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There is a long history of free imperial cities having extra privileges within the Holy Roman Empire. Many cities in contemporary Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy were former free imperial cities. However, most of them disappeared progressively.
In 1933, when Hitler took power in Germany, 3 free cities remained: Hamburg, Lübeck and Bremen. Unsurprisingly, Hamburg, Bremen are still free cities to this day, which means they are federal Länder states within the Federal Republic of Germany.
What is more of a mystery is why Lübeck is no longer a city state. Actually, the sole reason the city state does not exist anymore and was incorporated into Schleswig-Holstein is because Hitler decided it in 1937, because of his personal dislike of the city (the reason of this dislike is suspected to be because NSDAP support was low).
Despite the fact it was obvious that the dissolution of the city state for such a reason is completely illegitimate, the western allies did not recreate a post-war city state like they did for Hamburg and Bremen.
Are there any reasons the western allies restored 2 of the 3 free cities, but not the third? [*]
Is there any political group in Lübeck that is striving to restore their status as an independent federal state?
It doesn't seem to be the case but I'd just ask in case I might have missed something or used the wrong keywords in German.
[*] I'm excluding Berlin as it has a completely separate history which is out of topic here.
One reason may be the size of the city.
The Freie Hansestadt Bremen has 661,000 inhabitants (including Bremen and Bremerhaven), Hamburg has 1.7 million inhabitants. Lübeck has only 213,000 inhabitants. There are also discussions to merge Bremen with Niedersachsen because of the size. So it would be strange if there would be a new smaller Bundesland. Maybe the allies had similar thoughts.
About the second part of your question: In 1956 there was an attempt to restore their status as an independent federal state; but the Bundesverfassungsgerichts decided in the Lübeck-Urteil (Lübeck-Adjustment, 5. December 1956) that Lübeck will not become its own country. So any new attempt would be useless.
Actually there are political groups going in the opposite direction. There is a widespread agreement that 16 Länder are too many, but also widespread disagreement how to do it.
This page is German, but you can look at the maps…
The Lady’s Not a Tramp: History's Greatest Courtesans
For most of recorded history, women had just a handful of options open to them: they could marry (hopefully to men of means), they could teach, they could join convents, or they could do something a little more exciting &helliplike becoming mistresses to the rich and famous. These eight are among history&rsquos best-known high-class ladies of the night.
1. PHRYNE (Four th Century BC)
As a child, she was called Mnesarete (Greek for "virtue"), but because she was born with sallow skin, she was called Phryne (Greek for "toad"). Still, Phryne became the most successful and sought-after courtesan in ancient Greece, commanding 100 times the going rate. Supposedly, she was even the model for the sculpture called Aphrodite of Cnidus, one of the most famous works of Greek art.
Lust Rewards: Phryne became incredibly rich thanks to her liaisons with powerful men in Athens. According to legend, she even offered to pay to rebuild the city walls of Thebes, which had been destroyed by Alexander the Great in 336 BC, but there was a condition: the new wall had to contain the inscription &ldquoDestroyed by Alexander, restored by Phryne the courtesan.&rdquo Her offer was declined.
Around 340 BC, Phryne was accused of affronting the gods by appearing nude during a religious ceremony. At her trial, the orator Hyyperides -her defender and also one of her lovers- ripped open Phryne&rsquos robe and exposed her to the court. Why? He considered it a legitimate defense. She was, after all, the most beautiful woman in Athens, and someone that gorgeous must be on good terms with Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, no matter what codes of conduct she appeared to have broken. It worked. The judges ruled in Phryne&rsquos favor.
2. THEODORA (497-548)
Theodora&rsquos father died when she was young, so her mother sent the girl to work, first as an actress and then as a prostitute.
Theodora became the mistress to a politician named Hecebolus and then caught the eye of Justinian I, the emperor&rsquos nephew. Justinian was so enamored with Theodora that he wanted to marry her, but Byzantine law forbade royals from marrying mere actresses (and prostitutes, presumably), so his uncle changed the law and Justinian and Theodora became husband and wife.
Lust Rewards: Justinian ascended to the throne in 527, and together he and his wife ruled Byzantium (also known as the Eastern Roman Empire). Theodora proved to be a gifted politician -she helped to create a new constitution to curb corruption, expand the rights of women in divorce, closed brothels, and founded convents for former prostitutes. When she died at around the age of 50, she had been empress of Byzantium for more than 20 years. Historians consider her to be the most influential and powerful woman in the empire&rsquos 1,100-year history.
3. VERONICA FRANCO (1546-91)
Like mother, like daughter: Veronica Franco was the privileged offspring of Venetian courtesan Paola Fracassa. She studied Greek and Roman literature and learned to play the lute. After marrying and divorcing a doctor, Franco consorted with politicians, artists, philosophers, and poets. She became an accomplished poet herself and celebrated her sexual prowess in writing -her book Familiar Letters (published in 1580) was a collection of 50 letters written to her lovers, including King Henry III of France and the Venetian painter Jacopo Tintoretto.
Lust Rewards: In the 1570s, Franco lost most of her money to thieves, but it was her overt sexuality that was her undoing. In 1580, she was charged with immorality and witchcraft by the Roman Inquisition courts. She managed to avoid conviction by giving an eloquent speech in her defense, and then a wealthy patron named Domenico Nenier came to her aid. She never regained her former glory, though: Veronico Franco lived out the rest of her life in a section of Venice populated by destitute prostitutes.
4. NELL GWYNNE (1650-87)
Eleanor &ldquoNell&rdquo Gwynne had a troubled childhood in London: Her father left the family when she was young, and her mother drowned in a pond after a drinking binge. Young Nell sold oranges to get by, but by the time she was 15, she&rsquod also started working as an actress. Famous playwright John Dryden wrote roles for her, and she proved to be a comedic talent. With fame cam wealthy men -eventually, Gwynne became a courtesan, cohabiting with members of the English nobility, including Charles Sackville, the sixth Earl of Dorset, and King Charles II.
Lust Rewards: Gwynne&rsquos main man was King Charles II, and she was his mistress exclusively from about 1670 until he died in 1685. They had two sons, and Charles built her a mansion near Windsor Castle. On his deathbed, Charles pleaded with his brother, James II, to &ldquonot let poor Nell starve.&rdquo James II carried out those wishes, proving for Nell Gwynne until her death two years later in 1687.
5. CORA PEARL (1835-86)
Emma Crouch was born in Plymouth, England, to a British musician and womanizer who deserted his family and moved to America. At around the age of 20, Emma worked as a milliner, dabbling in prostitution to augment her low wages. During this time, she met Robert Bignell, owner of a dance hall, and became his mistress. He took her to Paris, where she was enamored with the 19th-century Bohemian atmosphere. When Bignell returned to England, Emma stayed behind, changed her name to Cora Pearl, and became the city&rsquos most famous courtesan.
Lust Rewards: Cora Pearl had a series of lovers in high places, including the French statesman Duc de Morny, the half-brother of Napoleon III, and the Prince of Orange, heir to the throne of the Netherlands, who gave her a string of black pearls that became her signature ornament.
Pearl was known for her decadent ways -she once had waiters carry her naked on a silver plate into a fancy dinner, and she sometimes bathed in a tub of champagne in front of her dinner guests. But a shooting at one of her mansions led to her expulsion from France. She ended up indigent, living in a boardinghouse, where she died at age 51 of stomach cancer. In her memoirs, she left no regrets: &ldquoI am far from posing as a victim it would be ungrateful for me to do so. I ought to have saved, but saving is not easy in such a whirl of excitement as that in which I have lived.&rdquo
6. MADAM DE POMPADOUR (1721-64)
When Jeanne-Antionette Poisson was nine years old, her mother took her to see a fortune teller, who said that the little girl would grow up to be the mistress of a king. That seemed unlikely for the daughter of a disgraced French financier and a courtesan, but Jeanne-Antionette eventually made good on the prophesy. In 1745, she was invited to a costume ball at the Palace of Versailles. Jeanne-Antionette dressed as a shepherdess -King Louis XV was dressed as a tree. Within a month, she was his mistress.
Lust Rewards: Louis gave Jeanne-Antionette her own coat of arms and the title &ldquoMarquise de Pompadour,&rdquo or Madame de Pompadour. Louis doted on her, and Madame de Pompadour spent fortunes on gems, art, and ornate porcelain. She also became one of Louis&rsquo foreign policy advisors, and even encouraged him to fight the Seven Years&rsquo War with England, which ended in France&rsquos defeat. The public blamed her for the war&rsquos devastation, but Louis remained loyal to her. She died in 1764, still a member of the royal court.
7. MATA HARI (1876-1917)
By the time Margaretha Geertruida Zelle MacLeod was 18, she&rsquod married a Dutch colonial army officer who was twice her age and moved with him to the Dutch East Indies. They had two children, but their marriage was on the rocks from the start- Margaretha liked the company of other men, and he liked to drink. Eventually, they divorced, and with little money and no skills, Margaretha turned to dancing and prostitution to make ends meet. In 1902, she moved to Paris, where she gained fame as an exotic dancer. Two years later, she was a sensation, flaunting her sexuality with Indonesian-derived dance and a new name: Mata Hari.
