A couple of historical houses in the news; Prestigious award for PBS’s Mercy Street; Glenn Beck wants to prepare students to battle their college history profs; History of the White House Easter egg hunt


A few quickies on a Good Friday afternoon:

Did you see the awesome story about a woman that recently visited the house that she was born in, as it is now on display in the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture? The institution has it on display because it was originally built in 1853 as a slave cabin on Edisto Island, South Carolina. 86 year old Isabell Leggett Lucas was born in it and lived there with 10 other family members until she was 19 years old. Be sure to watch the video linked above to see her and her family visiting the museum!

And speaking of historic homes, but in a less inspiring story: The Shaifer House just outside of Port Gibson, Mississippi was recently pillaged by criminals that were apparently after the house’s structural beams, as well as bricks. What the heck?? This site is one of the most pristine and isolated locations associated with a Civil War military campaign. It is pretty difficult to get to, as it is on an unpaved dirt road that turns into a major mud bog after heavy rains (Trust me, I know. Several years ago some friends and I did a rather stupid thing and drove down the thickly mudded road in my Honda Accord after a heavy rain, even though we had been warned by locals not to risk it. Luckily we made it there and out, but it was touch and go. Bad decision, great memory). Built in 1823, it is along the historic road that Grant’s troops took after they landed south of Vicksburg, and the site of the first rebel resistance they faced as they marched northeast toward Jackson, with a view of  swinging back west and thus taking Vicksburg from the east. It was also the site of a Union hospital after the battle. It is a lovely historic site and a real treasure that is basically untouched by the modern era, and one of those places where you can really feel like you’ve taken a time-machine. That it is difficult to reach makes it all the more of a rewarding experience to visit. The people that did this need to be strung up by their entrails. If you have any info that might lead to an arrest, please share!

Mercy Street is not dead yet. A couple of weeks ago, show creator and producer Lisa Q. Wolfinger won a prestigious Gracie Award for producing the show (the award is named after the incomparable Gracie Allen), which celebrates and honors “programming created for women, by women, and about women.” Now one of Wolfinger’s hometown news channels has done a segment on her award and Mercy Street, so check out the interesting interview here. We also learn that she is busy meeting with cable executives to try and save the show. (As I have mentioned before, I have my own plea for saving the show that will appear soon on a higher profile site than my blog, so continue to stay tuned). #SaveMercyStreet.

Oh goodness, Glenn Beck and David Barton are at it again, trying to peddle their fake history nonsense. They have started a two week program, where for $375 students can get armed with everything they need to “set their ignorant professors straight on the ‘real’ history of America.” Beck promises, “Your kids will be challenged to go and find the documents to make the cases that they’re most likely going to have to make in college with their professors. I guarantee you the professors at college will have the wrong answer.” Um, bring it. You remember Glenn Beck, right? He is the guy that was such a nutcase that he got kicked off of Fox News, and didn’t even have to sexually harass someone to get fired. (Oh wait, do you get fired for that on Fox News? Depends on your ratings, I guess).

We will be treated to yet another White House Lawn easter egg hunt on Monday, but how did this tradition get started? Smithsonian has the answer. 


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