FULLSCREEN MARCH 16, 2011
ST. PATRICK’S DAY LENOX SETTING THE WHITE HOUSE TABLE
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AMERICAN PATRIOT LENOX SETTING THE WHITE HOUSE TABLE
6 ST. PATRICK’S DAY
8 CONEY ISLAND’S COASTERS
THE WEARING OF THE GREEN
10 GRACELAND FORMER ELVIS’ HOME
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12 WALTER REUTHER BUILDING THE UAW
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THIS WEEK IN AMERICAN HISTORY
LENOX SETTING THE WHITE HOUSE TABLE
Before Walter Scott Lenox, American pottery and porcelain was considered inferior to that of Europe. By the time Lenox left the scene, he had gone a long way toward his goal of “perfecting American porcelain” and having it accepted in the best homes — including The White House. Indeed, the Obamas chose Lenox china from the historic Presidential collection for their very first state dinner. 4 AMERICAN PATRIOT
Walter Lenox was a rare combination of artisan and businessman. He decided at an early age to combine his interest in clay with his talent for drawing. Born in Trenton NJ, then the epicenter of the 19th century ceramics industry, Lenox was inspired by the creativity swirling around him. By the age of 16, he was designing and decorating for local potteries. In his twenties, he had already earned an excellent regional reputation. When Lenox was thirty, he had saved enough money to enter a partnership with Jonathan Coxon, with whom he opened the Ceramic Art Company. Lenox was committed to becoming an expert in producing quality bone china. At the time, American ceramics and pottery were considered inferior to European products. Lenox sought to change that perception by organizing his business as an art studio rather than a factory. Despite his best efforts, the business did not succeed. Lenox bought out his partner’s interest in 1894; from then on he operated it on his own, ultimately as Lenox, Inc. In this period, he concentrated on manufacturing Belleek pottery, a rich, thin, ivory-colored porcelain of extremely high quality named after a style produced in Ireland. Again, his work won respect but the company continued to struggle. Compounding the problem, Lenox suffered from deteriorating health, including failing eye-sight and the onset of paralysis. The diagnosis: Locomotor Ataxia, a disease that eventually cost him his sight and the use of his limbs. Lenox persevered, depending upon an assistant to act as his eyes and hands.
Finally, commercial success arrived. The popular story is that it came in the form of a lucky break: in the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906, a single Lenox bone china plate survived among the ruins of the Shreve & Company department store. That plate became the center of a very successful marketing campaign. More to the point, America’s appetite for high quality china grew, and Lenox was positioned to satisfy it by producing dinnerware with standardized patterns as well as custom-made pieces. After introducing a few patterns in 1910 decorated with transfer prints enhanced with hand-applied color, Lenox started using full-color lithographic decals. Several of these patterns would remain popular for the next half century. Soon, the Lenox brand became synonymous with elegant tableware. The rise to prominence was punctuated by Woodrow Wilson’s commission of an official state service of 1,700 pieces in 1918. This made Lenox the first American china to grace a President's table. It remains the only American porcelain in continuous use at the White House for more than 80 years, with new services created for Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush. Walter Scott Lenox died in 1920, having realized his dream of creating “the finest American porcelain dinnerware.” The Lenox brand continues to be a trusted tabletop name in the American market and bone china is still manufactured in the U.S., at a facility in Kinston NC.
CLICK HERE TO TAKE A VIDEO VISIT TO THE LENOX FACTORY AMERICAN PATRIOT 5
ST. PATRICK’S DAY THE WEARING OF THE GREEN 6 AMERICAN PATRIOT
St. Patrick's Day is a holiday commemorating the death, as legend has it, of Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. More to our point, it is observed in America on March 17 each year with parades that celebrate the success and heritage of the Irish in America. Among the most well-known are: the New York City parade which dates to 1762; the Boston parade which may date as far back as 1732; and one in Savannah, GA parade, which was first held in 1824. The parade is inexorably linked to the growth of
parades became transformed into a show of
the Irish-American community in America, and
strength for Irish Americans. In 1948, President
to the pride they feel about their contribution
Truman attended the New York parade, a stun-
to our society. There were a handful of Irish im-
ning moment for the many Irish whose ancestors
migrants to America during the Colonial and
had to fight stereotypes and prejudice.
Revolutionary War generations. Then, in the 1840s, their presence dramatically increased.
Today, St. Patrick’s Day — and the “Wearing
This was largely due to Ireland's potato famine
of the Green” to acknowledge years of Irish
of 1845-49, which prompted a wave of immi-
suffering and to denote Irish pride — is widely
gration. Truth be told, most of the Irish who came
embraced in America. The New York City event
to the U.S. during this period arrived poor and
is the world’s oldest civilian parade and the
uneducated. They encountered ethnic and eco-
largest in the United States, with over 150,000
nomic discrimination, and the longstanding prej-
participants. Upwards of 100 cities now hold
udice of many members of the English Protestant
parades of their own. And although North
majority toward both the Irish and Catholicism.
America is home to the largest productions, St.
Even menial jobs were hard to find.
Patrick's Day is celebrated in other locations far from Ireland, including Japan, Singapore, and
Suffice it to say that the new immigrants learned
Russia. One especially unique way to celebrate
to harness their large numbers, to organize
St. Patrick’s Day takes place in Chicago. There,
through social and fraternal groups, and found
the Chicago River is dyed green each year.
great success economically and, especially, by
Once dyed green for a week, today, in order to
controlling political and governmental positions.
minimize environmental damage, only forty
By 1900, living conditions had improved and
pounds of dye are used, making the river green
institutionalized discrimination had waned for
for only several hours.
the majority of Irish Americans. Their contribution to American culture, education, politics, science and business during the 20th century is immeasurable. The annual St. Patrick’s Day
CLICK HERE TO HEAR A PERFORMANCE OF THE FOLK SONG, THE WEARING OF THE GREEN AMERICAN PATRIOT 7
The most dangerous animals in the forest donâ€™t live there.
ONLY YOU CAN PR E VE N T W I L D FIRE S. w w w. s m o k e y b e a r. c o m
COASTERS 8 AMERICAN PATRIOT
The first roller coaster in America opened in 1884 at Coney Island in Brooklyn NY. The notion of LaMarcus Thompson, the mini-train traveled six miles per hour, had several switchbacks and cost a nickel to ride. It was an instant success; ten years later there were hundreds of roller coasters around the country. It was fitting that this crowd-pleasing in-
at Coney with steep drops, plenty of airtime,
vention made its debut at Coney Island.
intense gravitational pressure, and just a
Long a recreation and resort center, the
lap bar to hold passengers in place; the
first hotel had opened there as early as
Thunderbolt which was the first to have a
1829 and by the turn of the century, it
steel frame and was sadly torn down in
was an area thick with theaters, restaurants,
2000; and the Drop the Dips coaster, that
a race track, famous amusement parks —
raised the bar for speed, excitement and ter-
Dreamland, Luna Park and Steeplechase —
ror but was immensely successful financially.
and a boardwalk that drew millions for fun, sun, hot dogs and maybe a little bit
Coney Island will be remembered as the first
and most influential amusement park in the United States, in great part because of
Through the years, Coney Island became
the flamboyance and excitement of its many
home to some of the best coasters. These
roller coasters. Though it has experienced
included: The Flip Flap Railway whose cir-
a decline — some would say it is seedy —
cular loop was so intense that it had a
Coney Island remains a tourist attraction and
habit of injuring the necks of riders; the
home to the wooden Cyclone. And New York
Loop-the-Loop, built in 1901, which had
newspapers reported that on Memorial Day
a large loop and was safer than Flip Flap;
2011, the owners of a refurbished Luna
the huge Giant Racer, constructed in 1911
Park will fire up the Cyclone for another
with a beautiful whitewashed structure
season, and that developers developers are
and incredible speed; the Tornado, a beau-
contemplating a new 4,000 foot coaster
tiful twisting ride with a tower built in the
for the near future.
middle; Coney Island Cyclone, the most famous and financially successful coaster
PLAN A VISIT TO CONEY ISLAND
AMERICAN PATRIOT 9
GRACELAND FOREVER ELVIS’ HOME
10 AMERICAN PATRIOT
The unique association and relationship between Elvis Presley and Graceland makes for a powerful story. Graceland was his home in Memphis TN for more than 20 years — 1957 to 1977 — as well as a sanctuary and muse for often tormented singer and entertainer. The house and farm that formed the
his home and, sometimes when he was
basis of Graceland was originally founded
touring, he would arrange for hotel rooms
as a farm during the Civil War by a suc-
to be remodelled in advance of his arrival
cessful Memphis publisher. Elvis pur-
to remind him of Graceland. It was a
chased the mansion and grounds in
place where this complicated man could
early 1957 for approximately $100,000,
fully unwind and be himself.
moving their for privacy reasons and security concerns. Elvis moved into Graceland
When Elvis died in 1977, he left Grace-
together with his parents, and he also
land to his grandmother, father and
lived there with his wife Priscilla before
daughter. By 1980, his daughter, Lisa
and after their marriage — up until their
Marie Presley, was the only one left. To
separation in 1972.
keep up the estate, a plan was established to open Graceland to the public, and in
Presley made many changes to the estate,
1982, first tours of the property began.
most notably building two additions —
Since opening to the public, the fasci-
including one that would become famous
nation with the Presleys has grown and
as the Jungle Room because it was loaded
Graceland has hosted millions of visi-
with exotic plants, animal prints and a
tors. Memphis has benefitted as well,
floor-to-ceiling shag carpet that can only
growing into a world-class tourist desti-
be described as an African motif. He also
nation for which Graceland is the pillar.
added a pool and the built the Medita-
Some say that Graceland has become
tion Gardens, where he, his parents and
the most famous home in America after
his grandmother were eventually buried.
The White House. In 1991, Elvis’ home
But more than the brick and mortar, the
was placed on the National Register of
spirit of the place made it special. Elvis
felt at deeply at home and at peace in
TAKE A VIRTUAL TOUR OF GRACELAND AMERICAN PATRIOT 11
WALTER REUTHER BUILDING THE UAW Walter Reuther (pictured second from right) headed the United Automobile Workers (UAW) from 1946 until his death in 1970, the halcyon days of the American car industry. Under his leadership, the UAW grew to 1.5 million members, emerging as one of the most effective unions in the U.S.
Reuther, like the union he built and expanded, was widely admired in his day. He was considered a reform-minded, responsible trade unionist — a leading labor and liberal intellectual, a champion of democracy and civil rights, and an effective wielder of the UAW’s power advance fairness and social justice as well as the interests of his members. Reuther was born in Wheeling WV in 1907, the son of a German socialist. He received an early education in socialism and union politics from his father, and met American Socialist Party leader Eugene V. Debs early in his life. A high school dropout, he moved to Detroit to work for Ford, and established himself as a top flight mechanic. The Great Depression stimulated his natural political activism and, with his brothers — Victor and Roy — organized local protests against ROTC and segregationist policies of a local swimming, and campaigned for 1932 Socialist Party presidential candidate Norman Thomas. In Detroit, Reuther began organizing for the UAW, the new autoworkers union. He was elected a delegate to the 1936 UAW national convention, where he made a name for himself and was elected to the national executive board. Within months, Reuther was president of his local and by 1942 — with several successful strikes and sit-ins
under his belt — he was the UAW’s first vice president. During World War II, Reuther also served with the Office of Production Management, the War Manpower Commission and the War Production Board, winning friends and respect from labor, government and company officials. In 1946, he took on the presidency of the UAW. Although his ambitious postwar agenda of national health care, economic redistribution and job security all met defeat, Reuther had many successes in his two decades: negotiating model grievance procedures, safety and health provisions, pensions, health benefits and supplemental unemployment benefits that enabled UAW members to receive a large portion of their regular paycheck even if they were laid off. He was also a crucial player in the merger that created America’s largest labor union — the AFL-CIO. He also made friends with the powerful: Reuther stood beside Martin Luther King Jr. when he delivered his famous “I have a dream and he was invited to meet weekly with President Lyndon Johnson throughout 1964–1965 to discuss legislative and political initiatives. Reuther, increasingly frustrated by the union movement’s failure to make more progress, he planned to create a new labor alliance. It was not to be, as he and his wife were killed in a private plane crash in. AMERICAN PATRIOT 13
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I couldn’t run backward. I had to run forward. That’s the job of a soldier" — BARNEY FUSHIMI HAJIRO A U.S. ARMY PRIVATE AND JAPANESE-AMERICAN, MODESTLY EXPLAINING WHY HE RAN THROUGH A STREAM OF BULLETS AND LED A COUNTERATTACK THAT SAVED HIS REGIMENT DESPITE BEING SHOT FOUR TIMES. HE WAS PART OF A FORCE COMPOSED ENTIRELY OF AMERICANS OF JAPANESE DESCENT, AND WAS BELATEDLY AWARDED THE CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR BY PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON. HAJIRO HAD BEEN THE NATION’S OLDEST MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT BEFORE PASSING AWAY LATE LAST YEAR. A HAWAIIAN NATIVE, HAJIRO, FOUGHT IN ITALY, THEN MOVED WITH HIS UNIT TO EASTERN FRANCE, WHERE HIS HEROIC ACTIONS WON THE MEDAL.
14 AMERICAN PATRIOT
THIS WEEK IN
2003. The U.S. launched an attack against Saddam Hussein, kicking off what has become known as the Iraq War. Saddamâ€™s regime fell 21 days later, but the war continues to this day.
AMERICAN PATRIOT 15
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