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Topic Ideas

The first topic I am interested in possibly focusing on is the influence of American rock music on China and how it has shaped Chinese culture today.  Since the 1980s with famous Chinese rock musicians such as Cui Jian, this industry has become widely popular in China.The first topic I am interested in possibly focusing on is the influence of American rock music on China and how it has shaped Chinese culture today. Since the 1980s with famous Chinese rock musicians such as Cui Jian, this industry has become widely popular in China.

My other topic option is possibly concentrating on propaganda films during the People’s Republic of China time period.  For my senior thesis last fall, I focused on Soviet Union propaganda during World War II and it was really interesting to research.  I think it would be appealing to see how the Chinese used propaganda to promote ideas and political views towards the Chinese society.  So far there are three possible films I could focus on, which show Chinese propaganda; they are Red Detachment of Women, Two Stage Sisters, and Grenade War. For this topic if I don’t find that much research on propaganda films, I could focus more broadly and research on all Chinese propaganda, which would include films, radio, newspapers, posters, and songs.

China Candid Blog

The narrative I chose to blog about in China Candid, was in chapter one “Chairman Mao’s Ark” on “A hero for the Times.”  This narrative was about how a man became a successful millionaire in China.  He tells his story of how he rises to fortune, and that becoming a millionaire was easy to do.  The quote I liked from the man was in the very beginning, “There’s money to be made everywhere you look; as long as you’ve got the right instincts you can make a pile out of whatever you set your mind to.”  I find this interesting because to me making your first million seems hard to do, or at least in America it seems that way.  He originally started out by trading clothing in China to make money.  He then went into trading “handicrafts,” which became more profitable than selling clothing.  This man defiantly knew how to speak to people in order to achieve success. My question after reading this narrative is how he could have persuaded so many people to purchase his handicraft things? The man discussed how he made up a story about the objects and then people actually bought the story.  This doesn’t seem like the real way to make millions.

Self Intro Blog

My name is Ashley Scutari and I am a senior at Mary Washington. I will graduate in May with a History Degree from UMW.  One of the areas in History that I am most interested in is World War II.  I am particular interested in the military tactics of the war from both the Allied and Axis sides.  Last semester I took a Nazi Germany class with Professor Blakemore and loved it.  Even though, World War II occurred almost seventy years ago I am still learning lots of neat information from that time period.  I think one of the broader issues I studied, was on the Nazi Germany regime and how Hitler rised to power. I am very interested though in learning about late 20th century China.  This is an area in history that I am not familiar with, but excited to learn more about.

Museum Post Four-Dred Scott

Dred Scott, 1887

Dred Scott, 1887

The image displayed is a portrait of Dred Scott by artist Louis Schultze in 1887. The picture gives the viewer the visible belief of what Dred Scott looked like during the 19th Century. The painting of Scott was created post-slavery; the white buttoned down shirt, bow tie, and blazer indicated Scott had some money to show his social class as a free African American. This type of formal posture was a very common way to pose for a portrait. The painting was originally taken from a photograph; the photographer is unknown. The painting is oil on canvas and is a 25 by 30 inch portrait. The painting was given to the Missouri Historical Society after Scott’s death to commemorate his fight for freedom.

In 1857, Dred Scott, a slave unsuccessfully tried to sue the United States for his freedom in the Dred Scott vs. Sandford case. Scott and his wife Harriet were slaves, but had lived in states where slavery was illegal such as in the Wisconsin area. The Supreme Court decision declared that neither he, nor any person of African ancestry, could claim citizenship in the United States. Since Scott was a slave, he was not considered a citizen of the U.S. and therefore could not sue the court.

Louis Schultze was born in Germany around 1820 and immigrated to the United States during the mid 19th century; he resided in St. Louis, Missouri. Schultze was known for painting portraits of historical, religious, and genre scenes. Besides being known for his painting of Dred Scott, he also painted “And the Colored Troops Fought Nobly,” which was shown at the National Academy of Design in 1867. Schultze wanted to paint a portrait of Dred Scott because he was very interested in the “colored people.” He was very curious about Scott because he was one of the first African Americans to fight for his freedom in court. The photograph Schultze used of Dred Scott is the only real picture of Scott from the 19th Century.

