Jennifer Le Zotte: Poppin’ Tags: How Musicians Helped Make Used Clothes Fashionable

cover for from goodwill to grungeToday we welcome another guest post by Jennifer Le Zotte, author of From Goodwill to Grunge: A History of Secondhand Styles and Alternative Economies. In this surprising new look at how clothing, style, and commerce came together to change American culture, Le Zotte examines how secondhand goods sold at thrift stores, flea markets, and garage sales came to be both profitable and culturally influential. Initially, selling used goods in the United States was seen as a questionable enterprise focused largely on the poor. But as the twentieth century progressed, multimillion-dollar businesses like Goodwill Industries developed, catering not only to the needy but increasingly to well-off customers looking to make a statement. Le Zotte traces the origins and meanings of “secondhand style” and explores how buying pre-owned goods went from a signifier of poverty to a declaration of rebellion.

In the following post, Le Zotte explores the long history of musicians’ advocacy of secondhand shopping, from Fanny Brice to Janis Joplin to Macklemore.

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Poppin’ Tags: How Musicians Helped Make Used Clothes Fashionable

In the 2013 number-one Billboard song “Thrift Shop,” Seattle duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis boast about their fashionably unfashionable thrift. Performing amidst a global economic recession, Macklemore goes “poppin’ tags” at Goodwill with only twenty dollars in his pocket. He also touts the thrift-shopping value of originality—calling having the same shirt as someone else at a club a “hella don’t.” The oft-watched music video is a kitschy panoply of outrageously dated outfits and Goodwill shopping carts, celebrating the established subcultural pastime of thrift shopping.

Thrift Shop by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

 
Original though Macklemore’s shirt may be, the song itself draws from a nearly century-long tradition—the musical advocacy of secondhand shopping. In the early 1920s, Broadway star Fanny Brice’s hits “Rose of Washington Square” and “Second-Hand Rose” acknowledged secondhand clothing as tools of social mobility and possibly even modern cultural cachet. The latter, more popular tune ties Greenwich Village bohemian style to the association of secondhand exchange with Jewish immigrants, and by way of humor, packages both for mainstream consumption.

Continue Reading Jennifer Le Zotte: Poppin’ Tags: How Musicians Helped Make Used Clothes Fashionable

Brian Tochterman: Mailer for Mayor of the 51st State

cover photo for tochtermanToday we welcome a guest post by Brian Tochterman, author of The Dying City: Postwar New York and the Ideology of Fear. In this eye-opening cultural history, Tochterman examines competing narratives that shaped post–World War II New York City. As a sense of crisis rose in American cities during the 1960s and 1970s, a period defined by suburban growth and deindustrialization, no city was viewed as in its death throes more than New York. Feeding this narrative of the dying city was a wide range of representations in film, literature, and the popular press—representations that ironically would not have been produced if not for a city full of productive possibilities as well as challenges. Tochterman reveals how elite culture producers, planners and theorists, and elected officials drew on and perpetuated the fear of death to press for a new urban vision.

In today’s post, Tochterman considers the outsider mayoral and city council candidacies of Norman Mailer and Jimmy Breslin in 1969 New York City.

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Mailer for Mayor of the 51st State

“We recognize . . . that the city is ill, that our own New York, the Empire City, is not too far from death.”—Norman Mailer, “Why Are We in New York?” New York Times Magazine, May 18, 1969

Norman Mailer and Jimmy Breslin are part of a sometimes roving band of supporting characters that populate The Dying City. Mailer plays the role of the contrarian provocateur who challenges the dying city narrative, whether it’s holding up the risky brotherhood of New York City’s various youth gangs as an antidote to the “national disease” of boredom within the pages of Dissent or publishing a large-format book on the cultural significance of the 1970s’ most otherwise reviled contemporary art form, spray-paint writing. Breslin, the longtime voice of New York within the pages of various dailies, is perhaps most famously known outside of the city as the epistolary confidant of David Berkowitz, a.k.a. Son of Sam, who addressed a cryptic letter to Breslin, then at the Daily News, during his 1977 killing spree. Breslin also co-authored “The Lonely Crimes” series, “or the crimes you don’t hear about,” from October 1965 that is examined in my book.

The Candidates

“The Lonely Crimes” and Mailer’s The Faith of Graffiti (1974) were both attacks on John Lindsay, a former U.S. congressman who served as New York City’s mayor from 1966 to 1973. In 1969, Mailer and Breslin united against Lindsay for the Democratic primary. Continue Reading Brian Tochterman: Mailer for Mayor of the 51st State

Judy Kutulas: What If My Relatives Were on the “Wrong” Side of History?

cover image for After Aquarius Dawned: How the Revolutions of the Sixties Became the Popular Culture of the Seventies, by Judy KutulasToday we welcome a guest post by Judy Kutulas, author of After Aquarius Dawned: How the Revolutions of the Sixties Became the Popular Culture of the Seventies. In this book, Kutulas complicates the common view that the 1970s were a time of counterrevolution against the radical activities and attitudes of the previous decade. Instead, she argues that the experiences and attitudes that were radical in the 1960s were becoming part of mainstream culture in the 1970s, as sexual freedom, gender equality, and more complex notions of identity, work, and family were normalized through popular culture—television, movies, music, political causes, and the emergence of new communities. Seemingly mundane things like watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show, listening to Carole King songs, donning Birkenstock sandals, or reading Roots were actually critical in shaping Americans’ perceptions of themselves, their families, and their relation to authority.

One of the chapters in After Aquarius Dawned focuses on Jim Jones and the mass death at Jonestown. In today’s post Kutulas wrestles with learning more about her own family’s connection to Jonestown.

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What If My Relatives Were on the “Wrong” Side of History?

I understand that Ben Affleck was unhappy to learn his ancestors owned slaves. I mention this because I was also unexpectedly side-swiped by history while researching a chapter for After Aquarius Dawned on the Peoples Temple and the Jonestown mass death.

As traditional authority, aka the Establishment, declined after the war in Vietnam and Watergate and all those liberation movements—sexual, gay, women’s, black—Americans practiced more freedom of choice, summarized by a women’s movement slogan, “the personal is political.” Since I was already looking into the Temple, I took a side jaunt into the story of my cousins who perished in Jonestown.

