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Mayor Adams and Gov. Hochul call the migrant influx ‘unprecedented’ – historians disagree

The Gothamist, Ramsey Khalifeh, September 19, 2023

Both Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul have described the influx of migrants and asylum seekers into New York City as unprecedented.

“We are facing an unprecedented state of emergency. The immigration system in this nation is broken. It has been broken for decades. Today, New York City has been left to pick up the pieces,” Adams said last month.

Hochul, also speaking in August, said the “unprecedented migrant crisis” required a “historic humanitarian response.”

But is the more than 100,000 migrants who have entered the city’s care since last year actually unprecedented?

Interviews with scholars and a Gothamist review of immigration data dating from the 19th century to the present shows that the number of migrants entering the city is not unusual.

Ellis Island processed 100,000 immigrants in just a single month in April 1907, when much of the legal framework around modern immigration did not exist.

ust a year before – in April 1906 – nearly 45,000 migrants passed through Ellis Island in one week.

Back then, neighborhoods like the Lower East Side were overburdened by an influx of migrants due to a lack of space, with more than 700 people per acre, according to the Library of Congress. Today, census data shows the neighborhood has about 136 people per acre.

Between 1996 and 2001, an average of 111,828 immigrants settled in New York per year, according to Department of Homeland Security statistics.

In 2011, around 95,000 migrants entered New York City, according to a report by the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

Alan Kraut, a historian with the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, said the political fight surrounding the current influx of migrants is different from generations past. Some of the migrants have arrived at the Port Authority aboard buses from the southern border sent by Republican governors – pawns in a larger debate about immigration policies.

Read More: The Gothamist

‘The tipping point’: First T. rex mass death site in southern US, found in Utah, strengthens evidence of pack behavior

(USA TODAY) K. Sophie Will, April 20, 2021

The Tyrannosaurus rex may not have been as solitary as we believed.

In a groundbreaking discovery of the first T. rex mass death site in the southern U.S., announced Monday by the Utah Bureau of Land Management, scientists found evidence of packlike behavior among the famous ancient predator in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

“The new Utah site adds to the growing body of evidence showing that Tyrannosaurs were complex, large predators capable of social behaviors common in many of their living relatives, the birds,” said Dr. Joe Sertich, curator of dinosaurs at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

“This discovery should be the tipping point for reconsidering how these top carnivores behaved and hunted across the northern hemisphere during the Cretaceous.”

Source: https://news.yahoo.com/tipping-point-first-t-rex-011622056.html

Ancient Humans Slept Around With More Than Just Neanderthals

(MEDIUM) Max NgamlaJanuary 21, 2021

Source: https://medium.com/history-of-yesterday/ancient-humans-slept-around-with-more-than-just-neanderthals-45e7f831b3e2

Daniel Loedel: On Finding My Sister’s Remains – The Atlantic

(THE ATLANTIC) Daniel Loedel, January 16, 2021

The report from the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team included 20 photos of my half sister’s bones—nearly as many photos as I had ever seen of Isabel herself.

The ones of the bones punctured by bullets—her rib, her pelvis, her humerus—did not move me as much as those of her skull. It was so old-looking, like one of those prehistoric craniums of Homo sapiens, the nose bashed in, some of the teeth missing, that earthen coloring. The skull had lain in a common grave, untouched for more than 30 years, before being taken to a lab, where it remained officially unidentified for about another 10. The sight of it destroyed me. In all the photos I had seen, Isabel looked incredibly young, with a cherubic beauty—round cheeks, light hair, searching blue eyes. She had been murdered and disappeared by the military dictatorship in Argentina in January 1978, when she was just 22. Staring at those photos of her skeleton in March 2018, I was eight years older than she ever had been. Never before had I quite grasped how much time she hadn’t gotten to live, to age and grow old, until I saw her bones, and realized they had been aging without the rest of her.

Soirce: https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2021/01/daniel-loedel-finding-my-sisters-remains/617701/

David Dinkins, Understated Pioneer and 106th Mayor, is Dead

(CITY LIMITS) November 27, 2020

David Dinkins, who projected dignity as he smashed racial barriers, steered the city through tumultuous times, lost a bitter reelection campaign and spent nearly 27 years as an elder statesman of city affairs, died Monday at his home at the age of 93.

A Korean war veteran, Dinkins was a lawyer and clubhouse politician who rose steadily through the ranks of the Harlem Democratic establishment to serve in the Assembly, lead the Board of Elections and serve as City Clerk. He nearly became the city’s first deputy mayor during the Beame administration, but was sidelined by a minor scandal. It took him three tries to become Manhattan borough president, finally succeeding in 1985.

When Rev. Jesse Jackson performed remarkably well in the 1988 Democratic president primary in New York City, Dinkins’ advisers saw a path for a Black candidate to win the mayoralty. Dinkins, reluctant at first, agreed to make the race. He bested three-term Mayor Ed Koch in the 1989 Democratic primary and then earned a razor-thin margin against former prosecutor Rudy Giuliani to become the city’s 106th mayor.

