Peace (and Sound),
This is a poem in response to a video that Terry did, as he was reading the book I sent him, part of a larger multi-months back/forth that he and I have been having with poems, letters, stickers and other forms of texts, remixing as we go along.
Peace (Stepping Lightly),
D. Elisabeth Glassco shared an entire thread on Mastodon the other day about ‘Black Rosies’ — the nearly forgotten members of the Rosie The Riveter generation of women who helped with war efforts at home during WW2. Efforts in recent years have worked to raise the profile of these woman.
Among these unsung heroes were over half a million “Black Rosies” who toiled in shipyards, factories, offices, and various other sectors to combat both foreign authoritarianism and the entrenched enemy of racism on the home front. Sadly, their immense contributions went largely unacknowledged for decades. — Glassco
But, unfortunately, many of these women worked in conditions and environments that were laced with prejudice and inequality, and for a long time, the iconic image of Rosie The Riveter was a white woman. Remembering the contributions of ‘Black Rosies’ is important as part of expanding the story narrative of our country’s wartimes history and I was intrigued by the insights and resources that Glassco shared (and I thanked her on Mastodon).
Black Rosies not only played a vital role in the war effort but also sought economic empowerment. For many Black American women, becoming a Rosie offered an escape from dead-end domestic and sharecropping jobs, aligning with the ongoing Great Migration. The war provided them with an unprecedented opportunity to earn money and shape a better future. — Glassco
Glassco’s posting caught my attention — not just for Juneteenth — but also because some of the work I have done with the Springfield Armory National Historic Museum and with Write Out (a National Writing Project/National Park Service partnership) has touched on and used the Rosie The Riveter story, with both other educators in Professional Development and with middle school students in summer programs that we have run at the Armory itself.
I don’t particularly remember ever coming across this many resources (see list below) related to Black women who were also considered ‘Rosies’, but I wish we had had more in our Armory programming, particularly when working on historical inquiry with young people. Seeing themselves in the primary historical documents of the Springfield Armory has always been one of our program goals. We work hard to diversify the resources, to expand the stories, to make sure place and culture are central to the inquiries.
So, here’s further appreciation to D. Elisabeth Glassco for giving us more resources and ideas to think about for any future programming and for teaching me something on Juneteenth.
Peace (Making Progress),
PS — here is Glassco’s curated list of sites and videos:
The National Writing Project just kicked off its annual summer writing adventure called Write Across America, in which various NWP sites host online gatherings and share place-based prompts to spark writing. I missed the first session from the Hawai’i Writing Project, but the presentations are archived, so I went in to see what had been happening.
One of the prompts had to do with the native Hawaiian concept of Mo’olelo — a way to be spiritually connected to the native world — and it was described here. I liked this ending of that post: “Everything in the world was alive with a presence, vitality, and meaning that our worldview does not recognize.”
I am not suggesting that I completely understand the concept. I am not a native Hawaiian and my roots to my land seems less connected that I would like. But I used that idea of connection to the spirit of the land for a poem response.
Here’s what I wrote:
of the world
embedded in this place
wander this terrain
of rock and soil
need to linger
longer in the quiet,
Peace (and Roots),
Whenever Brian Selznick puts out a new book, I am always an eager audience. Ever since The Invention of Hugo Cabret blew my mind when it came out, I have kept an eye on what he is doing. Not all of his books have landed as emotional for me as Hugo, but they are never dull literary experiences.
His recent book — Big Tree — is another glorious Selznick work of art — with a mix of silent pencil sketch drawings and a story about two little tree seeds on a journey of a lifetime (or many lifetimes, perhaps, given the span of years that book covers). In his afterword, Selznick tells how the story was started as a possible movie script with Steven Spielberg and then later, become the Big Tree book.
Informed by science about plants, animals, and the ancient world, Big Tree follows a sister and brother seed of a Sycamore tree in the time of the dinosaurs through the modern day, and along the way, the two seeds have adventures that bring them into contact with all sorts of wondrous creatures, including mushrooms that act as “ambassadors” of the forest through the interconnected fungi networks; rockweed (seaweed) under the ocean, where the seeds are trapped inside a shell; and more.
If you know his books, then you know to expect meticulous, beautiful, evocative pencil drawing and the artwork in Big Tree is no exception, as the story unfolds both in texts and in artwork, and the way Selznick brings the reader into the story through his pencil strokes — where you flip page after page after page, like a stopmotion scene unfolding on paper — is an interesting experience. (See excerpt)
This book has a central environmental theme coursing through the narrative, about how all of us have an obligation and a means to do something positive for the planet, even if we feel small and insignificant in the larger world.
Peace (and Plants),