The last time we visited, Danny and Edie were already in the thrall of the Reverend Jim Jones and had adopted a son at Jones’s behest.
Danny Kutulas was my father’s first cousin. He and my father grew up in a close-knit Greek-American family in San Francisco during the Depression. Danny and his wife Edie moved to Redwood Valley, north of San Francisco, a community that would become the Peoples Temple’s home. I thought their rural lifestyle idyllic largely because they kept a horse. One of my more cherished childhood possessions was a photo of Danny on his horse.

The last time we visited, Danny and Edie were already in the thrall of the Reverend Jim Jones and had adopted a son at Jones’s behest. Continue Reading Judy Kutulas: What If My Relatives Were on the “Wrong” Side of History?

Christopher A. Cooper and H. Gibbs Knotts: Reflections on John Shelton Reed

cover image of resilience of southern identity by cooper and knottsToday we welcome a guest post by Christopher A. Cooper and H. Gibbs Knotts, authors of  The Resilience of Southern Identity: Why the South Still Matters in the Minds of Its People. The American South has experienced remarkable change over the past half century. Black voter registration has increased, the region’s politics have shifted from one-party Democratic to the near-domination of the Republican Party, and in-migration has increased its population manyfold. At the same time, many outward signs of regional distinctiveness have faded—chain restaurants have replaced mom-and-pop diners, and the interstate highway system connects the region to the rest of the country. Given all of these changes, many have argued that southern identity is fading. But Cooper and Knotts show how these changes have allowed for new types of southern identity to emerge. For some, identification with the South has become more about a connection to the region’s folkways or to place than about policy or ideology. For others, the contemporary South is all of those things at once—a place where many modern-day southerners navigate the region’s confusing and omnipresent history.

In today’s post, Cooper and Knotts relate how their study of southern culture has been influenced by the work of sociologist John Shelton Reed.

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Reflections on John Shelton Reed

Fans of UNC Press are likely familiar with the name John Shelton Reed. Reed was a sociology professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1969-2000, where he taught and wrote about the American South. He was also director of the Odum Institute for Research and Social Science, creator of the Southern Focus Polls, and co-founder of Southern Cultures, an academic quarterly published by UNC Press.

In our new book, The Resilience of Southern Identity: Why the South Still Matters in the Minds of Its People, we revisit and update a few of Reed’s key findings about the South. We focus particularly on the question of southern identity, exploring the powerful connection between southerners and their region.

Following Reed’s Model in Southerners

Though Reed’s body of scholarship is quite extensive, we build most directly on his book Southerners: The Social Psychology of Sectionalism (UNC Press, 1983). In this book, Reed focuses on the social psychological connection people have with the South. He argues that identifying as a southerner is a choice, and uses a 1971 survey of North Carolinians to explore the determinants of regional consciousness.

Like Reed, we attempt to write for both academic and non-academic audiences, while also drawing on our training as social scientists. In fact, we analyze Reed’s Southern Focus Polls, conducted between 1992 and 2001, to provide a baseline for our more recent findings.

Diverging from Reed’s Model

Though we rely extensively on Reed’s findings and approach, our strategy differs from Reed’s work in a few key ways.Continue Reading Christopher A. Cooper and H. Gibbs Knotts: Reflections on John Shelton Reed

Jennifer Van Horn: Problematic Prostheses

cover photo for thepower of objects in eight-teen century british americaToday we welcome a guest post by Jennifer Van Horn, author of The Power of Objects in Eighteenth-Century British America (published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia). Over the course of the eighteenth century, Anglo-Americans purchased an unprecedented number and array of goods. Van Horn investigates these diverse artifacts—from portraits and city views to gravestones, dressing furniture, and prosthetic devices—to explore how elite American consumers assembled objects to form a new civil society on the margins of the British Empire. In this interdisciplinary transatlantic study, artifacts emerge as key players in the formation of Anglo-American communities and eventually of American citizenship. Deftly interweaving analysis of images with furniture, architecture, clothing, and literary works, Van Horn reconstructs the networks of goods that bound together consumers in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston.

In today’s post, Van Horn explores the medical, social, and personal roles of prosthetic limbs throughout American history. 

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Problematic Prostheses

Prosthetic limbs can increasingly be found on American streets, Olympic tracks, and even fashion runways. Approximately 1,500 American soldiers lost limbs in the Iraq War, many to the blasts of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Returning lower-limb amputees have donned sleek robotic-looking legs, including the Flex-Foot Cheetah, now famous as the prosthesis worn by double-amputee and Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius. More fashion-forward artificial legs gained publicity when athlete and model Aimee Mullins appeared on the runaway wearing Alexander McQueen along with carved wooden legs.

We might imagine that the first time prosthetic legs grabbed the American public’s attention was during the Civil War. But in fact, the American Revolution was the first armed conflict when controversy swirled around men’s amputated limbs. Continue Reading Jennifer Van Horn: Problematic Prostheses

Erika Lee: The New Xenophobia and the Role of the Public Scholar Today

UNC Press Authors Off the Page - Expert Commentary on the Issues of the Day - Roundtable 1: #immigration

Today’s essay on #immigration comes from Erika Lee, Distinguished McKnight University Professor, the Rudolph J. Vecoli Chair in Immigration History, and the Director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota. She is author of At America’s Gates: Chinese Immigration during the Exclusion Era, 1882-1943 (University of North Carolina Press, 2003) and The Making of Asian America: A History (Simon & Schuster, 2015).