Lust Rewards: Mata Hari became the mistress of wealthy industrialist Emile Etienne Guimet, and she was famous for a cabaret striptease in which she was left wearing only a bejeweled bra and an ornamental headdress and armbands. But she still had ties to the Netherlands, which allowed free entry into Germany. And as the Germans and French got entrenched in World War I, she became an object of concern for the French military.
No one has ever proved that Mata Hari was (or wasn&rsquot) a German spy. According to some researchers, she took money to spy on the French because she was drowning in debt, but never actually participated in any espionage. Others claim she was a German operative with the code name of H-21. Whatever the truth, she was arrested and executed by firing squad in 1917 at the age of 41. Documents concerning her trial have been sealed, not to be opened until 2017. Stay Tuned.
8. SHADY SADIE (1861-1944)
The closest thing the wild American West has to a famous courtesan is Josephine &ldquoSadie&rdquo Marcus. At 18, Josephine ran away from home to join a traveling theater company as a dancer. While on tour, she romanced Tombstone, Arizona, deputy sheriff Johnny Behan she liked the area so much that she moved there and became a prostitute, earning her the nickname &ldquoShady Sadie.&rdquo
Lust Rewards: In her early 20s, Sadie met famed lawman and gambler Wyatt Earp, who already had a common-law wife named Mattie Blaylock. But Blaylock was addicted to laudanum -an opiate used to treat headaches- and Shady Sadie won Earp&rsquos heart. No marriage records exist, but Sadie adopted the name Earp by 1882, and the couple traveled the West, gambling, hunting for gold and silver, operating saloons as far north as Alaska, and running horse races in San Diego.
Wyatt Earp died in 1929, but Shady Sadie lived until 1944. When she passed away, she was cremated, and her ashes were interred with Wyatt&rsquos remains in Colma, California.
The article above was reprinted with permission from Uncle John's Bathroom Reader History's Lists. Since 1988, the Bathroom Reader Institute had published a series of popular books containing irresistible bits of trivia and obscure yet fascinating facts.
If you like Neatorama, you'll love the Bathroom Reader Institute's books - go ahead and check 'em out!
Can Buffalo Ever Come Back?
A t the onset of the Great Depression, Buffalo had 573,000 inhabitants, making it the 13th-largest city in America. In the 75 years that followed, this once-mighty metropolis lost 55 percent of its population, a decline most dramatic in its blighted inner city but also apparent in its broader metropolitan area, one of the 20 most quickly deteriorating such regions in the nation. Twenty-seven percent of Buffalo’s residents are poor, more than twice the national average. The median family income is just $33,000, less than 60 percent of the nationwide figure of $55,000. Buffalo’s collapse—and that of other troubled upstate New York cities like Syracuse and Rochester—seems to cry out for a policy response. Couldn’t Senators Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer use their influence on Capitol Hill to bring some needed relief?
The truth is, the federal government has already spent vast sums of taxpayer money over the past half-century to revitalize Buffalo, only to watch the city continue to decay. Future federal spending that tries to revive the city will likely prove equally futile. The federal government should instead pursue policies that help Buffalo’s citizens, not the city as a geographical place. State and local policymakers could take steps that might—might—help Buffalo stave off its demise, if they avoid the errors of the past. But make no mistake: Buffalo faces long odds.
T he history of Buffalo helps us understand why it continues to lose people and why it will be hard to reverse the trend. Historians often overstate the importance of the Erie Canal to New York City’s expansion: Gotham grew just as quickly before the canal was dug. But there’s no question that the canal, which connected Lake Erie to the Hudson River—and, therefore, the Great Lakes to the Atlantic—was a critical factor in the growth of upstate cities located on it, such as Buffalo. Before the canal, Buffalo had 2,500 residents and specialized in commerce along the Great Lakes. After the canal, the city’s population exploded, reaching 8,600 people by 1830 and 18,000 by 1840. Many of those new residents helped transfer goods, especially wheat, from the large boats that plied the Great Lakes to the smaller, 50-ton barges that traveled eastward via the canal. By the early 1840s, Buffalo was moving 2 million bushels of grain a year from boat to barge. It was a revolution in transportation, even more dramatic than the railroads that later gave upstate New York towns vital access to eastern markets and the Atlantic seaboard.
At first, the grain moved by hand. But cities often foster innovation, and so it proved in Buffalo. In 1842, a local merchant, Joseph Dart, borrowed an idea from the brilliant Pittsburgh miller Oliver Evans, installing a steam-driven machine that scooped wheat out of cargo ships on Lake Erie and then dumped it into a silo. Dart’s grain elevators could handle 1,000 bushels daily, allowing ships to unload in a single day. They became a noticeable part of Buffalo’s skyline and a key element of the city’s emergence as the world’s leading grain port.
During the early twentieth century, Buffalo first challenged, and then surpassed, Minneapolis as a mill town, and the canal was the main reason. Since so much wheat flowed through Buffalo, it made sense to start milling it there and then to ship the flour onward. Almost half of Buffalo’s wheat left the country, much of it sailing across the Atlantic to European markets.
Over time, the city’s water-based transportation advantages also encouraged heavy industrial development. The Lackawanna Steel and Iron Company, for instance, relocated its center of operations from Scranton, Pennsylvania, to Buffalo early in the twentieth century. The upstate city’s canal location made it easy to ship iron there from the Lake Michigan area, and to turn it into steel with the aid of coal transported north from Pennsylvania.
Buffalo had an extra geographic advantage that helped make it an early-twentieth-century powerhouse: Niagara Falls. The rushing water was a potent source of energy, harnessed to produce the electricity that surged through an enormous underground tunnel to power the city. By 1901, Buffalo took to calling itself the City of Light, so abundant was the electricity delivered by the falls and Westinghouse generators. The electricity would be an added draw for firms, such as Union Carbide and the Aluminum Company of America, that needed plentiful power.
T he 1920s were the last real growth period for Buffalo. During the thirties, the city’s population began to level off, and after its 1950 high of 580,000, it began to fall precipitously—down 50,000 people by the end of the decade. Buffalo’s worst decade was the 1970s, when it lost 100,000 residents and much of its middle class. Today, its population stands well under 300,000.
A major culprit in Buffalo’s collapse was a shift in transportation technology, reducing the importance of the Erie Canal and of the cities that arose to take advantage of it. In the 1830s, you would have been mad to set up a manufacturing firm in New York State that didn’t have access to the canal or some other waterway. Starting in the 1910s, though, trucks made it easy to deliver products and get deliveries—all you needed was a nearby highway. Rail became more efficient: the real cost of transporting a ton one mile by rail has fallen 90 percent since 1900. Then the Saint Lawrence Seaway opened in 1957, connecting the Great Lakes to the Atlantic and allowing grain shipments to bypass Buffalo altogether. These shocks didn’t just hit the New York canal cities every city on the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, its water-based advantages eroded, lost industries to areas with cheaper labor costs.
Other trends compounded Buffalo’s woes. Improvements in electricity transmission made companies’ proximity to Niagara Falls increasingly irrelevant. Mechanization meant that the industry that did remain in the city needed fewer bodies. The appeal of the automobile induced many to leave the older center cities for the suburbs, where property was plentiful and cheaper, or to abandon the area altogether for cities like Los Angeles, built around the car. And Buffalo’s dismal weather didn’t help. January temperatures are one of the best predictors of urban success over the last half-century, with colder climes losing out—and Buffalo isn’t just cold during the winter: blizzards regularly shut the city down completely. The invention of air conditioners and certain public health advances made warmer states even more alluring.
In general, when cities shrink, poverty isn’t far behind, for two reasons—one obvious, the other subtler. The obvious reason: urban populations fall because of relocation of industry and drop in labor demand as jobs vanish, people living in a city get poorer. The subtler reason: declining areas also become magnets for poor people, attracted by cheap housing. This is exactly what happened to Buffalo, whose median home value is just $61,000, far below the state average of $260,000. More than 10 percent of Buffalo’s residents in 2000, it’s worth noting, had moved there since 1995. The influx of the poor reinforces a city’s downward spiral, since it drives up public expenditures while doing little to expand the local tax base.
S tate and local government did little to improve Buffalo’s chances—in fact, they worsened things considerably. First, New York’s high taxes, burdensome regulations, and pro-union laws made Buffalo less attractive to employers than its more successful southern competitors. In 1975, the Fantus Legislative Business Climate rankings sorted the American states based on corporate taxes, workers’ compensation laws, and many other rules. New York was the least business-friendly of the 48 states in the continental U.S. Being antibusiness might have been feasible when New York enjoyed strong natural advantages, but not after those advantages eroded. Despite 50 years of population loss, Buffalo has one of the steepest metropolitan tax burdens in the country—including one of the nation’s highest local property tax rates, according to a 2003 study.
Buffalo also suffered from lousy local politics. During the 1960s, the city government failed to deliver either safety or good schools. Race riots shook the area, and crime rose steadily. Fiscal crises became epidemic. Buffalo had difficulty recruiting police because of low wages and the dangers of the street. Leadership was especially dismal during the late sixties and early seventies, the city’s worst years. Mayor Frank Sedita, who faced ceaseless fiscal problems and surging violence from 1966 to 1973, was a traditional urban politician, better at playing to the city’s various ethnicities than at confronting its ongoing crisis.
