The Swiss

On Wednesday, September 20th, Joy and I met with a local Apostolic historian.  In the interview, he explained to us that the first Apostolic to arrive in Morris, Chris Luthi (who happened to be his grandfather) was Swiss, not German as we (I) had previously been lead to believe.  This explains why Apostolics are still commonly, and somewhat derogatorily,  referred to as “Switzers” (prounounced swīt-z/er/).  While it is true that Germans Apostolics did eventually begin migrating to Morris, this ignorance of migration origin sadly indicates a loss of personal history.

After meeting with Mr. Luthi, Joy and I went to the public library to check out their selection of state and local resources.   It was there that we found the book, “They Chose Minnesota.”   What a gem!  It is loaded with information on nearly every ethnic group existing within our state’s borders.  For our study, the chapters of greatest interest in this book include: The Mexicans, The Germans, and especially The Swiss.   Perhaps it is just me, but when I read history books such as this one, it is easy to skim the through the facts (dates, names, maps) without grasping much of their significance.  However, because we were so fortunate to receive a brief history on Apostolic Swiss before hand, the historical data in this chapter took on much greater meaning.  Three points which I found particularly interesting, especially in conjunction with our study was that: 1. “Swiss emigration was not a result of overpopulation,” 2. “Emigration was stimulated by ‘American letters’,” and 3. there were “Government subsidies to remove poor people.1”  As I read each of these statements I compared them to what we  have already been told about Swiss history and I also considered how they applied to the emigration of the Apostolic peoples.  It is unfortunately to think that previously, I probably would have passed over these ideas.  To me, this reinforces the fact that Joy and I need to be diligent in bringing this history to life verses presenting dry facts.

This idea also rang true as I perused the the chapter,The Mexicans. Interestingly what immediately stood out  to me was a reference to migrant workers following the Red River and Minnesota River in search of agricultural work2.  Every study I have read on early Minnesota migration refers to the use of rivers as a means of land settlement.  The concept of “water highways” is not new to me, however, while reading this section, its significance in our history and the pure uniqueness of the Minnesota landscape really struck me.  We ARE the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”… 11,842 to be exact, 6,564 rivers and streams, and 10.6 million acres of wetlands.  Even more interesting is that Minnesota’s waters flow outward in three different directions: north into Canada, east to the Atlantic, and south to the Gulf3.  It is little wonder why our state has such a rich migration history.

Perhaps I’m being a little biased…


1deGryse, Louis M. “The Swiss.” In They Chose Minnesota, 211-219. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1981.

2Diebold, Susan M. “The Mexicans.” In They Chose Minnesota, 92-107. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1981.

3“Lakes, rivers, and wetlands facts.” Lakes, rivers and wetlands: Minnesota DNR, Accessed 25 Sept. 2017.


Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Parkway. Also, Messing up My Timeline.

McPherson, Holt. “Good Afternoon.” High Point Enterprise. June 8, 1961. Accessed September 19, 2017.

The source that I have chosen to focus on this week is a newspaper article that I included in my timeline. After rereading Holt McPherson’s article, I feel it could be useful in a few different places in our website. McPherson touches on a few topics that I think are important. To begin with, McPherson wrote this piece on a particularly special occasion—the 25th anniversary year of the Parkway! This along seems like a nice talking point. McPherson also discusses the fact that, even at 25 years old, the Parkway is not yet complete. I am well aware of the lengthy amount of time that it took to construct the BRP, but I still find it interesting to see how this was discussed at the time. Also detailed are the many beautiful qualities of the Parkway, which McPherson describes romantically. I particularly liked the part where, in describing the Great Smoky Mountains, McPherson says, “These peaks live up to their name and are distinguished by a smoky blue color reminiscent of campfires of the early Indian tribes who once lived hereabouts and named these wooded ranges.” What I really hear in McPherson’s descriptions, though, are the wonderful things about this area that made travelers want to migrate here.
Leisurely purposes are not the only ones listed, however. The author implies the BRP was actually important to preserving the “pioneer” life of this area. Perhaps this way of living is preserved because the Parkway has made it possible for those outside of this area to finally migrate here and witness how life was in Appalachian history (another way this article could be used in our narrative)? Preservation of Appalachian culture is not the only practical purpose the BRP serves, according to McPherson. It is also home to an abundance of flora and fauna. Liz and I have thought about including conservationists and naturalists in our research as a distinct group of migrants, so the mention of the importance and diversity of the wildlife along the Parkway was interesting.
Overall I really loved McPherson’s article. It really romanticizes the Blue Ridge Parkway in a way that makes it seem exotic, like a vein through which visitors may travel to and glimpse a piece of a time long past. As I read it I could almost see the blue haze of the mountains I could faintly hear the wildlife and smell the dirt and trees. I would wager that anyone who didn’t want to visit the Parkway probably wanted to after McPherson was done with them. I am sure we will end up using it, maybe in more than one place.
In other news, I have barely had time to do any other work on the project. I am currently preparing to present the last history website that I made at a conference on Friday and I am beyond terrified. I did attempt to add a new source on my timeline, but that didn’t go well for me. The image won’t load and I have yet to figure out why. Alas, my poor timeline, once fully functional, will have to wait a little longer…

