Tuesday, September 17, 2013

#Education: What a blessing! Early 20th century. #history #United States

Progressive America:


Education has always been a hot topic of discussion in the United States. Nowadays, we take our educational system and access to high education for granted. Yet, at the turn of the twentieth century education was cherished and valued.

The right to a free education was not something that had always been offered in our American society. The first public school, Boston Latin School, was founded by the Puritan settlers in 1635 in Boston and an education was only offered to boys. As the American colonies were settled by different religious groups, schoolhouses began to appear throughout the colonies. Yet unlike today, an education differed from which gender you were and which class you came from. The richer your parents were the better of an education you received. You can learn more about colonial schools from this site. http://www.chesapeake.edu/Library/EDU_101/eduhist_colonial.asp

Linn School outside of Marion, Ohio.

Warm sunlight filled the rolling countryside the little one room schoolhouse sat upon. Children ran around, laughing and playing. Somewhere down the Columbus, Delaware, and Marion (CD&M) railroad line that passed the back of the schoolhouse, a train blew its horn. The younger children gawked at the large train coming down the track.  Mrs. Webster’s quickly guided them away as the passenger train from Bucyrus rolled past the schoolhouse towards the depot in Marion. Elsa ignored all the commotion. She walked to her familiar spot along the right side of the wall of the red brick school house, sat on the ground, and peered out at the group of girls in the yard eating their lunch together. Cora laughed with her friends. It didn’t take a fool to know whom they were cackling about. Elsa hadn’t been well liked since the first day she and Nathan arrived at Linn School last year. Although her family had lived in the same county as the school, Elsa had never attended a public school before. Before the Influenza hit, Margaret had homeschooled all ten of her children. Her ma had been an excellent teacher. While Elsa excelled academically, she had harder time finding friends than Nathan ever did. Only a few months older than Sam, Sam’s friends had been quick to accept Nathan into their lot. Elsa envied her brother. The only girls Elsa’s age were Cora and Rebekah. Those two girls had made it their duty to ensure no girl ever made friends with Elsa and it had worked too.  She dreaded the day Nathan graduated from school this year. Without him, there wouldn’t be anyone to eat lunch with, do homework with, or talk to. What she wouldn’t give for this to be her last year too. If all went well with her plans to marry Franklin then this would be her last year. Married girls don’t go to school. Life would be perfect. She’d have the man of her dreams, a home of her own and a business that would bring more money than her pa made now. Middle class. The sound of it both excited yet frightened her. All her life she had been poor. It would be hard to adjust to Franklin’s standards of living but if Deborah could adjust to upper class from poverty she could adjust to middle class.  
- From "Elsa" by Allison Bruning. 

Education was not something to take lightly during the turn of the century. The Progressive Era was a

time of great social reform from the United States. The adults during this time had different views of how an American life should be lead than their Victorian Era parents. During this time of history there were many social injustices in America as a by-product of Victorian society. One of these social injustice was the inequality of education.

Most children during this time continued to attend school in a one room schoolhouse, much like the school Elsa attends in the example above. At the turn of the century there were close to 200,000 one room schoolhouses in use in the United States. That number has dwindled to less than 300 still in operation. Most of the one room schoolhouses still in operation are located in rural areas.  You can view some of these location here: http://oneroomschoolhousecenter.weebly.com/still-in-operation.html

The one room schoolhouse allowed a schoolmaster to teach a small group of children from 1st through 8th grades in one setting. You can learn more about the benefits of a one room schoolhouse education here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903352704576540453011452540.html

Education in the rural areas during the turn of the century generally ended at the 8th grade level because the children were needed back home to help out on the farm. That is why it is common to find our ancestors with only an 8th grade education. Some children of the rural areas were able to obtain a secondary education but only if their parents had the financial resources to do so. Children were expected to continue to help their parents on the farm while they attended school as well. That is why we have summer breaks. During the turn of the century we were mainly an agricultural society. Families needed their children home during the summer to help with the harvest. 

In the cities, education faced a different kind of problem. The Victorian class system had produced a great inequality in education for children. Most children of impoverished family never received an education and found themselves working in factories. Child labor had always been an issue for the United States but it wasn't until the Industrial Revolution that it peaked. Thousands of children worked in the labor force instead of going to school. These children suffered the most as they were exposed to deadly conditions and inhuman treatment by their employers. 

