Posts tagged " american history "

Why It Is Important To Learn About History – Even If It Hurts

December 18th, 2020 Posted by History, Local History No Comment yet

When most of us think back to our childhood school days, we can also remember at least a handful of kids who thought history class was a drag. To them, history just seemed like a jumble of names and dates attached to events long over with and people long dead. What was the point of learning it at all?

They didn’t know then that history was one of the most important subjects they’d ever study. Here we’ll take a closer look at why history is important and explore why everyone should make it a point to study it in depth.

1. History helps us develop a better understanding of the world.

You can’t build a framework on which to base your life without understanding how things work in the world. History paints us a detailed picture of how society, technology, and government worked way back when so that we can better understand how it works now. It also helps us determine how to approach the future, as it allows us to learn from our past mistakes (and triumphs) as a society.

2. History helps us understand ourselves.

To understand who you are, you need to develop a sense of self. A large part of that is learning where you fit into the story of your country or the global community in the grand scheme of things. History tells you the story of how your nation, city, or community came to be everything that it is. It tells you where your ancestors came from and tells you who they were. Most importantly of all, it gives you the ability to spot (and appreciate) the legacies you may have inherited from them.

3. History helps us learn to understand other people.

History isn’t just an essential introduction to your own country, ethnic heritage, and ancestry. It’s also a valuable tool when it comes to understanding those who are different from us. Global, national, and regional history books help us understand how other cultures affect our own.
They encourage us to develop a greater appreciation for multicultural influences within our own communities as well – exactly why everyone should study African American history, immigrant history, and so forth, regardless of their own cultural background.

4. History teaches a working understanding of change.

It goes without saying that change can be a difficult concept to understand. Each of us has a different experience with the rest of the world – an experience shaped by societal norms, cultural differences, personal experiences, and more. We know when we as individuals crave change and why. History helps us better understand how, when, and why change occurs (or should be sought) on a larger scale.

5. History gives us the tools we need to be decent citizens.

Good citizens are always informed citizens, and no one can consider himself to be an informed citizen without a working knowledge of history. This is the case whether we’re talking about our role in our community or in regards to our nation on the whole. History helps us become better voters and more effective members of any type of society. It helps put us in a position to better inform others as well.

6. History makes us better decision makers.

“Those that do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” Those words were first spoken by George Santayana, and they are still very relevant today because of how true they are. History gives us the opportunity to learn from past mistakes. It helps us understand the many reasons why people may behave the way they do. As a result, it helps us become more compassionate as people and more impartial as decision makers. Our judicial system is a perfect example of this concept at work.

7. History helps us develop a new level of appreciation for just about everything.

History is more than just the living record of nations, leaders, and wars. It’s also the story of us. It’s packed with tales of how someone stood up for what they believed in, or died for love, or worked hard to make their dreams come true. All of those things are concepts we can relate to; it’s enriching to know that so could the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, or Martin Luther King.

Plus, history is just plain interesting. Everything you like about your favorite movies, television shows, and fiction novels is yours to experience right here in reality when you study history. Explore the possibilities today and step into a whole new world that will change who you are forever.

A Short History of Williamsburg VA

October 18th, 2020 Posted by Battle of Williamsburg, History, Local History, Williamsburg No Comment yet
Today, Williamsburg, Virginia, is recognized as the “world’s largest living history museum,” but during the 18th century, the meticulously restored colonial capital was Britain’s largest settlement in the New World.

The city was founded as the capital of the Virginia Colony in 1699, and it was here that the basic concepts of the United States of America were formed under the leadership of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, and many others.

Named Williamsburg in honor of England’s reigning monarch at the time, King William III, the colonial mecca also became a center of learning. The College of William and Mary, founded in 1693, counts political leaders such as Presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and John Tyler as graduates.

The Governor’s Palace, Colonial Williamsburg © JamesDeMers / Pixabay

During its time as the capital of Virginia, Williamsburg flourished as the hub of religious, economic and social life in the state. A palatial Governor’s Palace was built as were markets, taverns, a theatre, a church (those living in the New World were required by law to worship in the Church of England), and countless homes. Market Square was the site of celebrations, festivals, fairs, contests, and even puppet shows; tradesmen, such as wig makers, tailors, blacksmiths, and cabinetmakers, practiced their craft along Duke of Gloucester Street. Restaurants and taverns offered onion soup, ham, carrot and chicken dishes, pudding, and pie.

A cooper at Colonial Williamsburg © Joe Ross / Flickr

Following the Declaration of Independence from Britain, however, the American Revolutionary War broke out, and the capital of Virginia was moved 50 miles (80.4 kilometers) north to Richmond. It was feared that Williamsburg’s location allowed easy access for the British to attack.

The United States of America’s independence from Great Britain was a turning point in world history. Key players from Williamsburg helped lay the foundation of America, and the preservation of the colonial town has allowed present-day visitors to experience what life was like back then. Today, visitors will find employees dressed in colonial-era garb strolling the streets, using colonial grammar and diction. Popular buildings open for exploration include the Governor’s Palace, the Peyton Randolph House, the George Wythe House, the Capital, the Courthouse, the Raleigh Tavern, and the Bruton Parish Church.

black history bass reeves

Bass Reeves

July 1st, 2018 Posted by African American History, Bass Reeves, bass Reeves, Black History, jackie robinson, williamsburg No Comment yet

If you have ever thought Hollywood is searching for scripts when you see tired run of the mill cookie cutter action movies, I can tell you one place they should be looking. The place..the relatively unexplored annals of Black History or African American history.

bass reeves

Bass Reeves is a movie that is begging to be made into major motion picture and I have read of famous actors who have made this a goal. Yes, it was a lower budget production but I just want to see an Academy Award winning actor bring this person to life

The movie being made into a larger budget production is probably inevitable but I do have a few concerns. With mostwilliamsburg on site history lectures and tours stories Hollywood has to exaggerate to make it more exciting. If you read the historical account of Bass Reeves amazing life, you might realize Hollywood couldn’t include it all. And if they did, who would believe it.