A s the 1970s went on, cities began to acknowledge, however grudgingly, that the high costs of concentrated poverty made it disastrous to keep repelling the well-off and attracting the poor. The exodus of the middle class and businesses led many cities to repudiate tax-and-spend left-liberal politicians, who had dominated urban politics in the sixties, in favor of pragmatic leaders promising a better deal for more prosperous residents. In 1977, for instance, New York City voters rejected left-liberals Abe Beame and Bella Abzug and elected reformer Ed Koch. And in Buffalo’s mayoral race that year, voters rejected a left-leaning Democrat, Arthur Eve, and embraced James Griffin, the law-and-order candidate of the Conservative and Right-to-Life Parties. Like Koch, Griffin focused on improving basic city services, such as public safety, and encouraging business investment.
But while Koch presided over the first sparks of New York’s eventual Giuliani-era renaissance, Buffalo remained mired in poverty and dysfunction because, unlike the Big Apple, it lacked a healthy private sector. Manhattan’s financial-services sector created an engine of economic success, with innovation following innovation. During the 1960s, investors developed more accurate ways to assess risk, which in turn made it possible for Michael Milken to find a wider market for riskier bonds. Those high-risk bonds then enabled the corporate takeover movement of the 1980s, which created huge amounts of value by cutting managerial fat and forcing greater efficiencies on firms across America. Later still, the same finance-based innovation dynamo brought more economic success to Manhattan with mortgage-backed securities and hedge funds. New York City, in other words, transformed itself from a manufacturing center into a place that thrived on producing new ideas.
The other old, cold cities that staved off decline, like Boston and Minneapolis, similarly reinvented themselves, with the density that once served to move cargo onto ships now helping spread the latest ideas. The key ingredient: human capital. The cities that bounced back did so thanks to smart entrepreneurs, who figured out new ways for their cities to thrive. The share of the population possessing college degrees in the 1970s is the best predictor of which northeastern and midwestern cities have done well since then.
Buffalo wasn’t a particularly skilled city in 1970, and it isn’t one now. Fewer than 19 percent of the city’s adults boast a college degree the number in Manhattan is 57.5 percent. Whereas New York always had some industries, such as finance, that required brainpower, Buffalo’s industries were invariably brawn-based. Buffalo wasn’t a university town like Boston, and it didn’t have Minneapolis’s Scandinavian passion for good lower education. It had the right skill mix for making steel or flour, not for flourishing in the information age.
S ince the 1950s, the federal government has showered billions upon billions of dollars on Buffalo and other failing cities, seeking to revitalize them. The spending reflected a natural, humane impulse. But none of it worked, as Buffalo’s entrenched poverty and shrinking population testify.
In 1957, for example, the federal Urban Renewal Association provided more than $9 million ($65 million in today’s dollars) to rebuild the Ellicott district in the city’s downtown area. The Ellicott rehabilitation followed what became the classic urban renewal script—replacing slums with middle-income housing, commercial development, and more open space. The program removed 2,000 residents, the majority of them black, and relocated many to new public-housing projects. Yet just ten years later, officials were describing the program as a “dismal failure.” Despite millions spent, living conditions for the poor seemed no better, and the city certainly wasn’t on the mend.
After Ellicott, Buffalo, with Washington’s help, turned its attention to redeveloping its waterfront. In 1969, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development supported the construction of the 40-story Marine Midland Center, a bank headquarters designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. Twenty-seven years later, the public contributed more than $50 million to build the Marine Midland Arena nearby to house hockey’s Buffalo Sabres. While the public money created splendid waterfront edifices, it did little to stem residents’ flight from the city.
Buffalo’s metropolitan rail system, which opened in 1985, is the most expensive of the city’s revitalization efforts. The system took over six years and $500 million to build, with most of the money coming from Washington. Many have lauded the system for its cleanness and efficiency. But why sink so much money into rail lines when Buffalo has lots of highways and abundant parking? The system’s ridership has been declining steadily for over a decade.
A ll this spending aimed at resurrecting Buffalo as a place—very different from government aid that seeks to help disadvantaged people, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit—was destined to fail. Urban migrations aren’t random. America’s deserts and mountain ranges aren’t densely inhabited for a good reason: few people want to live in such harsh places. Similarly, people and firms are leaving Buffalo for the Sunbelt because the Sunbelt is a warmer, more pleasant, and more productive area to live. The federal government shouldn’t be bribing them, in effect, to stay in the city.
Such bribes are notoriously ineffective. Scores of close to worthless urban projects have received government funding not because any cost-benefit analysis has justified them but because of hazy claims that they would make some once-great area thrive again. It’s almost impossible to imagine that the billions already spent on Buffalo’s urban-renewal projects would satisfy any reasonable cost-benefit analysis for helping to reverse the city’s decline. The desire of people and firms to move is just too strong. For the government to tear down old houses and build new ones in a place like Buffalo is particularly misguided. The hallmark of declining cities is having an excess of housing relative to demand. Econ 101 teaches us that any further increases in housing supply will just push prices down more.
No mayor ever got reelected by making it easy for his citizens to move to Atlanta, of course, even when that might be a pretty good outcome for the movers themselves. But just because local pols will eagerly seek federal place-based spending doesn’t mean that the feds should comply. A sensible federal approach for upstate New York would invest in people-based policies that improve the economic futures of the children growing up there. Education is the best tool we have to fight poverty. If the children of upstate cities were better educated, then they would earn more as adults—whether they stayed in their hometowns or moved to Las Vegas. And people-based policies may actually motivate states and cities to spend more wisely, in order to retain their newly educated and mobile residents.
As for state and local politicians, reducing New York’s unnecessary taxes and regulation would be a good idea, since if Buffalo is ever to rebound, even somewhat, private innovators, not government projects, will be the primary reason. Better schools and safe streets would also be key to improving Buffalo’s chances of survival. Yet though such policies would improve things, they would not restore the boomtown of the early twentieth century the economic trends working against such a prospect are simply too great. The best scenario would be for Buffalo to become a much smaller but more vibrant community—shrinking to greatness, in effect. Far better that outcome than wasting yet more effort and resources on the foolish project of restoring the City of Light’s past glory.
Edward L. Glaeser is a professor of economics at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1992, and a Manhattan Institute senior fellow.
Research for this article was supported by the Brunie Fund for New York Journalism.
The Skokie March That Wasn’t
FORTY YEARS LATER, the 1978 Swastika War in Skokie, Illinois, is both well-known and the subject of much confusion. For most, it is remembered as a story about the limits of free speech, centered on a legal battle between the ACLU-represented National Socialist Party of America and Skokie village officials who sought to defend the town’s multitude of Holocaust survivors. Anyone vaguely familiar with the incident knows the Nazis marched in Illinois the event even inspired a famous scene in The Blues Brothers in which the duo runs a group of demonstrating “Illinois Nazis” off a bridge.
But the Nazi march at the center of the famous legal case never happened. Though the Nazis finally won the right to demonstrate in Skokie after a long legal battle, the Nazis canceled just days before the proposed demonstration. For most who know of the incident, that’s the end of the story. But the Nazis weren’t done, and the Swastika War (as it was dubbed in the Chicago Tribune ) culminated in a different march altogether—and a second First Amendment case involving protestors who defied police orders to sit back and let the Nazis demonstrate.
The full story of the Swastika War can’t be reduced to any courtroom drama, nor is it confined to a conflict between neo-Nazis and the Jewish community. Archival documentation tells a more complex story of massive counter-demonstrations, black and Jewish solidarity, Holocaust survivors who vowed to confront the Nazis in the streets, and a grassroots battle between a small collective of proud, leftist Jews and the conservative institutional leadership of the Jewish community. This untold history reveals a minority of the Jewish community in revolt—clear-eyed about their allies and determined to confront the Nazis directly, despite repression on the part of both the mainstream Jewish community and the police.
Seen in its full scope, the Swastika War begins like too many American stories: in the rubble of anti-black racism. In Marquette Park, the “Nazi neighborhood” on the southwest side of Chicago, the rubble was piling up, and by 1976 it would topple over into the Jewish community in the village of Skokie.
Marquette Park, the white, largely Lithuanian neighborhood that Frank Collin’s National Socialist Party of America called home, was a historic epicenter of anti-black violence. By the mid-60s, a decade after the Montgomery Bus Boycott, civil rights had still not come to Chicago. Entire neighborhoods and a public park were kept whites-only by housing discrimination, hostile white residents, and complicit police. Western Avenue divided the nearly all-white Marquette Park from all-black West Englewood.
In 1966, Martin Luther King Jr. was struck by a rock in Marquette Park while protesting these racist housing policies with the Chicago Freedom Movement, in a campaign organized by his Southern Christian Leadership Conference. “I have been in many demonstrations all across the South, but I can say that I have never seen—even in Mississippi and Alabama—mobs as hostile and as hate-filled as I’ve seen in Chicago,” King said at the time. “It’s definitely a closed society,” he said of the area. “[W]e’re going to make it an open society.”