The New Xenophobia and the Role of the Public Scholar Today

In my U.S. Immigration History class this semester, I begin each session with a roundup of weekly immigration news. We are struggling to keep up. One week of immigration news during the Trump administration feels like one year. Take my class on March 7, for example. We were studying Mexican immigration and the U.S.-Mexican borderlands, and the readings covered U.S. imperialism, the Mexican-American War, the long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America, the uneven incorporation of Mexican Americans into the U.S., the mass deportation campaigns of the 1930s, and “Operation Wetback” in 1954.[1]

That week’s news mirrored and repeated history in disturbing ways. I first linked to Kelly Lytle Hernández’s op-ed, “America’s Deportation Policy is Rooted in Racism,” published in The Conversation.[2] We read about the arrest of dreamer Daniela Vargas by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Jackson, Mississippi, after she had spoken out at a rally denouncing the new immigration raids happening across the country.[3] We discussed an article from an Indian newspaper describing the fear that many were feeling after two Indian immigrants were shot dead in Kansas and South Carolina in late February and early March.[4] We reviewed President Trump’s speech to the joint session of Congress as well as the full text of the new executive order on travel (or the Muslim ban) that had just been signed the day before.[5] And we ended by studying Housing Secretary Ben Carson’s statement that African slaves were “immigrants.”[6]

For immigration historians, the past, present, and future are colliding.

These days, the relevance of U.S. immigration history—who we have welcomed and who we have banned; who we have resettled and who we have left behind; how we began to enforce the border and how the “border” has moved into the interior—has never been more important. For immigration historians, the past, present, and future are colliding.

As someone who writes, educates, and talks about America’s long and complicated relationship with immigration and as a granddaughter of Chinese immigrants whose lives were upended by earlier discriminatory immigration laws, Trump’s presidency weighs heavily on me.Continue Reading Erika Lee: The New Xenophobia and the Role of the Public Scholar Today

  1. [1]During the 1930s, 1-2 million people were deported from the United States, including an estimated 60% who were American citizens. In 1954, another one million were deported.
  2. [2]America’s Deportation Policy is Rooted in Racism,” published in The Conversation, 2/27/17.
  3. [3]Dreamer Detained After Expressing Fears of Being Detained in Mississippi,” LA Times, 3/1/17.
  4. [4]An Indian community that sends the most workers and students to the US now fears America,” Quartz India, 3/1/17; “FBI investigating Kansas triple shooting that killed 1 as a hate crime,” ABC News, 3/1/17. One victim, software engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, hailed from Hyderabad, which, according to the Brookings Institution, sent the largest number of STEM students (20,800) to the United States from 2008-2012.
  5. [5]Here’s everything Donald Trump said about immigration in his speech to Congress,” Washington Post, 3/1/17; Full Text: “Trump’s New Executive Order On Travel, Annotated,” NPR, 3/6/17.
  6. [6]Ben Carson Calls Slaves ‘Immigrants’ in First HUD Remarks,” NBC News, 3/6/17.

Julie M. Weise: African Americans and Immigrants’ Rights in the Trump Era

UNC Press Authors Off the Page - Expert Commentary on the Issues of the Day - Roundtable 1: #immigration

Today’s essay on #immigration comes from Julie M. Weise, assistant professor of history at the University of Oregon. She is author of Corazón de Dixie: Mexicanos in the U.S. South since 1910 (University of North Carolina Press, 2014).

African Americans and Immigrants’ Rights in the Trump Era

Days after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, the City of San Francisco became the first so-called “sanctuary city” to sue the president over his order to withhold federal funding from municipalities that did not cooperate fully with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Media coverage of the “sanctuary city” controversy since then has appeared at first glance to reflect Trump’s own parody that opposition to his agenda comes primarily from “coastal elites” who, if they aren’t from San Francisco, might as well be.

But look a little closer, and a different kind of pro-immigrant political actor becomes visible. Alongside predictable sanctuary cities like Los Angeles and New York City, other cities, including New Orleans, Birmingham, Jackson, and Atlanta-area DeKalb County—all majority-black—have been declaring themselves sanctuary cities, implementing sanctuary-like policies, and affirming mandates to minimize cooperation with ICE. These municipalities have put their federal funding at risk to protect local immigrant communities. In most cases, black politicians, sheriffs, and police chiefs have been the ones to advocate and implement these policies. Continue Reading Julie M. Weise: African Americans and Immigrants’ Rights in the Trump Era

Mireya Loza: 100 Years of Mexican Guest Workers in the United States

UNC Press Authors Off the Page - Expert Commentary on the Issues of the Day - Roundtable 1: #immigration

Today’s essay on #immigration comes from Mireya Loza, curator in the Division of Political History at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. She is author of Defiant Braceros: How Migrant Workers Fought for Racial, Sexual, and Political Freedom.

100 Years of Mexican Guest Workers in the United States

As institutions and communities across America begin to mark the centennial of the United States’ official entry into World War I (April 6, 1917), there is another little-told U.S. story that also marks 100 years: the guest worker program with Mexico.

Many current politicians, agribusiness owners, and those in the hospitality industry have suggested guest worker programs might function as a policy solution to immigration reform. This is not a novel concept. For a century America has relied on Mexican guest workers. The very first guest worker program brokered between Mexico and the United States was carried out during World War I. In 1917, Mexican men entered American farm fields at growers’ request after concerns the industry lacked the necessary manpower needed to pick crops due to the departure of Americans to war. While this was the first introduction of Mexican guest workers, it would not be the last.

A man on a truck uses a machine to assemble Cookie lettuce boxes in a field in the Salinas Valley, California, while braceros pick up the ready boxes to fill them with lettuce, 1956. Leonard Nadel Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.

 

The Bracero Program

The largest and best known recruitment of guest workers, called the Bracero Program, was introduced during World War II. From 1942 to 1964, over 4.5 million contracts were issued to Mexican guest workers. To be sure the term “guest worker” was not used to describe these men, they were called braceros, a term that cast them as “arms of labor.” Some men entered the United States for one short contract of 30-60 days, while others obtained contract after contract. The Bracero Program was composed of a series of agreements that targeted Mexican males to work in two industries, railroad and agriculture. At the end of the war, U.S. veterans returned to reclaim their positions as railroad workers, thus ending the contracts of the Mexican traqueros, while the agricultural component grew in both scope and size.

An official examines a bracero’s teeth and mouth with a flashlight while others stand next to him with their backs to a wall at the Monterrey Processing Center, Mexico, 1956. Leonard Nadel Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.

