory, very few plants could grow, so almost all of the Inuit’s food came from the fish they caught and the animals they hunted. These animals included whales, seals, walrus, and caribou, a species of deer with huge spiky antlers.
The 1860 census listed 488,070 free blacks in the United States. Some, children of a slave mother and a white slavemaster, for example, had been freed privately. Some had been slaves who had saved enough money, from outside work, to buy their freedom. Others had been given their freedom as a reward for faithful service […]
Before John Wesley Hardin reformed and took up honest work as a gunfighter, he was a lawyer. Born in Bonham, Fannin County, Texas, Hardin claimed to have killed 42 men when he went to prison in 1878. James G. Hardin, a Methodist preacher, and Elizabeth Hardin were John’s parents, and was he described as being […]