A decade later, this promise was profoundly unfulfilled. In 1976, United Press International (UPI) published a series of stories investigating racist housing practices in Marquette Park. A batch of homes on the eastern edge of Marquette Park were now black owned. The white neighbors greeted them with terror. “More than 50 black families were harassed with firebombs, broken windows, threats and abuse,” UPI reported. The Chicago Defender , a black newspaper, reported that “in a year and a half of incidents, black residents have had swastikas and threatening signs painted on their property,” and many homes were subject to “fire damage by apparent arsonists.” Investigations stalled in one case the police would not categorize the fire as arson, instead blaming electrical wires.
Meanwhile, reports in the Chicago Defender also detailed the violence that awaited black residents who found themselves on the other side of Western Avenue, too close to Marquette Park itself. One man, Robert Ellington, was dragged out of his car and stabbed 22 times by young white men just a few weeks after the firebombings of black homes. The Martin Luther King Jr. Movement and the Chicago Urban League established community patrols to put a stop to the violence, while the Nation of Islam donated food and clothing to the fire victims.
Some in the community believed Collin’s group of self-proclaimed Nazis were behind the violence, particularly the firebombings. That year, the Martin Luther King Jr. Movement Coalition declared they would march into Marquette Park in protest. The group of 100 civil rights marchers were met by a white mob of 2,500 and far less police protection than they anticipated. Phyllis Hudson, a reporter for the Chicago Defender , was struck in the back with a brick. Black people who drove by during the demonstration became targets of white violence when Wendell Kells crashed into a stop sign, his car was pummelled by bricks and bottles, and his cousin Thornton was knocked unconscious. Kells told the reporters he thought the mob would kill his cousin. More than 30 were reported injured. Sixty-three were arrested.
Suspicions of Nazi responsibility for these attacks added to their already violent reputation. In the summer of 1976, the Chicago Park District put a stop to the Nazis’ frequent rallies in Marquette Park, citing their violent outcomes. To demonstrate in a public park, the Nazis would have to put up a $250,000 insurance bond as a liability against property damage. Unable to come up with the money, the Nazis cancelled their demonstrations and sought legal representation from the American Civil Liberties Union. They also applied for permits to demonstrate in other areas outside of Chicago’s limits.
This is how the Nazi problem in Marquette Park spread to suburbia, while the racist attacks within the city bore on. The firebombings of black homes (or, in one case, the home of a white resident who had recently sold to a black buyer) continued into the summer of 1977.
The nearby town of Skokie was in most ways a typical Chicago suburb—its development and demographics structured in part by American racism, especially white flight from the interior of the city. Skokie’s demographics were also influenced by European antisemitism. By the mid-1970s, out of a total population of 70,000, Skokie had a rapidly growing Jewish community, which Marvin Bailey, the village’s director of housing development estimated at approximately 40,000 people. Though most arrived in Skokie from communities on Chicago’s South and West sides in response to an in-migration of blacks from the South, a significant amount Skokie’s Jews—between 5,000 and 6,000 people—were refugees and survivors of the Holocaust and their families.
Frank Collin, the Nazi party leader, seized upon this migration pattern and turned it on its head. In press releases he blamed Jews for the “invasion” of black people on the city’s southwest side, connecting his racist and anti-Jewish agendas.
As the Nazis searched for march locations devoid of the city of Chicago’s large bond requirement, they fixed their eyes on Skokie. When the Village of Skokie denied the Nazis’ request for a marching permit and introduced restrictive amendments to their constitution, the ACLU famously took the village to court.
After a long legal battle, by the summer of 1978 it was likely that the Nazis would get a permit to demonstrate in Skokie. For the radicals in the Jewish community of Skokie and elsewhere, it seemed increasingly clear that if the US Constitution could not keep the Nazis out, they had to be challenged in the street.
More than a year of national media coverage of the Nazis’ legal case and the dramatic nature of the story created a whirlwind. Many Jews abandoned the ACLU in disgust over their defense of the Nazis’ right to a permit. The NAACP, Jesse Jackson and other civil rights leaders and organizations guaranteed their presence. A massive counter-demonstration was brewing. The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago anticipated 50,000 people in Skokie on June 25th to oppose what might amount to several dozen Nazis, and militant groups like the right-wing Jewish Defense League (JDL) promised violence. While the ACLU was defending the Nazis’ legal right to march into the Jewish suburb, they were also giving them the right to march into an incredibly dangerous situation. Alarmed by the possibility of violence, Skokie village officials, in conversation with mainstream Jewish organizations, devised a plan which would protect the Nazis if they were to march.
Their plan called for a separate counter-demonstration, far from the Nazis. Instead of confronting them directly, they proposed that approximately 100 community leaders and officials would face the Nazis at Skokie Village Hall, while a mile away the massive counter-demonstration would take place out of sight. The logic of the separate counter-demonstration was documented in the legal case that the Village of Skokie built against the Nazis. The sight of Nazis in their uniforms, they argued, would elicit an uncontrollable and even violent reaction, especially in Holocaust survivors. Separating the Nazis from the crowd wasn’t for the protection of the survivors from the Nazis, but actually the other way around.
For their part, the counter-demonstrators were split: One faction insisted that if the Nazis were going to be in Skokie, they had to confront them directly. Others, including the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, disagreed. A fascinating record of the debate over the separate march and the strategies to confront the Nazis comes from a forgotten source, the Chutzpah Jewish Liberation Collective, and their underground newspaper, Chutzpah .
Founded in 1971, this small, charismatic group of Jewish leftists demonstrated together and published a newspaper articulating a holistic vision of Jewish liberation that rejected the sectarianism of their ultra-leftist peers and the right-wing Zionism of the JDL. Unlike much of the mainstream Jewish community, Chutzpah wasn’t outraged at the ACLU. They were outraged with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and the village officials in Skokie over the plan for a separate march.
Flyer made by the Chutzpah Collective criticizing the Jewish Federation’s separate counter-demonstration to the Nazi march in Skokie. Reproduced from the personal collection of Miriam Socoloff.
They printed flyers featuring a fist smashing a swastika—an image lifted from the Jewish Resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto—urging people to disobey the plan of village officials. They charged the Federation with being concerned that “the Jews look respectable for the media,” and demanded the right to confront the Nazis at Village Hall on June 25th, rather than “cower on the other side of town.” Unlike the JDL, they did not advocate violence, but rather said that confrontation was necessary to ensure that if the Nazis marched into the Jewish community, it would be a “very unpleasant experience.”
But with days to go, Nazi leader Frank Collin cancelled the Skokie march. Citing precedent, Chicago Federal District Court Judge George Leighton dismissed the insurance bond that had previously kept the Nazis from demonstrating in Chicago public parks. “We could go on for a long time with hearings on this matter,” he said, “but we know from experience in this case that the plaintiff’s argument will prevail.”
By winning back the Nazis’ right to march in Marquette Park, Collin had scored a victory: he avoided a dangerous situation in Skokie while terrorizing thousands of Jewish Holocaust survivors, as well as Jews across the country who had been following the story at a distance. Most importantly, he had secured the right to demonstrate on his “home turf” without economic consequence. Trumpeting that his free speech was restored, Collin announced that instead of demonstrating in Skokie, the Nazis would go ahead with their rally in Marquette Park on July 9th. For Skokie Mayor Al Smith, this was a decisive victory, bringing the village out of the crosshairs. The Metropolitan Black Caucus called the turn of events a “conspiracy” to endanger the the black community, while ensuring safety in the Jewish community.
The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago called off the counter-demonstration in Skokie and they did not organize one for Marquette Park. For some Holocaust survivors, the fact that the Nazis were marching elsewhere was no consolation. One survivor, who preferred to remain anonymous, explained his profound disappointment with the whole affair, and especially the penning off of the counter-protest, to the Chicago Tribune :
I feel let down by the American people, the Jewish people. No one came out and said we have a right to march and face them, if we felt we must. Our stand was that we had to confront the Nazis. The officials felt the separate countermarch was easier for them. But after what we went through in the Holocaust, why did we not get some support for o ur feelings?
Members of the Chutzpah Jewish Liberation Collective, 1977. Photograph from Chutzpah: A Jewish Liberation Anthology.
Meanwhile, the Chutzpah Collective had used the weeks of uncertainty leading up to the would-be Nazi demonstration in Skokie to form a coalition. Chutzpah wanted people who were threatened by Nazis to unite in opposition, namely blacks, gays, socialists, and Jews. They were joined by the Tim Berry Irish Republican Clubs, the International Socialists, and the North Side chapter of the New American Movement, among others. The groups that joined Chutzpah to form the coalition agreed at the outset that they would not use the anti-Nazi demonstration in Skokie as a forum for anti-Israel politics. While Chutzpah was a non-Zionist group, their members were wary of those on the left who reduced Jewish issues to Israel and Zionism.
“Building a Coalition,” an article in the Chutzpah newspaper, described meetings where organizers ran into pushback over its Jewish context. One leftist, who was Jewish himself, argued that to root the coalition in a Jewish context was reactionary, and that instead they should choose a name from the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. Chutzpah members disagreed, believing that a group which was founded to oppose Nazis in Skokie could very well call itself something Jewish. After some more arguing, the diverse and multiracial group came to an agreement. They called themselves the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Coalition.