A college education was not available for everyone. Most children were unable to attend school past the 8th grade level yet there was the option to do so if your family could afford it. University and college level training was available to both genders but men tended to have more opportunities than women and minorities. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

#IWSG: Anguishing over the #Antagonist #IAmWriting #Author #Bestseller

It's the first week of September and that means its time for my post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a monthly blog hop  started by author Alex J. Cavanaugh on his blog at http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com.au/p/the-insecure-writers-support-group.html. The purpose of the blog hop is defined as:

To share and encourage. 
Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. 
Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. 
It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

One of the hardest things for me to do when I am writing is to write from the antagonist's point of view. I'm not the kind of person who likes to hurt others nor am I confrontational. When I am writing from the antagonist's point of view I have to dig deep into a part of myself that I don't like within me. When I don't get to know my antagonist and their motives behind their actions it just makes my novel off balance. Don't be scared to get to know your antagonist. When I was in graduate school on of my professors told me that a good, well defined character has both good and bad qualities about them. In order to make my story believable I need to find out why my antagonist feels the way they do and what makes him or her stand against my protagonist. Your antagonist shouldn't be cardboard copy of the bad guy. He or she needs depth and a believable character. Once I realized I need to spend as much time in development with my antagonist as much as I did with my protagonist my writing grew. The richness of my plot was deeper and the story was more believable. Take the time and care to dig deep into the life of your antagonist. You might be surprised what you come up with for your novel.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Mental Health in Progressive #America: #Eugenics

Mental Health In Progressive America: Eugenics

What Do You Mean I Can't Marry Him?

        Elsa stared silently towards Juliette in shock. Can’t marry her? “Why would you forbid our union when you have welcomed me into your home and your family?”
Juliette answered, “If there were some other way I would not hesitate to support my son in his decision. I want you as my daughter. I already love you as if you were my own.”
“Then why take this from him?”
“It’s not me, Elsa. Ohio Law forbids any person who has epilepsy, is a drunkard, an imbecile, or insane from obtaining a marriage license or marrying.”
“But Franklin is none of those.”
“It doesn’t matter, Elsa. When he applies for the marriage license the county clerk will ask him, under oath, to testify he does not suffer from epilepsy, is not a drunkard, imbecile, or insane. He can’t lie to the courts about that.”

Today's topic of discussion is a touchy one and it might disturb some of my readers to know that before Nazi Germany practiced Eugenics it had long been established in the United States as the norm. What is Eugenics? Webster's Dictionary defines eugenics as "a science that deals with the improvement (as by control of human mating) of hereditary qualities of a race or breed." The term was first used in 1883 but the science had been in practiced long before that. 

Progressive Era Americans did not view eugenics as a science but instead viewed it as a means to preserving the dominant group. The American Eugenics Movement originated with noted English scientist Sir Francis Galton. After reading Charles Darwin's theory of evolution Sir Galton concluded human could direct their own evolutionary development through selective breeding. In 1883, Sir Galton named his theory Eugenics. The Eugenic Movement quickly spread throughout the world. 

Early followers of the Eugenic Movement believed Nordic, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon peoples were the superior race. They supported anti-miscegenation laws and strict immigration laws. Anti-miscegenation laws are laws that criminalize interracial marriages. They also supported the forcible sterilization of the disabled,"immoral", and poor. Laws throughout the United States were passed to enforce the eugenic beliefs. Although Ohio did pass a law forbidding epileptics, drunks and mentally handicapped people from marriage it never passed a sterilization law. The state had hoped by separating the feeble groups from the main population it would make Ohio families stronger. Indiana was the first state to pass a Sterilization Law in 1907.  Sterilization Laws were very common in the United States and are still talked about today. A Sterilization Law forces a certain population to become sterile or face imprisonment. 

An American Eugenics poster from the early 20th century
Eugenics were widely accepted by Americans and the academic community. Population groups targeted by the Eugenic Laws included the mentally disabled; alcoholics; epileptics; people who were blind, deaf or disabled; poor people on welfare; criminals; women deemed promiscuous; and child of rape victims. Thirty-three states practiced eugenics. Most of their victims came from the mental institutions and prisons. At first the eugenics only targeted the mentally ill but as the years passed their list grew to include the other sub groups I have mentioned above. Eugenics was a very popular movement that especially targeted minority groups. It was not uncommon for a poor African American woman to give birth in the hospital only to be sterilized soon after. The doctor would tell her that her appendix needed to be removed and they would have to operate. She would consent to that only to wake up to find she could no longer bear children. 

The Eugenics Movement was well established in the United States by the time Nazi Germany had established their own Eugenic laws. In fact, they were inspired by the American Eugenic Movement. During the 1930's California had created literature to promote eugenics and sterilization. They sent the material overseas to German medical doctors. The Rockfeller Foundation aided Germany in developing their eugenic programs, including the one Josef Mengele established before he was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. 

In 1934, California eugenics leader C. M. Goethe; after returning from German, where more than 5,000 people per month were being forcibly sterilized; bragged to a colleague ""You will be interested to know that your work has played a powerful part in shaping the opinions of the group of intellectuals who are behind Hitler in this epoch-making program. Everywhere I sensed that their opinions have been tremendously stimulated by American thought . . . I want you, my dear friend, to carry this thought with you for the rest of your life, that you have really jolted into action a great government of 60 million people."

It is estimated 65,000 Americans were victims of the forced sterilization. ABC News reported in 2011, of the 33 states who had sterilization programs only seven have issued a public apology to the victims or acknowledgement of the program. The suggested compensation for each sterilization crime has been established to be between $20,000 to $50,000 per living victim. Most of these victims have died but their families still face the agony and grief that was done to their family member by their state government.