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Racist Cartoon

Racist Picture, 1899

Racist Picture, 1899

The image displayed was created by the United States Printing Company in 1899. The picture portrays a stereotypical view of an African American. The African American’s physical characteristics are modeled after an ape, with dark furry skin and excessively large lips. His facial features show confusion on how to play the trombone while the white man is trying to correct the African American. The African American is also being portrayed as a careless and clumsy person because he is stepping on the violin. The white man also seems to be trying to calm down the African American and keep him under control. The painting also gives the interpretation that African Americans do not know how to dress; the white man is in a nice tuxedo while the African American is in scruffy non-matching clothes. All of these are stereotypes society tried to apply to African Americans in an attempt to prevent them from becoming socially acceptable in our culture.

After the Civil War, many cartoon pictures were created such as the one displayed to ridicule the freed African Americans. Society still did not except African Americans despite the abolishment of slavery. These humiliating images were displayed in widespread newspapers, magazines, and posters.

The Sons of the South currently houses the racist image. The company’s website provides historic resources about slavery before and after the Civil War. The image is under the section called “African American Art” on the web page. The painting is oil on canvas.

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Native Americans Recruited in Civil War

Swearing in Native American Recruits Civil War

Swearing in Native American Recruits Civil War, 1861

The black and white image displayed is a photograph that was taken in 1861 during the Civil War. The photograph is titled “Swearing in Native American Civil War Recruits.” The photo was most likely taken in Wisconsin based upon information about two of the four men in the picture, but the photographer is unknown. The image marked a historical moment in history; Native Americans were going to war side by side with white and African American men, and appeared to be going to fight for their country. In reality, however, the Native Americans signed up for the war in an effort to preserve their freedom, maintain their unique cultures, and protect their ancestral lands. It is estimated that around 28,693 Native Americans served in the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War.

In the photograph, the white man on the left wearing the cap was Thomas Bigford. Bigford was a farmer from Taycheedah, Wisconsin who served as a local recruiting officer during the war. The other recruiter sitting down was Adam Scherf from Stockbridge, Wisconsin. Scherf was known to have served in the same regiment with Bigford’s son, Royal. The two Native Americans in the picture stick out because of their appearance. The Native Americans’ hair is cut short and one of them has facial hair; their style is similar to the way a typical white man would look during the late 1800’s. Normally, Native Americans had long straight hair usually worn in braids and had no facial hair. In the photo, they are wearing long pants and a jacket. The jacket looks very worn, which could represent the social class the Native Americans were perceived to be in. Native American attire was typically made out of animal hide or wool. Some examples of common Native American clothing are featherhead dresses, beaded jackets and shirts, woolen sweaters, and jingle dresses. The Native Americans in the photo are from the Menominee Tribe in Wisconsin.

The “Swearing in Native American Civil War Recruits” photograph is now displayed in the Wisconsin Historical Society. The image is in Album 13 (The Civil War-Portraits, Military Camps, and Military Training). The photograph is the only Native American picture the historical society has of Indians from the Civil War. The Wisconsin Historical Society has a large number of Native American photographs from the Wisconsin Region in other years.

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The Fisk Jubilee Singers

The First Fisk Jubilee Singers

The First Fisk Jubilee Singers, 1871

The image displayed is from a nineteenth century group of students called, “The Fisk Jubilee Singers.” The Fisk Jubilee Singers was an all African American group organized in 1871. The singers were from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. The university was established in 1866 and was one of the first institutions that provided a liberal arts education to men and women of different color.

George L. White, treasurer and music professor at Fisk University, created the nine member ensemble and toured around America to help raise money for the school. The music group first performed in small towns until their popularity grew, which then allowed them to perform in bigger cities such as Columbus, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois. While on the tour, White, in a gesture of encouragement, named the group “The Jubilee Singers” after the year of Jubilee from the Biblical source, the Book of Leviticus.

White encouraged the ensemble to sing hymns of their ancestors. The Fisk Jubilee Singers focused on “spirituals,” which were songs that expressed faith in God. Spirituals originated from slaves in America; the songs helped the African Americans keep their belief in God, helped survive the work day, and even decoded secret plans of slave revolts against their owners. The genre is similar to blues and gospel music. Many of the spiritual songs were influenced by white Christian communities during the nineteenth century. One of the famous songs The Fisk Jubilee Singers were known for performing was “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” The song’s message is about how the slaves at the time were asking the Lord to come save them from this terrible place and free their souls. The songs are sung without the accompaniment of instruments.

The Fisk Jubilee Singers were one of the groups that opened the doors for other African American musicians during the 1800’s. An example is from 1876, when two women organized the first African American musical-comedy group called “The Hyers Sisters Comic Opera Company.”