The upcoming march put Chutzpah into relationship not just with other leftist organizations, but even with elements of the Jewish far right: the JDL was also planning on countering the Nazi march on July 9th. And while they were not part of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Coalition, the JDL was involved in a speaking event at a church in the black community of West Englewood the day before the Nazi rally in Marquette Park, and also attended the counter-demonstration itself. This is noteworthy because the JDL, ostensibly founded to protect older Jews in New York City against black crime, was known to feed off anti-black fear in the Jewish community. However, their radical opposition to Nazism brought them into solidarity with Chutzpah and other leftists who supported black community members’ struggle against the Nazis in their neighborhood.
The day of the march, 2,000 anti-Nazi demonstrators gathered, but quickly realized that the police would not allow them directly into the white community on the other side of the train tracks. So instead, they altered their path, and decided to take a longer route through the embattled West Englewood neighborhood in solidarity with its black residents. In the Chutzpah newspaper, activist Jerry Herst described the march:
It was really a heterogeneous march. Banners identified groups from all over the country. There were Blacks with signs against Nazism and anti-Semitism, young people joining from the neighborhood, older adults from the Grey Panthers and the Emma Lazarus Clubs, college students, gentiles against anti-Semitism, whites against racism. Some came from highly organized sectarian leftist organizations, while other individuals just came because they felt strongly about the issue.
People came from their houses to wave at the demonstrators, cars honked their horns in approval. Children ran into the march, eager to try out the organizers’ bullhorns. It “was the most fun we had all day,” Herst wrote.
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Coalition at a counter-demonstration to the Nazi march in Marquette Park, Chicago. Photo: Marian Henriquez Neudel
When counter-protestors arrived at Western Avenue, where the train tracks divided West Englewood and Marquette Park, the march was halted by the police. “Free speech for anti-Nazis! Let’s go to the park!” The protestors’ shouts echoed under a viaduct. Close by, skirmishes broke out between Nazi sympathizers and the anti-Nazis. Not everyone was blocked some managed to talk or push their way into Marquette Park. By the time Jerry Herst arrived, the rally was mostly over. He found a Holocaust survivor who was shaken by the familiar hatred he witnessed in the park. As Jerry turned back through the chaos, “past knots of white power T-shirters standing outside bars, past the Nazi storefront, past dozens of police on Western Ave.,” he reflected, “I finally felt safe again, back in the Black ghetto. That feeling of safety there is one I hope not ever to forget.”
Marian Henriquez Neudel, also a member of Chutzpah and a legal observer, wasn’t as lucky. She and her friends Andrew Klein and Theo Katzman were among the 21 people arrested that day. Neudel, Klein, and Katzman—all members of the Upstairs Minyan which met at the University of Chicago Hillel—were arrested “for their own safety” after trying to cross Western Avenue towards the Nazis a second time. In the paddy wagon they were joined by a black counter-demonstrator and a “psychotic Nazi.”
“I’m not using either of those two words loosely. He believed he was Jesus and the Jews were sent to kill him,” Neudel told me in an interview. “Then he played Harry Houdini and managed to get his handcuffed arms in front of him. He started banging his arms against the walls of the car for hours.”
Along with six other members of Chutzpah who had not been allowed into Marquette Park to protest against the Nazis, Neudel, Klein, and Katzman became the plaintiffs in a second case connected to the Swastika War involving Nazi demonstrations, Jews, and the ACLU.
The plaintiffs in Neudel vs. Pepp were represented by Steven Lubet, himself a member of Chutzpah, along with Mark Schoenfeld from the Northwestern University Law Clinic and Lois Lipton from the ACLU. Together, they sued Charles Pepp, Deputy Chief of the Chicago Police Department, as well as Captain William Woods and two commanders, for $25,000 each, claiming that their First Amendment rights had been violated by the police when they were kept from demonstrating in Marquette Park. In a fascinating inversion of the infamous Skokie case, the group made the case that as Jews, not being allowed to counter-demonstrate against the Nazis caused them emotional distress.
In a way, things had come full circle. The plaintiffs received an out-of-court settlement, for amounts ranging from $200 to $400. “Chicago Cops Support Chutzpah!” the collective announced in the Chutzpah newspaper. They reported that the plaintiffs pooled money from the settlement to donate $1,300, splitting the amount between the Simon Wiesenthal Jewish Documentation Center, the Fred Hampton Scholarship Fund, and the Chutzpah newspaper itself, to fight Nazism, racism and antisemitism.
In 2009, the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center opened in Skokie, the result of 30 years of Holocaust education advocacy fueled by the attempted Nazi march. At the very end of the museum, a modest display nods to the would-be Skokie counter-demonstration. A press release under plexiglass detailing the separate march sits alongside protest signs from the JDL. Missing are the voices of dissent who challenged the Jewish establishment in order to confront the Nazis, and the Chutzpah Jewish Liberation Collective’s unique organizing history. Most troublingly, the crucial context of anti-black violence, terrorism, segregation, and impoverishment on the southwest side of Chicago is nowhere to be found.
This story, told in its full scope, bears a lesson not about freedom of speech, but about solidarity forged through common struggle. So long as there is anti-black racism and inequality at the foundation of American society, there will also be Nazi hatred. And wherever this hatred arises it must be confronted by as many people as possible, both systemically and in the streets.
A sign from the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Coalition said it best: Not in Marquette Park. Not in Skokie. Not Anywhere!
Isaac Brosilow is a writer and Jewish educator living in Chicago.
Albert Frey designed the Cree House, on the border between Palm Springs and Cathedral City, in 1955, but the history of the residence goes back almost a decade earlier. In 1947, Raymond Cree, a former Riverside County school superintendent turned real estate developer (he once owned the land on which the Thunderbird Country Club now stands), bought 12 acres of desert scrub on a rocky hillside off East Palm Canyon Drive and commissioned Frey to design the Desert Hills Hotel.
The luxury resort comprised nine modern-looking bungalows nestled on the face of a pyramid-shaped hill and, at its base, a contemporary restaurant. Judging by Frey’s original design for the property, the complex would have been stunning, something architectural fans from all over the world no doubt would have visited to study and admire. Who knows, it might even have become the Palm Springs equivalent of the Frank Lloyd Wright campus, Taliesin West, in Scottsdale. But the project was never realized.
TAKE A TOUR
Be among the first to see the restored hillside Cree House, which features some of architect Albert Frey’s signature characteristics: a spectacular siting, a jutting balcony with fiberglass railings, and thin roof overhangs. Nicholas Lawrence Design, in partnership with Knoll, has outfitted the house with Knoll furniture and vintage accents for public tours during Modernism Week, Feb. 14–24.
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VIDEO: View the house and hear from architecture historian Robert Imber on the history and aesthetics of Cree House.
What happened? Nobody really knows. Not even Joseph Rosa, considered the world’s foremost authority on Frey. Says Rosa, now the director and CEO of the Frye Art Museum in Seattle (not to be confused with Frey the architect), “The desert has always been a place where dreamers come up with big ideas, but the traction isn’t always there. So Raymond Cree had a vision, and Albert Frey put that vision down on paper, but the dream was never realized, and we don’t really know why.”
Instead, when he was 82, Raymond Cree, who still owned the undeveloped land, asked Frey to switch gears and design a simple two-bedroom house perched on the hillside overlooking what should have been his fancy resort restaurant. Architectural historians have long dubbed the modest 1,300-square-foot home — which cost all of $40,000 to build — the “Forgotten Frey.” Not because anyone ever really forgot about it, but because hardly anyone has ever seen it.
“In a certain way,” Rosa says, “this is a house that wasn’t forgotten so much as ignored. And perhaps it’s better, in some ways, that it was left alone as it was for so many years.”
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY PALM SPRINGS HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Albert Frey at his home known as Frey House II.
The house features Albert Frey’s typical beige, tan, and sage color plan.
Sidney Williams, former curator of architecture and design at the Palm Springs Art Museum, remembers contacting the owners several times over the years, begging to have a peak at the house. “I was always turned down,” she says. “To this day, I’ve never been inside the house. I’m very curious to see it.”
And she’ll have the chance, as will others, with tours of the recently restored Forgotten Frey being offered during Modernism Week, Feb. 14–24.
The house, which has had only a few owners, boasts a fascinating history. When Cree, then 90 years old, moved in with a niece in Riverside in 1965, he sold the Frey house to Milton F. Kreis, who not only owned the restaurant at the base of the hill, then called Rim-Rocks, but also a Googie-style restaurant in Palm Springs designed by William F. Cody, known as Aloha Jhoe’s Tiki Bar and Polynesian Restaurant (oddly enough, the eatery served Cantonese food).
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY MARTIN NEWMAN
A view from Julius Shulman’s photo shoot of the house.
RENDERING COURTESY OF SAM HARRIS
Albert Frey’s rendering of the Cree House, set into the mountain on the border of Palm Springs and Cathedral City.