 
Although architects of the program attempted to standardize wages, living conditions, travel, and accommodations, growers were rarely held accountable when they failed to uphold these standards. The binational agreement also prevented braceros from formally entering unions, and although braceros could choose a representative to voice their interests in the fields, growers were not formally obligated to address these concerns.

Continue Reading Mireya Loza: 100 Years of Mexican Guest Workers in the United States

Deirdre M. Moloney: The Muslim Ban of 1910

UNC Press Authors Off the Page - Expert Commentary on the Issues of the Day - Roundtable 1: #immigration

Today’s essay on #immigration comes from Deirdre M. Moloney, historian and author of National Insecurities: Immigrants and U.S. Deportation Policy Since 1882 (University of North Carolina Press, 2012).

The Muslim Ban of 1910

Anti-Muslim sentiment and policies in the United States have intensified since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, culminating in President Donald Trump’s two successive 2017 Executive Orders, each subjected to injunctions by federal judges.

This presidential election, like others since 9/11, was characterized by anti-Muslim rhetoric, much of it virulent. Trump first stoked the “birther” controversy over President Obama’s birthplace and religious identity in the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, and those embers continued to burn in this race. Then, in November 2015, when two people sympathetic to radical Islamic groups murdered 14 people in San Bernardino, California, Trump advocated that all Muslims be barred from entering the United States. In 2016, on the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly insulted the religious beliefs and cultural practices of Muslims, most egregiously in his response to Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the Muslim parents of an American soldier, Humayun Khan, who died in combat in Iraq. Trump’s extreme statements, along with his invectives against Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, have justifiably provoked outrage.

Many argue that President Trump’s two recent Executive Orders barring immigrants and others from several predominantly Muslim countries are unprecedented.[1] However, the history of federal immigration regulation in the United States illustrates that non-U.S. citizens were often denied constitutional protections. In fact, anti-Muslim immigration policies were first implemented in the early twentieth century.

The Religious History of Immigration Policy

A significant American controversy over Muslim polygamy in 1910 highlights the historical and current limits of religious toleration of immigrants and others outside the mainstream Judeo-Christian tradition.
Historians have written extensively about how race and ethnicity affected U.S. immigration policy, as well as on anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism. Yet relatively few scholars have focused on how immigrants outside the mainstream Judeo-Christian tradition were formally regulated by the U.S. federal government based on their religious beliefs or affiliations. A significant American controversy over Muslim polygamy in 1910 highlights the historical and current limits of religious toleration of immigrants and others outside the mainstream Judeo-Christian tradition, including Muslims. That prejudice led to efforts to exclude, expel, or deport Muslims from the United States, both in the early twentieth century and today.

But this anti-Muslim strain in American politics is not new. Certain immigrants, including Mormons, Hindus, and Muslims faced barriers in their effort to settle in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries because they were perceived as adhering to belief systems that were un-American. Though those religiously based cases were small relative to those immigrants facing exclusion or deportation based on their poverty or on medical grounds, they suggest that religious bias has long been a significant factor in early federal immigration policies. Adherents of those traditions and beliefs came into contact with immigration and other officials, who sometimes did not understand non-Christian traditions, their institutions, beliefs, and practices.

Islam, Polygamy, and the Case of Turkey

As early as 1910, Muslim immigrants arriving in the United States faced exclusion at the country’s ports as a result of their religious beliefs. Islam was considered incompatible with American values, based in significant part on immigration officials’ perceptions of Muslims as polygamists.[2] That year, 43 Muslims from the Ottoman Empire, soon to become the Turkish Republic, were barred from the United States over a six-month period, based on their belief in a religion that allowed polygamy or on grounds that they were unable to be economically self-sufficient and would be “Likely to Become a Public Charge.” In its enforcement of that policy, the immigration bureau had determined that simply adhering to the tenets of Islam, rather than the actual practice of polygamy, served as sufficient grounds for deportation from the United States. Continue Reading Deirdre M. Moloney: The Muslim Ban of 1910

  1. [1]Signed on January 27, followed by a revised version on March 6, 2017.
  2. [2]“List of Debarred Aliens” dated August 12, 1910. Eight of the 43 Muslim individuals (all males) on this list were deported to Turkey on charges of polygamy. The others were deported on “Likely to Become a Public Charge” (LPC) grounds. File: 52737/499; The Turkish ambassador (representing the Imperial Ottoman Embassy) issued a formal complaint about deportations of Muslim immigrants and questioned whether Turkish immigrants were being treated unfairly by immigration officials. Letter to [William Jennings Bryan], Secretary of State from J.B. Densmore, May 9, 1914. File: 52737/499. Both files in RG 85. National Archives (NARA). Religion and early immigration policy is discussed more extensively in chapter five of National Insecurities.

Elliott Young: Felons and Families

UNC Press Authors Off the Page - Expert Commentary on the Issues of the Day - Roundtable 1: #immigration

Today’s roundtable essay on #immigration comes from Elliott Young, professor of history and director of ethnic studies at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. His latest book is Alien Nation: Chinese Migration through the Americas from the Coolie Era to WWII (University of North Carolina Press, 2014).

Felons and Families

In November 2014, in the same speech in which President Obama announced his Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program, he proclaimed: “We’re going to keep focusing enforcement resources on actual threats to our security. Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who’s working hard to provide for her kids. We’ll prioritize, just like law enforcement does every day.”

Most immigrant advocates applauded the president’s extension of temporary protection to some three million undocumented parents of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients, a program that courts subsequently blocked as an executive overreach. Few immigration activists condemned Obama for drawing a line between “good” hardworking immigrant families and “bad” lawbreaking criminals, perhaps settling for the possible in a less than ideal world.

Even as one might criticize Obama for becoming the “Deporter in Chief,” he did not invent the pernicious rhetoric of good and bad immigrants. He merely followed in a long tradition that stretches back to the late nineteenth century when federal immigration restrictions were first written into law to keep out criminals, prostitutes, and the Chinese.

From Coolies to Convicts

In 1862, when President Lincoln signed into law what is arguably the first federal immigration statute, the Anti-Coolie Bill, he did so to protect the rights of the hardworking European immigrants against what Americans perceived as the threat of indentured Chinese workers. While the bill ostensibly sought to prevent the reintroduction of slavery through “coolie” labor, Congress did not penalize exploitative employers (the masters) but instead criminalized the Chinese workers (the slaves).

