I'm just saying, that's all. Thanks to Washingtonrox for the pointer.
While surfing the internet looking for stories about either the "runaway scrape" or "Rita forces Texas massive evacuation," I came across this little gem connecting my mother's people to the story at hand.
"Slept in the woods last night on my blankets. Our boat being finished, they put us across this morning, about 10 o'clock, swimming our horses, and we commenced our journey through the swamp, our guide, Green, leading the way. We had to swim a number of little bayous, running out from the Naches, which is now so full as to overflow its banks, and run out towards Sabine Bay. This is the first instance of this kind of overflow I have seen in Texas. Arrived at Ashworth's ferry, we expected to find a boat, but there was none. The family had left the place. Here we started three runaway Negroes, who fled and plunged through a bayou at our approach. One of them had a gun, which he discharged in the woods, in our hearing, probably because he had got it wet.
"We went on, and at a wide and deep bayou Green and Catlett swam over with their horses, expecting to find a boat at a landing above, in which our baggage could be ferried. But here again we were disappointed; the boat was gone. Both parties now set to building rafts. We failed for want of tools and loose timber. Green succeeded in making one on which he returned to us, but it was too frail. We now determined to go back to Ashworth's, and take the rails and planks there and build a raft. In this we ultimately succeeded, having to tote the timber two or three hundred yards, to a place where it would float. When it was completed it would carry only two men and a small portion of the baggage, so we had to make four trips, and paddle with sorry paddles against a strong current to a landing from which we could get out of the swamp. [Editors Note: "determined to go back to Ashworth's, and take the rails and planks there and build a raft." That's plundering and looting.]
"While engaged in building our raft, a large alligator, some twelve or fifteen feet long, was discovered cautiously approaching us. One of the party fired a rifle at him. It struck but did not hurt him. He slowly moved off, and remained in sight, as if watching our proceedings, for some time. As our provisions were short, Fleury took his rifle and shot a fine calf which was with a herd of cattle, at the ferry. I took it on my horse and carried it to our raft. [Editors note: The calf was most certainly not theirs to kill and butcher. In New Orleans that was called looting. Since by their own admission, the calf was part of a small herd of cattle that had gathered at the ferry landing, the one belonging to the Ashworths, it presumably belonged to those same Ashworths, my relatives. That makes it personal. When desperate people steal from you or yours, it's personal. If you don't know them or if they belong to a different race, then it's looting and plundering.]
"All these operations took us until 8 o'clock at night, when our last raft load reached the landing. We had our veal cleaned and some of it cooked, which we ate with good appetite, without bread, salt or pepper. We also had coffee, but no sugar nor milk. Having finished our supper and spread our clothes to dry as well as we could, we lay down on wet ground and amidst briars, and I slept well. My coat and pants were nigh getting burnt up in the night by the fire spreading through the grass, which became dry from the heat."
From the Diary of William Fairfax Gray, participating in the Runaway Scrape. Editors note: Why Mr. Gray was busy stealing from my family, the Ashworths, rather than heading towards General Houston's forces to help the Texans at a time surely every gun counted, is beyond me.
This is an aside, but it is one of the reasons I hate Texas.
13. [p.160] William Ashworth, a free black man of a large family of Ashworths from Louisiana, operated a ferry across Lake Sabine and up the Neches River toward Beaumont. One scholar concluded that the "runaway" blacks seen by Gray were actually part of the Ashworth family. However, during the most tumultuous days of the Texas Revolution, the incidence of slave runaways increased substantially, and group ventures became common. After the San Jacinto battle, many gained refuge with the retreating Mexican army and fled to Mexico, in spite of treaty provisions for their return. Andrew Forest Muir, "The Free Negro in Jefferson and Orange Counties, Texas," pp. 185-86; Lack, Texas Revolutionary Experience, pp. 244-46.
Mr. Gray unequivocally said that he and his party saw three "Negroes." The Ashworths were considered Black by their fellow Texans, but looked Indian. So much so, that when Sam Ashworth was charged and found guilty for "talking sass to a White person" in 1856, the prosecution had to bring in witnesses to testify that they knew the Ashworths had Black blood despite their lack of physical characteristics. The "one scholar" referenced in the footnote based all of his conclusions about the Ashworth family based on the trail of lawsuits brought by my family challenging the determination of Texans that we were indeed, Black. In Louisiana we were "Free Persons of Color [but not Black]." Louisiana had a much more subtle way of looking at race. In Texas, there was only White and Black. Oh yeah, Mexicans and Indians, but neither of those group had any value to White Texans.
