Monthly Archives: June 2016

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Episode 013 Why We Pledge Allegiance, Betsy Ross, & More

This week, in honor of the 100th anniversary of Flag Day, we take a look at several intriguing flag-related stories. Here’s the lineup:

  1. Why Do We Pledge Allegiance? Here’s the little-known stosubscribe-buttonry behind this revered American ritual and the fears that inspired it. Did you know the Pledge was written by a socialist? Or that it’s wording has been changed twice? Or that the original salute was dropped during World War II because it too closely resembled the fascist salute of Nazi Germany?
  2. Next, I interview Kimberly Staub, the Manager of Collections and Exhibitions at the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia. She’ll tell us how Betsy Ross was “discovered” as the woman who made the first American flag in the 1890s – more than a century after the flag was created. And she’ll explain to us how the museum has changed it’s focus over the past decade to tell a larger story of colonial women in the late-18th century.
  3. Finally, I drop some fun and interesting flag-related facts on you. Do the flag’s colors red, white, and blue officially symbolize anything like courage or sacrifice? Listen and learn, people.
The original flag salute as described by Francis Bellamy. Because it bore an unwanted resemblance to salutes used in fascist Italy and Germany, it was replaced with the hand over the heart.

The original flag salute as described by Francis Bellamy. Because it bore an unwanted resemblance to salutes used in fascist Italy and Germany, it was replaced with the hand over the heart.

Episode 013 notes and credits

Recommended Reading

Charles Weisgerber's 1893 painting of Betsy Ross presenting the American flag to George Washington and Robert Morris. This painting played a major role in popularizing the Betsy Ross story/myth.

Charles Weisgerber’s 1893 painting of Betsy Ross presenting the American flag to George Washington and Robert Morris. This painting played a major role in popularizing the Betsy Ross story/myth.

Jeff Gammage, “Flag Day loses importance but lives on in Philadelphia,” Philadelphia Enquirer, June 14, 2008.

Jeffrey Owen Jones, “Meet the Man Who Wrote the Pledge of Allegiance,” Smithsonian Magazine (November 2003)

Marc Leepson, “Five myths about the American flag,” Washington Post, June 12, 2011

Kelli Marshall, “The Strange History Behind The Pledge Of Allegiance,” Talking Points Memo (September 15, 2015)

Marla Miller's biography of Betsy Ross inspired the Betsy Ross House to rethink the way it presented the BR story.

Marla Miller’s biography of Betsy Ross inspired the Betsy Ross House to rethink the way it presented the BR story.

Marla R. Miller, Betsy Ross and the Making of America
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, “How Betsy Ross Became Famous: Oral Tradition, Nationalism, and the Invention of History,” Common-Place (October 2007).

Music for This Episode:

Jay Graham, ITPL Intro (courtesy, JayGMusic.com)

Kevin McCleod, “Impact Moderato” (Free Music Archive)

Jason Shaw, “Acoustic Meditation” (Free Music Archive)

The Bell, “I Am History” (Free Music Archive)

The Bell, “On The Street” (Free Music Archive)

 

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Episode 012 The History of Gay Liberation in US History

June is Pride Month in the US, so in this episode we examine the history of the gay rights struggle.
subscribe-buttonHere’s the lineup:
1) a short piece on the notion of “hidden history.”
2) an interview with Andrew Berman, Executive Director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation, an organization that has played a key role in getting historical landmark status for the famous Stonewall Inn.
3) an interview with historian Jim Downs about his extraordinary new book, Stand By Me: The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation (Basic Books, 2016).

Episode 012 notes and credits

Further reading about the history of the Gay Rights Movement in US History

Jim Downs Stand by Me bookcoverMichael Bronski, A Queer History of the United States

David Carter, Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution

Jim Downs, Stand By Me: The Forgotten History of Gay Liberation (Basic Books, 2016).

Music for This Episode:

Jay Graham, ITPL Intro (courtesy, JayGMusic.com)

Kevin McCleod, “Impact Moderato” (Free Music Archive)

Lee Rosevere, “Going Home” (Free Music Archive)

Andy Cohen, “Trophy Endorphins” (Free Music Archive)

The Bell, “I Am History” (Free Music Archive)

The Bell, “On The Street” (Free Music Archive)

Jon Luc Hefferman, “Winter Trek” (Free Music Archive)