Our latest episode of our podcast Then Again with Ken & Glen explores the legacy of D-Day. Executive Director Glen Kyle's offers his commentary on the episode:
By Executive Director Glen Kyle
There are few singular days that resonate throughout history and the world, but “D-Day” is one of them. While twelve nations participated in the invasion, the United States played the leading role, and for better or worse in our collective memory it is the central event of World War II.
Such a prominent role in the “real world” practically guaranteed that myth would quickly start to shroud the event… and popular culture from books to comic strips, movies to mini-series continues to define what we as Americans know (or think we know) about it. This podcast scratches the surface of the history of the day itself, how it was perceived at the time, and what the legacy of the event is for our nation, our history, and our sense of who we are and our place in the world. It’s safe to say that everyone reading this has already conjured in their mind their own images of D-Day and how it unfolded; we hope this conversation encourages you to step back and contextualize your image and other popular images. Doing so will give you a better understanding of a battle that, no matter how we think of it, was for nearly half a million souls engaged in humanity’s greatest struggle truly the Day of Days.
Listen to the episode of our podcast Then Again with Ken & Glen about the legacy of D-Day at this link.
The book Hall County in World War II by Glen Kyle is a wonderful collection of photography and accounts of the personal experiences people at home felt during World War II. Here's Glen Kyle on his own experience writing the book:
By Executive Director Glen Kyle
The generations that came after the “Greatest Generation” tend to imagine a war almost exclusively of tanks, planes, bombs, soldiers, and battles. It is, however, important to remember that the Home Front was just as important to victory as the others. Using mostly images from the History Center archives, my goal with this book was to give readers a better idea of what life was like in Gainesville and Hall County before, during, and after the war. The book is also interesting in how it shows the vast contrast between “life then” and “life now.” One of my favorite series of photos in the book is of downtown stores, including a hardware and grocery store. If you want an idea of how much our world has changed in 70 years, compare those images to what you see on your next trip to Kroger or Home Depot.
Rationing, bond drives, military bases, and the beginning and end of so many relationships were just a part of what made it a unique time in our community and region’s history. It’s a glimpse at everyday life for those fighting, and surviving, the war at home.
Sailors stationed at the Gainesville Naval Air Station
Photo of Whatley's Pharmacy in the 1940s
Hall County in World War II, written by our Executive Director Glen Kyle, is available in our gift shop (Left) and a photo from the book (Right)
By Director of Education Ken Johnston
The inaugural performance of our 2019 Chautauqua series takes place Tuesday, June 10 with the story of Cherokee Chief John Ross, to be portrayed by Alex Morse of Colonial Williamsburg – and we’ve already started working on our next story, that of Choctaw Chief Greenwood LeFlore, to be portrayed by writer and performer Matt House. Matt and the History Center’s current Director of Education Ken Johnston began meeting this past week for the process that will bring the character to life. Matt is an accomplished screen writer and sketch writer, but has not written in the character monologue format before. Similarly, though no stranger to performing on stage or doing living history (both at the National Civil War Naval Museum and here at the History center), delivering a solo character monologue will be a new challenge – and one that he will be more than up to. Ken and Matt began by comparing and contrasting Greenwood LeFlore and John Ross.
Choctaw Chief Greenwood LeFlore (Left) and Performer Matt House (Right)
In comparison: both men were of mixed European American and Native American ancestry - both were slave owners - both firmly believed they were representing their Nation’s best interests as Chief. In contrast: LeFlore believed in making the quickest, best deal possible with the U.S. government regarding removal, while Ross believed in fighting Removal as long as possible – LeFlore, after leading his Nation to the new western lands, returned to Mississippi and stayed, while Ross went west with his people in the last wave and stayed in the new lands – LeFlore was a Unionist who sided with the United States during the Civil War, while Ross’s faction of the Cherokee. This initial exercise served to foster a sense of the world view of the people of the 1830s, the decade of Removal, and show how they had both common understandings of their world and differing strategies on dealing with the issues facing them. This is one of the most fundamental skills a performer needs for Chautauqua – and Matt is taking it up with alacrity!