Koch had navigated New York out of the fiscal crisis into a period of growth driven by real-estate development and his pugilistic optimism, but by the time of Dinkins’ inauguration, the limits of that approach were becoming clear: Crime was rising and AIDS and homelessness had evolved into crises. Fiscal strains forced Dinkins to make cuts in his first budget, dimming his hopes of creating new social programs.

A few months later, a recession hit; it was short but economic growth was sluggish in its aftermath. Persistent unemployment drove the city’s welfare rolls higher. An attempt to make homeless shelter eligibility rules more humane was followed by a surge of new cases, which led Dinkins to tighten the rules again.

Despite the challenges, Dinkins managed to get New York City divested from the apartheid regime in South Africa, create the city’s first policy to encourage the awarding of city contracts to minority and women-owned enterprises, launch Fashion Week and Restaurant Week, begin revitalizing Times Square, sign the first landmark supportive housing agreement with the state and expand the National Tennis Center in Queens to ensure its continued hosting of the U.S. Open.

Source: https://citylimits.org/2020/11/24/david-dinkins-understated-pioneer-and-106th-mayor-is-dead/?utm_source=City Limits&utm_campaign=87e7b2dbe7-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_10_01_10_40_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_bcc34d62ff-87e7b2dbe7-54591768&mc_cid=87e7b2dbe7&mc_eid=c12ce766ee

Mata Hari in Living Color Is Absolutely Stunning

(MEDIUM) Denise SheltonNovember 15, 2020

Image for post

Source: https://medium.com/history-of-yesterday/mata-hari-in-living-color-is-absolutely-stunning-bf26be855796

March 9, 1945: Burning the Heart Out of the Enemy

(WIRED) November 4, 2018 — 1945: In the single deadliest air raid of World War II, 330 American B-29s rain incendiary bombs on Tokyo, touching off a firestorm that kills upwards of 100,000 people, burns a quarter of the city to the ground, and leaves a million homeless.

The raid also represented a tactical shift, as the Americans switched from high-altitude precision bombing to low-altitude incendiary raids.

Tokyo was the first of five incendiary raids launched in quick succession against the largest Japanese cities. Nagoya, Osaka and Kobe were also targeted — with Nagoya getting hit twice within a week. By the end of the war, more than 60 Japanese cities had been laid waste by firebombing.

The Tokyo raid, codenamed Operation Meetinghouse, began an aerial onslaught so effective that the American air command concluded by July 1945 that no viable targets remained on the Japanese mainland.

Source: https://www.wired.com/2011/03/0309incendiary-bombs-kill-100000-tokyo/

African Free School, First in America for Black Students, Found a Home in Greenwich Village

(GVSHP) Ariel KatesNovember 3, 2018 — The African Free School was founded on November 2, 1787 in Lower Manhattan by the New-York Manumission Society and founding fathers Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. It was the very first school for blacks in America.  Ultimately consisting of seven schools, the system’s third school was located in Greenwich Village, at 120 west 3rd Street, then known as Amity Street. This site is one of over a hundred on our Civil Rights and Social Justice Map.

The schools prepared black children, many of whom were children of slaves, to take their place in the New York public school system.

Founding Father John Jay started the Manumission Society with the express mission to abolish slavery in the state of New York, which was achieved in 1827. Though many members of the Society were slave owners themselves, they understood that beginning the abolition process through the education of children would allow the state to move forward with the mission of abolition, for which so many organizations and individuals were fighting at that time.

The mission of the institution was to empower young black people and educate them for something other than slavery, which was a complicated and bold proposition for the time. In 1785 the Society worked to pass a New York State law prohibiting the sale of slaves imported into the state. This preceded the national law prohibiting slave trade, passed in 1808. The 1783 New York law also lessened restrictions on the manumission of enslaved Africans. In New York, a gradual emancipation law was passed in 1799, which provided that children of enslaved mothers would be born free. However, long periods of indentured servitude were required; 28 years for men and 25 for women. Existing slaves were eventually freed, until the last were freed in 1827.

Philadelphia Threw a WWI Parade That Gave Thousands of Onlookers the Flu

(THE SMITHSONIAN) Kenneth C. Davis, September 22, 2018 — It was a parade like none Philadelphia had ever seen.

In the summer of 1918, as the Great War raged and American doughboys fell on Europe’s killing fields, the City of Brotherly Love organized a grand spectacle. To bolster morale and support the war effort, a procession for the ages brought together marching bands, Boy Scouts, women’s auxiliaries, and uniformed troops to promote Liberty Loans –government bonds issued to pay for the war. The day would be capped off with a concert led by the “March King” himself –John Philip Sousa.

When the Fourth Liberty Loan Drive parade stepped off on September 28, some 200,000 people jammed Broad Street, cheering wildly as the line of marchers stretched for two miles. Floats showcased the latest addition to America’s arsenal – floating biplanes built in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard. Brassy tunes filled the air along a route where spectators were crushed together like sardines in a can. Each time the music stopped, bond salesmen singled out war widows in the crowd, a move designed to evoke sympathy and ensure that Philadelphia met its Liberty Loan quota.