When the Texas Revolution began, Ashworth men volunteered with their neighbors to go fight the Mexicans, but were told they weren't needed or welcome because they were Black. One of my relatives was determined to serve so he hired someone to go in his stead. We supplied the Texans with supplies and when we claimed our land bounties later with all the rest of the Texans, we were told our claims were not valid because we were Black. In 1839, the Texas Legislature passed a law saying free people of color had two years to leave the Republic or be sold back into slavery. Our neighbors in Jefferson County were so outraged that they passed a petition signed by almost all of the prominent men of the area, demanding that an exception be made for the Ashworth family. In December of that same year, the Legislature passed the Ashworth Act, specifically naming and excluding my family from the earlier-passed law.
Here we are 169 years later and Texans are still calling us Black. I have written to almost every historical body in Texas asking them to reconsider their conclusions about our being Black, and write a more accurate story about our being American mestizos--White-identified, mixed-blood people. So far they prefer to keep us Black.
Blacks also like keeping us Black. They like to brag about the richest, most successful family in Texas prior to the Texas Revolution was Black. When we argue with them, they simply accuse us of being in denial. While there's no shame in being Black, there's no great honor in it either. We are who we are and we have our own story.
Texans and Southerners, like all Americans I think, teach the myth of their history rather than history itself. Maybe all history is myth. It only becomes annoying when your story gets told wrong or ignored. Blacks have their story. They call it the Black Experience. I can appreciate that. By the laws of the Republic of Texas up until 1845, codified into law as a new state in the United States of America, I could go around calling myself Black today. After all, I am 3 percent Black determined by my DNA. How preposterous would that be? Three percent is roughly equivalent to having one great-great-great-grandparent of sub-Saharan African origin. (That's how the DNA people express it.) Since my source of color is presumed to be Minnie Ashworth, she would probably be about half native-American and about one-eighth Black. That's equivalent to one great-grandparent. Seems to be one would presume her to be native-American, not Black.
They did in Louisiana. In historical Texas and modern-day Texas, we are still seen as Black.
Yeah, I know. You've heard this story before--especially if you know me personally or have been a regular reader of my blog over the past three years, but each time I tell it, I tell it better. Each time I tell it, I increase the odds of Steven Spielberg hearing about it and making it a great movie. Each time I tell it, I increase the odds of a serious historical writer getting interested in the story and accepting the challenge to tell it better. While it's not the only story in my repertoire, it's an important story about the my people and their experiences. So, I guess I'll just keep on telling it until everyone, even the ignorant ones in Texas, know it. I've got nothing better to do for the moment.
Last week about 90 percent of all Texans living on the Gulf coast fled Hurricane Rita in panic and pandemonium that can only be described as the second Great Runaway Scrape. After Hurricane Katrina's devastation of the Mississippi coast and the subsequent flooding of New Orleans, Texans needed little convincing to evacuate. They fled. Their fleeing clogged the highways as far as 300 miles from the coast.
First a little Texas history. The first Runaway Scrap occured in March of 1836. Mexican forces under Santa Ana had defeated the Texans at the Alamo and Goliad, massacring the Texas defenders who had surrendered. This news caused widespread panic throughout Texas, triggering massive flight of Texans towards Louisiana. They left so quickly that food was left cooking on stovetops. Cows were left unmilked. Many buried some of their more prized possessions, but most just left them and fled.
This fleeing mob crossed Texas littering the landscape with abandoned possessions and their dead. Most of them cursed Sam Houston, the general of Texas's tiny "army" of untrained and ill-equipped troops. Outnumbered by 20 to 1, Houston was in retreat towards Louisiana himself. Some historians figure Houston was hoping to tempt Santa Ana into chasing his army into Louisiana where the U.S. army was on alert and waiting for the opportunity to step in and help the Texans. Many Texans considered him a coward because we all know that a single Texan can single-handedly whup 20 Mexicans. Here's how Archie P. McDonald described the Runaway Scrape.
. . . As more and more crowded roads, panic increased. Food, ready to eat, was left on tables. Keepsakes hastily packed in saddlebags, valises, or wagons were cached or simply abandoned along the way when panic forced a quicker pace. Spring rains enlarged streams, which created bottlenecks at crossings. The Runaway Scrape was an unpleasant experience.
Some traveled all the way to Louisiana, considered beyond the reach of the Mexican Army, especially after President Andrew Jackson stationed US militia commanded by Edmund Gaines there. Some stopped in Nacogdoches or east of Harrisburg to await developments. Word of Houston's victory at San Jacinto brought relief and the opportunity to return to homes sometimes more likely to have been burgled by other, less scrupulous Texans than sacked by Mexican soldiers. No wonder Texans do not like to remember the Runaway Scrape. It does not fit their self-image. [Emphasis mine.]