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Scarborough Fair Use Checklist

Am I going to post to my blog?
Parsley, Sage, and never enough time
Remember me and my massive backlog
Sorry! Still learning WordPress design…

Canticle? More like Can’t-Even-icle, am I right? But seriously…

I find Copyright Law to be extremely interesting. My fascination stems from the fact that it affected me long before I was aware of its existence. Growing up, my sister and I were extremely close to our cousins. As we grew older and became more aware of pop music, we all decided to have some fun with it. We made our own recording industry, complete with original songs recorded onto cheap casette tapes, charts, magazines to spread the latest rumors about us, and at one point, perfumes and colognes.

Additionally, I have always been a huge fan of musical comedy, dating back to my discovery of Weird Al Yankovic as a child. One creative outlet I will sometimes return to is to write parodies. I love the challenge of using contrafactum (aka word substitution) to tell a cohesive narrative while remaining as true as possible to the original work. I used an altered version of Scarborough Fair, a traditional English ballad, as the introduction to this post. The Canticle joke (for which I profusely apologize) is a reference to Simon & Garfunkel’s version, which included additional lyrics from a separate song written by them in counterpoint.

In spite of my long-standing relationship with Copyright Law – and in some select cases, possible infringement (“Convicted? No, never convicted”) – it was not until I began exploring the Fair Use Checklist that I began to understand that Copyright Law matters to my academic career. While professors stress how plagiarism is a form of cheating, it never occurred to me that it is not all about me. Just like with the music I enjoy listening to, the thoughts and ideas I cite belong to someone else. They graciously allow me to use them, to stand on the shoulders of those who are giants so that I may see a bit farther myself.


“Fair Use Checklist.” Columbia University Libraries: Copyright Advisory Office. Accessed September 25, 2017.

Stripes. Directed by Ivan Reitman. 1981. Culver City, CA: Columbia Pictures Corporation, 2012. Youtube.

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Catholic Pittsfield and the Berkshires

Mullaney, Kathrine F. Catholic Pittsfield and the Berkshire. Pittsfield, Massachusetts: Press of the Sun Printing, 1897.

“Rev. Fr. Charles Lynch, date unknown. First pastor of the Parish of St. Francis, itself the first Roman Catholic church in North Adams.”

This primary source discusses the establishment of St. Francis of Assisi  parish in North Adams and the appointment Father Charles Lynch as the first Priest of the Irish Church in the Berkshires.  Father Lynch was offered the position in North Adams in 1863 after serving for many years in another Catholic church in Pittsfield. He was only in North Adams for a short time before he realized that the church they were currently in was too small for the congregation so he called for the establishment of a new church, St. Francis of Assisi.  After spending up to twelve hours a day toiling at the mills and factories the men of the parish build St. Francis on the corner of Eagle and Union St.  He also called for a Catholic school, St. Josephs, to be built for the children of the Irish Immigrants some years later.  He served for 21 years as the head priest for the Irish and was beloved by the community.  “He did more towards making it a law-abiding community than legislatures and public officers every did” (pg. 183).  He sadly died on May 30th of 1883 due to paralysis at the age of 53.  Thousands came to his funeral and every business in North Adams closed.  He asked not to have a great statue or monument in his honor, as he wanted St. Francis to remain his greatest achievement, however,  “his loving people were not content that their good father should lie without the usual testimony of affectionate remembrance marking his grave, therefore a granite memorial stands above him, as a tribute to his memory” (pg. 186).

Photo from:

Marino, Paul W. . “A Grave Situation .” Accessed September 25, 2017.

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“Make America Great Again” is Nothing New


Image result for edith wharton

Ammons, Elizabeth. 2008. “The Myth of Imperiled Whiteness and Ethan Frome.” The New England Quarterly 5-33.

Ammons writes an analysis of the well-known book Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, looking specifically at several different characters and how they represent the ideas of white New England versus colored immigrants as well as farming versus industry. Ammons also draws from Wharton’s contemporary writers and politicians to show how common the views expressed in Ethan Frome were at the time. She discusses the common fear of change and racism that is evidenced by police reports, newspaper clippings, and personal letters. This article is well researched and fully cited, and is written with an higher level academic audience in mind. This source will be useful in examining the common attitudes towards immigrants in New England. As Ethan Frome is in fact set in a fictionalized version of North Adams, this article is one of the few that specifically references the small town, and gives exacting evidence of the racism immigrants to the town faced during this time period.