Now this is where the story gets complicated: Aloha Jhoe’s didn’t last long. It was replaced by Sherman’s Steak House, as in Sherman Harris, who would later found Sherman’s Deli & Bakery. So when Kreis died in 1972, who should buy the Forgotten Frey but Harris?
“It was always a unique house,” recalls Sherman’s son, Sam Harris, who took over ownership of the deli (with his sister Janet) and the home. The younger Harris remembers spending weekends at the proprty as a kid and being fascinated by the oddities of the home — like the vintage refrigerator that hung on the kitchen wall.
PHOTO BY GETTY IMAGES/THIERRY PERRIN
Albert Frey’s Cree House design recalls the details from his work on one of Le Corbusier’s masterworks, the Villa Savoye.
“It was this strange three-door, hanging refrigerator-freezer. General Electric made them, but they were expensive and only in production for a few years,” Harris says. He has spent about a year restoring the neglected landmark. It’s not until Harris actually opens one of the refrigerator door panels that you even know it’s an appliance it’s built to look like three hanging kitchen cabinets over the Formica counters. Harris has no idea why the almost-65-year-old fridge, which stopped working long ago, was never replaced, but it wasn’t. “Maybe it was too much of a hassle to take it out,” he says. “It weighs a ton.”
The kitchen boasts original appliances, including a three-door refrigerator-freezer and an oven with circular windows.
But Harris, who committed to restoring the house as much as possible to its original 1955 condition, is glad the copper-colored fridge (it also came in teal and pink) was never replaced — though it took some doing to get it up and running again. Obviously Harris couldn’t call up General Electric Co. and ask if they had the parts for a refrigerator compressor that hadn’t been manufactured in more than 50 years. So a machinist had to rebuild it from scratch. He found a Palm Springs auto repair shop to repaint the enamel door panels and then enlisted someone to remake the plastic inserts inside the three-panel fridge.
Chuckling, Harris concedes that maybe doing all of that was a little crazy. “But you know, once you decide you really want to bring it back to its original 1955 state, you can’t do it halfway.” Which is why his contractor spent days tracking down the home’s original shower door from a bone yard for old glass in San Diego and restoring the yellow corrugated fiberglass panels that wrapped around the deck extending off the living room.
“Albert Frey was known for his fascination for designing homes using what, at the time, were state-of-the-art industrial materials,” says Williams, the architecture and design curator. “So now we may see yellow corrugated fiberglass panels and think they’re unattractive, but in the early ’50s, this was quite avant-garde. Fiberglass wasn’t in common usage until well after World War II.”
Designer and craftsman John Vugrin attended to every detail of the restoration.
“In a certain way, this is a house that wasn’t forgotten so much as it was ignored. And perhaps it’s better, in some ways, that it was left alone for so many years.”
— Joseph Rosa
Also unique were the industrial colored asbestos-cement sheets used to wrap around the outside of the house. The encelia-green-striped asbestos-cement sheets remain a distinctive feature of the home’s design. “The house is typical in the industrial materials Frey used,” Williams continues. “And the color plan — beige, tan, sage green — they’re the colors of the desert, bringing the outdoors in.”
In restoring the home, it helps that Harris discovered a couple of magazine stories on the house from the ’50s, including one that listed the materials and manufacturers used, from the Modernfold sliding partitions to the Atomic Age gas oven by Western Holly with a porthole in the middle that makes it look more like a washing machine than an oven. “All the doors in the house are original but had to be restored,” Harris says. “The kitchen still has the original paneling, but most of the other paneling inside the house had to be taken down and restored.”
An important centerpiece of the house is the fireplace, built from rock sourced around the property. It’s the only strong vertical element, passing through the horizontal mass of the house and anchoring it to the hill on which it sits. “It’s a unique element,” Williams says. “The way it’s situated, it grounds the whole house, and everything pivots around it.”
The kitchen boasts original appliances, including a three-door refrigerator-freezer and an oven with circular windows.
“I remember Albert telling me that whenever he felt stuck or had a problem with design, he’d go back to his training with Le Corbusier to rediscover simple, elegant design.”
— Joseph Rosa
Both Williams and Rosa maintain that the Cree House isn’t important only as a stand-alone example of Frey’s innovative architecture but that, as Rosa says, it best represents his Le Corbusier schooling.
“I remember Albert telling me that whenever he felt stuck or had a problem with design, he’d go back to his training with Le Corbusier to rediscover simple, elegant design,” Rosa says. “And the Cree House — along with his own home, Frey II — are perfect examples of that.”
Williams echoes the thought: “You can draw a straight line from the Cree House to some of Frey’s most important works in the desert, including the Carey-Pirozzi House [built in 1956] and his own home [completed in 1964], perched on a hill, using simple, industrial materials, and designed to minimize its impact on the surrounding environment — like the Cree House. We are all very lucky that it is still there and looks pretty much the way Albert designed it.”
Slaves of the tribe: The hidden history of the Freedmen
Late last summer, after more than a decade of legal battles, a U.S. federal court ruled that the rights enjoyed by members of the Cherokee Nation also extend to the descendants of the slaves owned by the Nation before the Civil War.
The court upheld an 1866 treaty between the U.S. government and the Cherokee Nation which granted “all the rights of native Cherokees,” including citizenship in the Nation, to their liberated slaves—the Cherokee Freedmen—and their descendants.
After this ruling, according to the Cherokee Phoenix, the Attorney General of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Todd Hembree, announced “that he would not appeal the court’s ruling,” likely bringing an end to the long-running conflict between Freedmen descendants and the Cherokees.
In 2007, the Cherokee Nation voted to amend its constitution to limit membership to only those persons descended from ancestors listed as “Cherokee by blood” on the original Dawes Rolls registry of Native Americans. This eliminated the citizenship rights of those descended from Cherokee Freedmen who were also on the same roll.
The Cherokee Freedmen are only the most recent group of freedmen to regain citizenship. The Seminole Freedmen descended from escaped slaves that joined the Seminole Nation in Florida and traveled with them along the Trail of Tears, previously won back some rights. There are still others, however, who are excluded by their respective indigenous governments.
The history of the Native American Freedmen is not widely known. One of the reasons why many don’t know this history is that out of over 500 federally recognized tribes, only five ever practiced chattel slavery. But even those who are familiar with some part of the story often believe a number of common myths.
One of them is that the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Choctaw, and Chickasaw weren’t engaged in actual slavery. It is widely believed that they were just buying slaves to either set them free or to free Black family members. This wasn’t really the case. These tribes—four of the Eurocentrically-termed “Five Civilized Tribes”—did engage in the practice of slavery, aided and encouraged by the U.S. government.
The U.S. encouraged slavery among the tribes in the southeastern United States to accomplish two goals. One was to “breed out” the native population by having them mix with white settlers and adopt the practice of chattel slavery. Cultural assimilation efforts would later take the form of forcefully sending indigenous children into boarding schools. Another goal was to keep Native Americans from protecting Black slaves who ran away from white plantations.
Encouraging the adoption of slavery was a second-best effort. Early on, colonists attempted to enslave indigenous people themselves. This was met with a number of difficulties, a major one being that diseases like smallpox killed so many indigenous people. Additionally, given that the indigenous were on their own land and knew it better than the colonists, escape was far easier for them.
Though Native Americans proved difficult to enslave, at least some tribes were enticed into becoming slaveowners. The Black people that were owned as slaves by the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Muscogee (Creek) Nations were mostly owned by either intermarried whites or their mixed blood descendants.
In the southern United States, the system of chattel slavery conferred a vast amount of power and influence on slave owners and shaped the destiny of the country. It was no different among the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Muscogee (Creek) Nations. Slavery among the five indigenous nations in the southeastern United States often mirrored practices in the rest of the South.
The Indian Removal Act of 1830 forced most of the indigenous nations in the southeastern United States to relocate west of the Mississippi along the Trail of Tears. That part of history is well known, but what is often overlooked is the fact that those nations who held slaves took them with them in the move. They would continue to keep them in bondage until the end of the Civil War in 1865.
At that time, the United States government negotiated new treaties with each of the indigenous nations. Enshrined into those agreements were the citizenship rights of the now-freed Blacks. Out of the five indigenous nations, only four granted freedmen citizenship. Freedmen were given a choice to take U.S citizenship instead, an option similar to that given to indigenous people if they chose to stay in their ancestral homelands rather than travel westward on the Trail of Tears.
The Dawes Commission, established by the U.S government in 1893, removed sovereignty and distributed land to freedmen and indigenous citizens on an individual basis. Freedmen, however, were granted less land than citizens by blood or by marriage. According to the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, “Choctaw freedmen and their descendants would each get forty acre allotments, but no share of the other tribal resources.”
Often, those with mixed Black and Native American heritage were listed as freedmen instead of “by blood.” “Mixed-blood black Indians were all enrolled as freedmen with no Indian blood,” according to Linda Reese of the Oklahoma Historical Society. “When stalling tactics failed the Indian governments, they used every measure at their disposal to limit the number of freedmen admitted to the rolls.”
It was really up to individual U.S. commissioners to determine if someone would be listed as a freedman, usually on the basis of whether they looked Black enough. Once free, many of the freedmen started looking for family members that had been sold to different plantations. They gathered into small settlements with their families, and some of these towns still exist in Oklahoma today.
