Tuesday, August 26, 2014


“It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation.  War is hell.”  William Tecumseh Sherman
Isom Ampey
James Madison’s chapter in “Hoosiers,” “The Civil War Comes to Indiana,” mentions that in 1851 Indiana delegates to a constitutional convention passed Article XIII, which declared: “No negro or mulatto shall come into or settle in the State.”  Calumet Region delegate Daniel S. Crumpacker opposed the racist measure, warning: “If we legislate for them as brutes, we shall make brutes of them.  If we legislate for them as men, we shall make men of them.”  Madison noted the valiant contributions of the Nineteenth Indiana regiment, including holding McPherson’s Ridge at Gettysburg until Union troops gained control of the high ground, and used a photo of Isom Ampey in uniform.  Ampey joined the famed Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts regiment at a time when Indiana was not accepting African American volunteers.  The movie “Glory” was based in part on the unit’s attack on Fort Wagner near Charleston. 

Madison wrote that some Southern sympathizers called themselves “Butternut Democrats.”  I had heard the term Copperhead, but not Butternut, the name for a dye made from the roots and bark of butternut trees during pioneer days to give homespun clothes a yellow-brown color.  Madison wrote: “At a church service in Wabash County, Unionist women attempted to tear off other women’s Butternut pins, causing a scuffle and a ‘perfect smash up among bonnets and hats.’”  After the war Hoosiers tended to glorify the conflict and forget, in Madison’s words, “its bloody carnage, its complex causes, and its troubling results.”  Not Ambrose Bierce, who fought at bloody Shiloh and, haunted by battlefield scars both physical and psychological, refused to attend reunions or public remembrances.  In 1885 an embittered Bierce: “I would rather be a dead dog among buzzards than a dead hero among admirers.”
Reginald DuValle on piano
Despite the many obstacles, African American freedmen migrating to Indiana managed to carve out meaningful lives for themselves and their children. Reginald DuValle, a jazz innovator who helped popularize ragtime, started an orchestra in Indianapolis called the Blackbirds and had a profound influence on Indiana native Hoagy Carmichael.  According to Reggie DuValle, Jr., Carmichael would sit on his father’s front porch and listen to him practice.  One day DuValle took notice and invited him in for piano lessons, including instructions on how to play stride and do improvisation. 
Jerry Davich is on a roll.  Sunday he profiled acclaimed war photographer Johnny Bushemi (above), whom I wrote about in “City of the Century.”  During the Depression Bushemi left Lew Wallace during his junior year to work in the steel mill before latching on with the Post-Tribune.  In 1941 he enlisted in the army and during the war worked for Yank magazine.  Anxious to get close to the action, Bushemi died photographing the American landing on Eniwetok.  His last words supposedly were, “Make sure these pictures get back to the office right away.”  Bushemi compared Bushemi’s heroism to journalist Jim Foley, whom ISIS terrorists executed after holding him prisoner almost two years.  Both were gung ho types who got a rush from being close to the action.  In Libya previously to report on the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, Foley had jailed for 44 days.  The Post-Trib claimed Foley as one of their own because in 2006, when he needed press credentials to cover the Iraq War, the paper figured it would be an inexpensive way to get reportage. 
Monday Davich had a full-page story about the role Anne Balay’s book played in prompting the United Steelworkers into passing a gay rights resolution at its convention in Las Vegas.  Local 1010 president Tom Hargrove told Davich: “Members stood, cheered and applauded as Leo Gerard shouted, ‘We are all human beings in this union, as, as long as I am president, we will not tolerate any form of discrimination against any human being for any reason.’”

Ann Balay just posted on Facebook that “Steel Closets” won the Sara A. Whaley book prize of the National Women’s Studies Association.  She got 150 “Likes.”  Anthony Michael Pawlowski wrote: “Further proof of the inanity of IUN’s administration.”  There is plenty of blame to go around for the senseless decision to deny Balay tenure, but I truly believe that if the few faculty left in Women’s and Gender Studies had threatened to stop teaching courses for that gutted program and demanded that Balay be transferred from the English Department into Gender Studies full time, the request would have had some chance of success, especially if Assistant Vice Chancellor Cindy O’Dell supported the proposal.  Balay’s Gender Studies course evaluations were sterling, and the complaints her boss seized on as the excuse to be rid of her were from Literature and Composition courses.  A similar tactic by disgruntled Education faculty achieved the desired results, and I believe Chancellor Lowe would have taken their demands seriously.  Had they done so, however, it might have been seen as un-ladylike or obstreperous, so they chose not to possibly jeopardize their reputation or academic careers. 
Someone not afraid to stand up for her principles is April Lidinsky, who testified at Balay’s Faculty Board of Review hearing, arguing that a few student complaints against challenging women professors are to be expected and should not be held against them as a basis for dismissal.  Lidinsky recently posted a photo of IU South Bend chancellor Terry L. Allison with Feminist Student Union officers Stacie Balentine, Dominique Chante Bonilla, and Cassandra Castro.  Hired a year ago, Allison is a former English professor and provost at Governors State University in Chicago.  Lidinsky’s most recent post reads: “We stand on the shoulders of hard-working feminists.”  Years from now, feminists will honor Anne Balay as such a pioneer.
old and new Warriors logos
Growing up, my favorite basketball team was the Philadelphia Warriors, whose logo by today’s standards seems demeaning to Native Americans.  In 1956, led by Paul Arizin, Neil Johnston, and Tom Gola they were NBA champs.  Seven of their players had played for Philadelphia colleges (3 each from LaSalle and Villanova and one from Penn).  Later in the decade Philly native Wilt Chamberlain joined the team.  During the early 1960s the team moved to San Francisco, but Chamberlain returned to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a championship in 1967.

 Dave Serynek stopped by to pick up a biography of President Rutherford B. Hayes.  He brought me four bottles of Yuenling beer that he had brought back with him from Florida.  He looked buffed and tan from participating in RAGBRAI, the Des Moines “Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.”  The non-competitive event, begun in 1973, attracts thousands of riders, and Dave has been doing the week-long event for several years.  We talked about the upcoming Valpo popcorn festival, which this year will feature Spin Doctors and Chad Clifford and Crawpuppies as the warm-up band.  Dave, who still plays the guitar daily, said he used to jam with Chad’s father.  A student of mine in the early Seventies, he recalled that that clusters of folks on campus used to sit on the lawn, play guitars, and light up joints.

Earlier in the day I had gotten a haircut and then took a bath to get the hairs off my neck.  Knowing Dave was coming, I put on a t-shirt that I’d purchased ten years before at a “Stand Up for Steel” rally at Gary’s SteelYard.  In addition to speeches by labor leaders, Omar Farag had booked numerous blues acts, including Clarence Carter and the Fabulous Kings, Kinsey Report, and George Babcock and the Steelyard Dogs, a group that Serynek played with that was mentioned on the shirt.  Right before Dave left, he noted with approval that I was wearing it.

Chicago is holding a homecoming parade to honor the Jackie Robinson West Little League national champions that made it into the final game at Williamsport.  Down 8-1 to South Korea, they rallied in the final inning, with four of the first five batters got hits, and only a spectacular catch by the rightfielder prevented the fifth batter from reaching safely and snuffed out the rally.  President Obama called to congratulate them after the game, and the Chicago Tribune headline next day was, “National Treasures.”

Alissa posted photos from her friend Stephanie's wedding.
Alissa on left and with Josh

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