Category Archives: June
In their own respective tribal nations, Native Americans were groups of people who migrated to our continent thousands of years ago. By the time Europeans arrived, the land between the Pacific and Atlantic was home to millions of American Indians. With the establishment of the United States and its expansion west, Native Americans were often forced off their homelands and denied US citizenship. A few Indians gained citizenship by having European heritage, marrying a white American, or serving in the US military. After the Civil War, some Americans sought to open citizenship to friendly tribes, but the notion was frequently rebuffed by the states. President Calvin Coolidge, however, was a strong supporter of Native Americans, and was personally offended by the persecution and dislocation many tribes had endured. In 1923, he met with a Committee of 100 on Indian Affairs, and a year later at the White House, signed the Indian Citizenship Act, automatically granting all Native Americans born within the US American citizenship. He posed that day with four Osage leaders – three in traditional tribal dress. Coolidge retained his fond relationship with Native Americans afterward. In 1927, he received honorary membership to the Sioux tribe from Chief Henry Standing Bear.
What do you think citizenship means, and why did Native Americans deserve citizenship?
Born Freda Josephine McDonald, Josephine Baker began her career in her hometown of St. Louis with a small dance troupe. Following her passion, she fled to New York to perform at the world-famous Cotton Club, and in 1925, on to Paris, where she shined in the Folies Bergère. Wearing a skirt made of bananas, the African American Baker may have embraced a stereotype, but she made a lasting impression on audiences and became an icon of Gay Paris in the Roaring Twenties. So popular was she in France that she adopted citizenship in 1937, enjoying an atmosphere that was more tolerant than the racially divided United States. In the 1950s, she took up the cause of Civil Rights, and in 1963, spoke to the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial following the March on Washington. In her later life, she continued to dance. She died of a brain hemorrhage in 1975 in Paris.
Why do you think Josephine preferred to live in France, and why was she brave to return to the US to fight for Civil Rights?
Josephine Baker licensed by CMG Worldwide, Indianapolis, IN.