Federal immigration restrictions were first written into law to keep out criminals, prostitutes, and the Chinese.

The 1875 Page Act rehearsed the same kind of criminalization, this time taking aim at single Chinese women immigrants, assumed to be prostitutes. The nineteenth-century moralizing campaigns are echoed in today’s anti–sex trafficking hysteria that rhetorically contrasts hardworking mothers with immoral and victimized sex workers. In the same way that the Page Act and the 1910 Mann Act criminalized poor immigrant women workers, anti–sex trafficking campaigns end up incarcerating large numbers of poor immigrant women and serve to push their work underground.

The very same year that the United States passed the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882), Congress also enacted a general immigration law that explicitly restricted the entry of “convicts.” Subsequent immigration acts have expanded the categories of the excluded, but the notion that criminals should be kept out and those who commit crimes should be deported has been consistent over more than a century and a half of immigration restriction. Obama’s invocation of families over felons has been baked into the DNA of our immigration system since its inception.

“Good” and “Bad” Immigrants

Just who is defined as criminal has changed over time, and depends on who you ask. In the late nineteenth century, the very presence of male Chinese laborers and single Chinese women was criminalized. Restrictive immigration laws created the first “illegal aliens” out of the Chinese. However, it was not immediately apparent that unauthorized presence in the country was by itself criminal, and even today it is not actually a criminal offense to be in the country without authorization.Continue Reading Elliott Young: Felons and Families

Off the Page: Roundtable 1: Immigration

UNC Press Authors Off the Page - Expert Commentary on the Issues of the Day - Roundtable 1: #immigration

Introducing a new blog feature for these interesting times

This week, UNC Press is proud to host this first in a series of week-long virtual roundtables, featuring Press authors drawing on their work to address issues of contemporary concern. Posts will be published once per day, and we hope readers will share them widely, discuss and debate them with colleagues and friends, and draw on them to feed an ongoing conversation about ideas that matter.

More than ever, university presses are keenly aware of our role in publishing trustworthy, peer-reviewed scholarship that informs and educates readers as they seek to understand events of the present day in rich context. At UNC Press, we proudly embrace this mission as we publish work that not only serves communities of academic research but also translates the best scholarship for a public that craves reliable information. Meanwhile, an impressive and growing number of our authors have embraced the role of public intellectual, drawing from their expertise and from their books to speak to a wide range of audiences outside the academy. We are honored to be our authors’ partners in this critically important work.

Roundtable 1: #immigration

Our first roundtable centers on the subject of U.S. immigration. Recent executive actions and enforcement of existing law have thrust this contentious issue even more fully into the spotlight. The idea that the United States is a “nation of immigrants” is woven deeply into the fabric of American life, yet even the most cursory review of our history indicates how complex and troubled the subject of immigration has been. This week we are glad to be able to share five short essays by leading scholars of immigration. As a new essay is published each day, we’ll update here with the link:

Thanks for reading. Let us know what you think.

Mark Simpson-Vos
Editorial Director, UNC Press

Jennifer Le Zotte: Before Target, There Were Thrift Stores: How Postwar Secondhand Commerce Supported LGBTQ Rights

cover for from goodwill to grunge Today we welcome a guest post by Jennifer Le Zotte, author of  From Goodwill to Grunge: A History of Secondhand Styles and Alternative Economies. In this surprising new look at how clothing, style, and commerce came together to change American culture, Jennifer Le Zotte examines how secondhand goods sold at thrift stores, flea markets, and garage sales came to be both profitable and culturally influential. Initially, selling used goods in the United States was seen as a questionable enterprise focused largely on the poor. But as the twentieth century progressed, multimillion-dollar businesses like Goodwill Industries developed, catering not only to the needy but increasingly to well-off customers looking to make a statement. Le Zotte traces the origins and meanings of “secondhand style” and explores how buying pre-owned goods went from a signifier of poverty to a declaration of rebellion.

In today’s post, Le Zotte writes about the history of thrift stores as sites of commercial support of queer communities.

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In this divisive political season, American public bathrooms and changing rooms are spaces of contention. For example, in March 2016 North Carolina legislature passed the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, better known as HB2, in reaction to a Charlotte City ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in various settings. North Carolina’s HB2, one of a string of recent “bathroom bills,” specifies that in government buildings, individuals must use restrooms and changing facilities corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate.  In a swift and somewhat contentious response, discount retailer Target formally welcomed transgender shoppers, inviting them to use whichever bathroom corresponds with their gender identity.

In recent years, corporate support of LGBTQ rights is not unusual, but in the 1950s and 1960s, major retailers were often complicit in the systematic anti-homosexual campaigns known as the Lavender Scare, firing gay employees and alienating or even arresting cross-dressing patrons attempting to try on clothing. In most states, wearing clothing “intended for the opposite sex”—even briefly in dressing rooms—meant risking a rap sheet.Continue Reading Jennifer Le Zotte: Before Target, There Were Thrift Stores: How Postwar Secondhand Commerce Supported LGBTQ Rights

Interview: Dr. Peggy Valentine on the Journal of Best Practices in Health Professions Diversity

Left to right: Vanessa Duren-Robinson, Ph.D. (Editorial Board Member); Elijah Onsomu (Managing Editor and Layout Editor); Peggy Valentine, Ed.D. (Editor-in-Chief); Steve Aragon, Ph.D. (Editorial Board Member); and LaKisha Crews (Assistant to Acting Managing Editor). Not pictured: Joanne Banks (Associate Editor) and Leslie Allison, Ph.D. (Editorial Board Member). Photo courtesy of Winston-Salem State University.

 
In the following interview, John McLeod, director of the UNC Press Office of Scholarly Publishing Services discusses the Journal of Best Practices in Health Professions Diversity: Research, Education and Policy with editor-in-chief Dr. Peggy Valentine.