By Director of Education Ken Johnston
The History Center makes it a point to be inclusive in the storytelling of our programs, and to thus reflect the diversity to be found in any inquiry into the past. Our programs include “majority culture” figures such as James Oglethorpe, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln, but also include stories that illustrate the diversity of experiences, such as that of Native Americans, African Americans, and Women – which are also the stories of Oglethorpe, Washington, and Lincoln! Here’s a look at what we’ve achieved in just the past 2018-1019 School Year with live content (each program was done multiple times):
African American/Enslaved stories in programming - Martin Luther King, Jr webcast, Patrick Henry webcast, WW II Travel Trunk, Lewis and Clark Expedition Outreach program & webcast, James Oglethorpe webcast, Thomas Jefferson webcast, Abraham Lincoln museum theatre & webcast, Civil War Travel Trunk, Civil War Living History program, Harriet Tubman museum theatre & webcast
Martin Luther King Jr. portrayed by Mustapha Slack
Native American stories in programming – Deerskin Trade program & webcast, Native American Travel Trunk, De Soto Expedition program & webcast, Lewis and Clark Expedition Outreach program, James Oglethorpe webcast, 1830s Family Day Program
Deerskin Trade Program
Women’s stories in programming – Juliette Gordon Low webcast, WW II Travel Trunk, Lewis and Clark Expedition Outreach program, Civil War Travel Trunk, Civil War Living History program, Harriet Tubman museum theatre & webcast
Women in WWII Webisode
Additionally, the following webisodes with diversity content were viewed hundreds of times over the school year:
One way to gauge the success of this diverse and inclusive content is to look at the numbers – program attendance and revenue are the highest they’ve been for the History Center. There’s reason to believe that we’re on the right track!
From the Archives this week is a pair of stylish eyeglasses and case from the optometrist office of Dr. J.H. Spratling, Jr., the President of the Georgia State Association of Optometrists in 1923. Rounded metal frames were a popular choice for glasses-wearers of the 1920s. These particular glasses have "comfort cable temples," which are the rounded pieces that fit the curvature of the ear. The curve could be easily bent for adjustment to fit the ear curve just right. This type of frame was often used for children, athletes, and people with high prescriptions as they add extra security and prevent the frames from falling off.
We've had some great (and very entertaining) submissions for our mascot naming contest! It's not too late to enter! Details below.
Mascot Naming Contest
We have a new mascot at the History Center! But it needs a name. Enter our naming contest for a chance to win a free Sponsor-Level Museum Membership which includes:
RULES & INFO
New Gainesville Chautauqua 2019 Season: The 1830s – a Decade of Removal
June 11th, July 9th, and August 13th
$6 cash/card at the door or Free for Museum Members
Our Chautauqua series for the 2019 season explores the decade of the 1830s; the years that saw the passage of the Indian Removal Act and its implementation, and the treaty negotiations between the Indian Nations and the Federal Government - whether perceived as realistic or perceived as forced. We’ll hear from a Chief who looked to make the best deal as quickly as possible, a Chief who delayed removal as long as possible, and the President who sought to ensure removal as essential to his view of the United States.
June 11 - Cherokee Chief John Ross - portrayed by Alex Morse
Chief Ross in his youth fought with Andrew Jackson against the Red Stick Creek and later caused Jackson considerable trouble by fighting Removal vigorously and vehemently, and who after Removal applauded the murder of fellow Cherokee leaders for signing the treaty of removal with the Federal Government – but also made sure that his own brother got the Government contract to provide food, lodging, and transportation in the final phase of what became known as the Trail of Tears.
July 9 - Choctaw Chief Greenwood LeFlore - portrayed by Matt House
Chief Leflore negotiated and signed the treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek within four months of the passage of the Removal Act, thus securing the best lands in the Indian Territory for the Choctaw – and then stayed behind in Mississippi while his tribe went west, taking U.S. Citizenship and becoming a wealthy cotton planter who owned 400 slaves and 15,000 acres of land.
August 13 – President Andrew Jackson – portrayed by Ken Johnston
Andrew Jackson, the man perceived in the popular imagination as being almost single-handedly responsible for the Indian Removal Act and the resultant Trail of Tears. Jackson could be ambivalent regarding Native Americans, treating the Red Stick Creek as enemies at Horseshoe Bend, while the Cherokee and Choctaw as allies at Horseshoe Bend and New Orleans, respectively. Whether Jackson viewed Indian Nations as enemies or allies, though, his first and overriding priority was White settlement and expansion; and as Jackson saw it the Nations had best accommodate Removal for their own good - regardless of how the Native American Nations themselves saw it.
For more fascinating photos and information on our region's past, follow our social media!
Reported to be the first band in Winder, Georgia back when it was called "Jug Tavern" in 1889.