Monday, September 2, 2013

#Artist of the Week - Bre Adrian

Welcome back to my blog.

This week I've decided to add a new topic to my blog. I've meet alot of wonderful new artists in Indianapolis. They have inspired me to spread the word about their artwork just as I do with authors. So each week I will try to spotlight an author on Sundays and a new artist on Mondays while maintaining my historical blogs on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Artist of the Week

My first artist of the week is Bre Adrian. I met Bre at the Indianapolis RAW event last month where I working as the assistant director for FilmSmith Productions. All of the pictures on my blog today were created by Bre.

Welcome to Inside the Secret World of Allison Bruning, Bre.

Thank you.

How long have you been creating?

If you wanna count me running around with my little yellow paint brush pretending to paint everything I saw: 9 months old is where it all began *that is my first memory actually*

Art seems to be at the under & overbelly of my life:  

I wanted to be a Children's book illustrator, to an art teacher, to a chef. I had planned on attending art school but felt a push to do more person centered work so went to school for psychology /religion.  Besides a couple of art courses and inspirational bursts, I have had a pretty lengthy dry spell until this last year in 2012. (Which is good because looking back on some of my pieces from high school…..not as good as I remember  ;] )

What is your creation process like?

I like to kind of think this reinvention of my artist self as an “Intuitive Driven/Inclusion of Misfits”
About 90% of my work and materials of this last year have been constructed of repurposed items & old art supplies I’ve had lying around, found, or that have been passed down to me.

As one of my dear mentor artist friends likes to says: “Use the Canvas as your Recycle Bin”  I just take it a little step further, cause my canvas should be in the recycle bin too & as dangerous as it may be, I tend to over load my bins!

What inspires you?

I like to say, “There is no scarcity of inspiration”: I believe, every occurrence in life is a message to ourselves to help us personally grow,  & to open up & set us on fire in someway.

My work is currently about playing around with my intuition…. So its kind of about working backwards” – as we artist do….. SO I gather what materials are in my realm, create & then I am usually am able to interpret the deeper meaning and reasoning behind the construction after…  “oh that is why I choose yellow there…& that is why my face is looking down…. Etc…”

What do you want us to know about your work?

I consider my work therapy for myself and my portion of creation: therefore where there are needs, my art is going to CONTINUALLY change face as I question  What of this is depleting; what of this is life giving…?as I peel back these layers towards what I find as the better path for myself and greater existence.

What are your aspirations?

Currently my art is a by product of the General Aspirations of my life; which are for my spiritual and personal maturation & the hope to help others in that quest too. These Growth messages woven into or discovered within my pieces,  I hope to be able to share others who are interested….

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Hah, you guys don’t know me very well yet, do you ;]

I have some Gypsy blood in my somewhere!
 -- Planning is not always my fortay

I have a couple of themes stewing in me for my next projects, series, & very individually/sentimentally tailored themes for commission work, but

I follow where I feel I need to serve my true self and others & I believe that
creativity takes no direct form. Next it could be the art of tending to the needs of the dying, growing a food Forrest, or writing letters to my grandma.. .probably should work on the art of cleaning my room too :] 

In the words of Bre Adrian
I've been playing with the visual arts as far back as I remember - literally; one of my first memories is of me with a paintbrush.

The arts remained a major part of my creative expression throughout high school, until my calling towards person-centered work took me towards the academic facet -- college!!

As most twenty-somethings in study do, I began to reflect on how to save my portion of the world --loving humanity, the nebulous I call God, and the planet--through conjuring reflection and simplicity (verse the materialistic wise of the west). And I began to construct a conviction, that the arts, at times, created more waste in our ever increasing disposable culture.

Shhh..I neglected to heed Confucius when he stated,
"[the arts] stimulate the mind...induce self-contemplation...teach the art of sensibility...help restrain resentment."

My tension then: How to balance no longer living by the letter of consumption, while still practicing the divine nature of being human -- Creating.

Cultivation of the soul, I have found, stands to be the most important venture in the human reality, for the benefit of all being and non-beings' thriving, no matter what face cultivating takes for the individual. 

My artwork, here and hereafter, is dedicated to both standards:spiritual fertility andinclusion of the excludedFor without incorporating the neglected-- material & emotional-- personal actualization staggers in opportunities for attainment. 

My medium[re]purposed materials(waste formally misplaced), art supplies passed down, art supplies I have neglected to utilize myself, and as few store purchased items as possible, (only when to create a more proficient finish, so it does not so readily become knighted 'waste' again). 
* What & how I will end up creating when those materials decrease should be exciting! *
Thank you guys for your love!
All of mine to you! 

You can learn more about Bre Adrian and her artwork on her website:

There you can see her portfolio and a huge amalgam of her interests!

She can also be found on Facebook under Bre A. Domescik