Dr. Valentine is dean and professor at the School of Health Sciences at Winston-Salem State University, a constituent of the University of North Carolina system. She founded the peer reviewed Journal of Best Practices in Health Professions Diversity: Research, Education and Policy (J Best Pract Health Prof Divers) in 2007 to provide a forum for the discussion of factors that promote or constrain the development and sustainability of a diverse health professions workforce. Dr. Valentine oversees Winston-Salem State University educational programs in Clinical Laboratory Science, Exercise Physiology, Healthcare Management, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Rehabilitation Counseling. She has clinical experience as a registered nurse and physician assistant and has conducted research on homeless and minority issues. She is actively engaged with a number of state and national groups and institutions including the board of trustees for Novant Health Medical Group, the Department of Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Community-Based Interdisciplinary Linkages, the Consortium on International Management Policy and Development, the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions, and the National Society of Allied Health.

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cover image for Journal of Best Practices in Health Professions Diversity: Research, Education, and Policy, Fall 2016 issueJohn McLeod: Can you tell us why you started the journal?

Dr. Peggy Valentine: I was inspired by the 2004 Sullivan Commission’s Report on “Missing Persons in the Health Professions,” and felt the need to provide a forum for educators, researchers and others to share their research, experiences  in their programs, and offer potential solutions.

JM: What do you see as some of the biggest challenges and opportunities the healthcare professions face today in terms of achieving better diversity?

PV:  The greatest challenge in achieving diversity is knowledge. Diverse students are often unaware of the variety of health disciplines and the educational requirements to be competitive. Many are unaware of available resources and lack mentors who can point them in the right direction.A challenge exists for faculty and administrators of educational programs who may also lack knowledge on how to best recruit and retain diverse students. Finally, the health care industry is challenged in recruiting diverse employees. It has been my observation that organizations with set goals and strategies in place to achieve a diverse workforce are more successful, especially when diversity is a high priority at all levels, including upper levels of management.

JM: You recently formed a partnership with the National Association of Medical Minority Educators which now offers the journal as a member benefit. Tell us a little bit about the NAMME and their mission.Continue Reading Interview: Dr. Peggy Valentine on the Journal of Best Practices in Health Professions Diversity

Andrew Denson: Apologizing for Indian Removal in the Civil Rights Era South

monuments to absence by andrew densonToday we welcome a guest post by Andrew Denson, author of Monuments to Absence: Cherokee Removal and the Contest over Southern MemoryThe 1830s forced removal of Cherokees from their southeastern homeland became the most famous event in the Indian history of the American South, an episode taken to exemplify a broader experience of injustice suffered by Native peoples. In this book, Andrew Denson explores the public memory of Cherokee removal through an examination of memorials, historic sites, and tourist attractions dating from the early twentieth century to the present. White southerners, Denson argues, embraced the Trail of Tears as a story of Indian disappearance. Commemorating Cherokee removal affirmed white possession of southern places, while granting them the moral satisfaction of acknowledging past wrongs. During segregation and the struggle over black civil rights, removal memorials reinforced whites’ authority to define the South’s past and present. Cherokees, however, proved capable of repossessing the removal memory, using it for their own purposes during a time of crucial transformation in tribal politics and U.S. Indian policy. In considering these representations of removal, Denson brings commemoration of the Indian past into the broader discussion of race and memory in the South.

In this post Denson will speak on injustices brought upon the Cherokee people. 

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In the spring of 1962, legislators in Georgia voted unanimously to repeal a set of anti-Indian laws from the 1820s and 1830s. These laws had sparked the political crisis that led to the Cherokee “Trail of Tears,” the removal of the majority of Cherokees from the Southeast to Indian Territory. Starting in 1828, Georgia had extended its jurisdiction over Cherokee territory, outlawed

Dedication of the New Echota State Historic Site, Georgia, 1962, courtesy Georgia State Archives

the Cherokee government, and nullified Cherokee laws in an effort to force tribal leaders to negotiate a removal agreement with the United States. More than a century later, Georgia created a state historic site at New Echota, the removal-era capital of the Cherokee Nation, and state legislators organized the repeal of the old laws as part of that commemoration. They acknowledged the role played by their state in driving Cherokees west, denouncing Georgia’s campaign against the tribe as a “gross injustice” that would “shock the consciences of all those who believe in equality under the law.” In repealing the laws and commemorating Cherokee history at New Echota, the legislature explained, “Georgia atones for the wrong done to these worthy people.”

The state took this action in the midst of the civil rights movement, while African American activists in Georgia and elsewhere labored to secure that same “equality under the law.” Georgia dedicated New Echota shortly after a bitter dispute over school integration and while activists in several of the state’s cities fought to desegregate public facilities and services. In fact, during the very session in which lawmakers repealed the antebellum statutes, students from Atlanta’s black universities picketed the statehouse, demanding the desegregation of the building’s public galleries. White legislators condemned the injustice of Indian removal in a Jim Crow capitol, as black civil rights activists marched just outside the door.

This moment represents something more than an interesting coincidence.

Cherokee Supreme Court Building, Reconstruction, New Echota State Historic Site, photo by author

Cherokee removal became a more relevant topic in southern memory during the mid-twentieth century, when the Cold War and the politics of civil rights encouraged Americans to confront their nation’s history of racial injustice. Commemorating the Trail of Tears offered white southerners a politically safe way to contemplate one element of that history. In memory, the Trail of Tears echoed the modern struggle over civil rights, but it seemed distant enough from contemporary politics that white communities could memorialize Indian dispossession without inviting controversy. In apologizing for removal, meanwhile, white commemorators could express a commitment to American ideals of equality at a time when civil rights activists condemned the segregated South as deeply un-American. Midcentury commemoration of Indian history, then, opens a window on the culture of the white South during a crucial period of conflict and transformation.

 

 

Andrew Denson teaches history at Western Carolina University. Denson is the author of Monuments to Absence: Cherokee Removal and the Contest over Southern Memory.

Kristina M. Jacobsen: In Memoriam: Shirley Bowman (1949-2017)

cover for the sound of navajo countryToday we have a guest post from Kristina M. Jacobsen, in memory of her friend and mentor Shirley Bowman, who, among other contributions, edited and translated the Navajo text in Jacobsen’s newly published ethnography of Navajo (Diné) popular music culture, The Sound of Navajo Country: Music, Language, and Diné Belonging.