But aggressive Liberty Loan hawkers were far from the greatest threat that day. Lurking among the multitudes was an invisible peril known as influenza—and it loves crowds. Philadelphians were exposed en masse to a lethal contagion widely called “Spanish Flu,” a misnomer created earlier in 1918 when the first published reports of a mysterious epidemic emerged from a wire service in Madrid.

For Philadelphia, the fallout was swift and deadly. Two days after the parade, the city’s public health director Wilmer Krusen, issued a grim pronouncement: “The epidemic is now present in the civilian population and is assuming the type found in naval stations and cantonments [army camps].”

Within 72 hours of the parade, every bed in Philadelphia’s 31 hospitals was filled. In the week ending October 5, some 2,600 people in Philadelphia had died from the flu or its complications. A week later, that number rose to more than 4,500. With many of the city’s health professionals pressed into military service, Philadelphia was unprepared for this deluge of death.

SOURCE: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/philadelphia-threw-wwi-parade-gave-thousands-onlookers-flu-180970372/?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=socialmedia

The Ongoing Kaepernick Controversy Shows Much of White America Is Still in ‘Slave Patrol’ Mode

(COMMON DREAMS) Thom Hartmann, September 14, 2018 — Just ask any of the people at Nike who answer the phones and are dealing with an avalanche of angry white callers throwing the N-word around and complaining about Nike treating Kaepernick with respect.  Trump, Pence, and billionaire Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News are ginning up even more racist hysteria on a near-daily basis.

But this doesn’t come out of thin air.  There’s a long history of whites trashing blacks when they protest the systems whites have put in place to keep them down.

Policing people of color, which our history teaches was a “government function” handled by the southern states back in the day, was actually a largely civilian effort, although it depended on the support and constant encouragement of political leaders within government.

Policing people of color, which our history teaches was a “government function” handled by the southern states back in the day, was actually a largely civilian effort, although it depended on the support and constant encouragement of political leaders within government.

So, too, today’s largely civilian, male, and white “slave patrols” are on the lookout for anybody who may support Colin Kaepernick in his protests of police killings of unarmed black people. And those civilians, being called to arms by Trump and Pence with lies that Kaepernick doesn’t “respect” the flag or the national anthem, are flooding into the public square, from Twitter to retail stores.

At the core of modern American policing (particularly in the South), and at the creation of the Second Amendment, we find the slave patrols that were the first militia of the southern states.  They’re also essential to the modern neo-confederate and white supremacist efforts to demonize black people whenever they stand up for their rights.

In Georgia, for example, a generation before the American Revolution, the colonial government passed laws in 1755 and 1757 that required all white men 17-47 years old to be members of the Georgia Militia, and for those armed Militia members to make monthly inspections of the quarters of every slave in the state.  The law defined which counties had which armed militias, and explicitly required armed militia members to keep a keen eye out for slaves who may be planning uprisings.

As Dr. Carl T. Bogus wrote for the University of California Law Review in 1998, “The Georgia statutes required patrols, under the direction of commissioned militia officers, to examine every plantation each month and authorized them to search ‘all Negro Houses for offensive Weapons and Ammunition’ and to apprehend and give twenty lashes to any slave found outside plantation grounds.”

It’s the answer to the question raised by the character played by Leonardo DiCaprio in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained when he asks, “Why don’t they just rise up and kill the whites?”  If the movie were real, it would have been a purely rhetorical question, because every southerner of the era knew the simple answer: well regulated militias kept the slaves in chains.

Sally E. Hadden, in her book Slave Patrols: Law and Violence in Virginia and the Carolinas notes that, “Although eligibility for the Militia seemed all-encompassing, not every middle-aged white male Virginian or Carolinian became a slave patroller.” There were exemptions so “men in critical professions” like judges, legislators, and wealthy white students could stay at their work.  Generally, though, she documents how most southern men – including physicians and ministers – had to serve on slave patrol in the militia at one time or another in their lives.

And slave rebellions were keeping the slave patrols busy.

By the time the Constitution was ratified, hundreds of substantial slave uprisings had occurred across the South.  Blacks outnumbered Whites in large areas, and the state militias were used to both prevent and to put down slave uprisings.  As Dr. Bogus points out, slavery can only exist in the context of a police state, and the enforcement of that police state was the explicit job of the gun toting mostly civilian militias.

As I’ve written before, the Second Amendment was written the way it was – mentioning “state” instead of, as in its original version, “country” – to allow the southern states to keep their militias intact, and those militias were overwhelmingly slave patrols.

As a result, for the two-plus centuries since then, American police – and, in the 19th century, American slave patrollers – have largely had carte blanche to execute black men who they think are “out of line.”

via The Ongoing Kaepernick Controversy Shows Much of White America Is Still in ‘Slave Patrol’ Mode.