Waynetta Lawrie (left), of Tulsa, Okla., stands with others at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City in 2007, during a demonstration by several Cherokee Freedmen and their supporters. | AP
With the ruling in the Cherokee case, the descendants of the Native American freedmen have now gained citizenship in the Seminole and Cherokee Nations, though it is still limited in the former. Both of these groups of freedmen descendants regained their citizenship rights following court decisions.
The Muscogee (Creek) Freedmen, however, lost their citizenship in 1979, the Choctaw Freedmen in 1983, and the Chickasaw Freedmen were never granted full citizenship. Some of the descendants of the Freedmen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma have chosen a different route than seeking to have their citizenship rights restored. Instead, they have formed the “Muscogee Creek Indian Freedmen Band” and have sought federal recognition from the United States.
After the ruling that restored the Cherokee Freedmen descendants’ citizenship rights, the Tulsa World reported that “the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole nations are each at various stages of acceptance of Freedmen as full citizens of their tribes.” It will likely take many more lawsuits, however, before all the freedmen are restored the rights taken away from them.
The BCG vaccine - different strains
The BCG vaccine was disseminated throughout the world in the late 1920s, and then each country maintained its own supply. At these other laboratories BCG was propagated in the same conditions as at the Pasteur Institute, and with the same aims. These aims were to prevent BCG from reverting to the virulent form, whilst preserving its potency, and hence its effectiveness. Over the course of the next few decades each of these laboratories developed its own sub strains, or “daughter strain” of BCG. These became called by the laboratory, country or person’s name with which they were associated. For example the Moscow and Gothenburg strains. 9 Behr, M “BCG - different strains, different vaccines?”, Antibiotics antibacterials Infectious Diseases, 2002, 86 www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article
12 Historical Speeches Nobody Ever Heard
For every speech, there are a bunch of versions that ended up on the writers' room floor. Here are 12 speeches that were written but, for a variety of reasons, never delivered.
1. “In Event of Moon Disaster”
As the world nervously waited for Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to land on the moon, Nixon speechwriter William Safire penned a speech in case the astronauts were stranded in space. The memo was addressed to H.R. Haldeman, Nixon’s Chief of Staff, and includes chilling directions for the president, NASA, and clergy in case something went awry.
IN EVENT OF MOON DISASTER:
Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.
These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.
These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.
They will be mourned by their families and friends they will be mourned by their nation they will be mourned by the people of the world they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.
In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.
In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.
Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.
For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.
2. Eisenhower’s “In Case of Failure” Message
General Dwight D. Eisenhower sounded confident before the Normandy Invasion. “This operation is planned as a victory, and that’s the way it’s going to be. We’re going down there, and we’re throwing everything we have into it, and we’re going to make it a success,” he said.
Operation Overlord was a massive campaign—an invasion of 4000 ships, 11,000 planes, and nearly three million men. Despite a year of strategizing and a boatload of confidence, Eisenhower had a quiet plan in case his mission failed. If the armada couldn’t cross the English Channel, he’d order a full retreat. One day before the invasion, he prepared a brief speech just in case:
"Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone."
Although the allies suffered about 12,000 casualties—with an estimated 4900 U.S. troops killed—155,000 successfully made it ashore, with thousands more on the way. Within a year, Germany would surrender.
3. Wamsutta James’s 1970 Plymouth Anniversary Speech
The people of Plymouth, Massachusetts wanted to celebrate. It was the 350th anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrims, and a day of festivities was planned. For the celebration dinner, organizers invited Wamsutta James—a descendent of the Wampanoag—to speak. They hoped James would give a cheery address recounting the friendly Pilgrim-Indian relationship. But James was not interested in that airbrushed version of history:
"It is with mixed emotion that I stand here to share my thoughts. This is a time of celebration for you—celebrating an anniversary of a beginning for the white man in America. A time of looking back, of reflection. It is with a heavy heart that I look back upon what happened to my People."
From there, James debunked a slew of cultural myths. The relationship between Pilgrims and Native Americans was always uneasy, he said. Wampanoag ancestors had lived in New England for nearly 10,000 years before the Europeans had arrived. But, in just a few years, the newcomers had brought disease and gobbled up land. The relationship eventually burst in 1675, when King Philip’s War erupted, decimating the Native American population and Wampanoag culture.
"History wants us to believe that the Indian was a savage, illiterate, uncivilized animal. A history that was written by an organized, disciplined people, to expose us as an unorganized and undisciplined entity. Two distinctly different cultures met. One thought they must control life the other believed life was to be enjoyed, because nature decreed it. Let us remember, the Indian is and was just as human as the white man. The Indian feels pain, gets hurt, and becomes defensive, has dreams, bears tragedy and failure, suffers from loneliness, needs to cry as well as laugh. He, too, is often misunderstood."
When James submitted his address for approval, the organizers rejected it. They asked him to read a speech prepared by a public relations writer instead. James walked away.
4. “I Don’t Feel Like Resigning”
With swaths of damning evidence around him and no support behind him, Richard Nixon stared into a television camera August 8, 1974, and announced his resignation. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. That was Plan B.
A few days earlier, Nixon’s speechwriter, Raymond Price, prepared two drafts for that address. In one—titled “Option B”—Nixon announced his resignation. In the other speech, he vowed to fight for his job. Here’s an excerpt:
“Whatever the mistakes that have been made—and there are many—and whatever the measure of my own responsibility for those mistakes, I firmly believe that I have not committed any act of commission or omission that justifies removing a duly elected official from office. If I did believe that I had committed such an act, I would have resigned long ago. . .”
“If I were to resign, it would spare the country additional months consumed with the ordeal of a Presidential impeachment and trial. But it would leave unresolved the questions that have already cost the country so much in anguish, division and uncertainty. More important, it would leave a permanent crack in our Constitutional structure: it would establish the principle that under pressure, a President could be removed from office by means short of those provided by the Constitution.”
Shortly after the speech was written, the “smoking gun” was released—a tape-recording of Nixon’s plan to halt the FBI’s Watergate investigation. His political support evaporated overnight. Impeachment became a certainty: “Option B” was the only option left.
5. JFK’s Dallas Trade Mart Speech
It was late November 1963, and President Kennedy had begun a two-day, five-city tour of Texas. After a speedy 13-minute flight from Fort Worth, a motorcade picked up JFK at the Dallas airport and took him on a ten-mile tour through downtown. The president was bound for the Trade Mart, where he was scheduled to speak at a luncheon. He never made it.
Here’s a short excerpt of Kennedy’s undelivered Trade Mart speech.
“There will always be dissident voices heard in the land, expressing opposition without alternatives, finding faults but never favor, perceiving gloom on every side and seeking influence without responsibility. Those voices are inevitable.
But today other voices are heard in the land—voices preaching doctrines wholly unrelated to reality, wholly unsuited to the sixties, doctrines which apparently assume that words will suffice without weapons, that vituperation is as good as victory and that peace is a sign of weakness. . .
We cannot expect that everyone, to use the phrase of a decade ago, will ‘talk sense to the American people.’ But we can hope that few people will listen to nonsense. And the notion that this Nation is headed for defeat through deficit, or that strength is but a matter of slogans, is not but just plain nonsense.
That day, Americans sorely needed to hear Kennedy’s unread closing:
“[Our] strength will never be used in pursuit of aggressive ambitions—it will always be used in pursuit of peace. It will never be used to promote provocations—it will always be used to promote the peaceful settlement of disputes.”
A second undelivered Dallas speech, for the Texas Democratic Committee in Austin, can be found here.
6. Anna Quindlen’s 2000 Villanova Commencement Address
Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Anna Quindlen had already written Villanova’s keynote speech when protests at the Catholic university began to roil. A handful of students disagreed with Quindlen’s views on abortion, and the issue boiled over so badly that Quindlen bowed out from the event. Although never delivered, her speech “A Short Guide to a Happy Life” has been widely circulated on the internet:
“Get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. . . Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over Seaside Heights, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over the water gap or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a Cheerio with her thumb and first finger.
"And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted. . . It is so easy to waste our lives: our days, our hours, our minutes. It is so easy to take for granted the color of azaleas, the sheen of the limestone on Fifth Avenue, the color of our kid’s eyes, the way the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again. It is so easy to exist instead of live.”
7. Condoleezza Rice’s 9/11 Address
On September 11, 2001, Condoleezza Rice was slated to deliver a speech at Johns Hopkins University, addressing “the threats and problems of today and the day after.” Terrorists made their own statement that morning, forcing Rice to scrap her speech.
In 2004, excerpts from Rice’s address leaked to The Washington Post. The speech did not mention Al Qaeda or Osama Bin Laden. Rather, it promoted missile defense as an upgraded security strategy. Of the few lines released publicly, one read:
“We need to worry about the suitcase bomb, the car bomb, and the vial of sarin released in the subway [but] why put deadbolt locks on your doors and stock up on cans of Mace then decide to leave your windows open?”