These are not proud moments in Texas history. They conflict with Texans's self-image. They don't like the image of themselves fleeing a bunch of Mexicans. Texas schools do not teach much about the Runaway Scrape, and when they do teach about it, they don't dwell on it. I'm sure the fact that Rita is kinda sorta a Mexican name leaves them with the same discomfort
Last week I heard Texas Governor Rick Perry bragging about how successful the evacuation had gone. Really? Over 100 Texans died in the panic-driven stampede. Many were stranded as stations ran out of gas. Busloads of evacuating poor were met at town limits by sherriffs and police with guns drawn and were forbidden to stop, eat, use the bathroom or even stop and sleep. This is what Gov. Perry considers a successful evacuation? Probably, since most of those who died were the elderly, poor, Mexican, or Black.
As I said in my earlier post, the prevailing attitude of a majority of Texans is that anyone who needs help doesn't deserve it, and anyone who deserves it doesn't need it. That has not stopped the state of Texas from whining louder than anyone evacuated from New Orleans. They even want to be reimbursed by the federal government for the tolls lost when their private highway system became evacuation routes. That is pathetic. What a bunch of losers.
I have a natural disinclination to like the Red Cross. My dearest friend, Lisa just finished giving two weeks as an American Red Cross (ARC)volunteer. She considers it to be a life-altering experience to which she credits the ARC.
My first experience with the ARC comes after Hurricane Audrey from back in 1957. She was a spontaneous hurricane in June in the Gulf of Mexico. She formed over night and came in the next evening. Over 500 people died. My relatives who were affected spoke very highly of the Salvation Army and universally cursed the ARC.
Shortly after 9/11, it became known that the ARC did not consider the donations to it for those affected by the horror of the World Trade Center to be dedicated to that end. This week, a widely reported story came out of the Los Angeles Times.
WITH HURRICANE RITA now making news, it's time for Americans to take a more disciplined look at their tremendous generosity. As of last week, the American Red Cross reported that it had raised $826 million in private funds for Hurricane Katrina victims. The Chronicle of Philanthropy has the total figure at more than $1.2 billion for all relief groups reporting. So the Red Cross received about 70% of all giving.
This skewed giving to Red Cross would be justified if the organization had to pay the cost of the 300,000 people it has sheltered. But FEMA and the affected states are reimbursing the Red Cross under preexisting contracts for emergency shelter and other disaster services. The existence of these contracts is no secret to anyone but the American public. The Red Cross carefully says it functions only by the grace of the American people — but "people" includes government, national and local. What we've now come to expect from a major disaster is a Red Cross media blitz.
The national Red Cross reports it spent $111 million last year on fundraising alone. And it's hard to escape the organization's warning of Armageddon if you don't call in a credit card number or send a check or donate blood (which it resells to the tune of more than $1.5 billion annually, part of its $3 billion in income).
In Southern California, we have had the spectacle of "drive-by" drop-offs of bags of money at public places such as the Rose Bowl, massively promoted by local media. Hollywood studios and stars and corporate America compete to make huge donations.
The Red Cross brand is platinum. Its fundraising vastly outruns its programs because it does very little or nothing to rescue survivors, provide direct medical care or rebuild houses. After 9/11, the Red Cross collected more than $1 billion, a record in philanthropic fundraising after a disaster. But the Red Cross could do little more than trace missing people, help a handful of people in shelters and provide food to firefighters, police, paramedics and evacuation crews during that catastrophe.
When New York Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer asked for documentation of 9/11 expenditures, the Red Cross' response was that it is federally chartered and not answerable to state government regulators. The clamor rose, however, when the media began dissecting Red Cross activities in the 9/11 aftermath. This resulted in the resignation of the organization's president and chief executive, Dr. Bernadine Healy, and the appointment of ex-Sen. George Mitchell (D-Maine) to oversee its 9/11 fund and help clean up its image. Funds were then pushed out the door — including millions to New York limo drivers who said they lost income after 9/11, and to upscale residents of lower Manhattan to help pay their utility bills.
The organization also ran into trouble after the 1989 San Francisco Bay Area earthquake when it was revealed that it planned to spend only a fraction of the millions of dollars it had collected in the area damaged by the earthquake. When the Bay Area's mayors found out, they insisted that these funds be spent on housing, homeless shelters and health clinics. The Red Cross had to waive, for one time only, its long-standing policy against funding non-Red Cross groups. (Spare change — and there will be a lot of it this time — stays in a Red Cross "national disaster account." This allows it to spend funds donated for one purpose on another.)