Because this is an article about a book from the time period, the article itself is a secondary source, but I may want to ready through the book myself so that it can be a primary source. Perhaps when I have time…ke

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Creative Commons and Fair Use: Tips and Strategies.

I’m writing this blog post for the entire class, not just to do a homework assignment. If you are worried about violating fair use, don’t be. That being said don’t just randomly put in a photograph or an essay. The Fair Use checklist can be boiled down to three main categories.

  1. Education & Research: We are doing our projects, and our work, for a class to inform the world about local migration and immigration in our communities and our surrounding areas. We are pretty spread out from as far northeast as New England, to as far south as North Carolina, Georgia, and Texas, to as far west as Missouri and Minnesota. We’re informing the world about migration and immigration in seven different states, with tech support in Virginia, so in total we are spread out between eight states.  Our projects inform the world about migration and immigration throughout the United States. The only thing I have to add is if in doubt, contact in whatever way you can the original author if you are concerned about violating copyright laws.
  1. Citations: Where are we getting our information from? Who is the author, what is the title’s of the author’s work, who published it etc. We are using Chicago for this class so we are going to cite using that method. The main point is that we are giving credit to the original source for their information, and not claiming that we wrote the article, or the book, or the database entry etc., in question.
  2. Profits, or lack of: Our projects are not intended to turn a profit, and therefore we should not use any article, photograph, or website to make money for ourselves to pay rent. If it’s strictly our own information and product it would be different, but that is not the case here. As long as everyone bares that in mind, (and personally I do not think that this is going to become a problem) then everyone will do just fine.

As for Creative Commons licensing, it is even more straightforward than studying what is fair use. Kerrin does an excellent job telling us how to use a Creative Commons license and how to set one up. The only thing I really have to add to Kerrin’s explanation of how to set up a Creative Commons license without repeating her, is why we add a Creative Commons license to our websites. Basically it shows that we are using everything we put on our blogs and our website under the definition of Fair Use. It doesn’t mean we own all the information we cite from, just that we have used it fairly. Fair Use and Creative Commons goes hand in hand, and if you use

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Fair Use and Creative Commons

After reviewing the fair use checklist and the Creative Commons site I wanted to create a creative commons license for my blog and for Patrick and I’s project blog. I wanted to share the simple steps for inserting a creative commons license on a WordPress blog.

The fair use checklist is a great tool for making sure that the outward-facing work we do through the use of digital sources is protected and reliable.  Protecting our work and the work of others whose information we use maintains the integrity of work on all platforms and keeps the world of digital education ethical and useful. Here are the simple steps for inserting a creative commons license on your WordPress blog:

 As a reminder, it is important to look over the fair use checklist (link provided below) before creating a creative commons license on your blog or any other site.

1. Create a text widget text tab, enter code below:
<a rel=”license” href=””><img alt=”Creative Commons License” style=”border-width:0;” src=”×31.png” /></a><br />This work is licensed under a <a rel=”license” href=””>Creative CommonsAttribution 4.0 International License</a>.
3. Save changes



When we share, everyone wins

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A History of Despotic Rulers in the DRC

Joseph Kabila, the DRC’s current “president” of 16 years

In continuing our mission of learning more about the DRC, I simply googled “The Democratic Republic of Congo.” The first few news stories were appalling. And unlike the time lapse between King Leopold of Belgium’s Reign of Terror and public knowledge in the early 1900s, we as a society have real-time access to the news of these atrocities, and are doing nothing.

BBC’s article “Living with violence in the DR Congo,” chronicles the sheer suffering of Congolese in the Kasai region (September 24, 2017). It is estimated that within the past year, more than 1 million people have been displaced. Families have been torn apart, children orphaned, and villages burnt to the ground. All of this while Kabila proffers to “affirm that we are most certainly moving towards credible, transparent and peaceful elections,” (News 24, 2017). To understand how this despotic ruler, Kabila, could possibly still in power, I researched how he had originally come to power. One blog post is not nearly enough to even summarize the DRC’s tumultuous history, but I try to cover some key points through using Bobb and Kisangani’s The Historical Dictionary (2010) to familiarize myself with key terms and events.

Firstly, it’s important to realize that the DRC has never peacefully transitioned into democracy. Before the Kabila father-son duo took power, possibly the most despotic military ruler of all time, Mobutu Sese Seko, had ruled the DRC since his first coup d’état at the beginning of the ‘Congo crisis’, or the messy, fast process of decolonization from Belgium began in 1960. Mobutu used the economic policies of nationalization and radicalization, or the process of seizing colonial enterprises to fund state governance and enrich his personal pocket. By the 1980s, the mineral rich country had neglected its structural capacity to deliver on the rapid industrial development promised at independence.