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Shirley Bowman: Navajo language and culture teacher, world traveler, mother, grandmother, Navajo Nation citizen, professor, fellow “foodie” and tamale maker extraordinaire. These are some of the things that come to mind when I remember my teacher, mentor, friend and “mom,” Shirley Ann Bowman (1949-2017), who passed away on March 7.

The author, left, with Shirley Bowman

I met Shirley in the fall of 2008 in Crownpoint, when I began my research on Diné country western bands (“rez bands”) and was looking for a Navajo language teacher. She embraced me fully, immersing me not only in the Navajo language but what in it meant to be a woman in Diné society, my expected social roles, and how—as a non-Native, Anglo woman—to conduct myself accordingly.

Born into the Tsénahabiłnii [Sleep Rock People] clan and born for Bit’ahnii [Folded Arms People], Shirley was quick to laugh, loved to go on adventures, and was full of joy, especially when talking about the Navajo language. She was exacting in her English and her Navajo:  grammar, and proper spelling and saying things the “right” way was important to her (she referred to other versions of Navajo as “lazy tongue” Navajo), and this attention to detail is also something she passed on to her many students in Crownpoint, Alamo, and elsewhere.

photo by Kristina M. Jacobsen

Shirley loved word play, double entendre, and stories about Diné cultural types. Continue Reading Kristina M. Jacobsen: In Memoriam: Shirley Bowman (1949-2017)

Jessica M. Frazier: Networks, News, and Activism

cover art for women's antiwar diplomacyToday we welcome a guest post by Jessica M. Frazier, author of Women’s Antiwar Diplomacy during the Vietnam War Era. In 1965, fed up with President Lyndon Johnson’s refusal to make serious diplomatic efforts to end the Viet Nam War, a group of female American peace activists decided to take matters into their own hands by meeting with Vietnamese women to discuss how to end U.S. intervention. While other attempts at women’s international cooperation and transnational feminism have led to cultural imperialism or imposition of American ways on others, Frazier reveals an instance when American women crossed geopolitical boundaries to criticize American Cold War culture, not promote it. The American women Frazier studies not only solicited Vietnamese women’s opinions and advice on how to end the war but also viewed them as paragons of a new womanhood by which American women could rework their ideas of gender, revolution, and social justice during an era of reinvigorated feminist agitation.

In this post Frazier discusses the parallels between the world of social media sharing today with activism tactics during the Viet Nam War. 

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Since the creation of social networking sites, maintaining contact with people around the world has never been easier, and it has never seemed easier to learn various perspectives on a given topic. But with the tendency to surround oneself with like-minded people, even (or perhaps especially) in the virtual world, comes the creation of echo chambers. With the accessibility of such sites to anyone who wants to sell a story regardless of its accuracy comes the corresponding problem of fake news. Both issues came to light following the recent American presidential race.

The desire to connect as well as to find alternative sources of information is not new. In the 1960s, many members of the underground press and anti–Viet Nam War movement similarly created their own networks of communication by traveling the world. Visiting Paris, Hanoi, Bratislava, Budapest, and elsewhere, activists took matters into their own hands by finding out for themselves what was happening halfway around the world, in Viet Nam.

Two such activists, Mary Clarke and Lorraine Gordon, members of an anti–nuclear proliferation group called Women Strike for Peace, traveled to Hanoi just two months after U.S. bombing began over North Viet Nam. They refused to take American politicians at their word and wanted to ascertain what the Vietnamese wanted and how they could help end U.S. involvement in Viet Nam. It would have taken Clarke and Gordon about a week to reach Hanoi by flying through Europe, Russia, and then on to Southeast Asia. Continue Reading Jessica M. Frazier: Networks, News, and Activism

Darrin Pratt: Mission Possible

We’d like to share with our readers a valuable article written by Darrin Pratt, director of the University Press of Colorado and current president of the Association of American University Presses. This article was originally published at the University of Colorado Press Blog.

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University Press of Colorado logo

In a previous post, I wrote about the minor miracle continually performed by the membership of the Association of American University Presses, a miracle that involves taking a relatively small annual budget and multiplying that budget until it becomes substantially larger. University presses, I observed, collectively receive an annual budget that would support the publication of roughly 900 scholarly monographs annually, based on an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation–funded ITHAKA S+R study of the average publication cost of a monograph. In reality, university presses create enough additional revenue from the starting budget they are given to produce over 6,000 books annually,[1]The source of the figure cited here is the 2012–2015 Annual Operating Statistics Survey of the Association of American University PressesContinue Reading Darrin Pratt: Mission Possible

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Jonathan W. White: A Shadow Over My Heart: The Transformation of a Northern Woman’s Dream Life during the Civil War

midnight in america by jonathan whiteToday we welcome a guest post by Jonathan W. White, author of Midnight in America: Darkness, Sleep, and Dreams during the Civil War. The Civil War brought many forms of upheaval to America, not only in waking hours but also in the dark of night. Sleeplessness plagued the Union and Confederate armies, and dreams of war glided through the minds of Americans in both the North and South. Sometimes their nightly visions brought the horrors of the conflict vividly to life. But for others, nighttime was an escape from the hard realities of life and death in wartime. In this innovative new study, White explores what dreams meant to Civil War–era Americans and what their dreams reveal about their experiences during the war. He shows how Americans grappled with their fears, desires, and struggles while they slept, and how their dreams helped them make sense of the confusion, despair, and loneliness that engulfed them.

In this post White follows the transformation of one woman’s dream life as revealed in her Civil War letters to her soldier husband.

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Sitting at home, alone, many women in the North and South were overcome by feelings of fear and grief as their husbands fought on faraway battlefields. For all too many, nighttime only exacerbated their concerns. Nightmares of blood and gore tortured countless wives. And yet over time, some women gradually overcame such fearful feelings—even in their dreams.

