Tag Archives: connections

America is… Diverse

A couple months ago I wrote a blog post called Changes in the Deep South. Now my dad asked me to write a second one. For my second America Is… project I have decided to write about how America is diverse and how this makes America what it is today. On our trip we have seen many different types of people, cultures, and religions in the states we have visited and the effect they have on an area. Some of the most noticeable were the Mexican influence in the southwest, the French influence in New Orleans, and the Chinese influence in California.

AdobeHouse

An Adobe House In New Mexico

When we were visiting Texas, the Southwest, and Southern California we saw a lot of Mexican influence in the food, people, and culture. Many of these states used to be part of Mexico.In 1836 Texas seceded from Mexico and became a republic and later its own state in 1846. Then in 1848 California, most of Arizona, about half of New Mexico, as well as other states became territories of the United States. Today many people in these places speak Spanish, especially in the more southern parts. Another Mexican influence on these areas is the architecture. Many of the buildings in New Mexico, Arizona, and Southern California are adobe buildings and houses. When we were visiting in Santa Fe almost every building was built out of adobe and in southern California there are many Spanish Mission style houses. Art and music are also influenced by Mexican culture. In many of these places we had radio stations in Spanish. In San Antonio, we visited a museum and saw the work of Mexican-American artists. One giant difference that is everywhere in the Southwest is Mexican food, such as tacos, quesadilla, sopapilla, green chillies, and my favorite, fajitas. Overall much of the Southwest is influenced by Mexico still today.

Floats Being Prepared For Mardi Gras

Floats Being Prepared For Mardi Gras

Another culture that influenced America is the French. New Orleans used to be part of France until 1803 when it was bought by President Thomas Jefferson. Besides the French there were also many Cajun people in New Orleans. The Cajuns were French speakers from what is now parts of Nova Scotia, Eastern Quebec, and Maine. Now there is a large French influence on the traditions, food, and many other aspects of life in New Orleans. When we were there Mardi Gras was only a few days away. Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) is one of the biggest celebrations in New Orleans, one that was originally French. The food of New Orleans was influenced by the French and Cajun cultures for example we had French beignets and Cajun jambalaya. While we were in the city we went to look at the French quarter were we saw many houses and buildings that had a French style of architecture like wrought iron balcony rails. This combination of cultures creates one of the most unique cities in America.

ChinaTownCali

China Town In San Francisco

When we were in California we saw how people coming from China have influenced the state now but also in the past. During the time of the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882-1943) very few Asians came to America. Today, people coming from China and other Asian countries make up some of the largest groups of immigrants to America. In California we saw the influence that Asian cultures have had on this region. In San Francisco we went into Chinatown. While we were there we went to a museum about how the Chinese helped to shape America and especially California. It showed how expansion of America was made possible by the Chinese laborers who built the railroads and then when gold was discovered in California ran undesirable businesses like laundries, restaurants and did manual labor. Even outside of China Town there were many Chinese food places and many Asian people in general. While we were in these Chinese parts of town it was fun to see food and gifts that we saw from China here in America. Overall I think that the Chinese have helped to shape how America has advanced by creating the railroads and influencing California.

These are some of the ways that our country is culturally diverse and how this diversity affects certain regions today. In America there are many other ethnic groups such as the Irish and Italians in New England, the Mormons in Utah, African-Americans in the Southeast and northern cities, and Scandinavians in the northern plain states. Overall I think that this cultural diversity is a big part in America being what it is today: a free, prosperous, industrious, and technologically advanced country with many opportunities for everyone in it.

Stealing Freedom

Ann disguised as a boy.

Ann disguised as a boy.

Last month I read a book called Stealing Freedom by Elisa Carbone and it was written in1998. This book is based on a true story about a girl named Ann Maria Weems and her family. Her family members are slaves except her dad because he bought his freedom. The book takes place in Virginia before the Civil War. Her dad doesn’t want his family to be owned so he saves up his money to buy his family’s freedom, but the prices keep going up because their master didn’t want them to get freed.Their master also became a slave trader to get some more money. So the father went to New York and found a vigilance committee where they raise money to free slaves. The committee got enough money to buy the whole family but the prices kept going up for Ann. So Ann had no family at the plantation. Then one night Ann got “kidnapped” and she was forced to go into a wagon. The kidnappers took the bag off her head and right in front of her was someone from the committee who tried to buy her. This was the start of stealing freedom.They were running away………………..

Slave Market Museum Nowadays

Slave Market Museum Nowadays

When I read about the master trading slaves I thought about when we went to see the slave market in Charleston. I think that it was horrible that they thought of the slaves as property and that they treated the slaves badly and they broke up families, just like Ann’s family. When I read about the cabin that they lived in it reminded me of the slave cabins that we saw at Magnolia Plantation. The cabin had a dirt floor and a fire pit like Ann’s cabin. That was pretty much all they had except for hay mattresses. The slaves also had to fit over 10 people in the small cabin.

Slave Cabin at Magnolia Plantation.

Slave Cabin at Magnolia Plantation.

I think this book is great because I felt like I got to know a real person from history. People who like history and people who don’t think they like history should read it because it tells people about how bad slavery was and in an interesting way.

Found another good book!

51AXHB1V1RLI’ve been reading a book called The Keeping Room by Anna Myers. The book takes place during the Revolutionary War. The characters of this book are Joseph Jr., his parents (Joseph and Mother), their servant (Cato), and his brother and sisters (George, Sarah, and Mary). The book is about a boy named Joey (Joseph Jr.) whose house gets taken over by the British. Then his father becomes a prisoner because he is fighting against the British. They build a gallows outside of their house and trap them in a room. Joey gives Mary his books because he thinks that girls should be able to learn. Joey has to care for the American soldiers and clean the British boots. Joey’s family goes to his uncles house. They leave him with Cato and they wait and one day the soldiers leave the town and his family and dad come back.

When I read about the hanging it reminded me about the Salem witch hangings in Massachusetts. Some innocent people in the book got hanged and all the people who got hanged in Salem were innocent. I also read that Joey’s teacher is a Quaker and my mom read to me that Quakers do not believe in war or violence.

This book is good and it has a lot of history. You should read the book and try to go to Salem. If you go, then you should go around Halloween because they have cool things to do.

Sign of the Beaver

Sign of the Beaver

I’ve been reading about a book called the Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Spear. It takes place in the late 1700s. In Sign of the Beaver there is a boy called Matt and he is 13 years old. He is alone in a cabin for 7 weeks because his dad went to go get the rest of his family. He meets a man called Ben. Ben steals Matt’s gun. Then he meets a Native American who wants him to teach his grandson Attean how to read English. Then Attean and Matt become friends. Attean teaches Matt many things like how to make a bow and arrow. He gives him meat since he had no gun to kill things with but Matt still had fish but he got tired of it. Matt is kind and he is American. Attean knows a lot about nature and he also respects animals. He is Native American.

When I read about how Matt slept in a wigwam I connected it with Plymouth Plantation. At Plymouth Plantation I saw and talked to a Native American and I went inside a wigwam and it was really cool. It had wood logs for beds and it had deer, wolf, raccoon, fox, and bear skins so it was very comfortable. The out side has thick bark for insulation. I would like to build a wigwam some day.

This book is really cool. You should read it and try to go to Plymouth Plantation.