The Red Cross expects to raise more than $2 billion before Hurricane Katrina-related giving subsides. If it takes care of 300,000 people, that's $7,000 per victim. I doubt each victim under Red Cross care will see more than a doughnut, an interview with a social worker and a short-term voucher for a cheap motel, with a few miscellaneous items such as clothes and cooking pots thrown in.
The Red Cross' 3 million unpaid volunteers, 156,000 of whom it says are deployed in Hurricane Katrina, are salt-of-the-Earth Americans. But asking where all the privately collected money will go and how much Red Cross is billing FEMA and the affected states is a legitimate question — even if posed by the president of a small relief agency.
So I'm asking outloud. Is the price we pay for this "mercy" worth the price we pay for it? Are we well served for the billions it costs us?
They spend $100 million a year on fund raising. Wow!! Who would have thought? The general point of this post is to ask the question outloud. Are any of you better read than am I about this subject, and di you form any conclusions based on your research?
Inquiring minds want to know.
A Texas grand jury today charged Rep. Tom DeLay and two political associates with conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, forcing the House majority leader to temporarily relinquish his post.
DeLay attorney Steve Brittain said DeLay was accused of a criminal conspiracy along with two associates, John Colyandro, former executive director of a Texas political action committee formed by DeLay, and Jim Ellis, who heads DeLay's national political committee. --Houston Chronicle
One down, another (Frist) trying to explain that it was just coincidental that the price of stock in his family's business "just happened to" plunge a couple of weeks after he ordered all of it sold from his blind trust. My experience is crooks get caught because they get arrogant because of their initial successes. Next? Perhaps a closer examination by the American people of the GOPers crony capitalism. How many billions has Halliburton made in Iraq and how many billions do they stand to make from rebuilding New Orleans?
It's too bad there's not an opposition party to exploit the mistakes the GOPers are making. I don't fault my friends and family who don't care for Democrats, I just fault them for allowing their party to be taken over by crooks and religious extremists.
This is a recruitment poster put out by the Archdiocense of Indianapolis.
So this Archiocese, they apparently had a brainstorming session. They wanted to try and reverse the negative image of the priestly profession. They wanted to try and attract more young hunky repressed sexually confused males to the gig. And this is what they came up with. Or rather, this is what Father Jonathan Meyer, associate director of youth and young adult ministry at the archdiocese, came up with. A knockoff of "The Matrix." Priest as Neo. Priest as Keanu pretending to be Neo. Or something.
It'sa recruitment poster. It was sent all over. What can you do. It is yet another of those things you look at and say, dammit, there goes a tiny piece of valuable information from my brain, something I probably needed to know like where I keep my spare car keys or why oak trees are so lovely or how many licks of the clitoris it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center, to be replaced by this bizarre mutant notion, this disquieting pop-culture cross-pollination, an image of a youngish well-manicured Catholic priest who is a dead ringer for a very gay Matt Damon, which is itself confusing given how we all know young Catholic priests look far more like a very gay Jim Broadbent..
Mark Morford from the San Francisco Chonicle via SFGate. It does make you wonder outloud.
Most of us now know that the post powerful part of a storm is it's northeast quadrant. Even if the eye of the storm goes right up the Sabine River, it disproportionately affects Louisiana. This is a satellite shot of Texas and Louisiana.
Those would be my people taking a direct hit.
What does George Bush and Edward John Smith have in common?
Me? I'm looking for a life preserver. That fool captain of this ship keeps making stupid choices and bad decisions. And as unlucky as he is, he's going to sink us before someone else takes over.
Kathy makes several very valid points in her comments to this post of mine. Although there has been a disproportionate rate of pedophilia by male priests against boys, one could say that there is even a greater percentage of sexual exploitation by males. Does anyone know of any nuns who have been charged or sued for pedophilia.? If the RC's wanted to use that logic, they should ban all males from the priesthood, but boy, does that open another can of worms?
The problem is not homosexually inclined priests, it's the repression of it. I would venture to bet that there hasn't been a single case of an openly Gay priest who has exploited a child. It's the repressed ones that are the sexual opportunists. The RC's will never rid themselves of the problem by banning openly Gay priests. it's the others that are the problem: those in denial about their sexuality and who have become used to living double lives. Openly Gay men have no need of living double lives. The solution therefore is to fucking get over yourselves about the affectionate preferences of human beings. Blessed are they who actually find love.
Besides me and Kathy, who else gets this?