Believe it..here are a few amazing facts that could show a Hollywood script writer a few things or two..by just telling the historical account.

  • He was a slave turned One Of The First Deputy Marshalls in history
  • He had over 3,000 arrests
  • He spoke multiple Native American Languages
  • He fled captivity after beating up his slave master during a card game
  • He was an excellent marksman
  • He was a big man over 6 feet tall
  • It is said he was calm, cool, and collected
  • He was an excellent detective
  • If you want a detailed account of Reeves check out this clip.

african american history

Some historical clips

In depth look at Bass Reeves


A little dry but loaded with information

5 Facts About Bass Reeves

Some more interesting tidbits about this life

Learn Real African American History…Starting In Williamsburg

Real African American History Is Everywhere. Williamsburg, Virginia, and our African Amewilliamsburg black historyrican History Tour, is a great diving off point to learn truth. Start your journey here with us

 

800px-Thanksgiving-Brownscombe

Thanksgiving And The Question Of National Identity

November 2nd, 2017 Posted by first thanksgiving, lies, thanksgiving, williamsburg No Comment yet

There is an old saying, history is written by the victors. If you ever read a native American account of what American Thanksgiving is, you will understand what I mean. Thirty or forty years ago it felt like there was little unrest about what seemed like historical norms. Concerning Thanksgiving:

The Indians in Massachusetts had a friendly harvest meal fostered by the Native Americans helping the colonists

This truth has been carved and etched in commercialized American folklore. As I have written before, Peanuts specials, textbooks, documentaries, and countless Thanksgiving feasts have been built upon this quiet truth. A truth that, as we moved into the late 20th Century.. appeared to be be built on total lies, deception, and murder. Everything about it is nothing more than a commercialized fable culminating with a cartoon turkey and a happy pilgrim. In fact just about everything we took as solid red, white, and blue bedrock has turned to crap. Think about it.

I don’t know when it started but at one point in my youth I heard that Columbus Day was a joke. Columbus was a rapist and murderer that perpetuated a genocide that led to scores more in North America and ended with a nation prospering over a bed of injustice. Wait a minute, Columbus was a hero right? He sailed the sea to discover America and blaze a path that led to the great crimson, blue, and white superpower we are today. Columbus day may have been one of those unfruitful minor holidays that only bankers got off but how could a man we awarded with his own day be this evil? Where did we go wrong in our thinking and make such a tragic mistake? How could we not see that Columbus was nothing more than a Nazi sailing the seas to doom the EXISTING residents of North America? And this shock has followed as one historical event or trusted institution comes under scrutiny as a lie. It seems to be one  thing after another. Conspiracy movies, Presidential wiretaps, the reality that our country was built on oppression and slavery and the sad reminders of a decimated Native American nation who live in the shadow of an extermination program our country fostered…

Flash forward to 2017

Following a brutal election season, we were reminded that America is not a coherent symbiosis of Freedom. It is not even a melting pot. It is a mess of lies, mistruths and angry minority groups looking to rewrite a new history challenging the heavily propagandized version we were fed. Maybe a better image would be a melting pot full of things that don’t mix. I picture masses of different material boiling over, cackling,  and exploding, with deplorables crawling over the side, leaving the confines of what should be a peaceful creation.

From stories of groups, proclaiming life, then assassinating cops on site, to a struggle of whether to partition a border, we are reminded that our history is a fabric of deleted truths and selfish ambition. We are reminded that no choice really sounds good and no piece of history is really clean. I mean were they founding fathers or slave owners? Are we a prosperous nation, or benefactors of slavery?

Back to Thanksgiving

So I am preparing for Thanksgiving in 2017, light years from an elementary school where I made pilgrim and 1622_massacre_jamestown_de_Brysimplified native American costumes to celebrate this happy holiday. I will prepare a traditional meal full of things that weren’t even at the first Thanksgiving. Not little things like the wrong kind of corn, but big things like turkey (yes, there was probably no turkey at the first Thanksgiving). I am thankful for food, shelter, and clothing, but in the back of my mind I am reminded of a Native American population that views Thanksgiving with resentment and anger, watching the descendants of a group of invaders prospering from their genocide. We are a long way from Charlie Brown Thanksgiving specials now. In fact the first Thanksgiving was not even in Massachusetts in 1621, but in Virginia in 1619, celebrated by a group who would later be slaughtered by the original settlers of the land, the Native Americans. My guess is this Native American group did not view the Colonists arrival and future conquest with “Thanksgiving.” This Thanksgiving story would not have a made a good kids special. Can you imagine a cartoon where we show the colonists lying in a pool of blood while the Native Americans celebrated their freedom from the invaders from Europe, followed by a feast with song and dancing.

Think for yourself

So how do you reconcile all this? I wish I had an answer. I will take the high road and say two things:

  1. Get the facts..all the facts
  2. Think for yourself

Look for multiple opinions and versions of history. Study both and think critically. You will have to learn to live in the ambiguity of knowing that human nature didn’t fade away when Columbus stepped foot into the “new world”. History is messy, bloody, unsatisfying, and often cruel. You will have to write your own conclusions and carefully see different viewpoints, not the easy acceptance of what is fed to you by historical marketers.

Get The Truth…From Williamsburg Walking Tours

We present the truth about Colonial America, Via Williamsburg, with a goal of telling the truth, not marketing something that appears to exonerate the deeds of the path. Join us on a tour now and start to think for yourself.