The Fisk Jubilee Singers’ music became very well known in America. In 1872, the group was invited to perform for President Grant at the White House, and by 1876 the singers toured in Europe for Kings and Queens. The money raised from their European tour allowed the group to construct the first permanent building on campus called Jubilee Hall. Jubilee Hall still stands and is considered a historic landmark by the U.S. Department of Interior. Today the new generations of the Fisk Jubilee Singers still keep the traditions going strong and even sing the same hymns that their ancestors once sung.

In the photograph from left to right are the members: Jennie Jackson, M. Porter, E.W. Watkins, Marbel Lewis, Ella Sheppard, Maggie Carnes, H.D. Alexander, F.J. Loudin, and America W. Robinson. All the members in the photo shown were children of slave parents. The photographer who took the picture of the Fisk Jubilee group is unknown. The photo was taken during the peak of the Fisk Jubilee’s popularity. The style of clothing in the image shows that they had some money to purchase nice outfits for performances. The men are wearing nice black and white suites while the women are wearing long formal matching dresses. The clothing could display the style of upper-middle class during the nineteenth century.

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All the President’s Men

I think this movie among the other movies we have seen is a historically accurate film. As Professor McClurken stated in class today, the director tried to get every detail right from filming the burglary in the Watergate building, to buying the same desks and using the same paint colors as in the Washington Post newsroom, and even getting trash from the actually Post newsroom to fill the garbage cans on the set. This could be seen as the director, Alan J. Pakula having some OCD when making the film. Also the film uses the real tape recordings during certain scenes and other real footage throughout the movie. The movie as a primary source was made in 1976 and was based on the 1974 book, All the President’s Men by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. The actual break in of the Watergate Scandal was on June 17, 1972; so the movie was made during the same time period as the scandal and the book. The book can be also been seen as the secondary source for the film. In class McClurken stated that the book was written in third person by Woodward and Bernstein. It was amazing how these reporters were able to get the information they needed in order to publicize the Watergate Scandal, which eventually led to Nixon being involved in it. The film was very believable, which could help knowledge the viewers who did not know much about the scandal or even about the reporters Woodward and Berstein.

Reefer Madness

I thought this movie was great! It had a totally different style than the past movies we have seen. It is hard for our generation to take this movie seriously because we have all learned about marijuana and the effects it has on you; these effects are completely different compared to the effects they showed in the film. The film’s perspective of what marijuana does to teenagers is laugh uncontrollably, dance wildly, and indulge in promiscuous sexual behavior. Parents during the time the film was made were very concerned about this dangerous drug their children were trying. The movie is similar to other movies in relating to characters. You have the bad guys, which is the couple who lures teenagers to their apartment to smoke marijuana who then become addicted. Then you have the good guys, which is the brother and sister who are the teenagers that are lured into trying this evil drug. I thought what was interesting was how Reefer Madness was made in 1938. I didn’t realize that marijuana was a problem that society was concerned about then, which prompted them to make the film. I have heard of public announcements produced in the 1950’s to have parents talk to their children about the dangers of marijuana, but not in the late 1930’s. Also, it is interesting how “Reefer Madness” was re-released in the 1970’s when weed smoking was still a popular drug choice. I think society has done better in explaining the dangers of marijuana or any drug with the program D.A.R.E. This seems to get across to children better, because the D.A.R.E program is taught at an early age. I learned about the program when I was ten years old. Health classes in middle schools and high schools also reiterate the dangers of drug usage.

Historical Film Glory

This was the first time I saw “Glory” and I really enjoyed the film. I felt that the film accurately portrayed the 54th Regiment and its fight for freedom and glory. The fight at Fort Wagner showed the greater effect of black soldiers participating in combat. Black soldiers fought less than whites, which was shown in the film; black troops did mostly manual labor work for the Union Army. The film was also accurate in showing how hard it was to receive shoes, uniforms, and equipment for the black soldiers. Though, many black regiments did not see combat. In the film the 54th proved in one battle that they could fight, which allowed them to be the first line into combat in the Battle of Fort Wagner, but this was usually not how it worked. The film did not give an overview of how these black men became a part of the Union Army. It would have been interesting if they gave some information on how the main black characters joined the army. In the end, watching the film makes me wish that both sides of the armies could have put their racial issues aside earlier and really taken advantage of using the black men to help them. The more men the better chance of a side winning battles.