Despite Mobutu’s clear corruption and suppression of human rights, the U.S. and other Western allies supported Mobutu until the end of the Cold War, when the U.S.’s Containment Policy was no longer necessary. In 1990, Mobutu convinced the international community that he would move the country towards democracy through superficial reforms. For example, in the “third coup of his career,” he snatched back power from “the people’s candidate,” Prime Minister Tshisekedi in 1993. But without funds from the U.S. and its allies, Mobutu was susceptible to the rebellion led by the Alliance des Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Congo (AFDL), led by Laurent-Désiré Kabila, which was funded by the Congo’s neighboring countries and overtook Kinshasa in 1997, forcing Mobutu to finally flee the country.

Kabila the Second came into power after his father was assassinated in 2001, during the Second Congo War, otherwise known as ‘Africa’s First World War’, which lasted from 1998 to 2003 (Bobb and Kisangani 2010, p. 463). Like the situation today, more than 2 million Congolese were internally displaced. Furthermore, approximately 5 million people had been killed as a result of the war and its related consequences.

But, my dear international community, do we care?


Bobb, Scott F., and Emizet François Kisangani. Historical Dictionary of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Plymouth, UK: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2010.

Living with violence in the DR Congo. (2017, September 25). Retrieved September 24, 2017, from

Kabila at UN pledges DRC elections but still no date. (2017, September 23). Retrieved September 24, 2017, from


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Latino Heartland

Vega, Sujey. Latino heartland: of borders and belonging in the midwest. New York: New York University University, 2015.

Ive been coming up short this week with useful resources on the Latino experience in the Midwest- let alone Stevens County. Then I finally remembered that last year, I literally took a course called Latinos in the Midwest… GOLD!! I’ve been looking through some of the materials that we read for that class and I am starting to make some better head way!

In one of my favorite, and probably more applicable books, Latino Heartland – Of Borders and Belonging in the Midwest, is chocked full of information that will be useful to our project. There were two specific chapters that Amy and I have both studied that are complimentary to conversations that we have had in class. the first called Clashes at the Crossroads (does that sound similar to something my partner has posted lately?!) and United We are Stronger (does that sound a little like our project goals??)

THIS is what gets me excited about research! Before I get to deep into this material, I want to note that I know that this is not about Stevens County, but the information, and experiences written about in the book will greatly improve the direction that Amy and I take in whatever way we decide to pursue local information!

In the chapter, Clashes at the Crossroads, there was a lot of discussions about how people are or are not included in  community. Sometimes, there are outright judgements, and other times there is an underlying tension that disclude people from certain communities. When the people of Lafayette, Indiana were asked a question about immigrants such as, “What do you know about immigrant history in Lafayette?” they immediately jumped from the words immigrant to Latino and associated the researcher’s interest in migration with one specific ethnic group (143). Prior to this, there was discussion about microaggressions and even while they are actively in pursuit of belonging, there were underlying sentiments of rejection and disdain from the majority in Lafayette (139). This relates directly to the quote, “socially unacceptable examples of outright racism have been replaced be seemingly banal acts that still communicate a levels of discomfort and prejudice present just beneath the surface,” and “Latino residents were either ‘new’ or not a numerical majority required that they have a double consciousness: always aware of how they see themselves and how others see them.” (141, 151) These quotes both came with footnotes of other articles and books that I am very interested in looking into. Already got one on interlibrary loan!

In regards to how my partner’s research and mine overlaps, we have both been looking at borders and communities as combining, clashing, connecting, and creating community. In this chapter, Vega outlines

“A difference between “the boarder” as a particular geopolitical line of national difference and the resulting borderlands as the places where conceptualizations attributed to the border influence the way people live and interact wth one another. In this regard, the borderlands could and do expand beyond the space directly adjacent to a national border.” (149)

The chapter, United We are Stronger focused a lot more on the same type of thing that Amy and I are pursuing in our research.  It addressed how Latinos in Lafayette showed “cultural citizenship” through different activities like creating a festival, marching for immigration reform, and creating community organizations. Here in Morris, we have a lot of different groups and organizations similar to ones that were described. It would be worth it for Amy to look into these groups more and talk to participants as well and directors (one of whom happens to be my very own partner!)  Another interesting piece relates back to family life and education. From a child’s or student’s perspective, their level of belonging is determined by how, where, and with whom they display certain parts of your ethnic (or, for the purpose of this research, I would expand to religious) identity.

I’m super excited about this reading and all that it will bring to the rest of our research!