In upstate New York, Cora Benton “felt depressed in spirit” when her husband, Charlie, left to become a soldier in August 1862. One night in November she “dreamed you had been in battle, and after the company had got back to camp, I rushed in to find you gone—dead and buried on the field, without one look, one word.Continue Reading Jonathan W. White: A Shadow Over My Heart: The Transformation of a Northern Woman’s Dream Life during the Civil War

Kristina M. Jacobsen: “Won’t You Be With Me Tonight (After the Ace’s Wild Dance)”?: Navajo Country Bands, Stage Patter, and Rodeo Announcers

cover for the sound of navajo countryToday we welcome another guest post by Kristina M. Jacobsen, author of  The Sound of Navajo Country: Music, Language, and Diné Belonging. In this ethnography of Navajo (Diné) popular music culture, Jacobsen examines questions of Indigenous identity and performance by focusing on the surprising and vibrant Navajo country music scene. Through multiple first-person accounts, Jacobsen illuminates country music’s connections to the Indigenous politics of language and belonging, examining through the lens of music both the politics of difference and many internal distinctions Diné make among themselves and their fellow Navajo citizens.

In today’s post, Jacobsen explains the cultural significance of stage patter in the performances of a Navajo country band.

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Recently in my home city of Albuquerque, eighteen-year-old pedal steel player and Navajo citizen Matthew Begay was invited up on stage to sit in with country great Tracy Byrd on his classic song, “Don’t Take Her She’s All I’ve Got.”

The response of the crowd in the stadium, which included many Navajos, was overwhelming. Begay also plays in the Navajo band Re-Coil, a country western band from Fort Defiance, Arizona, that I played with during my fieldwork singing and playing with Navajo country bands on the Navajo Nation. It was a beautiful moment,revealing what many Diné people have known since at least the late 1930s: that country music is a deeply loved genre of music, part and parcel of contemporary Navajo—and indigenous—experience and expressive culture.

But Begay’s performance and the crowd’s ecstatic response also reminded of other country-centered events still taking place on sovereign Navajo land. Take the weekly Navajo country western “dances” put on by the famous reservation band, Ace’s Wild, including the dance I attended on Thanksgiving day 2016.Continue Reading Kristina M. Jacobsen: “Won’t You Be With Me Tonight (After the Ace’s Wild Dance)”?: Navajo Country Bands, Stage Patter, and Rodeo Announcers

Nicole Eustace: Borders, Culture, and Nationhood in Early-Nineteenth-Century America     

cover art for warring for americaToday we happily welcome a guest post by Nicole Eustace, co-editor, with Fredrika J. Teute, of Warring for America: Cultural Contests in the Era of 1812, published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia. The War of 1812 was one of a cluster of events that left unsettled what is often referred to as the Revolutionary settlement. At once postcolonial and neoimperial, the America of 1812 was still in need of definition. As the imminence of war intensified the political, economic, and social tensions endemic to the new nation, Americans of all kinds fought for country on the battleground of culture. The War of 1812 increased interest in the American democratic project and elicited calls for national unity, yet the essays collected in this volume suggest that the United States did not emerge from war in 1815 having resolved the Revolution’s fundamental challenges or achieved a stable national identity. The cultural rifts of the early republican period remained vast and unbridged.

In this post, Eustace discusses the idea of determining national affiliation by geopolitical barriers. 

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Can physical boundaries decisively shape social relationships? Do geopolitical barriers define the terms of human connections? Contentious throughout U.S. history, questions such as these have recently taken on extraordinary urgency as efforts to impose new limits and divisions on the people who live and work in the United States have begun to rise rapidly. While many might assume that a clear connection between landed location and national affiliation has always been the basis for determining a country’s legal membership, this means of defining the rights of citizens emerged only slowly in early America.

The essays collected in Warring for America: Cultural Contests in the Era of 1812 do much to document the contentious debates that surrounded questions of national belonging in the early United States. In her aptly titled essay, “‘Borders Thick and Foggy’: Mobility, Community, and Nation in the Northern Buffer Zone,” author Karen Marrero captures contemporary unease about the porosity of national parameters. Studying the edge-land region of the Great Lakes between Canada and the United States through the 1830’s, Marrero asks whether the sense of communal belonging among these early nineteenth-century North Americans most often grew from the land on which people dwelt or germinated from the seed of lineal ancestry. Ultimately, she argues that the United States largely succeeded in enforcing a notion of national affiliation dependent on the “external” issue of physical residence over the British and Indian preference for defining national membership on the basis of the “internal” and embodied question of ancestry.

If it is impossible to be in two places at one time, then land-based models of national affiliation precluded the possibility of dual citizenship. But for Indians who considered cultural ties to be the more reliable indicator of national loyalties, a multi-faceted national identity remained very much a possibility. For the Potowatami subject to the administration of British Canada, the issue of legal consent (that so pre-occupied American theorists) mattered far less than the more fundamental fact that their nationality was something they carried with them in their bodies no matter where they might be forced to migrate.

Marerro’s work reminds us of both the formal success of legal tactics intended to restrict membership in the United States and the informal endurance of alternate ways of defining belonging. Other essays in the volume explore the power of culture to destabilize efforts to restrict people’s connections to the nation. In the volume’s leading essay, “Minstrelization and Nationhood: ‘Backside Albany,’ Backlash, and the Wartime Origins of Blackface Minstrelsy,” David Waldstreicher analyzes the genre of “blackface” minstrel shows to argue that comic ridicule of black sailors implicitly undermined efforts to ignore African American contributors to the early United States. Even as the black sailor was held up as a figure of fun, he was pressed into service as a national spokesman. The very attention audiences bestowed in derision served to spotlight the place of African Americans on the national stage. Such efforts to undermine African Americans only added to public awareness of their presence in the nation and their key contributions to it.

As the United States leaders of 2017 contemplate dividing families and decimating workforces with new rules strictly limiting travel and immigration, they might do well to contemplate the human costs and historical errors inherent in such attempts. If American inhabitants were “warring for America” in the era of 1812, the struggle itself has never truly ceased.

Nicole Eustace is professor of history at New York University and co-editor of Warring for America, which will be published in September 2017. She is also author of Passion Is the Gale: Emotion, Power, and the Coming of the American Revolution (2011). Both books are published by UNC Press for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia.