Archive for the ‘History’ Category

New month-long February exhibit “Antioch, a Cultural Perspective” at the Antioch Historical Society Museum

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020

Photos by Antioch Historical Society Museum.

By Milanka Schneiderman

Antioch is recognized as one of the most diverse communities in the Bay Area and the Antioch Historical Society Museum would like to celebrate that diversity during the month of February with a multicultural exhibit called “Antioch, a Cultural Perspective”. The exhibit includes the following cultural groups who each has their own display: Italian, Portuguese, African American, Hispanic and Chinese.

Other cultures will be featured in future exhibits as this is hoped to be an annual exhibit. The exhibit will be on display in the Riverview Room on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 1:00 to 4:00 P.M. during the entire month of February.

The museum, located at 1500 W. 4th Street at the curve of Auto Center Drive, has a mission statement to preserve history of “cultural and historic value”.

“We really want the Antioch Historical Society Museum to be very inclusive of all and relevant to the changing demographics of residents of Antioch by showcasing their history and culture in February,” said Dwayne Eubanks, President, Antioch Historical Society Museum. “A focus on diversity will be a major goal of the museum now and in the future as we embrace all of Antioch’s residents including the youth.”

The exhibit’s African American display will be updated to include Roger Henry, the first African American to serve in elected office, having been elected to the Antioch School Board, and the first to serve on the city’s Planning Commission. In addition, Teri Lynn Shaw, the first African American woman to serve on the Antioch School Board, will also be added to the display.

Modernizing presentation equipment is one method that the museum hopes to reach out to younger generations of residents. They recently received two grants from the City of Antioch and the Antioch Community Fund to purchase new electronic presentation equipment. February’s “Antioch, a Cultural Perspective” hopes to reach out to a wider audience of Antioch residents with this exciting, new exhibit.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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9th Annual Antioch Black History Month exhibit begins Feb. 1 at Grace Bible Fellowship

Friday, January 24th, 2020

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Read and listen to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech

Monday, January 20th, 2020

Dr, King delivering the speech on Aug. 28, 1963. Photo: National Archives and Records Administration.

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, today, following is the complete text of his famous “I Have A Dream” speech, given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963. (Listen to the audio, by clicking here.)

– I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

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“Women Win the Vote” exhibit in Contra Costa celebrating 100th anniversary of 19th Amendment begins with reception Feb. 1

Saturday, January 18th, 2020

Carrie Chapman Catt, President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association from 1915-1920 and founder of the League of Women Voters. Photo courtesy of LWV.

The public is invited to an opening reception on Saturday, February 1 to kick off the new exhibit “Women Win the Vote, in California, Contra Costa and the Nation” at the Contra Costa County History Center in Martinez.  “A Toast to the Indomitable Suffragists,” a program featuring feminist local historian Beverly Lane, will begin at 1 p.m.

The exhibit features the 72-year battle for American women’s right to vote, ending 100 years ago with passage of the 19th Amendment on Aug. 26, 1920.  It includes a display from the National Archives “Rightfully Hers,” suffrage banners, and a history of the movement. Stories of Contra Costa County woman leaders beginning in the 1920’s are also included.

The reception is sponsored by the Contra Costa County Historical Society and the League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley. It runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the History Center, 724 Escobar in Martinez.  Street parking is available.

The Contra Costa History Center is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the first and third Saturdays each month.  Go to cocohistory.org for more information.

For more information on reception contact: lwvdv.org.

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Mt. Diablo beacon lighting ceremony to honor Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Saturday

Monday, December 2nd, 2019

Mt Diablo lit Beacon. Photo by Clayton Worsdell

By funischeap.com

In honor of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, we invite you to attend the annual “Eye of Diablo” beacon lighting ceremony to pay tribute to and honor our veterans, Saturday, Dec. 7 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Cost is free and the event will be held at Cal State East Bay – Concord Campus, 4700 Ygnacio Valley Road in Concord,

Every year since 1964, the Pearl Harbor survivors and their families have memorialized Pearl Harbor Day by relighting the historic Beacon atop Mount Diablo’s summit. When those who experienced Pearl Harbor are gone, the history is lost with them. That tragedy should never happen again, “Lest We Forget.”

“When that beacon light is turned on, that’s a tribute to those individuals that lost their lives at Pearl Harbor,” said Earl “Chuck” Kohler, Pearl Harbor Survivor

The Pearl Harbor Survivors and Save Mount Diablo are grateful for the assistance and support from Mount Diablo State Park, CCTV, California State University East Bay Concord Campus, Vietnam Helicopters Museum and the Sons & Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors.

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Where Did Thanksgiving Come From and Why Do We Celebrate It?

Thursday, November 28th, 2019

The First Thanksgiving, reproduction of an oil painting by J.L.G. Ferris, early 20th century.

NOTE: This was first posted on November 24, 2011. We re-post and update it each year.

By Allen Payton, Publisher

It was 398  years ago, this year, that the first Thanksgiving feast was celebrated by the Pilgrims and their Indian friends in Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts.

Who were the Pilgrims?

Christian Protestants in England, became known as Puritans, because of their differences with the Church of England. Most remained within the Church of England, but a small group of Puritans, known as Separatists, who chose to leave the church, were persecuted for their faith. Around 1607 or 1608 about 300 Separatists left England and relocated to Holland.

Then in 1620, some of the Separatists chose to leave Holland for a place where they could be free to practice their faith. Along with adventurers, other colonists recruited by the venture’s financial backers and the ship’s crew, for a total of 102 people, the Separatists sailed to the New World on the ship the Mayflower.

It was William Bradford, their second governor, who gave the Separatists the label of Pilgrims, from the Bible verse in the book of Hebrews chapter 11, verse 13, which states “they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” He stated “They knew they were pilgrims, and looked not much on those things, but lifted up their eyes to the heavens, their dearest country.”

According to what became known as The Mayflower Compact, the voyage was “undertaken for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian faith and honor of our kind and country…to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia” Instead, the voyagers first spotted land on November 9, 1620 and then chose to set anchor in Provincetown Harbor, Massachusetts on November 11.

“The Mayflower Compact was signed that day on board the Mayflower, which was at anchor in Provincetown Harbor.  The document was drawn up in response to ‘mutinous speeches’ that had come about because the Pilgrims had intended to settle in Northern Virginia, but the decision was made after arrival to instead settle in New England.  Since there was no government in place, some felt they had no legal obligation to remain within the colony and supply their labor.  The Mayflower Compact attempted to temporarily establish that government until a more official one could be drawn up in England that would give them the right to self-govern themselves in New England.”(1)

Read the complete Mayflower Compact by clicking here.

They then settled across Cape Cod Bay at Plymouth, Massachusetts and only 53 of the Pilgrims survived that first winter, thanks to the help of the local Indians. But, the following summer was good for them.

The First Thanksgiving Celebration

“After their first harvest, the colonists of the Plymouth Plantation held a celebration of food and feasting in the fall of 1621. Indian chiefs Massassoit, Squanto and Samoset joined in the celebration with ninety of their men in the three-day event. (2)

According to William Bradford, in his journal entitled Of Plimoth Plantation: “They begane now to gather in ye small harvest they had, and to fitte up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health & strenght, and had all things in good plenty; fFor as some were thus imployed in affairs abroad, others were excersised in fishing, aboute codd, & bass, & other fish, of which yey tooke good store, of which every family had their portion. All ye somer ther was no want.  And now begane to come in store of foule, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees).  And besids water foule, ther was great store of wild Turkies, of which they tooke many, besids venison, &c. Besids, they had about a peck a meale a weeke to a person, or now since harvest, Indean corn to yt proportion.  Which made many afterwards write so largly of their plenty hear to their freinds in England, which were not fained,  but true reports.”

According to Edward Winslow in his book Mourt’s Relation: “our harvest being gotten in, our governour sent foure men on fowling, that so we might after a speciall manner rejoyce together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labours ; they foure in one day killed as much fowle, as with a little helpe beside, served the Company almost a weeke, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Armes, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoyt, with some ninetie men, whom for three dayes we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deere, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed on our Governour, and upon the Captaine and others.  And although it be not always so plentifull, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so farre from want,  that we often wish you partakers of our plentie.”

The First Official Thanksgiving Day

In 1623, the first official day of Thanksgiving was proclaimed by Plymouth Colony Governor William Bradford

Bradford’s Thanksgiving Proclamation:

Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience. Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.

–William Bradford

Ye Governor of Ye Colony

Through the years, subsequent Thanksgiving Day proclamations were made and dates for celebrating it were set by Congress and various U.S. presidents.

1777 Proclamation by the Continental Congress

On November 1, 1777, by order of Congress, the first National Thanksgiving Proclamation was approved, and signed by Henry Laurens, President of the Continental Congress. The third Thursday of December, 1777 was officially set aside: “…for solemn thanksgiving and praise. That with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of their Divine Benefactor;… and their humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot hem (their manifold sins) out of remembrance… That it may please Him… to take schools and seminaries of education, so necessary for cultivating the principles of true liberty, virtue and piety under His nurturing hand, and to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth of ‘righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost’…”

First Thanksgiving Proclamation by the American Government

In 1789, it was President George Washington who issued the first Thanksgiving Proclamation by the American government: WHEREAS, It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; WHEREAS, Both the houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted’ for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us. And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have show kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best. –George Washington – October 3, 1789

Mass Centinel masthead Where Did Thanksgiving Come From and Why Do We Celebrate It? Washingtons Thanksgiving Proclamation in Mass Centinel 1789 Where Did Thanksgiving Come From and Why Do We Celebrate It?

Lincoln Makes Last Thursday in November Official Day of Thanksgiving

Then in in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln established the last Thursday in November as the day of national thanksgiving with his Thanksgiving Proclamation:

Washington, D.C. October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America. A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

Since 1863, every President has issued an annual proclamation calling for the people of the nation to celebrate a national day of thanksgiving.

1941 Vote by Congress and President Roosevelt

But it wasn’t until October 6, 1941 that our federal government made it an official, national holiday, when Congress approved it.

“In 1939…the last Thursday in November fell on the last day of the month. Concerned that the shortened Christmas shopping season might dampen the economic recovery, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a Presidential Proclamation moving Thanksgiving to the second to last Thursday of November. As a result of the proclamation, 32 states issued similar proclamations while 16 states refused to accept the change and proclaimed Thanksgiving to be the last Thursday in November. For two years two days were celebrated as Thanksgiving – the President and part of the nation celebrated it on the second to last Thursday in November, while the rest of the country celebrated it the following week.

To end the confusion, Congress decided to set a fixed-date for the holiday. On October 6, 1941, the House passed a joint resolution declaring the last Thursday in November to be the legal Thanksgiving Day. The Senate, however, amended the resolution establishing the holiday as the fourth Thursday, which would take into account those years when November has five Thursdays. The House agreed to the amendment, and President Roosevelt signed the resolution on December 26, 1941, thus establishing the fourth Thursday in November as the Federal Thanksgiving Day holiday.” (3)

President John F. Kennedy’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1961

OCTOBER 27, 1961

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES A PROCLAMATION :

“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.”

More than three centuries ago, the Pilgrims, after a year of hardship and peril, humbly and reverently set aside a special day upon which to give thanks to God for their preservation and for the good harvest from the virgin soil upon which they had labored. Grave and unknown dangers remained. Yet by their faith and by their toil they had survived the rigors of the harsh New England winter. Hence they paused in their labors to give thanks for the blessings that had been bestowed upon them by Divine Providence.

