Monday, February 19, 2018

The History of Presidents' Day


Happy Presidents' Day! Hope you're enjoying a day off. My high school student is, but not my college student.

If you've ever wondered about the history of Presidents' Day, here's some information from History.com:

Presidents’ Day is an American holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, it is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government. Traditionally celebrated on February 22—Washington’s actual day of birth—the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers. While several states still have individual holidays honoring the birthdays of Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other figures, Presidents’ Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present.

For more on the history of Presidents' Day, click here.

Are you off for Presidents' Day? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, February 12, 2018

John and Abigail Adams: A Great Love Story

It's almost Valentine's Day, so today I thought I' share a great love story from history that I found at Townandcountrymag.com. Click the link for more great love stories!




Abigail Smith married [John Adams] at age 20, gave birth to five children (including America's fifth president, John Quincy Adams), was [his] confidante, political advisor, and First Lady. And the more than 1,000 letters they wrote to each other offer a window into John and Abigail's mutual devotion and abiding friendship. 

It was more than revolutionary political ideals that kept them so united; they shared a trust and abiding tenderness. Abigail wrote: "There is a tye more binding than Humanity, and stronger than Friendship ... and by this chord I am not ashamed to say that I am bound, nor do I [believe] that you are wholly free from it." As for John, he wrote: "I want to hear you think, or see your Thoughts. The Conclusion of your Letter makes my Heart throb, more than a Cannonade would. You bid me burn your Letters. But I must forget you first."

So romantic! For a recreation of their great love story, check out William Daniels and Virginia Vestoff portraying them in the movie 1776 singing "Yours, Yours, Yours." The lyrics in the song were inspired by their letters.

"Yours, Yours, Yours"
Btw, will you be writing a love letter to your Valentine? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Tignon Laws of Louisiana


Hubby found some interesting information yesterday and suggested that I use it for a blog post. I thought this was a fascinating topic, and only recently learned about myself (like literally last week in the book I'm reading White Like Her). So, thanks to Hubby, here's an article from Royal Tours of New Orleans that explains just what the tignon laws of Louisiana were:


The tignon was the mandatory headwear for Black Creole women in Louisiana during the Spanish colonial period, and the style was adopted throughout the Caribbean island communities as well. This headdress was required by Louisiana laws in 1785. Called the Tignon Laws, they prescribed appropriate public dress for females of color in colonial society, where women of color and some white women tried to outdo each other in beauty, dress, ostentation and manners.
A Black Creole woman with a tignon
Beginning in the 1800s, tignon was a local New Orleans word for the headwrap, a variation on the French word, chignon which refers to a smooth knot or twist or arrangement of hair that is worn at the nape of the neck.

According to the Code Noir, a mother’s slave condition passed to her newborn infant.  But, due to the lack of White women in early New Orleans, it was common for White men to take a woman of color as a mistress.  Many but not all of the children born from these relationships were free.  The children would be classified as mulatto, quadroon, or octoroon according to the fraction of Black blood in the child.  With so many quadroons and octoroons in the community, it was occasionally difficult to distinguish a free or slave Black woman from a White woman.
Marie Constance, born a mulatto slave, wearing a tignon
When Spain acquired Louisiana in 1763, the concept of coartación was introduced which acknowledged the right of slaves to purchase their freedom. The policy of self-purchase originated in the Spanish perception of slavery as an unnatural human condition.  This method became a popular means for enslaved Blacks to gain their freedom.
Mulatto women wearing tignons
By the time of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, New Orleans free blacks constituted nearly 20% of the urban population while enslaved Africans and African Americans represented nearly 38% of the city’s residents. But, even years before, the increasing assertiveness of black New Orleanians and the growing numbers of free blacks alarmed Spanish officials. The then Spanish Governor attempted to restrict black mobility by suppressing free black assemblies and banning concubinage.
In an effort to maintain class distinctions in his Spanish colony at the beginning of his term, Governor Esteban Rodriguez Miró (1785 – 1791) decreed that female gens de couleur, slave or free, should cover their heads with a knotted headdress and refrain from “excessive attention to dress.”  Miró criticized black women for their “idleness,” “incontinence,” and “libertinism” and demanded that they renounce their “mode of living.”
In 1786, while Louisiana was a Spanish colony, the governor forbade “females of color … to wear plumes or jewelry”; this law specifically required “their hair bound in a kerchief.”  But the women, who were targets of this decree, were inventive & imaginative with years of practice. They decorated their mandated tignons, made of the finest textiles, with jewels, ribbons, & feathers to once again outshine their white counterparts and defy the law without actually breaking it.
Consequently, Miró’s decree had a somewhat different effect as what was intended as a means of controlling and identifying women gens de couleur became instead a fashion statement that remains to this day.
Had you ever heard of tignon laws? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!