8. Ninoy Aquino Jr’s Last Remarks
Philippine Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. was not a fan of President Ferdinand Marcos. When Aquino stirred up the political pot, Marcos’s regime—ruled by martial law—tossed Aquino in jail. Years later, Aquino made his way out of prison and exiled himself in the United States. In 1983, upon hearing that life in the Philippines was getting worse, Aquino returned home to help. He came armed with a stirring speech:
“I have returned on my free will to join the ranks of those struggling to restore our rights and freedoms through nonviolence. I seek no confrontation. I only pray and will strive for a genuine national reconciliation founded on justice. . . A death sentence awaits me. Two more subversion charges, both calling for death penalties, have been filled since I left three years ago and are now pending with the courts. . . I return voluntarily armed only with a clear conscience and fortified faith that in the end justice will emerge triumphant. According to Gandhi, the willing sacrifice of the innocent is the most powerful answer to insolent tyranny that has yet been conceived by God and man.”
Aquino never read the address. Over 1000 armed soldiers awaited his landing. He was immediately arrested and, while waiting for his prison escort, was shot in the head. The assassination spurred a revolt against Marcos’s regime, which crumbled three years later.
9. JFK’s Other Cuban Missile Crisis Speech
America soiled its collective pants October 22, 1962. The country’s eyes were glued to the television as President Kennedy said what everyone feared: Cuba had missiles, and they were “capable of hitting any city in the western hemisphere.” The United States was a giant bullseye.
Kennedy announced a Cuban “quarantine,” a military blockade that restricted weapons and other materials to the island. Other options, however, were on the table—a second, more aggressive, address announced plans for an airstrike. Kennedy’s speechwriter, Ted Sorensen, didn’t write the second speech, but he did read it, and he was disturbed by its opening:
“I have ordered—and the United States Air Force has now carried out—military operations with conventional weapons to remove a major nuclear weapons build-up from the soil of Cuba.”
The alternate speech said that America would use nuclear weapons if necessary—a bold statement that never appeared in Kennedy’s televised address. It’s unknown who wrote the speech and if Kennedy ever saw it. “There is still a minor mystery as to who, if anyone, was asked to draft an alternative speech announcing and justifying an air strike on the missiles,” Sorensen later wrote.
10. Romney’s 47 Percent Fixer-Upper
When Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comments leaked in September, his campaign scrambled for a fix. A flurry of press conferences followed as the Romney camp tried to patch the damage. Later in September, an undelivered speech was leaked to the Wall Street Journal. Here’s a taste of what it said:
“One tragedy of the Obama Presidency is how many more Americans have become dependent on the government. I know it’s not their fault. Most want to be self-sufficient, to provide for their families, they can’t because there aren’t enough jobs. . . This is a national scandal. Not because those fellow Americans are free-loaders, but because they aren’t able to get a good job that pays enough to be self-sufficient and lets them fulfill their human potential. . . I don’t want to take food stamps away from Americans in need. I want fewer Americans to need food stamps.”
11. Sarah Palin’s Victory and Concession Speeches
Sarah Palin’s relationship with John McCain was never very warm and fuzzy. The Palin and McCain camps constantly clashed along the campaign trail. As one McCain official explained in a New York Times interview, “It was a difficult relationship… McCain talked to her occasionally.”
The duo’s biggest duel occurred on election night. Palin’s speechwriter, Matthew Scully, had drawn up two speeches: a victory and concession address. Hours before the candidates took the stage, McCain’s senior staffers told Palin that she couldn’t read either. According to The Daily Beast, McCain aides “literally turned the lights out on Palin when she retook the stage later that night to take pictures with her family, fearing that she would give the concession speech after all.”
Here’s the best of Palin’s undelivered addresses:
“As for my own family, well, it’s been quite a journey these past 69 days. We were ready, in defeat, to return to a place and a life we love. And I said to my husband Todd that it’s not a step down when he’s no longer Alaska’s 'First Dude.' He will now be the first guy ever to become the 'Second Dude.'
“I told my husband Todd to look at the upside: Now, at least, he can clear his schedule, and get ready for championship title number five in the Iron Dog snow machine race!. . . But far from returning to the great State of Alaska with any sense of sorrow, we will carry with us the best of memories. . . and joyful experiences that do not depend on victory.”
“America has made her choice. . . Now it is time for us go our way, neither bitter nor vanquished, but instead confident in the knowledge that there will be another day… and we may gather once more. . . and find new strength. . . and rise to fight again.”
12. FDR’s Final Words
April 12, 1945, was a beautiful day in Warm Springs, Georgia. Franklin D. Roosevelt relaxed inside his woodland cottage, the “Little White House,” and was having his portrait painted. But during lunch, a bolt of pain shot through the back of his head, causing him to collapse. By 3:35 pm, doctors had pronounced the president dead of a cerebral hemorrhage. A speech sat in FDR’s study, unread.
Roosevelt had edited the speech the night before. It was an address for Jefferson Day, a celebration of Thomas Jefferson, and was supposed to be delivered April 13 via a national radio broadcast. Here’s an excerpt of FDR’s last words to the American people:
“Let me assure you that my hand is the steadier for the work that is to be done, that I move more firmly into the task, knowing that you—millions and millions of you—are joined with me in the resolve to make this work endure.
The work, my friends, is peace, more than an end of this war—an end to the beginning of all wars, yes, an end, forever, to this impractical, unrealistic settlement of the differences between governments by the mass killing of peoples.
Today as we move against the terrible scourge of war—as we go forward toward the greatest contribution that any generation of human beings can make in this world—the contribution of lasting peace—I ask you to keep up your faith. . .
The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.”
The Art of Kintsugi
Reiko watched in wonder as her father, a talented artist, mixed a gold lacquer with a few scoops of rice flour to make an adhesive. He placed the broken shards of the bowl together with the glue. She watched in amazement as the bowl took shape, gold gleaming from the cracks. Her father had been right: somehow, it was more beautiful than it had been in the first place.
“This technique is called kintsugiin Japan,” her father explained as he worked. “It is believed that when broken items are repaired with gold or silver like this, that the flaw becomes a unique piece of the object’s history. And the uniqueness adds to its beauty.”
“But, Papa, there’s a piece missing.” Her fingers traced an empty hole where a heart-shaped shard was missing. “Can kintsugi fix that?”
“That’s all right. I’ll make a new one.” He crafted a gold heart from the dust and filled the space until it glowed.
“I’ve never seen anything so beautiful!” Reiko exclaimed as her fingers clasped over her own heart. “But, won’t Mama still be mad?”
Her grandfather, who had been watching from a nearby stool, shook his head. “There will be things in our lives that break, no matter how careful we are, just like this bowl. But that doesn’t mean that they cannot be fixed. What was once broken can become something beautiful.”
Living survivors and descendants are keeping the story alive
The attack on Greenwood stemmed from an incident on May 31, 1921, after a 19-year-old Black shoeshiner was accused of attacking a white female elevator operator.
A white mob gathered outside of the courthouse where the teen was held, requesting that the sheriff hand him over. A group of armed Black men, including WWI veterans, showed up to protect the teen but were repeatedly turned away by the sheriff. Eventually, a clash broke out between the white mob and Black men.
"A shot goes off, and the massacre begins," Ellsworth said.
Prior to the massacre, Greenwood was "an incredibly vibrant and energetic place," Ellsworth said. The community spanned 35 blocks filled with a vast amount of storefronts and restaurants, a dozen of churches, two movie theaters, a public library, and an African American hospital. The neighborhood came alive on Thursdays and Saturdays, Ellsworth said.
But the country was coming off the heels of World War I as well as the Red Summer of 1919 when Black communities were terrorized by white supremacist mobs amid a Spanish flu pandemic. In the aftermath of the war, Black soldiers who returned home were lauded as heroes and seen as hope for progress in the fight for civil rights. But they were also perceived as a threat to white Americans.
The backlash resulted in race riots and lynchings across the US that preceded the Tulsa race massacre. They came amid a second rise of the Ku Klux Klan on a national level in Oklahoma in 1920.
Greenwood, the home of Black Wall Street, was "destroyed on the ground," Ellsworth said. "In the afternoon of June 1st, national guard troops from Oklahoma city, outside of Tulsa, arrive in town, and order is restored - but Greenwood was gone."
No one was held responsible for the destruction.
In late May, the last living survivors of the massacre, Viola Fletcher, Hughes Van Ellis, and Lessie Benningfield Randle, all in their 100s, called for justice and reparation as they spoke before Congress.
"I still see Black men being shot, Black bodies lying in the street. I still smell smoke and see fire. I still see Black businesses being burned. I still hear airplanes flying overhead. I hear the screams," Viola Fletcher, 107, told lawmakers.
Fletcher is one of the few living survivors who are a part of a lawsuit for reparations that had been filed last year. The lawsuit calls for a remedy and compensation for "one of the worst acts of domestic terrorism in United States history since slavery." It was brought against seven different entities, including the city of Tulsa, its County Sheriff, and the Oklahoma Military Department.
"Every time I think about the men and women that we've worked with, and knowing that they died without justice, it just crushes me," Damario Solomon-Simmons, who represents the survivors, told the Associated Press.
"They all believed that once the conspiracy of silence was pierced, and the world found out about the destruction, the death, the looting, the raping, the maiming, and the wealth that was stolen … that they would get justice, that they would have gotten reparations," he added.