This year, as the harvest draws near its close and the year approaches its end, awesome perils again remain to be faced. Yet we have, as in the past, ample reason to be thankful for the abundance of our blessings. We are grateful for the blessings of faith and health and strength and for the imperishable spiritual gifts of love and hope. We give thanks, too, for our freedom as a nation; for the strength of our arms and the faith of our friends; for the beliefs and confidence we share; for our determination to stand firmly for what we believe to be right and to resist mightily what we believe to be base; and for the heritage of liberty bequeathed by our ancestors which we are privileged to preserve for our children and our children’s children.

It is right that we should be grateful for the plenty amidst which we live; the productivity of our farms, the output of our factories, the skill of our artisans, and the ingenuity of our investors. But in the midst of our thanksgiving, let us not be unmindful of the plight of those in many parts of the world to whom hunger is no stranger and the plight of those millions more who live without the blessings of liberty and freedom.

With some we are able to share our material abundance through our Food-for-Peace Program and through our support of the United Nations Freedom-from-Hunger Campaign. To all we can offer the sustenance of hope that we shall not fail in our unceasing efforts to make this a peaceful and prosperous world for all mankind.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOHN F. KENNEDY, President of the United States of America, in consonance with the joint resolution of Congress approved December 26, 1941, which designates the fourth Thursday in November of each year as Thanksgiving Day, do hereby proclaim Thursday, the twenty-third day of November of this year, as a day of national thanksgiving. I urge all citizens to make this Thanksgiving not merely a holiday from their labors, but rather a day of contemplation. I ask the head of each family to recount to his children the story of the first New England thanksgiving, thus to impress upon future generations the heritage of this nation born in toil, in danger, in purpose, and in the conviction that right and justice and freedom can through man’s efforts persevere and come to fruition with the blessing of God. Let us observe this day with reverence and with prayer that will rekindle in us the will and show us the way not only to preserve our blessings, but also to extend them to the four corners of the earth. Let us by our example, as well as by our material aid, assist all peoples of all nations who are striving to achieve a better life in freedom.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed. DONE at the City of Washington this twenty-seventh day of October in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and eighty-sixth.

JOHN F. KENNEDY

Click here to read Kennedy’s final Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1963, just weeks before his assassination.

Read more Thanksgiving Proclamations by Presidents Carter, Reagan and George H.W. Bush here  and this year’s proclamation by President Obama here.

So we continue the celebration, today, with our family and friends, of giving thanks to God for his provisions to us personally and to our great nation, even in spite of our current economic challenges.

God bless you, God bless America and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

References:

(1) www.MayflowerHistory.com

(2) www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/firsts/thanksgiving/

(3) www.archives.gov/legislative/features/thanksgiving/

www.pilgrimhall.org/1stthnks

Learn more from the book Plymouth in the words of her Founders by Dr. Paul Jehle at http://www.amazon.com/Plymouth-Words-Founders-Paul-Jehle/dp/0972417346

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Governor signs tax credit bill to promote historic preservation, affordable housing

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

Will create $800 million in economic activity and 1,300 construction jobs; Antioch city staff checking to see if program can benefit the Hard House, home of the city’s first mayor.

Sacramento, CA: On Tuesday, October 9th, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 451, the California Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit, adding California to the list of more than 35 states that have passed such incentives. The bill, which passed both the Senate and the Assembly with unanimous approval, will enable the renewal of aging structures and communities throughout the state, and promote the development of affordable housing.

The bill will create a 20% state tax credit for the rehabilitation of historic structures listed on the California Register of Historic Places.  An additional 5% bonus can be granted for certain projects, such as affordable housing for lower-income households and projects in transit-oriented developments or regions with high unemployment and poverty rates. All projects must be approved by the California Office of Historic Preservation and the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee to determine if a project qualifies. The tax credit goes into effect on January 1, 2021.

“The California State Historic Tax Credit is an important tool that we can use to revitalize communities throughout California,” said Cindy Heitzman, Executive Director, California Preservation Foundation. “This is a major victory for every Californian who believes that our architectural and cultural heritage is worth protecting.”

The State Historic Tax Credit will help to address the critical need for affordable housing in underutilized historic buildings by providing an important financial incentive. Between 2007 and 2017 over 38% of all federal historic tax credit projects in California created new housing units or improved existing units. Of that amount over half were affordable housing projects, and SB 451 will make even more of these projects feasible.

Since February, the California Preservation Foundation (CPF) and the American Institute of Architects, California Council have led a major coalition to shepherd the bill through the legislature, working directly with California Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins. The bill received broad support from organized labor, affordable housing groups, historic preservation organizations and local governments.  This effort built on the work CPF did in 2014 to pass AB 1999, the first version of this legislation. While it passed both houses of the California legislature, it was ultimately vetoed by then Governor Jerry Brown.

“This legislation will breathe new life into the buildings that give our cities and communities character and charm…Further, the Historic Tax Credit will increase the supply of affordable housing, support growth through infill development and encourage property rehabilitation and maintenance in economically depressed areas,” said Senator Atkins.

The Cannery Lady statue across W. First Street from the Roswell Butler Hard House. Photo courtesy of NoeHill Travels in California.

When asked if this is something that could benefit Antioch’s Roswell Butler Hard House, the home of the city’s first mayor, located at 815 West First Street, City Manager Ron Bernal asked Community Development Director Forrest Ebbs to look into it. The home is #93001020 on the National Register of Historic Places. For more information about the Hard House, visit the Wikipedia page or the Facebook page.

About the Federal Tax Credit

Since 1976, the Federal Historic Tax Credit (HTC) has offered tax credits equal to 20 percent of the qualified rehabilitation expenditures (QRE) for the rehabilitation of certified historic buildings, such as those listed on the National Register of Historic Places or architecturally contributing to a National Register district. Over the last 4 decades, more than 35 states have passed their own bills to boost this tax credit, making thousands of projects financially feasible.

From 2002 to 2016, $468.1 million in Federal Historic Tax Credits catalyzed 169 projects in California, totaling $2.8 billion in qualifying rehabilitation expenditures. This activity has generated:

  • 39,279 jobs
  • $2.8 billion in Gross State Product
  • $160 million in state and local taxes
  • $493.3 million in federal taxes
  • $468.1 million in federal tax credits

SB 451 will provide further incentive for historic rehabilitation, increase the supply of affordable housing, support growth through infill development, and encourage property rehabilitation and maintenance in economically depressed areas. Below are a few examples of the types of projects that will benefit from SB 451, but there are hundreds more stories just like these throughout California. The tax credit will make these kinds of projects more feasible, and will encourage meaningful investments in communities across the state.

For more information:

Bill Text: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB451

Images and additional information: https://californiapreservation.org/tax-credit-press/

Press Release from Senator Toni Atkins on the passage of SB 451: https://sd39.senate.ca.gov/news/20190912-press-release-atkins%E2%80%99-tax-credit-historic-preservation-passes-assembly

Preservation & State Historic Tax Credits overview from the National Trust for Historic Preservation: https://forum.savingplaces.org/learn/fundamentals/economics/tax-credits/state-htc

2017 Report from the National Park Service on the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit’s impact: https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1207/htc2017.htm

Case Statement: https://californiapreservation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Case-Statement.pdf

Allen Payton contributed to this report. 

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Celebrating the U.S. Constitution’s creation 232 years ago, today

Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

Today is Constitution Day, celebrating the U.S. Constitution which was created on September 17, 1787 and ratified on March 4, 1789. Read more about the celebration and document, here. Following is the Preamble with the original spelling and punctuation.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

To read the complete text, visit the U.S. Archives by clicking here: http://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript

The actual first page of the U.S. Constitution.

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